2:00PM Water Cooler 5/20/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

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.

Here is the state COVID cases by day in linear form. If I were the governoir of Florida (or Georgia) I might indeed take the view that “one of these things is not like the others,” especially if I were business-oriented. The nest ten days to two weeks will tell. Readers?

“As Florida begins to reopen state businesses, data shows no significant drop in COVID-19 case numbers” [ABC]. “As more Florida businesses and services reopen across the state this week, health data has shown that the number of coronavirus cases has continued to rise at a relatively stable rate…. Health department representatives said the state’s Rapid Emergency Support Team, which is comprised of local sheriffs and health professionals, is being deployed to long-term care facilities to ensure residents are tested and properly treated. The Florida National Guard will assist local counties with testing services, the health department said.” • More:

And from the same thread:

But would Taleb say that “worry” comes too late?

* * *

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.

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

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Is Pivoting to the Left. What? Why?” [Slate]. “Joe Biden ran as the most centrist candidate in the Democratic primary. Ultimately, despite the egghead objections of out-of-touch left-liberal bloggers, this strategy worked, and he recovered from a strong early push by Bernie Sanders to (presumptively) win the nomination…. Having solidified his hold over his party, he is offering something to the younger and more economically insecure voters who were skeptical of him during the primary under the cover of associating himself, during a historic crisis, with the president who won WWII and pulled the country out of the Great Depression. It’s a win-win, except for the superrich, but they’ll get plenty of chances to talk Biden out of all this communist stuff if he actually gets elected. This is still America, after all.” • Run to the left in the primary, pivot right in the general. Oldest play in the book. Interesting on how Biden may see himself, however.

Sanders (D)(1): “First as Tragedy, Then as Farce: The Collapse of the Sanders Campaign and the “Fusionist” Left” [Michael Tracey and Angela Nagel, American Affairs].Well worth reading in full. A taste: “why would the portion of Democratic primary voters animated by this suite of issues—impeachment, Ukraine, Russian interference, and so forth—be inclined to vote for Sanders in the first place? They had plenty of other options (Warren especially) who were more in keeping with their affluent liberal proclivities. But in fruitlessly catering to this demographic, Sanders jettisoned another quality that gave his campaign an aura of excitement in 2016, when he exuded the sense of being distinct from the rest of the mainstream Democratic Party. Four years later, there he was, participating in the obligatory anti-Trump sweepstakes—competing with the other can­didates over who could inveigh the most vociferously against Trump. While Sanders never lost what always came across as a gen­uinely felt populist fervor against the billionaire class, he often sound­ed like he was half-heartedly reading from the script of a liberal afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome when he would go through the mo­tions of listing Trump’s various crimes: racism, sexism, homo­phobia, xenophobia, etc., etc., etc. After four exhausting years of this from all liberal quarters, many of those who chose Bernie over Hillary last time were neither convinced nor impressed.” • I think the most interesting data point is right at the beginning: Sanders lost rural Iowa. That’s absurd, for 2016 Sanders. In 2020, Buttigieg won it.

Warren (D)(1): Shockingly, Warren backtracks on #MedicareForAll again:

Those words might as well have been crafted by Pelosi.

* * *

“Will 2020 Be Another Blue Wave Election Year?” [FiveThirtyEight]. • This is just an interesing, fun discussion.

And speaking of Allan Lichtman’s famous (and successfully predictive) keys, from Lichtman’s Facebook page (sigh) on May 1:

I am officially changing Key 4. Third party: “There is no significant third party or independent campaign,” from TRUE to UNDECIDED, based on Justin Amash’s likely candidacy. That leaves us currently with 4 Keys down and 5 undecided. See the pinned post on this page for where the Keys stand today. Let’s be really clear, I have NOT made an official prediction yet. You need 6 Keys down for that and there are 4 Keys down and 5 undecided.

But now Armash is not running. So I’m guessing that is 5 keys down, so by Lichtman’s system, the election is still too close to call. Which is pretty amazing, considering a pandemic and a Depression.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Dems Aim To Subsidize the Opponents of Progressives Change” [Andrew Perez, Too Much Information]. “[The Democrats’ stimulus bill] would reserve 25 percent of existing PPP funds for nonprofits, and set aside half of the money for nonprofits with less than 500 employees, which House Democrats described as ‘small nonprofits.’… After the Democratic Policy Center and a few independent media outlets spotlighted this giveaway late last week, House Democrats did make some changes to the provision. They added language barring PPP loans to 501(c)(4) groups that make political expenditures, which are generally known as dark money groups. That’s a good move. They also included perfunctory language blocking lobbyists’ compensation from being covered by PPP loans, but this is fairly meaningless, given the entire purpose of D.C. trade associations is to influence policy. Big lobbying groups still get free money. None of the changes negate the underlying point — Democrats are intent on using the coronavirus crisis as a justification for siphoning money from mom-and-pop small businesses and giving it to Washington lobby groups whose political action committees have delivered more than $191 million to current Members of Congress in the last two decades.” • Yes, the Center for American Progress is a non-profit. So, if you feel good about bailing out Neera Tanden, vote for the bill! (I have thought a lot what the institutional structure of the Democrat Party really is, and I think NGOs are part of the party, much as the outer moat and walls of a castle are part of the castle; I lkeep saying “Euthanize the NGOs” for a reason. (The oddly unanimous abandonment of #MeToo by Democrat NGOs in the case of Joe Biden is telling in that regard. I mean, come on, man.) So, in my view, the Democrat Party would in essence be bailing itself out with PPP, which is pretty shameless, when you think about it.

“Why the Government Keeps Screwing Up On Coronavirus So Badly” [Vice]. Deck: “Believe it or not, they’re not trying to get us killed.” Well….From the UK: “It is not that the government is trying to get us all killed. To the contrary, despite spectacular failures, it is trying to get the disease under control. And unlike some US Republicans, it doesn’t dare ask us to die for capitalism. But it is a capitalist party above all. It exists to conserve an economy that had to be shut down, and now needs to be overhauled. That’s why it was so late to act in the first place, why its ‘biosecurity’ plans are so insipid and why it is making this unforced error of prematurely sending us back to work.” • It doesn’t?

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.

No statistics of interest today.

* * *

“On the Spotify-Joe Rogan Deal and the Coming Death of Independent Podcasting” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “To explain Spotify’s strategy, I analogized the current podcast market to the web in the mid-2000s. As the web used to be, today podcasting is an open market, with advertising, podcasting, and distribution mostly separated from one another. Distribution happens through an open standard called RSS, and there’s very little behavioral ad targeting. I’m asked on fun weird podcasts all the time; podcasting feels like the web prior to the roll-up of power by Google and Facebook, with a lot of new voices, some very successful and most marginal, but quite authentic. So what is Spotify trying to do? First, Spotify is gaining power over podcast distribution by forcing customers to use its app to listen to must-have content, by either buying production directly or striking exclusive deals, as it did with Rogan. This is a tying or bundling strategy. Once Spotify has a gatekeeping power over distribution, it can eliminate the open standard rival RSS, and control which podcasts get access to listeners. The final stage is monetization through data collection and ad targeting. Once Spotify has gatekeeping power over distribution and a large ad targeting business, it will also be able to control who can monetize podcasts, because advertisers will increasingly just want to hit specific audience members, as opposed to advertise on specific shows.” • Ugh.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutra;) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 20 at 12:29pm.

The Biosphere

“Cold War satellites inadvertently tracked species declines” [Science]. “When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit in 1957, the United States responded with its own spy satellites. The espionage program, known as Corona, sought to locate Soviet missile sites, but its Google Earth–like photography captured something unintended: snapshots of animals and their habitats frozen in time. Now, by comparing these images with modern data, scientists have found a way to track the decline of biodiversity in regions that lack historic records.” • In this article, marmots. Nice!

