2:00PM Water Cooler 5/27/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Today I thought I would add several charts:

The vertical scale is expanded so New York’s enormous debacle is cut out, but the differences between other states that otherwise are all jammed together at the bottom of the chart are now visible: I picked California, Texas, Florida, and Arkansas (for the pool cluster). California’s signal was, I think, obscured by New York, but that rise is a little disquieting. Here are deaths:

(Of course, the cause of death can be disputed and gamed; a chart that showed excess deaths, no matter the cause, would be interesting to see.) And here is testing:

“These Charts And Maps Show Where The Coronavirus Is Surging Across The US — And Where It Is In Decline” [Buzzfeed]. “As the weeks and months drag on, experts expect to see a patchwork of surging and subsiding local epidemics — particularly if the virus starts to spread rapidly in places that are relaxing lockdowns that have brought the economy to its knees.” • This is the data that state aggregates conceals:

Oh, California. What is happening to you?

“Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” [New York Times]. The Times version of the same patchwork (with the Times own dataset):


“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

* * *


* * *

Biden (D)(1): “California DA launches investigation into Tara Reade testimony” [Politico]. “Reade, under the name Alexandra McCabe, for years testified as an expert in domestic violence cases for the California D.A.’s office. Among the issues is whether she lied about her credentials to qualify as an expert….. Seattle University Law School confirmed that Reade, under the name Alexandra McCabe, did graduate from law school. But officials wouldn’t comment on whether she had a valid undergraduate degree, which is required under the law school’s current admission standards.” • Getting a graduate degree without an undergraduate degree is not typical of meritocrats, but it does happen.

Biden (D)(2): “Demanding End to ‘Failed Billionaire-Backed’ Policies, 200+ Teachers and Activists Urge Biden to Go Bold on Public Education” [Common Dreams]. “A group of more than 200 teachers, academics, and activists on Tuesday published an open letter calling on presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to commit to a bold education platform that puts the needs of students first and breaks decisively from the decades-long bipartisan record of attacks on public schools. ‘You have the power to fight for the public schools and colleges and universities that our students deserve,’ reads the letter, which was signed by New York University professor Diane Ravitch, Princeton University emeritus professor Cornel West, author and activist Jonathan Kozol, and 212 others.” • “Bold” is in the Common Dreams headline, not the letter.

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Republicans sense rich pickings in Biden archive – but will it be made public?” [Guardian]. ” Rich Galen, a campaign strategist for actor and former Republican senator Fred Thompson’s unsuccessful 2008 bid: “It’s a little hard to make the case that Biden won’t give up the papers at the University of Delaware while Trump has been in federal court for 27 years to protect his financial records.” • Defining deviancy down?

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Intel: Top adviser signals Biden would keep troops in Syria as leverage” [Al Monitor]. “Under a Joe Biden presidency, the United States would retain a military presence in northeast Syria as leverage against the regime, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s top foreign policy adviser suggests. In an interview Tuesday with CBS, Tony Blinken indicated that the hundreds of US troops stationed in northeast Syria to advise partner forces fighting the Islamic State and secure the region’s oil fields would remain there if Biden were elected. “They shouldn’t be there for the oil,” which he indicated is ‘as President Trump would have it.’ He added, ‘But they happen to be there adjacent to it.” • Who will this fool?

Cuomo (D)(1): “INVESTIGATION: Cuomo Gave Immunity to Nursing Home Execs After Big Donations — Now People Are Dying” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “As Governor Andrew Cuomo faced a spirited challenge in his bid to win New York’s 2018 Democratic primary, his political apparatus got a last-minute boost: a powerful health care industry group suddenly poured more than $1 million into a Democratic committee backing his campaign. Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing-home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for health care industry officials, according to legal experts.” • See also the nursing home story under “Health Care,” below.

Trump (R)(1): “Trump-Pence: The Ticket That Seems (Almost) Certain for a 2020 Reprise” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “There’s no real indication that President Donald Trump is considering replacing Vice President Mike Pence on his ticket this year, and there are at least two major reasons for why this seems unlikely. Those are the president’s own public comments, and history. Yet there are three other reasons why we would not necessarily rule it out: The possibility that Pence’s specific appeal is now redundant; the high level of turnover in this administration; and the potential for the president to become desperate as the November election gets closer.” • Leaving aside “The walls are closing in!!” aspect, that’s not an unreasonble scenario: “Despite the public health crisis and the immense disruption of the economy, the presidential race hasn’t changed all that much over the past couple of months. Joe Biden still leads Donald Trump in national polling: Biden was up about a half dozen points on St. Patrick’s Day in the RealClearPolitics national polling average, and he was up about the same amount on Wednesday. This may basically be how the race goes all the way until November: Biden leading but not necessarily by enough to look at him as a very significant favorite, particularly if Trump runs ahead of his national polling in the most important swing states (as he did in 2016). Our own sense is that the president was better-positioned to win a few months ago than he is now, but we also don’t really see Biden or Trump as a strong favorite in the fall yet. However, one possible scenario is that Biden’s lead expands a bit in the coming months as the president struggles with criticism of his response to coronavirus and the economic fallout. If that happens, the president may find himself in an increasingly desperate position and possessing limited options to change the trajectory of the election. One of the few cards Trump could play in such a scenario would be to change his running mate.” • So, after Biden chooses Condaleeza Rice, Trump should pick Stacey Abrams!

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Unveils Plan To Cap Insulin Costs For Seniors, Takes Jabs At Biden” [NPR]. “Seniors with diabetes will be able to sign up for Medicare plans that cap their co-payments for insulin at $35 a month beginning next year, the White House announced on Tuesday…. ‘We brought all of the parties to the table — insurers, manufacturers, and other key players — and reached an agreement to deliver insulin at stable and drastically lower out-of-pocket cost for our seniors. I hope the seniors are going to remember it, because Biden is the one that put us into the jam, because they didn’t know what they were doing,’ Trump said….. Seema Verma, who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said plans that offer the insulin cap will have more expensive premiums, costing about $17 more per month than the average cost of basic plans. ‘In exchange for a minimal premium increase, beneficiaries get a maximum fixed $35 co-pay for a month’s supply of insulin,’ Verma said on a call with reporters. She said that ultimately seniors will save 66% on their insulin costs. Verma said that if the deal capping costs on insulin is successful, the administration will attempt to take similar action with other expensive drugs.” • So this is more than a “plan,” if “plan” be a Warren-like post in Medium.

Trump (D)(2): “In crucial Florida, some senior voters cast a skeptical eye toward Trump’s reelection” [WaPo]. “While Democrats have worried about Biden’s struggles to excite younger voters, older voters who are upset with the president are poised to be potentially more influential in November, especially in swing states whose populations skew their way, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin. In Florida, more than 20 percent of those who voted in the 2016 election were over age 65, according to exit polls. In 2016, Trump won the Florida senior vote by a 17-point margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. The state ranks as one Trump must almost certainly win to insure his victory, while Biden has other paths to the White House. Yet for months, Biden has been more popular than Trump with seniors.” • Maybe the drug pricebreak above will help. (And if Trump wants to help elders and stick it to Cuomo, he could do something about nursing home liability. Doubtful, but possible.

* * *

“Behind The Scenes, Presidential Transition Planning Is Underway” [NPR]. “The 2020 presidential election is more than five months away. So it may seem a bit early to think about — much less prepare for — a possible presidential transition. But under law, and behind the scenes, that’s just what the Trump administration and staffers for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, have begun to do…. ‘If Biden wins, he’ll need to appoint 4,000 people, 1,200 of whom need to get confirmed.” If Trump wins reelection, Marchick says, “history shows that almost half of the officials in office at the second inauguration leave within six months.'” • I’ve been trying to find out how many members the Obama Alumni Association has, but so far without success.

“Ocasio-Cortez challenger drops out of GOP primary” [The Hill]. • It’s the Democrats AOC has to worry about, not the Republicans!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Progressives raise alarm over letting lobbying groups access PPP funds” [The Hill]. “PhRMA would qualify with 276 employees, as would AHIP with its payroll of 158 workers.” • Gad. Just open corruption. Pigs at the trough (not to insult pigs).

“Amid budget cuts, Georgia pays to keep old voting machines in storage” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “The 18-year-old touchscreens, called direct-recording electronic voting machines, were replaced this year by a voting system that uses new touchscreens and also prints out paper ballots.” • No, no, no! The ballot is a non-human readable QR code that goes to the scanner and thence to central tabulation. The printout is merely a receipt, which may — or, if the machine is hacked, may not — match the ballot.

UPDATE “Vote-by-Mail Hangs by a Thread With Trump Raging, Deadlines Near” [Bloomberg]. “Election officials have just weeks left to ensure that their states can handle a surge of mail-in votes in November in the face of fierce opposition from President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress. With just a little more than five months to Election Day, localities and states need to decide soon whether to buy new equipment to help sort, verify and count mail-in ballots — if they can afford it — or rely on staff to manually handle the crush of incoming mail. The problem is particularly acute in the battleground states of Wisconsin and North Carolina, which have not traditionally had high rates of vote-by-mail and where Democratic governors are at odds with Republican-led legislatures over whether to expand absentee balloting.” • Note the URL: “vote-by-mail-deadlines-leave-states-just-weeks-to-get-ready.” An editor added “Trump raging” to the headline. We really are looking at the “Kos-ification” of flagship venues. It’s extraordinary.

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.

Manufacturing: “May 2020 Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey Improves But Remains Deep In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The important Richmond Fed subcategories (new orders and unfilled orders) improved but remain deep in contraction. This survey was somewhat better than last month.”

* * *

Tech: “Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*” [The Register]. “While some might quibble about the ‘PC’ definition for Apple’s ferociously expensive fondleslab, we find a pleasing symmetry in Sinofsky, who gave us the unpopular full and split-screen app layout of Window 8’s touchscreen, turning to iPadOS with its occasionally infuriating approach to multitasking and slightly iffy ‘mouse’ support.”

“Sinofsky went on the explain that he planned to use his new toy as a second screen for meetings and revealed that the cost of the setup was nudging $1,600. A mere snip as far as Apple fanbois are concerned.” • “Fondleslab.” Ouch.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 27 at 12:49pm.

The Biosphere

“California Will Get So Hot That Mountain Streams Could Kill” [Bloomberg]. “It’s going to get so hot in California that people swimming in mountain streams could freeze to death. Much of California, parts of Nevada and Arizona, will be getting their first extreme heat of the year and by Tuesday temperatures will reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in many places and stay there through Thursday. Car interiors will become death traps for children and pets left alone, outside work will be difficult, and the elderly will be at risk, the National Weather Service said. So much mountain snow will melt that streams will turn into icy torrents. Anyone venturing in to cool off risks being swept away and suffering ‘rapid onset of hypothermia,’ the agency warned. … An excessive heat watch in California’s Central Valley reaches all the way to the coast where temperatures in Oakland could approach 90 and push to 103 in Napa. The heat risk also spreads to southern Nevada and into western Arizona, where temperatures could reach 108 by Wednesday and linger until Friday.”

“BlackRock to flag climate concerns at ExxonMobil AGM” [Guardian]. “BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, will lodge multiple votes against ExxonMobil at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday as it flags concern over the oil company’s failure to make progress on its climate change targets…. The US investment firm is ExxonMobil’s second largest shareholder, with a stake of almost 5% in the company…. BlackRock manages assets worth $6.9tn (£5.3tn), including large holdings in oil producers such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. It announced at the start of the year that it would divest from holdings related to thermal coal and would focus on sustainability when making investment decisions. The firm has joined Climate Action 100+, an influential pressure group calling for the biggest polluters to reduce their emissions. BlackRock’s chief executive, Larry Fink, wrote in his annual letter to chief executives in January that financial markets had been slower to reflect the threat to economic growth posed by the climate crisis, and added that the firm would vote against companies that were not making progress.”

Humorous vegetables:

Health Care

“How to Maintain Social Distance as the U.S. Reopens” (interview) [Asaf Bitton, The New Yorker]. Bitton: “I think that we’ve learned from a number of studies that social distancing, when practiced en masse and consistently, actually can work to drive down the rate of growth of cases. This has gone from theoretical economic-modelling literature to a lot better epidemiological data. The practices that work are really the practices that reduce the ability of respiratory droplets to easily travel to other people. So that means that we’ve learned that it’s not just the distance quotient or equation. In fact, we’ve learned that sneezes and coughs can actually amplify beyond the six feet, but, in fact, that masks are really effective. Ventilation is really important. And the time interval that separates people from touching the same objects is important. So making sure that we’re not just washing hands but also not touching the same objects, especially indoor objects, is the hallmark of effective distancing strategies.” • Very interesting (including the history of the “six feet” standard for social distance). This interview was two months ago, and I would venture to say that if the same interview were taken today the balance would shift a bit between surface transmission and airborne transmission, especially through vocalization. Bitton: “[B]y far the riskier interactions happen in densely packed indoor spaces, where there’s poor air circulation and where there are more surfaces that are coming in contact with multiple people.” Those are my current priors!

“As residents perish, nursing homes fight for protection from lawsuits” [Politico]. “As an unprecedented catastrophe unfolds in which more than 28,000 people have died of Covid-19 in care facilities, the nursing home industry is responding with an unprecedented action of its own: Using its multi-million dollar lobbying machine to secure protections from liability in lawsuits. At least 20 states have swiftly taken action within the last two and a half months to limit the legal exposure of the politically powerful nursing home industry, which risks huge losses if families of coronavirus victims successfully sue facilities hit by the pandemic. Now, the industry is turning its energies to obtaining nationwide protections from Congress in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill.”

A candidate for The Performative Empathy Hall of Fame™:

Slavitt, of course, is well-paid to lobby against #MedicareForAll through USofCare (see NC here). No plaque for the 68,000 lives lost there, eh Andy? Nor a plaque for the lives lost to declining life expectancy among the working class in flyover. No plaque for deaths of despair. In flyover. No plaque for opioid deaths. In flyover. Odd, that. I need a word for hypocrisy squared or cubed, and I’m not sure there even is one. (Also, many others share Slavitt’s curious blindness, so Slavitt may be an exemplar, but is not uniquely or individually culpanble.