Health Care

“Why do some COVID-19 patients infect many others, whereas most don’t spread the virus at all?” [Science]. “Most of the discussion around the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has concentrated on the average number of new infections caused by each patient. Without social distancing, this reproduction number (R) is about three. But in real life, some people infect many others and others don’t spread the disease at all. In fact, the latter is the norm, Lloyd-Smith says: “The consistent pattern is that the most common number is zero. Most people do not transmit.’ That’s why in addition to R, scientists use a value called the dispersion factor (k), which describes how much a disease clusters. The lower k is, the more transmission comes from a small number of people. … Estimates of k for SARS-CoV-2 vary…. But in a recent preprint, Adam Kucharski of LSHTM estimated that k for COVID-19 is as low as 0.1. “Probably about 10% of cases lead to 80% of the spread,” Kucharski says…. If k is really 0.1, then most chains of infection die out by themselves and SARS-CoV-2 needs to be introduced undetected into a new country at least four times to have an even chance of establishing itself… .Meatpacking plants are likely vulnerable because many people work closely together in spaces where low temperature helps the virus survive. But it may also be relevant that they tend to be loud places, Knight says. The report about the choir in Washington made her realize that one thing links numerous clusters: They happened in places where people shout or sing. And although Zumba classes have been connected to outbreaks, Pilates classes, which are not as intense, have not, Knight notes. “Maybe slow, gentle breathing is not a risk factor, but heavy, deep, or rapid breathing and shouting is.” • Must read. (I had thought of nursing homes as quiet, however. Does understaffing lead to shouting?)

“Early data show Moderna Covid-19 vaccine generates immune response” [STAT]. “[C]andidate vaccine for Covid-19 developed by the drug maker Moderna appears to generate an immune response similar to the response seen in people who have been infected by the virus and recovered, the company said Monday….. The data were limited and from only a small number of participants in the trial, led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But they are still likely to be seen as encouraging.” • Especially by Mr. Market, at least temporarily.

“Leaked Pentagon memo warns of ‘real possibility’ of COVID-19 resurgence, vaccine not coming until summer 2021” [Task & Purpose]. “The Defense Department should prepare to operate in a “globally-persistent” novel coronavirus (COVID-19) environment without an effective vaccine until “at least the summer of 2021,” according to a draft Pentagon memo obtained by Task & Purpose. ‘We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19,’ reads the memo, authored for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper but not yet bearing his signature. ‘Therefore, we must now re-focus our attention on resuming critical missions, increasing levels of activity, and making necessary preparations should a significant resurgence of COVID-19 occur later this year.'”

Failed State

“Michigan sheriff says Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order is akin to mass arrest” [Mlive]. “Riffing on the location, Leaf called Owosso barber Karl Manke, who opened despite the governor’s order, a ‘little version of Rosa Parks,’ and asked the crowd to imagine what would’ve happened if Parks never sat in the front of the bus. The two-and-a-half hour rally protesting the stay-at-home order to curb the COVID-19 pandemic was peaceful and filled with musical interludes between speakers. Among the crowd members was a man hawking Trump 2020 flags, a woman dressed as Whitmer but with an Adolf Hitler mustache penciled on and a person holding a sign of Bill Gates with a syringe that reads him as saying, ‘Your body, my choice.'” • That’s a clean shot at Bill Gates, I must admit. (It’s also a clean shot of what it means to have a body under capitalism if you don’t have any capital, not that the fun house mirror of right-wing pollitics reflects that idea, particularly.

Class Warfare

“Jamie Dimon Says Virus Is a Wake-Up Call to Address Inequalities” [Bloomberg]. “‘This crisis must serve as a wake-up call and a call to action for business and government to think, act and invest for the common good and confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years,’ the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. wrote in a memo to employees ahead of the bank’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday.” • Perhaps Jamie, too, hears the faint, far-off sound of blades being whetted…

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Worst Is Yet to Come” [Farhad Manjoo, New York Times]. “For as long as I can remember, I have identified as an optimist. Like a seedling reaching toward the golden sun, I’m innately tuned to seek out the bright side…. The coronavirus and our disastrous national response to it has smashed optimists like me in the head. If there is a silver lining, we’ll have to work hard to find it…. To do that, we should spend more time considering the real possibility that every problem we face will get much worse than we ever imagined. The coronavirus is like a heat-seeking missile designed to frustrate progress in almost every corner of society, from politics to the economy to the environment…. It is all these things and something more fundamental: a startling lack of leadership on identifying the worst consequences of this crisis and marshaling a united front against them. Indeed, division and chaos might now be the permanent order of the day.” • I think many readers were expressing the “smashed in the head” feeling the other day; for me, the idea that I need to treat anybody within six feet of me as potentially lethal is hard to take. But I think Manjoo is mis-identifying the “more fundamental” problem as “leadership.” If you want a splendid example of bad leadership, look at McClellan in the Civil War. But despite McClellan, there was no doubt that the Union had the operational capability to win the war. Does the United States have the operational capability to crash #COVID19, as First World countries like South Korea and Taiwan have done? I’m dubious. And that, for me, is the most disorienting feeling of all. I’m an American. Americans are supposed to be able to do things.

News of the Wired

“Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic” [The Scientist]. “It had been seven weeks since I’d touched another human being…. “Touch is the most powerful safety signal of togetherness,” says Steve Cole, a psychiatrist and biobehavioral scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles…. ‘When we get lonely and isolated our brainstem recognizes that suddenly we are in insecure territory and flips on a bunch of fight-or-flight stress responses without us even knowing it,’ Cole says. ‘There’s all sorts of things in our social world that lead us to calculate that we are either safe or unsafe. You can think of physical touch, supportive and affectionate touch, as the most fundamental signal that you’re with somebody who cares about you . . . a fundamental signal of safety and well-being.'” • If only Silicon Valley could somehow intermediate touch!

* * *
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 (IM):

IM writes: “As the sun swings around to the northwest, we get these sunsets from time to time. It’s hard to say if this photo privileges the plant or the sunset more…readers?”

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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.

187 comments

  1. ambrit

    The tree is but a shadow of itself. The sunset is refulgent both physically and spiritually.
    We need all the hope we can get. (I really yearn for the halcyon days before Obama tarnished and beslimed “uplifting” tropes.)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The backlighting is handled really beautifully, and that’s hard. So we might view the photo as a triumph of human endeavor — reinforced by the verticality of the two trees — albeit in a darkening situation. Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I just caught your edited comment. Thank Cronos for the edit function!
        From what I’ve seen over the years, backlighting is hard. What has become so easy it almost ‘does’ itself, is gaslighting. (Another sort of shadow play entirely.)
        As for the ‘darkening situation,’ we have been having those sorts of dreams more frequently of late too.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          To be fair, backlighting *does* do itself. As the camera operator, you “merely” choose the moment and perspective to capture, and in other cases add some controlled light (flash, headlights, a big sheet of white or gold material) to produce character and drama. A lack of fine control over the front lighting is what gets you. Generally, you let ambient decide the exposure (not that it takes direction anyway), then add your own controlled light for the foreground and subject (former Baltimore Sun photojournalist David Hobby is the best friend camera flash ever had).

          Other general notes, it helps to shoot in raw format, so that you have more bits with which to adjust exposure in the darkroom. And some cameras and phones have built-in high-dynamic-range processing to produce pleasing chiaroscuro right in the camera.

          Reply
              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Well, we all have to draw the line somewhere. If there are a film requirement, I couldn’t be photographing. But I try to present “what’s really there.” (I know that term is contested, as indeed it should be, but my memory of/intent for what was before me is what counts, and not a picture that looks like a Thomas Kinkaid painting. I crop as little as possible and I don’t remove things. (If the image isn’t right, I go back and try again.) So this is as pure as I get.

                Reply
      2. Bsoder

        Photography and poetry are for me ways to express matters of the heart. Matters not of words, or the mind. But to each their own. Night follows day, the rhythm of the earth, a sentinel tree to watch over us, a sea of clouds, a reward for a good day, it’s good to be alive, one last look around, everything as it should be, tonight I shall simply let go and wander in dreams that take me places.

        I only wish there was an option to download large sizes, say like the wiki. I know there’s a cost to that.

        Reply
  2. jo6pac

    So, in my view, the Democrat Party would in essence be bailing itself out with PPP, which is pretty shameless, when you think about it.

    I’m not surprised or shocked at this news. It’s just demodogs doing what they do best.

    Reply
  3. Synoia

    If only Silicon Valley could somehow intermediate touch!

    Please don’t give them Ideas /s

    Who will build an app for that?

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      You already signed away objections to that function on a prior EULA and didn’t even know it. :p

      Reply
  4. allan

    File under Class Warfare/Guillotine Watch/The Virus Ate My Homework ROI.