Sports Desk

“Deep, But Playable: Indecent Proposal” [Baseball Prospectus]. “Around two weeks ago, reports fluttered about suggesting that MLB was in financial crisis, in danger of losing enough money that the owners were going to propose a one-season pact with the players, wherein the revenues generated would be split 50-50. It was ownership’s way of mitigating losses and an attempt to convince the public that players needed to share in the pain above and beyond the already agreed to pro-rata hit they’ve taken. Whether you believe the language in the March agreement regarding the ‘economic feasibility’ of playing games without fans entitles the league to a new round of negotiations on player salaries or just a round of negotiations about what is feasible and what isn’t, we’re getting the former. The owners waited those two weeks to ultimately not offer that ‘historic’ 50-50 split, instead proposing cuts ranging from significant to massive for players across the league, in what is being termed a ‘sliding scale.’ In this scenario, the league’s highest-paid players would take the brunt of the additional cuts, ultimately losing 77.6 percent of their full-season salaries, while players making the minimum wage would lose 54 percent of their full-season salaries. The move appears to be both a non-starter in terms of getting anywhere in a negotiation and an attempt to split loyalties within the union and among fans, painting the higher-paid players as selfish for being unwilling to sacrifice their earnings as a means to ensure that lower-paid players are taken care of. The choice is, of course, a false one: The players could be paid their prorated salaries by ownership, for example.”

Groves of Academe

“Life in Hell: Online Teaching” [Counterpunch]. “I had long heard rumors from academicians about how ‘online teaching is a nightmare,’ ‘online teaching ruined my life,’ ‘online teaching sucked the brains out of my head,’ ‘online teaching is a new and insidious form of labor degradation,’ and the like. I foolishly tended to write these complaints off as hyperbole, saying ‘it can’t be that bad.’ No more. I get it now.” • But I bet administrators love it (for many of the same reasons that library executives actually hate books and want to get rid of them, no doubt).

Class Warfare

“Stock” like investments, inventory, or cattle?

Hard to say, hard to say

“Walmart Workers Are Dying From the Coronavirus. Now They Want a Seat at the Table.” [New York Magazine]. This article is worth reading in full, but here’s one tiny detail from an “associate”: “And customers don’t always respect instructions meant to keep them — and associates — safe. Stickers meant to direct foot traffic ‘are just a waste,’ [Cat Davis, who works at a Walmart in New Bern, North Carolina] said. ‘I think it was just eye candy for the media. To me, if they really wanted to force customers to shop one way, to keep them from clustering in the aisles, they should have made the signs eye level.”” • Davis knows retai, and knows her store.

“Salaries Get Chopped for Many Americans Who Manage to Keep Jobs” [Bloomberg]. “Companies across the U.S. are cutting salaries as they fight to survive the coronavirus, upending a key assumption in modern economics and raising another hurdle to rapid recovery. The hard numbers won’t be in for months, but anecdotal evidence is piling up. On earnings calls, big businesses including The Container Store Group and Lyft have cited what they say are temporary salary reductions. Federal Reserve officials also have found plenty of supporting evidence. The pandemic has triggered unemployment on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. Pay cuts for Americans who’ve managed to hold onto their jobs may hobble the return to normal. People will have to use a bigger chunk of their income for fixed obligations such as housing and other debts — leaving less for the kind of spending that can help spark the economy back into life.” • Obligations that are “fixed” by convention (and not for elites.:

“Genes silenced down the generations, thanks to tails on messenger RNA” [Nature]. “In C. elegans, RNAi underlies transgenerational epigenetic inheritance — a phenomenon in which changes in gene expression can be transmitted across three or more generations without changes in DNA sequence.” • Epigenetics, in my (speculative) view, being important to reproducing class structures across generations. Hence I file this paper here.

News of the Wired

“How to Get Back to Sleep” [WebMD]. “About 20% of people wake up in the middle of the night, then struggle to get back to sleep.” • Regretably, a slidehow, but it may be useful nonetheless to some readers. My formula is to count backwards from 400 while listening to a soothing podcast: Say, The CIvil War: A History Podcast. That’s one reason I don’t listen to Jimmy Dore all that much: He keeps me awake!

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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 (IM):

IM writes: “Baby sword ferns.” And: “The black dot indicating a comment is the best part of the internet!” [lambert blushes modestly].

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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. Krystyn Podgajski

      I heard quite the hysterical apologetics for that phrase, that it is used used all the time by capitalist publications so therefore, ok.

      Epstein treated underage girls like Human Capital Stock as well. And he didn’t kill himself.

      1. clarky90

        Re; “I need a word for hypocrisy squared or cubed…”

        Not merely a word! There is an actual, Kabbalistic “spiritual” movement, known as, Sabbatean-Frankism…..

        Their beliefs can be summarized as “redemption through sin”.

        In 1666, Rabbi Sabbatai Zevi, (1626-1676) declared himself the messiah. His followers grew to more than 1,000,000, in Eastern Europe.


        Sabbatai Zevi was succeeded by…

        Jacob Joseph Frank, born Jakub Lejbowicz; 1726 –1791), was a Polish-Jewish religious leader who claimed to be the reincarnation of the messiah, Sabbatai Zevi


        Professor Gershom Scholem called Jacob Frank, “one of the most frightening phenomena in the whole of Jewish history”.

        Constant, inexplicable actions (????), suddenly make perfect sense when one realizes that many neo-financial-messiahs are seeking “enlightenment” by via widdershins (inside out and upside down) behavior. In other words, purposely acting in the inverse to our inherited human ethics.

        Almost all very young children, without prompting, are kind and fair. This is built into us…..

  1. jo6pac

    The below seems about right and I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    “So, after Biden chooses Condaleeza Rice”

  2. Katiebird

    Condaleeza Rice As Biden’s VP???? !!!

    I would DONATE to Trump’s campaign if that happened.

    1. Big River Bandido

      If Biden wants a black Republican woman he could nominate Anita Hill. I’m sure she’d be thrilled.

      1. km

        Both Team R and Team D condone torture. Team R is a bit more loud and proud about it.

        Keep in mind that IF the rumor were true, then it would be Biden not Trump naming La Condoleeza as VP.

      2. Katiebird

        I DON’T condone torture!!! That’s the point of why having her on Biden’s ticket would force me to donate to Trump’s campaign.

        I consider Condaleeza Rice a war criminal for assisting in getting us into the Iraq War.

        (Not happy to be accused of supporting her)

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI

    The Win 8 UI was fine for touch based usage. It’s just most people using Win 8 weren’t using touch screens but regular old monitors.

    1. periol

      I agree. It was fine. Unintuitive with a weird layout, sure. But fine, if just. On a touchscreen.

      It was basically the absolute worst they could do without doing so badly they would have to do it all over from scratch. Just good enough to not completely lose a serious chunk of market share. It was fine.

    2. Milton

      Worst MS OS? I’ve got two letters: Me

      My work uninstalled Win Me and reinstalled 2000 SP1 when I constantly had to put in calls to our IT support.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Win 8? Wasn’t that the one that went back to the early 90s where you could only have one window open at a time?

      1. Jason Boxman

        They keep playing with the names; Windows 8 is much more recent, followed by 10 I believe. No idea what happened to 9. I switched to Linux and then a Mac decades ago, so I don’t really keep track. Windows 7 was the last useful, stable version of Windows. Before that, Windows 2000.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I am still using Windows 7 as everything after was just a bridge too far. Win 9 never existed but I would argue that Win XP was very solid. I think that Win XP still runs most ATM machines from what I read.

          1. ChrisPacific

            Yes and no. It was generally pretty stable and very popular, but the security model was horrible. That’s part of why people liked it actually – it went for convenience and usability over security every time, and people were most reluctant to give that up, especially given how bad some of Microsoft’s early efforts to fix the security problems were.

  4. John A

    “Vote-by-Mail Hangs by a Thread With Trump Raging, Deadlines Near”

    Surely that should be hangs by a chad?

    1. John

      Trump must be really terrified of vote-by-mail to be carrying on so about it. Fear of defeat is also at the root of his , ‘the election will be rigged’, mantra. He won in 2016 and said it was rigged because his ego was bruised. He reminds me of Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Trump must be really terrified

        “The walls are closing in!”

        Trump is rich and has plenty of rich friends. He doesn’t have to be afraid of anything. And what are the Democrats gonna do? Impeach him again?

        I have always viewed Trump as a catalyst: All reactions around him speed up and intensify, but he himself is unchanged. When he leaves office, he will be exactly the same person as he was when he too office.

  5. Herky

    Regarding Trump’s running mate, while I agree keeping Pence is likely, I could see him matching Biden’s female VP pick with his own. Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds and South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem have both had Trump-approved pandemics by resisting calls within their states to impose stay-at-home orders (in Reynolds’s case, engaging in some impressive policy contortions in the process).

    1. Keith

      But, if he is that desperate, would they want to jump on a sinking ship and get associated with a losing campaign? He margin for victory is slim as it is, and any thrashing about would be seen as weakness that would probably do him in. Doubling down has worked well for him, and I suspect he would do that.

    2. albrt

      I have been assuming it is more likely Pence will find a way to dump Trump rather than the other way around.

      I’m pretty sure a Pence-Haley ticket would make short work of Gropey Joe Biden.

      1. Massinissa

        *Pence shoots gun at Trump* “Oh no, Trump died just before the inauguration!

        I, Pence, have clearly been ordained by god to be inaugurated as President in his place!”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’m pretty sure a Pence-Haley ticket would make short work of Gropey Joe Biden.

        It probably would, but be careful what you wish for (or even mention).

      1. Massinissa

        It would never happen, but it might seriously get my vote.

        Would never happen though.

      2. ChrisPacific

        I don’t think she would be willing to burn her bridges to quite that extent (she did endorse Biden, which shows that while she was willing to cross Hillary, Obama was a bridge too far).

        I don’t think Trump would ever consider it anyway except possibly to destroy a challenger on the isolationist flank (it’s pretty clear by now that he was never serious about ending the wars). She would likely end up fired in short order after accomplishing nothing of note, and equally reviled by both parties.

          1. td

            In North America, a bison is a large hairy bovine. In Australia, it’s what you wash your face in, in the morning.

    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      Kookaburra sound:

      Pah! Only one? The sound of five or six giving forth is truly something to be experienced! Another incredible audio (and visual) happening is a small flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos in display mode.


  6. WillyBgood

    ” California DA launches investigation into Tara Reade testimony . . . Among the issues is whether she lied about her credentials to qualify as an expert….” meanwhile Marcie Frost keeps on without repercussion. Oh the irony, it BURNS!

    1. L

      Notice the sleight of hand in the quote also about it being against the school’s “current” admissions standards.

      This seems like an action that local DNC pols believe will help them, or at least make them feel better. But which will ultimately make the whole issue live longer and look worse.

      Kind of like Russiagate.

      1. nippersmom

        Yes, I caught that, too. I doubt they will clarify whether it was against admissions policies at the time she was admitted.

    2. flora

      It will make any other women with stories to tell think twice, no? And isn’t that the point?

    3. Daryl

      Amazing. First reading the headline, I assumed somebody was investigating Joe Biden. Of course they’re going after her. Pure thuggery.

  7. km

    If you think that the investigation of Tara Reade is not retaliation, then I suggest that you not enter into agreements to purchase bridges.

    Moreover, thanks to the treatment meted out to Tara Rade, we now know that it is impossible to sexually assault people who have the wrong political views, just as Julian Assange allegely being a jerk is sufficient grounds to arrest, imprison, deport and torture the man.

    1. hunkerdown

      Rape, torture and murder is just what neoliberals *do*. “It’s in their nature” as the scorpion said.

      I hope we can start ostracizing them from society on the basis of their sociopathy sooner than later. Just start telling them “shut the familyblog up” in public like they’re the help and they’re WAY out of line. It’s exactly what the CIA did with the “c-nsp-r-cy th–ry” phrase. Who’s with me on social-engineering #CancelNeoliberalism?

      1. ForFawkesSakes

        Absolutely. I have resolved to no longer debate the PMC good thinkers with whom I work. I’ve fought the good fight on behalf on Democratic Socialism in the past and listening to and considering the positions of younger generations.

        Now when they ask if I’m voting for Uncle Joe, I tell them “No. It’s been made clear it’s not my party anymore.” And I tell them of my radical cohort’s interest in Hawley’s recent bill and how it appears that the GOP seems more willing to make concessions, however pitiful. That the DNC has kicked the left over and over. Maybe this time we’ve been kicked out of the party entirely.

        “But you have fun voting for Uncle Joe!” I’m seeing less smug looks than I did four years ago.

      2. Temporarily Sane

        That’s what we are already doing here and at other alt media sites. But neoliberals have immense societal and global power and it will take a lot more than another navel gazing #hashtagcampaign or griping about sociopaths to unseat them.

        It will require a mass movement of people who may disagree on all kinds of social and cultural issues to unite around a platform of fundamental economic change. That is a huge task, particularly in a society as polarized and divided as ours is.

        There are a lot of forces arrayed against any kind of change to the status quo and it will take more than mucking around online and voting for the latest Democrat or Republican “savior”candidate to overcome that. And it may require decades of effort before it begins to tangibly pay off

        People have forgotten how difficult it is to effect social change even though history is replete with relevant examples. It’s not a passive activity.

        Think of the effort it took before the civil rights movement succeeded, and that didn’t require an entire class of owners and elites to be deposed. And society was far less individualistic and inward looking back then.

        As Lambert mentioned yesterday, it took neoliberalism only 40 years to thoroughly corrupted the university system, which has existed relatively unchanged for a thousand years. I see a lot of people who don’t seem to really get how deeply embedded into our society this ideology is and who still think fundamental change is a few election cycles away.

        1. David B Harrison

          The problem is the same as it has been every since civilization began:the quality of leadership.Evolutionary biology programs the majority of humans to align with high status individuals to ensure success(neoliberalism intensifies these evolutionary traits).The alpha humans(high status) are usually sociopaths.The refusal to break from this evolutionary prison is the source of every unsuccessful attempt to create a better society.Choosing a leader with critical thinking skills, a sense of fairness,and integrity would be a path to permanent success.Neutralize sociopaths don’t worship them.People with critical thinking skills should be our leaders.This is in reply to Temporarily Sane May 27,2020 at 9:31 PM.

    2. Tertium Squid

      Democrats prefer the gentlemen rapists and Republicans favor the vulgar sort.

    3. Temporarily Sane

      Exactly. It shows that the whole “woke” thing is a PMC virtue signalling/divide-and-rule exercise and has nothing to do with principled opposition to misogyny or racism.

      It is elitist to the core. If you have the right political connections all accusations against you will be summarily dismissed even when they are credible…if you don’t, you are automatically guilty regardless of what the facts say.

  8. Barbara

    Don’t you just love election season policy-making?

    So it’s ok to let the pharma bros continue to charge pre-retirement plebes with diabetes, who may be furloughed or out of work, lost their health insurance, etc., the outrageous overpricing of insulin.

    And at the same time Romney wants to “study” changes to Social Security and Medicare.

    We are going downhill so fast.

    1. L

      I would call it “policy promising.”

      This is the way you try to move the older voters back in your category after ignoring their needs for three years and then leaving them to die of a virus. You make promises that will be enacted “if” you win but not before.

      As to Romney, he is consistent in his hatred of Medicare and Social Security is well known indeed it was the only issue he campaigned on. The question is whether he thinks that he can get Trump to ram it into any new funding or whether he is signaling to the Wall St Dems that they can make a “grand bargain” and then blame him. Either way he would get what he wants.