    Investor Ricky Sandler pushes for herd immunity approach to coronavirus after his hedge fund loses billions
    [CNBC]

    A hedge fund chief who had a bullish view of the stock market when social distancing restrictions began is now supporting the idea of herd immunity to coronavirus as states begin to reopen. … As the Dow Jones Industrial Average started to tank in March, Sandler went on CNBC to give his bullish prediction for the stock market. … Reuters reported in April that Sandler’s market position led to the fund losing $7.6 billion. …

    Mr. Sandler is on the Board of Directors of the University of Wisconsin Foundation.
    Perhaps students and their parents could ask him what herd immunity looks like on a college campus.

    Reply
      1. Redlife2017

        +1000
        If I’d have coffee I was drinking that would have been splattered all over the computer screen. That is so spot on I am in awe!

        Reply
    1. Bsoder

      God, they are a failed state. How’d Wisconsin ever get so screwed up. Well I know how, but why?

      Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Not a fan of the “failed state” formulation.

          Firstly, it removes agency from those responsible. Secondly, it puts it all in the past tense.

          There are individual people, employed by selection at the ballot box, who are actively, today, failing in the duty their employer (you and I) entrusted them with.

          So I’d say instead: keep naming the names

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, here’s Wikipedia (sigh):

            A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly (see also fragile state and state collapse). A state can also fail if the government loses its legitimacy even if it is performing its functions properly. For a stable state it is necessary for the government to enjoy both effectiveness and legitimacy. Likewise, when a nation weakens and its standard of living declines, it introduces the possibility of total governmental collapse. The Fund for Peace characterizes a failed state as having the following characteristics:

            1. [?] Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein
            2. [x] Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions
            3. [x] Inability to provide public services
            4. [?] Inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community

            I added some formatting to the checklist. I gave #1 a “?” because shutting down state legislatures because of the presence of gunmen, or the police not arresting closure violations (to cheering crowds) is still anomalous. I gave #4 a “?” because “full inability” seems like a pretty high bar.

            However, I take your point on “removing agency”; note “has disintegrated” (how?) and “loses its legitimacy” (why?) in the Wikipedia quote. Who caused the disintegration?

            Still, I do think we need a word for the aggregated outcomes; I think “failed state” does the job for that.

            Reply
          2. scoff

            Those failures keep getting re-elected at astounding rates.

            Unless you’re suggesting voters don’t actually get to choose the representatives they elect, I’d lay that at the feet of the voters.

            Reply
  5. periol

    Well, in light of the government trying or not trying to kill us, apparently international flights are back on. Go ahead and guess how thorough the screening measures are…

    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-covid-19-international-flights-jfk-airport-newark-airport-korea-china-italy/

    Both agencies would only say there is an “enhanced entry screening,” adding the passenger is asked about medical history, current condition, and some are having their temperature taken.

    It’s not clear how many travelers have had their temperature taken, or how the feds select those passengers.

    One woman who traveled to Newark from Albania via Switzerland was one of them.

    “They were very specific about how we need to do two-week quarantine,” the woman told Rozner.

    “I haven’t seen anybody being screened for anything,” traveler Joe Horvath said.

    Customs said state and local officials are ensuring compliance, but New Jersey and New York health officials acknowledge they are not tracking travelers once they land.

    “So how do you make sure they stay quarantined for 14 days?” Rozner asked Cuomo.

    “It’s not a state role,” the governor reiterated.

    Reply
    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      The “somebody else’s problem” generator is at work here. The airlines want to sell tickets, not track who is staying holed up in isolation for 14 days after they leave the airport. Plus by definition, getting off an airplane and walking into a public terminal (even if it is mostly empty as probable for the time being) is NOT self-quarantining. Some kind of private shuttle service would need to be arranged and that certainly isn’t happening.

      One thing the airlines could do (but certainly won’t) is refuse to sell international flights for stays shorter than 3 weeks. That would weed out the YOLO crowd looking for cheap tickets to visit countries they shouldn’t be going to unless they have somewhere to quarantine for 14 days first.

      Reply
    2. JBird4049

      “It’s not a state role,” the governor reiterated.

      Ohhhh, somebody else who is lying or ignorant. It’s only been a state function since Classical civilization, so at least 2,500 years?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        ambrit
        May 20, 2020 at 3:23 pm

        I was just trying to use the strikeout feature, but it kept striking everyword out. I finally figured out how to end the feature so not everything written is struck out. I have to say, as cynical as I am, I find it hard to believe that I just happened to use “i” and “t” – the word “test” seemed too short alone so I thought I was just randomly adding some letters…”i” and “t” … seem random enough, but when you put them at the end of “test” ….something very Freudian there… But your comment reminds me of a joke, and in the off chance you haven’t heard it:

        So a woman gets a job at the Tickle Me Elmo toy factory (a toy that was big a few years ago). She is hired, but the assembly line slows down after she starts working. The supervisor investigates and finds that the woman is furiously sewing onto each doll a pouch containing two marbles. The supervisor tells the newly hired woman that she misunderstood her job description – she is suppose to give each doll 2 test tickles…

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Ouch! You did pull the other one!
          I’m a techno-luddite. How do you do the ‘strike out function?’ It could come in handy for me since my batting average is sub-par, to mix sporting metaphors.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            ambrit
            May 20, 2020 at 4:13 pm

            So you begin with a “” Now the strikeout would begin
            So it takes 3 characters
            Now to end the section that is struck-out, it is the same except there is a “/” that precedes the “s”
            So ending the strikeout takes 4 characters “”

            that was harder to explain than you would think – without quotation marks I was striking out everything I typed….

            Reply
            1. fresno dan

              fresno dan
              May 20, 2020 at 4:35 pm

              Dang! for some reason, the character I am trying to communicate to you does not show up. I would call them the “smaller than” and the “larger than” symbols.
              So you surround the “s” with the point of the smaller than symbol on the left of the “s” and pointing to the left. After the “s” you put the larger than symbol on the right of the “s” and pointing to the right.
              Same for ending the strikeout selection, except the “s” is preceded by the “/”
              whew…

              Reply
                1. Lambert Strether Post author

                  <b>bold!</b>

                  bold works the same way. In fact, with very few exceptions, HTML works that way.

                  If you leave off the </b> then the computer does exactly what you told it to do, which is turn bold on and then not turn it off.

                  Which is why you will very occasionally see a whole page of bold or italic.

                  “If you open it, close it,” as your mother said of the screen door in the summer. Think of the “/” as the spring on the screen door that closes it.

                  Reply
              1. ex-PFC Chuck

                On most (all?) QWERTY keyboards the two characters you describe (‘larger than’ & ‘smaller than’) are accessed by “Shift Comma” & “Shift Period”, respectively.

                Reply
              2. ambrit

                Logical and comprehensible. Thanks. Now to wait and see my chance to legitimately use said feature.

                Reply
          2. hunkerdown

            Strike-through looks like <s>this</s> in your edit window. (Not actually the sarcasm tag, alas.)

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              I use the latter partial sigil as an ending of the sarcasm tag myself.
              Thanks to all for educating this intermediative knuckle dragger.

              Reply
    1. ewmayer

      …Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
      The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
      And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
      But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

      (Apologies to the late Mr. Thayer.)

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Fiend! To besmirch the sainted reputation of ‘America’s Pastime!’
        I am in awe. I had not thought of that iteration of the punster’s parsimony.

        Reply
  6. Arielle

    I’d like to push back on the Stoller piece, as I am not sure he understands how Spotify works. There are NO ads, much less targeted ads. I am a subscriber and fairly major fan. I search for anything I want (and they don’t have everything — for example, some episodes of TrueAnon are available only through Patreon), and it plays. Beautifully and commercial free. And while I’m here, may I also recommend Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (also available); who knew what a respite the past could provide?

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      “I am a subscriber”

      … I like how you literally don’t know how it works for non-subscribers.

      Reply
  7. Mikel

    Lambert: “I’m dubious. And that, for me, is the most disorienting feeling of all. I’m an American. Americans are supposed to be able to do things.”

    That “dubious” feeling is totally inderstandable.
    This is a country with “plans” for a space force and colonizing other planets.
    It has no plans for swabs for testing or creating a public health care system that works in emergencies.

    Reply
      1. Geo

        America proudly leads the world in exporting debt, war, and movies with grown men in colorful capes punching each other in the face. Truly the pinnacle of mankind’s potential!

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Also an exporter of grown men in colorful capes who insist on wearing their underwear on the outside of their trousers!

          Reply
    1. False Solace

      I find Lambert’s disorientation disorienting. Maybe it’s a generational difference of perspective. For me, massive institutional failure is normal.

      My America couldn’t stop 19 guys from hijacking planes on 9/11. My America couldn’t rebuild the levies before Katrina wasted New Orleans. My America couldn’t accomplish any of its stated goals after invading multiple countries in the ME. My America couldn’t stop 10 million foreclosures after the GFC. My America couldn’t control the epidemic of suicide or opioid abuse that took out so many people my age. My America couldn’t restore electricity to Puerto Rico and ignored everyone who died there.

      My America spent $1.5 trillion in a week to bail out the stock market but can’t spend $1 trillion over ten years for M4A.

      Like anyone else I had hopes we’d deal with Coronavirus better, but public health failure is the norm for us. It looks like most European countries had trouble containing the virus too, which means we never had a chance. And GFC proves we were never gonna bail out actual Americans. Only billionaires.

      What I find disorienting is the people returning to normal or clamoring to reopen, as if there’s some kind of easily available treatment. There ain’t yo. It’s like the part in the horror movie where the victim’s dumb friend escapes the murder house, then goes back inside thinking the danger’s past. Everyone knows the murderer’s still there, everyone but the victim. Oh well, we can always hope for a miracle.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        Reopening is not an exceptionally American issue, so far.

        In China, 100 million people in what used to be roughly Manchukuo have been under lockdown again since a few days ago.

        The same with Singapore as they struggle with fresh outbreaks.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          True that, but China is testing every single one of those 100 million people who are back in lockdown to find out who has it now. Can you imagine what it would have been like if they could have done that for New York city?

          Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              It will take a while and I saw people lined up at one station for their own tests but they are doing it. I supposed their status of untested and tested will be reflected on their mobile apps. Once it is done they can then quarantine the infected and more efficiently trace those who came in contact with them. I just wish my own country of 25 million could do the same. It would solve a lot of headaches and tell us to what extent we can go back to “normal.”

              Reply
              1. MLTPB

                I think, at the end of a while, the person tested negative on day one may want to get tested again, unles has been in total isolation.

                Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I find Lambert’s disorientation disorienting. Maybe it’s a generational difference of perspective. For me, massive institutional failure is normal.

        Fair enough!

        > It’s like the part in the horror movie where the victim’s dumb friend escapes the murder house, then goes back inside thinking the danger’s past.

        We never should have gone into the haunted house in the first place.

        Reply
    2. JBird4049

      Like the manned missions to the Moon and everything that was done or created from the 1930s to 1970s. Now, we can’t anything. It’s all smoke, mirrors, and lies. All of which we are doing real well on ourselves.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        1968 or 1969, there was a moon landing and a pandemic.

        In ’57 or ’58, there was another pandemic. That was before any moon landing. Have we done worse so far than half a century ago? Have we done better?

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          IIRC, up into the 1960s there were regular epidemics of often fatal diseases other than the flu in the United States. AIDS epidemic was fun as well.

          The country fought wars, had civil rights movements, major riots, assassinations, the space program, cheap and good public education, natural disasters and much else often overlapping each other. It did things. It functioned. The economy did not fall apart. Not always well and there has always been problems, but…

          Today, a single pandemic obliterates the economy and our corrupt, incompetent, and feckless political, business, and social leadership is focused on good optics while making bank by forcing the majority of the population to either become possible destitute or risk dying. They think they can ride the collapse into monetary nirvana, when they cannot even pass a budget or get enough masks made.

          Much of the old technical skills are still floating around in unemployed and “retired” Americans. There are colleges giving degrees in sorts of areas besides business and lawyering, but those people are either not allowed to work or are paid nothing because it’s not profitable enough. The vampires have taken over.

          Reply
  8. Mikerw0

    I decided my pandemic personal improvement would be learning how to whetstone my kitchen knifes. I am slowly getting there. So, I laughed at your reference to whetting and Jamie Diamond.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Now for the leather strap.
      “The stropping will continue until morale improves.” I am most definitely sanguine about that.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I am told that Sanguine is from Latin sanguis “blood” and originally meant “bloody”

        Is Homeland Security going to have to keep track of this thread and all who post in it? :)

        Reply
      2. Bsoder

        Tell you something, if you have ever been hit in the rear-end with a strop or heard some one who had it isn’t something you’d ever forgot. When I was 12 I came to live with the Jesuits, in fact I was adopted by them. On their campus they did run a day school for wayward youth of wealthy parents you ususally a Bishop who had run some interference to keep them out of Juvee prison. There was in place (for likely 500 hundred years) a system of demerits, you don’t say ‘good morning’ you got one. You didn’t do a lot of things and you got one. 15 demerits meant 15 whacks. Me I’d rather a cat-o-nine-tails. Man, did they scream. Mean I hear ‘men in black’ in think of those guys. Hardcore.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I missed the Jesuit tradition, but lived through another form of abuse, the PMC run upper income status based public high school. At least, if I read you right, you had up front rules to deal with. The social jungle I tried to be a part of, and failed, was riddled with hidden assumptions that had real world effects. One did not have ‘friends’ per se. You had people that you were useful to or were useful to you.
          Still and all, I did fear Dad when he took his belt off, which, thankfully, did not happen often.

          Reply
          1. Bsoder

            Yes we did have the rules up front. On occasion I tell people I was ‘raised’ professionally no drunken rage, no name calling, nothing arbitrary. I was never touched because I had things I was trying to accomplish. Now and then I went for weekends with friends, I don’t think I lasted a day. The belt, the back handed, plates flying. Man did I see some stuff.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              You bring back painful memories. The worst was that when the patriarchal figure got out of control, anything that came to hand was an “instrument of correction.”
              I have often wondered about that aspect of the upbringings of “Professional Keepers of Order.” How much of the perceived sadism inherent in ‘Order Keeping’ is traceable to abuse suffered in childhood. A massive compensation neurosis, if you will.
              I remember that ‘friends’ from school wouldn’t last a half a day when visiting our house. In all fairness to them, what could they do about it?
              One saving grace flowing from this is that Mum learned from my experiences and was extra protective with my little sisters. (They grew up to be fairly normal women.)
              Stay safe.

              Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      I got one at the beginning of the year. I think 400/800. I finished all my kitchen knives and then started looking for other things to sharpen. It’s addictive.

      Reply
            1. ambrit

              Alas, I cannot make a pun with the word ‘whitstone.’ It is a proper name, and not one to conjure with.

              Reply
    3. TXMama

      Well, y’all can work on your kitchen knives. It’s a useful thing to do. My pandemic skill has been learning to bake decent yeast breads. Have to say, it’s been rewarding. I intend to keep expanding my repertoire (and hopefully not my waistline too much). I’m envisioning extended family coming over for brunch with my home baked goods after this is all over. Could be good. And if things get too tough I might be able to swap some bread for my neighbor’s fresh eggs or lemons from his tree.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “This” is not going to be over for years, and very well might become the new ‘normal.’ Your second possibility is more realistic.
        A nice sharp knife is handy to cut the bread with. Watch your fingers now!

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Right. It fills the definition of insanity: “Voting twice in a row for Democrat Party presidential candidates.”

            Reply
  9. Geo

    Yesterday I found a poem in an old notebook I wrote years ago that seems to fit with today’s Water Cooler mood. I’m not a poet so go easy on the critiques! :)

    Living day-to-day
    Building walls to hide ourselves
    spending time and saving wealth
    ignoring the price we pay.

    History repeats itself.
    How do we redeem ourselves?
    Walls will crumble, lives are lost
    waiting for a new day.

    Feel the moments passing by
    waiting for the right time
    to do what we should have done.

    A moment in time
    is all this will ever be.
    Everything we fight for
    is nothing but history.

    A moment in time,
    a cry in the night,
    hoping for a better way
    before we die.

    There’s no fortune to be found,
    no shining mansion on a hill,
    nothing bought can save your self.

    Hold one another tight,
    ignite the fire deep inside,
    love and live the best you can,
    you’re just a memory in the end.

    Reply
    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Thanks, I liked it.

      Off and on through life I have gotten passionate, angry, crazy even – over some topic or issue or event or other. When i finally calm the heck down, my brain often goes over very similar things as you have expressed here – was (and further – is) it really worth getting so emotional? Was/is it really worth the stress and pain to do some things?

      Or, in the end, is it just enough to know you helped some people – hugged a lot of others – and held a very very few close enough to really matter.