      1. hunkerdown

        Cajoling is a good word for where one person says “Go all the way with me and I’ll take care of you” and nine months later you’re in trouble.

    2. Glen

      Always remember, “essential” = “disposable”

      Unless the stock market is tanking, then we MIGHT throw the essential’s a bone as an excuse to give Wall St TRILLIONS.

    3. lovevt

      I too love to follow election season policy-making especially locally when I see more infrastructure improvement projects. As for the cost of insulin I’m sharing some notes I have about it–since 1990, health care costs have risen 276 percent as wages, when adjusting for inflation, have barely grown at all. Insulin was discovered 100 years ago, by scientists in Canada who sold the patent to the University of Toronto for just $1. The medication has been improved since then but there seems to have been no major innovation to justify tripling the list price for insulin, as happened in the US between 2002 and 2013.

  9. ShamanicFallout

    I couldn’t resist- Had to go to Andy Slavitt’s page and write ‘get the crocodile a tissue. How many preventable deaths saved with single payer across the board?” What spell are our ‘leaders and elites’ under?

  10. kareninca

    Last night when I was out walking I ran into a neighbor who is in her 70s; I had not seen her for about two months. She is very nice but kind of a dolt. She is well off, since her husband has a PMC job, and she was very committed to Hillary’s election. I did not ask her about her present preference. What she mainly wanted to talk about was China. She is now very much against China and thinks they are a bad country. I asked her why now – what about when they took over Tibet or harvested political prisoner organs or tortured bears for bile or imprisoned Uighurs? She admitted that it was because their coverup of virus info was affecting us now. She also said that she had always known it was a bad country because kids ratted out their parents during the Cultural Revolution.

    She had gained about 30 pounds; it was really striking; and she was obviously pretty unhappy. She’d been made unhappy by Trump’s election, but this was much worse. If she is representative of something, there is a lot of potential for political hay to be made from hatred of China.

    I have another neighbor whose family income is extremely high because of his wife’s PMC income from the medical industry. He is now extremely distressed because his own educational testing business is nearly all gone. No testing is now taking place. He thinks that the reason he is having a problem is all due to Trump; that the Democrats (and in particular Nancy Pelosi) would have voted for lots of help for him. He told me that his source of news is pretty much exclusively the NYT. He said that the U.S. federal government had “hollowed out” since Trump had been elected. I said – “in three years??!!” and he said yes; it had all gone bad in three years. So, he truly only noticed that there was a problem with our government, when it affected him. He was just fine after 2008, after all. And he’ll be fine now; his wife still earns a tremendous income.

    So, this is Silicon Valley. The DNC will do well here again.

    1. periol

      Here in the Antelope Valley, one of the many times our 75yo ex-con landlord came over unannounced for a chat, back in mid-March, he fervently declared from our porch that we should nuke China, since this is all their fault. When we told our families this anecdote, for fun, my San Fernando Valley father-in-law vehemently declared that China definitely needed to be nuked, and then went on about it for five minutes.

      Quite honestly, the nuking thing scares me. I know it’s hyperbole, but still.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The nuking thing is so stupid and unthinking. You should tell them to just not buy anything made in China. They could get on board with that. Let them work out what they means in practice.

      2. td

        About thirty years ago, a retired Marine bird colonel of my acquaintance expressed the opinion that nuclear weapons were just one more type of ammunition, to be considered for tactical value. We actually had a friendly in-depth conversation about related issues and I came away with the certain knowledge that there are folks in the chain of command that could easily tip one way or the other.

        About ten years ago, a Pakistani Brigadier risked his life and well-being by publishing a brief article lucidly explaining how neither the Pakistani nor the Indian ruling class cared much for their own populations and that the next nuclear exchange would probably be in south Asia.

        I now pray at intervals to whatever gods that may exist that such folly fails of the weight of its own ignorant evil.

        1. periol

          Dip your toes into the right conspiracy channels long enough and eventually you’ll hit rumors about ETs or some type of angelic beings having thwarted intentional and accidental launches of nukes over the decades. Sometimes I think that may actually be our only hope.

          Now we’ve got China in the Jammu&Kashmir mix. It’s real fragrant over there right now.

          1. ambrit

            I’m waiting for China to start up another mini-war with Vietnam, over the South China Sea business is my best guess.

            1. Massinissa

              I mean, during the, I think Ming dynasty, Vietnam was part of China…

              This was over 600 years ago. But I can only assume the CCP have not forgotten…

  11. fresno dan

    “How to Get Back to Sleep” [WebMD]
    The biggest benefit of being retired (well, in addition to not having to put up with all the a$$hats at the office) is no longer being concerned with when I go to sleep, or when I wake up, and if I wake up at 2 am, I can stay up – and if I get sleepy at 7 am, I go back to bed. I don’t have to worry about drinking or not drinking alcohol or coffee – I drink what I want when I want. NAP FREEDOM!
    A couple of weeks ago I went to bed at 7:30pm, and last night it was 11:30pm – I go to bed when I’m sleepy

    “The dominant pattern of sleep, arguably since time immemorial, was biphasic,” Roger Ekirch, a sleep historian at Virginia Tech University and author of “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past” (Norton 2005), told Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. “Humans slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams, or talk with their spouses. Others might get up and do tasks or even visit neighbors before going back to sleep.”
    The idea of the 8 hours sure seems to coincide with the idea that you get up, go to the factory, work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week until people figured out that the capitalists could do with a little less money.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I sort of enjoy that sort of freedom, too.
      but my internal clock rings in between 3 and 4 am….unless i fall asleep at 7:30…in which case i awake at 1 or 2. This 7:30 business usually means that i have overdone it and damaged myself and must medicate more than normal. Screws up the next day, so i try real hard to pace myself.
      in the winter, i wake up automatically—and quite mysteriously– in time to mend the fires in the woodstoves, and then sleep in.
      but winter is rather painful all by itself, so i spend more time laying here, which(along with the damned time change) really harshes my mellow.

      1. fresno dan

        Amfortas the hippie
        May 27, 2020 at 6:20 pm

        great sleepers wake alike…
        Yeah, my usual wake time is 3 to 4am. And if I ever get back to my volunteer job, a couple of days out of the week, there are a couple of days where I should be up by a certain time, but as that is hours after my typical wake up time, it means I really have no constraints on when I go to bed or get up.
        The unscheduled life is the best life.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I’ve been sleeping between 4 am and waking at 10 am, 11 am or 12, or 1 pm. It feels right for me. I usually wake several times in a night. I don’t sleep deeply for any duration unless I have had too much alchohol. I have been dreaming more often and remembering more of my dreams. I treasure my dreams and what they tell me. I wish I could find a better way to tap into them than my peculiar sleep habits. Many of the appointments I need to make require that I must get up by 10 or 11 am which is becoming problematic. I could blame my sleep habits on depression but they are habits I have felt an inclination toward for my entire life. I do admit a growing feeling of depression. That feeling worries me.

      Retirement is so freeing. I suspect there are those who fear the freeing of some many with so many years of active life remaining. I will NOT go gently into that good night!!!!!

    3. clarky90

      Since our NZ lockdown (now lifting), I have started falling asleep at 9pm (ish) and waking up at 5am (ish). It is wonderful!

      It is almost winter here. It is dark by 6 pm. When they shut us down, all the things I usually do in an evening, stopped. We weren’t allowed to visit others.