      Put another way – after you die, you only live as long as the last person who remembers you…and the meaning of ‘life’ is to insure that last memory of you is a good one.

      Reply
      1. TXMama

        I have grown kids, so I put it in terms of when they remember me I hope they see someone who tried her best to do what is right and tried to help others all her days. If they are proud to call me mom that is enough for me. And in the meantime I look forward to playing with my grandkids!

        Reply
        1. JacobiteInTraining

          With that kind of outlook, I can tell you are the very best of Moms…amongst many other things too, no doubt! :)

          Reply
          1. TXMama

            Thanks. There are rewards in raising a family. No guarantees of course, but a higher chance of a happy life with kids and grandkids IMHO. It adds a richness to life over mere existence/survival. Often challenging though! Lol.

            Reply
    2. TXMama

      Very apropos. We all struggle with finding meaning in these times as in others. Sometimes it helps to be thankful for what we still have (for who knows what is still to pass) and put energy into helping others in what ways we can. And notice beauty wherever we find it, no matter how small.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for sharing your poem. Do you remember what inspired you to write this poem? What did your Muse whisper to your ear?

      A thread in today’s links discussed ways to handle anxiety. I didn’t suggest this remedy there — I believe poetic expression, and other artistic expression helps relieve anxiety.

      Reply
  10. Mikel

    Hey, NC…may want to dust off your housing scam coverage.
    With more layoffs and foreclosures on the horizon, what should be happening?

    Reply
  11. Shonde

    Lambert, residents of nursing homes are often hearing impaired. If they have hearing aides, the aides may not be working properly or the residents may not be wearing them. So more than likely lots of loud voices.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      In his last year of life, my father was in a nursing home. He was nearly deaf, and had been that way for many years.

      While he was at home, my mother would yell at him. All. Day. Long. Her reason: Dad refused to wear his hearing aids. So, she needed to yell.

      Or so she said.

      After he went into the nursing home, and by that time, his hearing aids were long gone, I was shocked to find that the staff didn’t yell at him. Quite the opposite. They spoke to him in conversational tones, and he would reply.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        My Grandpa wore a hearing aid and kept its volume control in constant reach. When my Grandma came to fuss at him he turned the hearing aid way down and became very agreeable to whatever Grandma said while he continued doing whatever he was doing when she came to fuss at him.

        Funny thing is … Grandma knew what he was doing but the fussing made her feel better and I guess she knew Grandpa would do what he would do.

        Reply
    2. ewmayer

      The last time I tried to wear my hearing aide, he said “put me down, ya weirdo!” :)

      [To which – after passing nurse shouted in my better ear what he had said, I replied, “OK, you’re a lazy good-for-nothing”.]

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks to the commentariat for the information on shouting in nursing homes. The same would apply to night-clubs — and also sporting events, I would think, at least those held indoors. A boxing match in Thailand was a super-spreading event.

      Reply
  12. Savedbyirony

    From my experiences in nursing homes and assisted living homes, the chronic under staffing does not lead to shouting but many if not most residents have hearing problems even if they wear hearing aides and staff members tend to talk loudly both from need and habit. Plus, people in these homes are coughing all the time (often with little effort for covering their mouths).

    Reply
    1. sd

      My mother was in a nursing facility for several weeks. She was in what seemed to be a well run facility.
      There were group activities in the large tv/common/dining room – including singing.
      Two of the patients on the corridor were shouters.
      Most of the rooms held three patients with a shared bathroom
      Nurses were constantly changing
      At least one was doubling at another facility or as a home helper
      Ambulance transport personnel were a regular fixture

      Clostridium difficile (c-diff) is a very common infection at nursing facilities – it causes diarrhea. Yes, my mother brought it home from the nursing facility. So it’s not much of a jump to assume that COVID-19 would spread as well.

      Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I must wonder at how well the air conditioning systems in nursing homes are maintained. I doubt nursing homes are as carefully monitored as hospitals. I doubt how well hospitals are monitored.

      Reply
      1. Savedbyirony

        In Ohio monitoring is a cruel, deadly farce. Nursing homes are inspected once a year during a window of time they are notified of in advance. Amazingly(sarc), during that window all the items they are “required” to have on hand appear and are used by all the staff members who mysteriously appear with these items. All are very likely to disappear as soon as the inspectors have left the building. Good luck notifying a state ombudsman about shortages and neglect the rest of the year. At best, the facility will change its ways for a week,then it’s right back to business as usual. Now in Ohio inspections have been suspended all together because of covid.

        Just the basics of sanitary protection regularly ran out in the facility my mother lived in. We bought gloves and hand sanitizers for her room and “encouraged” staff to use them. We regularly supplied cleaning materials for her bathroom and often cleaned it ourselves, because cleaning crews in these facilities are even less well staffed and the homes cannot keep the few people they have for any length of time. The air conditioning occasionally went out and the ceilings leaked, but the heating quit at sometime every winter, sometimes for weeks at a time. (The management would try to tell us we could not use a space heater in my mom’s room – to no avail!) The list could go on and on, and the state oversight when notified does nothing!

        I miss my mom daily, but I am so thankful she did not live to endure these times in a nursing home here in Ohio. And her residence, which she paid privately for, was far from one of the worst. We researched places to move her and found that the conditions were basically status quo, though there were some fairly local facilities that were religious based with much better staffing and reputations. They, however, had long waiting periods and serve their community members first. Plus, I suspect, many older people once established in a nursing home do not want to leave it for another, no matter how bad the situation may become. My mother was completely against moving and found all sorts of ways to excuse the nursing homes abusive behaviors. Over time, she also became afraid of backlash from the facility for our advocating for her and others in the nursing home.

        Reply
  13. Dr. John Carpenter

    I need to dig deeper into the American Affairs article when I have a little more time. On first pass, I feel they are downplaying the DNC shenanigans which we saw again in the primaries this year (the Iowa debacle, the Night of the Long Knives, etc.) and overplaying the media not being quite as bad as they were in 2016. However, I think they got it more right than wrong. To Sirota about Occam’s razor, I think the simple explanation is that Bernie is much closer to an establishment Dem than he showed in 2016 and I think that’s the point they’re trying to make here.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      The incompetence of the South Carolina organization reminded me of things I saw in here back in 2016. I got the impression that Bernie’s Arizona staff was hired on the basis of ethnicity, rather than ability to actually do their jobs.

      And, quite frankly, I thought my fellow volunteers were much better at doing what they were assigned to do. Were they considered for staff jobs? Not as far as I know.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        The incompetence of the South Carolina organization

        from my view not so much–no more than the National–those paid that I worked with had the best Job of their lives with Health Care and worked tirelessly in the 5th District.
        SC is dead Red: the SCDP is a club machine: Money flowed Various Campaigns (Biden Excluded) needed ‘Recognized Party Thought Leaders” for $taff; and, of course JC has all that Stature in Washington to think of.
        And then that Polling Station goof in Greenville, Spartanburg and Richland Counties.

        Reply
    2. aleph_0

      I really like Nagel, but she really has an axe to grind here. She got wrongfully dragged and cancelled over the anti-open borders article she wrote years ago, and she’s back to say I told you so.

      The point they’re bringing up is super valid, but it becomes severely weakened if you don’t admit that the night of the long knives combined with the media trust of the D primary voters did save the donor wing of the party.

      I agree with their main point that the academic, narrow cultural war focused left may not be the best fellow traveler for the economic left. Nor is that pairing inevitable. Additionally, obviously the South Carolina org failed horribly, as did Bernie for not cultivating relationships in the South, but good lord, if Buttegig et al don’t drop out before super tuesday, the map looks really, really different, and Bernie gets the plurality with his 6-way 30%. That was a historic counter-punch, and the Sanders campaign didn’t have a way to deal with it.

      But at the end of the day, as I’ve found myself saying a lot, Bernie was the compromise. He was always really close, but at the edge, of the D establishment. And this is always what it what it was going to look like if Bernie lost. They were always going to make him eat dirt, and he did to keep what he sees as necessary power. Who knows if that’s right, but that’s been his career.

      Reply
    3. neo-realist

      I wonder if he was trying to act establishment in order to put at ease potential voters who may have thought he was too much of a radical. After all, he was in a larger, cutthroat primary field, including one candidate who talked a little like a pseudo Sanders (Warren) to steal the left vote. The ability to overcome the establish opposition Sanders had to overcome was a very tall order whether he acted too establishment or more honest uber-left.

      Reply
      1. Lee Christmas

        RE: First as tragedy, then as farce

        It is quite refreshing to hear this broad take on the Sanders campaign failure. Previous attempts had depicted a campaign beset with internal contradictions and internecine fights, a candidate that lacked an appropriate fighting spirit, a dilution of the progressive lane, or a media blackout. But strategy, tactics, competition, and fair coverage alone seem to fall short as an explanation. Even the “hate Hillary” anti-vote in 2016 seemed far-fetched. Aside from the blatant incompetence that they describe in SC, I felt as if the main thrust was this:

        Tracey and Nagle’s argument that Sanders’ further assimilation into the party, and adoption of the ‘mainstream liberal’ consensus thinking is quite appealing to me. I remember in 2016, when Sanders critiqued an ‘open borders’ policy as “Koch brothers propostion,” he was hectored into altering his position to appease the identity politics minded activists that Tracey and Nagle sharply identify. He took a reasonable economic position, that importing cheap labor depresses wages, but due to the way ideologies have wedged themselves into our political parties, his position was automatically deemed racist and aligned with Republicans. (What’s that old joke? “If you’re brown-skinned, and homeless, a neo-liberal doesn’t want you to die because of your skin color, but because you’re homeless.”) There are cases to be made that importing workers hurts not only low-skilled workers, but also so called knowledge workers through H-1b visas.

        A large ‘criticism’ (personally I think it’s unfounded) of the 2016 Sanders campaign was that they subsumed race under class. In 2020, maybe he did drink of that kool-aid and drove right into that cul-de-sac. I think one of the Chapos said that Joe Biden’s nomination is a refutation of mainstream liberal politics of the last decade, i.e, diversity, identity politics, believing women, etc. This article, broadly speaking, argues this point.

        After reading this, that I can’t help but think that Sanders not only assimilated into the Borg, but “Warrenized.” That is, affixed to a structure then polished and sanded down to the point that they became largely indistinguishable from the structure.

        The main point of contention I had with the piece was its dismissal of the role of the media. They mentioned that Trump had unfavorable coverage in 2016, and managed to overcome it. So did Sanders this time, in my opinion. The biggest difference though, is that Republicans are already primed to dislike government and the media, so Trump coming out and swinging his sword at those targets is much appreciated by those voters. As Lambert has pointed out, the scary fact that Democratic voters lean more authoritarian, and are ready to fall in line once given the signal, highlights the different role media play on either side.

        Anyways, rant over but thanks as always for the great curation you provide here on this side, the insightful comments, and the education a poor idiot like me could never afford!

        Reply
        1. YetAnotherChris

          Thanks for the thoughtful comment. “Sanded down” is an especially vivid description. I’m beginning to think Sanders found a horse head in his bed.

          Reply
        2. CoryP

          Yeah that’s a great perspective on what exactly has been going on with Bernie over the last couple months.

          Aside from the rampant self-delusion and Messianism of a lot of the Sanders left. (Myself included)

          Reply
  14. PNWarrior_Womyn

    Allan Lichtman must have deleted the FB post mentioned above. I see no sign of it. Am I missing something or is his pinned FB comment down?

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t watch many youtube videos, for much the same reason I shun Amazon. It would be most appreciated if you were to include a little more description of the video you are suggesting along with some idea of why I should try to watch it. [No I did not watch “Extreme Physics Pushing Moore’s Law to the Next Level”.]

      Reply
      1. David

        It’s an advertisement (albeit a very informative one) for a new semiconductor fabrication process called Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (ASML is the fabricator advertised but others like Samsung are working on it) that promises a massive reduction in transistor size on IC’s. It’s a cool video if you know about semiconductor fab. The main challenge for this is it was too power intensive but they seem to be closing in on getting it working.

        The video description links an IEEE article from 2018 that’s pretty good.

        Reply
      2. Acacia

        It’s a video that briefly explains the system of photolithography used to manufacture chips, and the roll-out of a new approach to this called “extreme ultraviolet lithography” (EUV) that reduces the wavelength of light from 193 to 13.5 nm. There are lots of images of the tech, and an explanation of some of the hurdles involved in making it work. Then, there’s a discussion of the laser tech to generate the EUV, which is pretty crazy and different from conventional laser designs.

        A lot of it is about the engineering challenges of the photolithography machine. After watching the video, I’d want to know more about what this means for CPUs, DRAMs, etc.

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          Follow-up: the result is a process for building chips with 7-nm features. Samsung jumped in last year, claiming the move to 7-nm allows them to use chip area 40 percent more efficiently, improve performance by 20 percent and cut power consumption in half. Taiwanese TSMC makes a processor for Apple using this process. Qualcomm and Huawei are using it to produce a chip for 5G devices.

          So this is how they are staying on track with Moore’s law.

          Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It would be most appreciated if you were to include a little more description of the video you are suggesting along with some idea of why I should try to watch it.

        I keep saying this. Pay attention!

        Adding, this looks like an ad for See-cer, since their logo is on every screen screen.

        Reply
        1. CoryP

          Ugh. My biggest pet peeve. I can read a transcript probably two orders of magnitude faster than I watch a video of dubious provenance. Lately this is most acute when trying to engage with the COVID-critics… I’m inevitably sent to a 40 minute with people I don’t know and have no intention or watching. This seems to be a recurrent thing in conspiracy circles (not that I’m anti-conspiracy, just anti polemic videos with no footnotes )

          Reply
  15. Rogue scholar

    “Indeed, division and chaos might now be the permanent order of the day.“

    Really? That’s been the main goal of journalism and the media in general at least the past four years. Mission accomplished.

    Reply
  16. Keith

    Nursing Home comment, “Does under-staffing lead to shouting?”

    I would say more about elderly folks who are hard of hearing leading to more noise, especially when staff need to speak over the volume of the TV, or if there is a game of bingo, they gotta hear and hearing aids, when in used, can be overrated. In sadder cases, where the nursing homes/ALF’s bring the residents out of their rooms, they can be staged in their wheelchairs in a large lobby in various states of consciousness, resulting in more loud talking/yelling.

    Reply
  17. Cherrypalm

    Regarding nursing homes being, “quiet places”.

    In my experience, as a visitor, they are not. Frequently the staff have to shout loudly because so many residents are hard of hearing (in my mother’s case, she will not wear a hearing aid and I used to have to raise my voice considerably towards her to even be partially understood, as do the staff. I now do the same on the phone when I call her). Also, there are quite a number of residents In my mother’s nursing home with differing degrees of dementia/Alzheimer’s, some of whom talk loudly in an angry, ranting manner in the public areas.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      my first job when i moved out here was cooking in a nursing home…one of 3 in the town up the road, it was reserved for the crazy and demented.
      very loud…talking loudly to people who aren’t there, yelling for apparently no reason…and that’s to say nothing of the hearing problems, which led to the staff yelling at them to eat their dinner, stop playing with your spinach, or whatever.”Momma!!!….Momma!!!”
      in the general din, it turned out that it was the quiet ones you had to watch out for…naked escape artists, petty thieves absconding with the crackers(all of them), or the two ancient and petite sisters who routinely made little piles of crap on their table, and laughed quietly at their artistry(their assigned seat was closest to my kitchen window).
      I doubt anyone who worked there was paid what it was worth, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that those places are epicenters of disease outbreaks.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You paint a picture of nursing homes as new Bedlam incarnate. The easy exit plan starts to have longer legs. [Not that I could ever afford a nursing home and none of my children can afford to live in this country without my help.]

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aye! I have mandated that i will never allow myself to be warehoused in one of those places.
          I’ll go walkabout and become food for critters, instead.
          in the two i worked in…that one for dementia…and another, here, where i met my wife(!!!)…the staff, for the most part, tried their best.
          But it was a constant struggle with “Corporate” to get the pay and the supplies and sufficient staffing to do it bare minimum…let alone to do it right.
          most of the staff, even the low paid aides, loved those in their charge…and indeed, given the nature of this place, there were grandaughters taking care of grandmothers….but the money wasn’t there.
          That one ended up closing…a big multiroomed building sitting almost empty in the middle of the “historical district”,lol.
          it’s the HQ of one of the wildlife ranches(exotics), who got it for a song.
          as usual, it’s the PE/LBG’s that are the root of many of the problems in these places.
          mometising the care and feeding of old folks…what could go wrong?
          when the suits would show up, they went straight to the office…didn’t even look at the residents…and all the staff avoided them.