      I get home from a long hill walk at about 5;00 pm. Check that my four rescue chickens are safely perching in their tree for the night. (I taught them to do this, on their own, in their own time. It took many weeks of chicken wrangling!).

      …….Watch the news. Watch Youtube, read, check NC, check favorite blogs……..start getting tired… fall asleep..

      I think I will stick with this. Being up before the birds wake up, and the sun rises.

    4. YetAnotherChris

      “The idea of the 8 hours sure seems to coincide with the idea that you get up, go to the factory, work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week until people figured out that the capitalists could do with a little less money.”

      You are absolutely right that clock time co-evolved with the factory system. And I have heard the latter portion of biphasic sleep described as “second sleep,” which was the accepted practice for millenia. I’ve observed it in people who were never tethered to a rigid work schedule (artists, writers, musicians).

      Insomnia haunts me like no other affliction. I’m lucky to have found habits (sleep hygiene) and mild pharmacological remedies that work for me. Deepest sympathies to those who can’t sleep. It is maddening.

  12. Robert Hahl

    Re: How to Get Back to Sleep

    “Stay away from screens” is an oversimplification. I have been using a Nook for 8 years mostly at night. If the screen displays white text on a black background and the light level is low, then I can read novels to get back to sleep. Works within 40 min. almost every time. One advantage to this method is that there is no need to reach up and turn off a light, which can break the mood.

  13. DJG

    Human Capital. [Stock, as in heading to the stockyards…]

    I hear that many people are sort-a confined to quarters these days. There happens to be an excellent Italian movie called Human Capital, directed by the talented Paolo Virzì.


    It is based on a novel written by a U.S. writer named Stephen Amidon. I don’t know the novel. Without a doubt, I suspect that some other member of the commentariat will.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      I have a soft spot for “investments” as first among equals on the list, since it suggests the religious devotion – with rewards in this life for select Believers – element in play.

    2. richard

      All I know is that every time an “economist” refers to me as “human capital”
      I feel an excited little flutter in my heart
      oh, to be seen for who I am!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is the current guidance. All about surface transmission (not airborne). To be fair, there is controversy about that; see today’s Links (though I’m firmly on the side of airborne):

      A deleted portion:

      Consider suspending or at least decreasing use of a choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition. The act of singing may contribute to transmission of COVID-19, possibly through emission of aerosols.

      Darwin awards for all. Oddly, the collection plate part is still in place:

      Modify the methods used to receive financial contributions. Consider a stationary collection box, the main, or electronic methods of collection regular financial contributions instead of shared collection trays or baskets.

  14. a different chris

    Re Walmart: why don’t they simply put freaking turnstiles on every aisle. Maybe leave the outer ring* free for bidirectional travel so if you’re there for one article you could get to the proper aisle quickly.

    I would approve of that even if there never was such a thing as coronavirus. Oh wait, they would have to spend money. Never mind, Walmart has hardly any of that. /s

    *Walmart, being a horrifying assemblage of multiple stores, would actually have multiple outer rings but he I don’t do details (or shop willingly at Walmart). Just big pictures :)

  15. CanCyn

    “To me, if they really wanted to force customers to shop one way, to keep them from clustering in the aisles, they should have made the signs eye level.”
    I completely agree but since manufacturers pay extra to have their products placed at eye level, stores would effectively be covering up that key product placement. And, well, that would be putting people before profits and that is just not how we do things! Am I right? /s

    1. Bsoder

      You think Walmart is managing product placement, here now, as opposed to getting product in and out?. As Walmart is doing a huge business online, it doesn’t seem to really matter what they do in a physcial store. People never see it.

  16. Dr. John Carpenter

    Is there a reason to speculate that Trump will dump Pence? The article doesn’t even seem to think so. I’m just making sure I didn’t miss something.

  17. elvispresley2k

    Tech: “Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*”

    Windows 8 was great, truly under-appreciated, ahead of its time. It was just too “touch-centric” for normal desktop users. But paired up with the (then new) Surface Pro 3, it was a great setup. Fast, stable, minimal. For new Windows users with a touch device, very pleasing. But all those legacy Windows users were not amused.

  18. Goyo Marquez

    Lambert: “Oh California what is happening to you?”

    As for the bottom right corner of California, Imperial County, my home, which is very purple, and the county next to it, Yuma County, which is actually the bottom left hand corner of Arizona, those numbers I think reflect infections in their border towns, Mexicali, Baja California, and San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. They are apparently experiencing a surge or spike in infections. Mexicali has close to a million population. U.S. Citizens who live in Mexicali, are crossing the border to get treatment in El Centro population approx 50,000. The numbers are counted for Imperial county.

    1. Socal Rhino

      Here in Orange County it started fast first in the beach towns, particularly Huntington Beach, but that’s slowed down considerably. Currently flaring up in the inland areas with larger populations such as Santa Ana and Anaheim. Both in absolute numbers and cases per thousand residents. We’ll be watching the coastal areas to see if re-opening beach access has much impact in a couple of weeks. And the mega churches, given indoor risks.

      1. periol

        Santa Ana and Anaheim also are the poorest cities in Orange County, or at least the cities with the most poverty. You can find pockets elsewhere, but these cities are the main ones in the OC with people living and working in conditions that allow the virus to spread. They are also going to have a higher percentage of so-called “essential” workers than other cities in Orange County.

    2. periol

      “Mexicali has close to a million population. U.S. Citizens who live in Mexicali, are crossing the border to get treatment in El Centro population approx 50,000. The numbers are counted for Imperial county.”

      This article says the opposite: the only numbers released for Imperial County represent actual residents of the county who have tested positive for COVID-19.

      https://www.thedesertreview.com/news/imperial-county-hospitals-update/article_3536e474-9c17-11ea-89be-1b75ca8c84fe.html (emphasis mine)

      Angulo acknowledged and answered the common question of Mexicali’s impact on the Imperial County’s COVID-19 numbers and local hospitals. Angulo said there may be an impact, but it is difficult to quantify given the Imperial Valley’s unique dynamics as a binational community.

      The County numbers only factor in the cases of residents of Imperial County, not cases from outside county residences or nationalities. Angulo said the numbers on the ICPHD website only reflect local Imperial County cases. Identities of individuals are kept private.

      I did read the American citizens who live in Mexico and are crossing the border for treatment have caused the hospitals to be overwhelmed, and they had to shuttle people to San Diego. That seems to have calmed down a bit though. I hope things keep calming down over there. Stay safe!

      1. Goyo Marquez

        Well they just set up the gym at the local junior college, Imperial Valley College, as an emergency hospital.


        The El Centro City council voted a few weeks back to open back up against the orders of the county health officer. So there is some pressure to downplay the numbers.

        Angulo’s statement seems kind of self contradictory. The numbers of people from Mexicali are hard to quantify but we only count for imperial county the residents of Imperial county. So there are people testing positive, possibly being treated for COVID-19 but they’re not counted anywhere?

        Or Ángulo may just mean that a lot of people living in Mexicali also have addresses in Imperial county. So even though they are residents of Mexicali when they do things in the United States they use an Imperial County address. So they are counted as infected residents of Imperial County.

        I’m pretty sure the numbers are going up because of Mexicali.

        In any event the numbers here are growing out of proportion to the rest of California though we’ve been in lock down the same amount of time as the rest of Southern California.

        1. periol

          My thought when I first read that article was that Angulo meant that there are more people than the numbers indicate, because the numbers are only for Imperial County residents. I didn’t know about dual residents, and I don’t know how that would work. If they claim residence, they would be represented in the total population numbers/estimates for the county, correct?