          Reply
  18. Mark K

    “Does the United States have the operational capability to crash #COVID19, as First World countries like South Korea and Taiwan have done? I’m dubious. And that, for me, is the most disorienting feeling of all. I’m an American. Americans are supposed to be able to do things.”

    This comment by Lambert on “The Worst is Yet to Come” reminded me of a passage I read recently in Rising Tide, John Barry’s history of the great Mississippi flood of 1927:

    When Baker needed something, he called to the appropriate man, who took care of it. Thirty yards away a Red Cross purchasing agent conducted a nearly continuous reverse auction; he stood on a platform and shouted out supplies and quantities needed, and dozens of suppliers shouted back bids. (p. 274)

    Dozens of suppliers for each product? This doesn’t even sound like the same planet we have today, much less the same country.

    Reply
    1. dbk

      That was such an excellent book. He’s also written a book about the 1918 flu pandemic called “The Great Influenza.” Thinking of purchasing it after reading the preview.

      Reply
      1. Mark K

        I read The Great Influenza a few years ago. It’s also a great book — in fact I liked it better than Rising Tide. Among other things, it gives a fascinating account of what was known then about the disease as opposed to what is known now. For instance, the doctors and researchers understood that it was a secondary pneumonia that was mostly killing young adult victims — after they appeared to be getting better — but they couldn’t figure out why it was happening, try as they might.

        Reply
  19. Chromex

    “Joe Biden ran as the most centrist candidate in the Democratic primary.” Huh? Did we forget Bloomberg? Or maybe Biden ran as right of center and there were plenty of those. Anyway Bloomberg was probably the weakest candidate overall but Biden is definitely the second weakest and growing weaker by the day. As bad as Biden is IMO “Mike” was the most contemptible and absolute worst except , perhaps for a few early warmongers whose names I have trouble remembering now.. Heckuva job Barak And Tom! I will admit that if Biden keeps moving left he MIGHT be around the center by November. But he’s got a loooonng way to go!

    Reply
  20. Mark Gisleson

    I’m still waiting to hear an explanation of HOW Buttigieg won rural Iowa. You can pour a zillion dollars worth of people and resources into Iowa and get absolutely nowhere yet he got traction where you’d least expect it.

    If Pete earned those votes, we can learn from him.

    I think that’s a very big IF. Something happened and since no one ever writes about Iowa again until the post-November post-mortems, I’m not sure we’re ever going to find out what happened. At least not until my 50th class reunion when I plan to corner some classmates to find out why they supported Mayor Pete.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Older Democrats are stuck in a state where they are as cool as they were when they pretend to remember JFK (having died in 1963; I would guess most don’t remember Jack). The kids were in school, and their parents picked the young guy in an effort to be hip.

      I do think older Democrats are after a candidate they perceive as a “uniter” largely in the sense they haven’t heard anything negative. Biden is Obama’s friend, and kids liked Obama. He was a good speaking guy.

      Don’t forget the college kids were at home in 2008 because of the schedule. They really wrecked Hillary in the school gyms when none broke for her corner. Then the olds who really want you to know about how they voted for JFK broke for the Obama corner.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      Someday I want to understand how anyone voted for Buttigieg for a second term as mayor. But then again I still don’t understand people giving Clinton a second term as Senator, even if she didn’t finish it. (Sad to say but Gillibrand has been an improvement if still not stellar imo.)

      It would be nice to know what sold them on him though.

      (Regardless I will continue to Iowa’s voters props for rejecting Biden not once but three times.)

      Reply
    3. Jessica

      Somebody – I forget who – who sounded like they knew the Midwest and knew Iowa said that the Iowa caucus-goers like something new.

      Reply
  21. fresno dan

    Why do some COVID-19 patients infect many others, whereas most don’t spread the virus at all?” [Science].
    But it may also be relevant that they tend to be loud places, Knight says. The report about the choir in Washington made her realize that one thing links numerous clusters: They happened in places where people shout or sing.
    ==============================================
    THAT IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER SHOUT, IN INTERNET COMMENT SECTIONS
    Ahem, I mean that is why you should use your inside voice on the internet…

    Reply
    1. John k

      See, it’s not that we’re not surprised, we understand the total sorruption of both wings of the oligarch party.
      What would be surprising would be to discover that somebody among the elites was straight.
      It’s not just policy differences that separate sanders from the rat pack.

      Reply
  22. ChrisPacific

    I like the mixed case interpretation of the Jerome K. Jerome subheadings.

    (I was never sure why ‘Three Men In A Boat’ worked, even though it clearly does. It seems to break all the rules of literature).

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Jerome works because when you read between the lines, he is talking about the human condition. In one of his other books, he talks about seeing a group of young men walking down the road letting out loud whoops. This was when he was older and after talking it over with himself he wishes that, just for a short time, that he could be young again and so full of that animal spirit that he too would be compelled to let out a whoop.

      Reply
  23. Mikel

    RE: “The Worst Is Yet to Come” [Farhad Manjoo, New York Times].

    Just an observation about the style of this piece.
    If you insert the word “Trump” where ever you see “virus” “coronavirus”, it reads just like laments post-2016 election.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Coming from the NY Times — is this essay intended to soften us up for what is to come after Corona — what will be the Worst? I am less anxious about the Corona Virus than I am about the US after Corona … after the CARES Act #1 and after the CARES Acts subsequent. Our Democracy is not our own. Its actions are not for our benefit. The Corona Flu will seem as footnote to our history compared to the transfers of wealth and power made in its name.

      Reply
  24. ChrisPacific

    Regarding Biden tacking left, I don’t buy it. Even if you accept the theory of Biden as ‘Big goofy Labrador retriever who just wants to be liked,’ there is another constituency in play here that wasn’t discussed in the article: namely the donor class, who are far more practiced than the left at doling out head scratches for good behavior and withholding affection when things don’t go their way. And a Labrador’s first loyalty is always to the ones who fill the food bowl.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I hate Biden as much as anyone, but fwiw, Biden was responsible for Obama’s turnaround on gay marriage. In a way, he’s smarter than Obama, admittedly not a particularly high bar. He did see a problem. Its possible he can be pressed.

      The President can be Caesar by being President. We had to talk about the height of a wall for months because the current dimwit wanted to talk about it.

      He’s an old fashioned segregationist updated for the 1970’s, so he should never be tolerated for anyone office. I do think there is a certain amount of evidence he has a better sense of the moment than Obama. Even his lies about his Iraq war support do reflect this. He just has recognized he should just lie about his leadership effort to invade Iraq instead of pretending he was lied to like Hillary.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        I was following that at the time. I give you that Biden got there first by blurting out gay marriage and rights should be supported, but I really don’t think you can call him responsible. In fact Obama basically reacted that was just Joe, and he didn’t speak for the campaign.

        No I think you have to give credit for that to a bunch of gay ultra rich donors in California. Obama was scheduled for a bunch of high profile big money fundraisers, when all of sudden there were all these last minute cancellation rumors. Within days they were all back on and Obama was backtracking his rejection of Biden’s statements and professing support for gay marriages and gay rights. Mind you it was still pretty shallow.

        But once again it is true he got it first.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I didn’t call Biden responsible. I’m pointing out he’s simply more on the ball than even Obama. Biden recognized the moment in that particular case when Obama was more concerned with looking tough on gay rights.

          Obama’s statement was couched in state rights monstrosities. If anything Biden did save Obama’s sorry ass, as Obama would have gone on dumping on people except for Biden.

          Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        He handled the Sanders relationship a heck of a lot better than Hillary did, I’ll give him that. Whether or not it was his people throwing muck behind the scenes, he gave a convincing impression of collegiality in public. That was more than Hillary could ever manage – it was always crystal clear that she’d be dancing on his grave if she ever got the chance.

        Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Biden, Trump — what is the difference? Biden tacks ‘left’ — huh? Who says? Who cares? US politics is completely bankrupt. Nothing remains but broken promises, and bad Kabuki that increasingly fails to entertain. Our bread grows weevily and the circenses have degenerated.

      Reply
  25. Pat

    One of the biggest things that a Biden nomination should destroy is the liberal notion that only Republicans vote against their own best interests. Mind you most of the leading lights of the Democratic Party destroy that meme.

    Seriously, Biden’s biggest supporters are older voters yet he has led a decades long campaign that would not just effectively hobble Social Security for their children but destroy its ability to keep up with inflation even more than previous COL calculation methods have done. That doesn’t even consider his work on bankruptcy, increasing the police state, and furthering the corporate cronyism of federal courts. Most of which have been problems for the Democratic base.

    No the finger pointing just doesn’t work anymore.

    Reply
  26. CCinco

    Regarding the nursing home question, in addition to stronger voice projection to communicate with residents who are hard of hearing (as others above have noted), many if not most of the residents are wheelchair bound while staff are on their feet which means staff members are looking and talking in a downward direction essentially showering the residents with their breath/aerosols. Also, I suspect there is more to the infection rates in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and ALFs than loud, downward talking: the close physical contact required to care for the residents. Most residents are far from being physically independent with activities of daily living (ADLs) and require transfer assistance to/from bed-chair, chair-toilet, which can involve what amounts to a bear hug. They also might need assistance with bathing, personal hygiene (toileting), grooming, eating, dressing, ambulation. All of this requires close contact, sometimes prolonged. (No possibility of maintaining a 6 foot distance during these activities) A staff member takes care of multiple residents and does not change clothing in between. PPE is not standard.
    (Yeah, ask me how I know this. LOL…)

    Reply
  27. Mikel

    RE: “On the Spotify-Joe Rogan Deal and the Coming Death of Independent Podcasting” [Matt Stoller, BIG].

    Remember in the 90s when EVERYBODY had a tv talk show?

    At any rate, I can’t say I share Stollers enthusiasm about contact tracing.
    Nobody can promise or guarantee you how that will be used.
    If they were tp start isolating people based on phone contacts, people will leave the phones at home or in the car.

    Reply
  28. Roxan

    Nursing homes can be deafening, in my experience. Units usually have 40-60 patients, two or three to a room. Each patient has their own TV, turned at loud as possible. The nursing desk has a panel of call bells, which aren’t bells–they sound like fire alarms–and never stop. Not only is it impossible to get to all the patients in a timely fashion, some just stay on the bell for entertainment or don’t remember they just rang it. Between all that, and staff shouting over the din in echoing tiled halls, you can’t hear anything! I went home with ringing ears until I resorted to ear plugs.

    Reply
  29. dcblogger

    You can think of physical touch, supportive and affectionate touch, as the most fundamental signal that you’re with somebody who cares about you . . . a fundamental signal of safety and well-being.’”

    one of the few positive things that have happened is that so many animal shelter pets have been adopted. If you don’t have another person you can at least have a pet on your lap.

    Reply
  30. ewmayer

    o “First as Tragedy, Then as Farce: The Collapse of the Sanders Campaign and the ‘Fusionist’ Left [Michael Tracey and Angela Nagel, American Affairs … [Sanders] often sound­ed like he was half-heartedly reading from the script of a liberal afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome when he would go through the motions of listing Trump’s various crimes: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc., etc., etc.” — Uh, last time I checked, the listed offenses might be “crimes against good taste”, but without specific actionable deeds motivated thereby, this is just virtue-signaling word salad. And the “xenophobia” and “homophobia” bits are especially rich coming from the same class of elitist twits which cheered on a 3-year-plus coup attempt based on a virulent Red Scare 2.0 conspiracy and giggled over and eagerly shared “Trump and Puting are gay lovers” jokes while doing so.

    o “Why do some COVID-19 patients infect many others, whereas most don’t spread the virus at all? [Science]” — Loud voices … so, literally infectious enthusiasm!

    o “Dems Aim To Subsidize the Opponents of Progressives Change [Andrew Perez, Too Much Information] … [The Democrats’ stimulus bill] would reserve 25 percent of existing PPP funds for nonprofits, and set aside half of the money for nonprofits with less than 500 employees, which House Democrats described as ‘small nonprofits.’… [Lambert:] Yes, the Center for American Progress is a non-profit.” — In silver-lining news, note that the Clinton Foundation has over 500 employees. Their execs are probably drawing up the needed layoff list as we speak…

    o “Jamie Dimon Says Virus Is a Wake-Up Call to Address Inequalities [Bloomberg] … [Lambert:] Perhaps Jamie, too, hears the faint, far-off sound of blades being whetted” — Nah, Jamie’s just angling for a job as Treasury Secretary in a Biden administration, so he can benefit from the same one-time cash-out-your-winnings-with-0-tax windfall deal Goldman’s Hank Paulson enjoyed.

    Reply
      1. Pat

        yikes. I can’t believe I didn’t go there. My only excuse is the mere thought of that gives me nightmares. Only Rubin might be worse.

        Reply
  31. Tomonthebeach

    Blue Wave Story. After reading the 538 article on the likelihood of a Blue triumph in 2020, my reaction was “Thanks for the koolaid, I needed that.” Of course, that is all it was – koolaid. I often wonder of the pundits who write this hopeful gibberish ever spend time reading and listening to the Alt-right, the Bright-Barts, the Q-ANON nutcases, and the many other Trumpy sites.

    The Red people are enraged. They are rabid. Even as we saw in Yves’ post yesterday about the GOP operative whose family suffered dearly under COVID-19, she was still in total denial talking as if Trump needed sympathy for having to shut down the economy rather than a smack upside the head with a 2×4 for causing it.

    The Blue world is not enraged. They are tepid. Most Blues are merely incredulous that so many people can be so stupid, so self-destructive, so hateful, racist, sexist, isi-ist, etc. yet are neck-deep in the political and economic sewage they themselves enabled. So, the Blues smugly think it is safest to run on the Anybody-but-Trump ticket. DNC is not even trying to run an exciting candidate like Sanders was – briefly. Worse, they want a female Veep candidate of color which will surely further animate sexist racist Reds to turn out to vote while Blues stay home in November drinking more Koolaid.

    Reply
  32. George Phillies

    Amash’s supporters notwithstanding, he was never that likely to get the LP nomination.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Theres so much noise these days… Amash and Jesse Ventura expressing they’re interested in being nominated by parties that are already a third of the way through their own primary processes… Sigh, I half wonder if they did that just to get some play in the media even knowing that it wasn’t possible.

      Reply
  33. Wukchumni

    Despite many coronavirus deaths, Tulare County vows to defy Newsom and further reopen

    The Tulure County Board of Supervisors voted to push the county all the way through Phase 3 of California’s reopening road map.

    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-20/tulare-county-defies-californias-stay-at-home-order-in-push-for-wider-reopening
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Lotsa evangs in Tulare County, and I feel pretty sure they still think it’s a hoax-as that’s what they were told initially, and this dogma wont hunt for the real answer, because once you’ve set the hook properly-they’re like putty in your hands, and very few of them aren’t in lockstep with one another, an odd Stepford State of things to be sure.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      If it can be carried forward, hopefully there is income in the future.

      Can unused tax credits be carried forward like that?

      Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Orange County (CA) earlier today reported 249 new cases, the highest since at least March 27 (per graph at county public health website).

      Not sure why.

      Reply
  34. allan

    Land management bureau grants 75 royalty rate cuts for oil and gas production in Utah [The Hill]

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved every request it received from companies to reduce the rates they need to pay to the government to lease public lands in Utah for oil and gas drilling, according to available data.

    The bureau’s reporting system shows 75 filed requests for rate cuts between March 1 and May 20 and 75 approvals. …

    A BLM spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that BLM’s state offices were handling the reductions and only approving them “when it is in the best interest of conservation to do so or when it would encourage the greatest ultimate recovery of our natural resources.” …

    … or neither.

    Oh those fiercely independent Sagebrush Rebels,
    sucking at Uncle Sam’s teat while dreaming that it’s Ayn Rand’s.

    Reply
  35. McWatt

    Local Village Manager here delivering the news this week that the Village is broke; ” We are going to have to look into monetizing things”.

    Hmmm…selling the water system? Selling the parking system? Monetizing the streets? It’s all up for grabs folks!

    Never let a pandemic go to waste when you can transfer everything public into the very private hands of Private Equity. Now they will literally own everything.

    Reply
    1. sd

      Isn’t that a bit fast given it’s only been a couple of months? I just saw Bad Education so my mind immediately goes to using a crisis to hide embezzlement.

      Reply
  36. Jane

    Does matt stoller really think his insight is original? WELCOME TO FOR PROFIT BUSINESS DOING BRUV!! Sheesh!

    Reply

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