          I agree with you, people who are often in Mexicali but claim residence in Imperial County would definitely help explain that jump in numbers. I’ve definitely been trying to see what might be causing that spike you’re having.

  19. Amfortas the hippie

    don’t know if this made it to links:
    “What they don’t understand is that the Sanders campaign wasn’t an attempt to save the American left. It was an attempt to build one.”


    i’m still pretty mad about the Post SC rally around biden…thumbs and toes, and prolly hostages for all i know,on scales so blatantly.
    and about the sudden disappearance of the bernie movement…but i was pretty busy with the pandemic, so i gave all involved(on sander’s side) a temporary reprieve.
    it’s close enough to what we all expected, no?

    “…The real question is not “why didn’t Bernie win,” but how did he get so close?”

    whatever potential there was a month ago for solidarity somewhere above or to the side of all the usual nonsense, evaporated in the chemical mist cooking off the astroturf.
    we still have a long, long way to go.

    1. Bsoder

      ““What they don’t understand is that the Sanders campaign wasn’t an attempt to save the American left. It was an attempt to build one.”” And who said that on the left? Not Bernie. Do recall reading it an essay or anything. Maybe some people who worked for/with him, but isn’t a mission statement. Bernie had specific problems he wanted to apply specific solutions. The MSM ignored him, then turned him into a white devil, etc., etc., Policy wise Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel are to the left of Bernie. Go figure. What I figure is Obama and Hillary just don’t like the guy. Obama couldn’t see the play, i.e., how to make it work as well. Easier to slap some Ai on Biden. Not everything has a grand plan behind, or needs one to explain it.

    2. cm

      I think the time may be right for 1968 / Malcolm X – type activities. I see a massive amount of rage in Minneapolis w/ their current police actions. The current police murder of course comes after at least five other high-profile cases (where the cop ALWAYS is exonerated).

      Violence or the credible threat of violence is the only way to achieve meaningful change.

      1. Massinissa

        People don’t understand that ‘peaceful change’ MLK style is only possible with the threat of implicit force from aligned groups, like those led by Malcolm X.

        It doesn’t require actual violence, if anything that is counterproductive, but without the capacity for violence, power will not submit to any demands from peaceful groups.

        1. Chef

          Some definite validity to that concept I would think.

          This thread from a Princeton researcher asserts research shows that the non-violent protesting met with a violent reaction does more to sway main-stream opinion regarding civil rights than any other combination (protesting/counter).. I found it interesting


    3. Pookah Harvey

      How did we get where we are today?
      Hayek and the John Birch Society conceptualized Neo-liberalism in the 1950’s.
      Goldwater’s campaign popularized it in the 1960’s.
      Powell Memorandum set forth a plan of action in the 1970’s.
      Reagan’s election brought it to power in the 1980’s.
      Clinton’s Third Way solidified its power in the 1990’s.

      Where are we now?
      Occupy conceptualized the ideas of Social Democracy for Americans in 2011.
      Bernie’s campaign has popularized the ideas in 2016 and 2020.
      You are right we have a long way to go. But the left always has a tendency to eat itself.

  20. anon in so cal

    From the SCMP:

    “The novel coronavirus uses the same strategy to evade attack from the human immune system as HIV, according to a new study by Chinese scientists.

    Both viruses remove marker molecules on the surface of an infected cell that are used by the immune system to identify invaders, the researchers said in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on preprint website bioRxiv.org on Sunday. They warned that this commonality could mean Sars-CoV-2, the clinical name for the virus, could be around for some time, like HIV.

    Virologist Zhang Hui and a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou also said their discovery added weight to clinical observations that the coronavirus was showing “some characteristics of viruses causing chronic infection”.”


    1. Redlife2017

      The reoccurring infection certainly tallies with stories I’ve read and even heard from friends. It’s like it goes into remission and then comes back a few weeks later. For the elderly thst managed to fight it off the forest time, the second time finds its mark.

      Another thought – would this mean that like HIV the vaccine won’t be possible due to the similarities? (Not that it is at all certain anyway that we can get one for a corona virus.)

      This is sort of depressing.

  21. epynonymous

    Heard a reddit post from a friends youtube chill-time.

    A dinner theater troupe manager asked r/amIthe’butthole if it was wrong for them to propose to the unemployed members of the troupe to “volunteer” for a little bit to get the business back on its feet. Cuz’ the owners had lost so much money.

    Well, of course that’s fine in principle, but isn’t the real answer for the owners to give their employees a stake in the company at that point?

    A cashless business still has one thing. Ownership of the business. If they need the cash to start back up, couldn’t they raise it by some future profit-share with their former employees? As in co-ownership.

    Brainwashing is a hell of a drug, and frankly its not just hard to determine what’s real. Its deceptively hard to determine what is even possible.

  22. ChrisPacific

    So Biden will do exactly what Trump is doing on foreign policy, but with purer intentions? Thanks for clearing that up, Joe.

  23. kees_popinga

    At my former employer, a law firm, the director of personnel became the director of human resources, then she was let go and replaced by the director of global human capital. I guess it’s only a matter of time before they have a director of global human capital stock.

  24. CatmanPNW

    Re: how to get back to sleep

    I’ve never had troubles sleeping. Not once in my life. Last week, I averaged about an hour and a half a night. Talked to a doc, then slept all Saturday. Seems to be back, or kind of back, to normal. It’s really awful and I feel so sorry for people who suffer this all the time. The doc I talked with said it’s now becoming so normal – “even I can’t sleep. I don’t think about the virus, but it’s just there and stops me from relaxing.”

      1. CatmanPNW

        Thanks for this. I’ll try it. Strange how I used to sleep 7 a night every single night and how that stopped. Anyway, appreciate the help!

        1. urblintz

          Good luck! It works for me and I’ve recently had to use it for sure. I too never had much trouble with sleeping until this.

      2. rowlf

        Hmm… I think some Forest monks call that stump meditation, as in you are like a tree stump, not using meditation as a tool to work on something.

        I’m pretty good at stump meditation. Works a charm for going to sleep.

        1. Procopius

          I’ve used a Zen technique (or that’s how it was described in the book). When you exhale, count. Count 1 to 4, then start over. At the same time pay close attention to your breathing. Feel your abdomen and chest rising and falling. Usually works, but as I grow older I’ve found Melatonin also helps.

  25. smoker

    For any California readers petrified (I am) about Gavin Newsom’s proposed Budget.

    052620 Assembly to Newsom: Don’t count on feds to rescue California from deep budget cuts Emphasis mine and some hyperlinks omitted for postability:

    California shouldn’t rely so heavily on money from the federal government to close its budget deficit, a bipartisan chorus of lawmakers told the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom during an unusual hearing Tuesday.

    Almost every member of the state Assembly spoke out about Newsom’s proposal to slash billions from the budget amid the pandemic-induced recession.

    The governor’s approach — which would cut $14 billion to schools, health care and safety net programs unless more funding comes through from the federal government — ignores “pure science in favor of political science,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood, a Healdsburg Democrat.

    “It… feels like an overdependence on the federal government with an unpredictable administration,” Wood said. “If you are aged, poor or disabled, this budget is devastating.”

    Lawmakers have questioned whether Newsom’s projected $54 billion deficit is accurate, or a worst-case scenario meant to influence decisions by the Legislature and the federal government. Newsom’s proposal calls for deep budget cuts to schools, child care, programs for seniors and environmental protection.

    (Sorry in advance, if anyone responds to this, I can’t nest a further comment directly below it, as allowing scripting is currently crashing my computer.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read an opinion piece (trial balloon?) that pensions like CalPERS should be scaled back and cut too.

  26. Bsoder

    •”Trump should pick Stacey Abrams!” No way baby, he’s going to ask, wait for it… his daughter. Oh ya, at least then the Don will be protected from prosecution for federal crimes. And his ‘base’ will love it.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Strom Thurmond was apparently not as racist as what he expressed publicly. For what that’s worth.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”

        ― H.L. Mencken

      2. Massinissa

        You can be a racist demagogue and still have sex with black women. Having a mistress, perhaps even a treasured mistress, of a certain race doesn’t prevent someone from still being racist.

        Maybe you’re right and you have evidence to show that he was, in his true heart of hearts, not racist, but having a black child is not sufficient evidence of that.

  27. Bugs Bunny

    On MLB baseball, I know, that’s repetitive but we say it that way in Milwaukee (blame Bud, brother of Tony, the nice one), where all good rabbits have a hole…

    I will miss the annual stress of watching the Brewers, almost religiously, with an emotional attachment that only kids who grew up in a neighborhood where you always smelt brewery yeast understand, only to see your team choke in the very last instant where it matters. GO BREWERS.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Long time Cubs fan. Interest in the game died for me when they actually won it all. But still, even though it’s now Yuppie Field instead of Wrigley, I do miss Bleacher Bumming and rooting for the old version of the team.

      The old refrain: “Wait ‘til next year… (sob)”

  28. urblintz

    and just in case anyone was worried that the wrong people are getting all those trillions, unlike the deserving airlines and other corporate essential types, the Dept. of Labor is telling states to make sure those claiming CARES act UI benefits (for 4 whole months!) deserve that money…

    poor unemployed people are like that, ya know… lazy grifters…


  29. John k

    Insulin for seniors.
    There will be more of this… it depends how desperate trump becomes.
    He would dump insurance ind in a heartbeat, might be his rip cord. Remember Biden will veto m4a… what if trump promises to sign bernies bill? What would Bernie say do? Doesn’t promise much, not even a maj of congressional dems support, much less reps, but might swing a lot of votes.
    Affordable drugs for seniors and m4a… Biden, Pelosi and Schumer would all dig in, promise endless fealty to Obamacare and ins.
    Bonus for trump… makes Obama look bad.

  30. vegeholic

    I like the comment about library administrators. I was on a university library committee for two years and the word “book” was not mentioned once. It was all about information literacy, academic journal price inflation, author/institution rights vs. publishers, and active learning. It was like we went straight from cave painting to the internet without the brief interval of Gutenberg.

  31. richard

    The counterpunch article on online teaching was pretty heavy on the tech aggravations and sneaky student behavior. My experience has been somewhat different teaching 2nd grade online. I am very tempted to scare quote teaching, but I’ve taken a vow not to knock myself for awhile, so I can’t. The day to day job of teaching, real teaching, is all about building a relationship with a child. At least at the primary level. That’s now off the table, so I’m not exactly sure what to call what I’m doing now.
    Apart from seeing its rotten effect on teaching and learning, my primary experience with closed schools is a deep sense of loss. I miss the endorphin boost I used to get from having a good day, and just a ton of people. I miss being really essential. I mean, teachers have to spend an hour or so making plans for the next day if they have to be absent. And even with great plans and a great sub, it’s just not the same as with the regular teacher. It really matters if you’re not there. Now we don’t matter as much, and it’s not easy to lose meaning. I really hope it is temporary.
    That’s my experience anyway, a bit different than a college instructor.

    1. Roger Boyd

      I have both taken an on-line Masters degree at an institution focused on the online experience (Athabasca University in Canada – a really excellent online setup) and am now teaching a Masters class at another usually not online Canadian university. I can say that I very much enjoyed doing my the masters online (I was working full time at the same time), and have found very little issue with using Zoom (my institution arranged an institutional license with security safeguards) and the general online experience.

      Some of my friends have been Teaching Assistants and their many stories of teaching undergraduate students point to the issues being with certain students, not the form of the teaching. Like anything, its how the experience is structured and the attitude of the instructor and students. Its definitely easier to do for some subjects than others, and also the class size will affect the experience. My 27 inch computer screen certainly makes a difference, as does being able to lead class from my balcony on beautiful sunny days.

      I have a BSc and two other Masters degrees, plus the first year of my PhD which were all taught in person. In many cases the teaching was not “stellar” by any measure and the assigned texts taught me much more than the instructors. Others times I had superb teachers that truly challenged and stretched my mind.

      Online is just a technology, good for some subjects bad for others. Pissy students will be pissy students, neoliberal administrations taking advantage of staff and nit-picking on ridiculous things will also be the same. In this day and age ordering a p.c. should not be a challenge to a basically intelligent adult. In Ontario, Canada we have curbside pickup (we recently advanced to limitations on the numbers in the store) so the office supplies buying process is pretty straight forward.

      1. Massinissa

        “In this day and age ordering a p.c. should not be a challenge to a basically intelligent adult.”

        Its more complicated than that though. Not all areas have good internet, with some poorer regions having poor internet access.

  32. Mikel

    I’m just wondering how desperate TPTB will get when a number of people still say: “Nah, I’m good” on a lot of the economic offerings after opening AND vaccine.

    It’s the “V” word now…ha!!!!

  33. Mikel

    “The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service began sending out Economic Impact Payments as prepaid debit cards last week. So almost 4 million Americans still waiting for their cut of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act can expect to get their stimulus money in the form of an EIP Card, as opposed to a paper check.

    Problem is, these Visa VISA, -1.89% cards are being issued by MetaBank (the Treasury’s financial agent) and delivered in plain envelopes from Money Network Cardholder Services — neither of which are familiar names for many folks. So reports of people mistaking these for pre-approved credit-card junk mail or scams have been popping up across the country. And in some cases, people have even thrown away the debit cards containing their long-awaited stimulus money before they realized their mistake.

    HA! You thought they would leave the bankstas out of more skim???

    And weep…

    1. urblintz

      Florida tries very hard to force one to receive benefits on a debit card rather than direct deposit to a bank account, although the latter is still possible. Not surprisingly, the debit card has all manner of fees attached to its use…

      more skim indeed!

      1. RMO

        A direct deposit is not only possible but it would seem to be easier than issuing a debit card. I live near Vancouver and the program the government put in place for self-employed people was done via direct deposit. My wife is self-employed and she received her payment very quickly, impressive considering that until this pandemic there were no programs that could be “piggy-backed” on to speed up the process as would be the case with unemployment insurance. Obviously you’re correct in figuring the fees involved with the debit cards are a feature not a bug.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “Behind The Scenes, Presidential Transition Planning Is Underway”

    That article puts me in mind of a cartoon that I saw back in 2008. It was just after Obama was elected and it showed zombies slouching towards the White House. But they were tagged as Clinton staffers and their were moaning “Jobs…jobs..”

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Unfortunately, I’ve seen reports that some FCC rule against working journalists running for office may force him to back out. (Or maybe he’ll be able to get a leave of absence and still afford health insurance….)

  35. Richard H Caldwell

    Awakened in mid-sleep, perchance to pee? And then, whammo!, the anguish/worry thought machine switches on. Now I’m trapped, in for 3 hours of torture, my night of good sleep down the drain. Oh, woe and pain!

    Try chanting. Yes, chanting. But inside your head. Not out loud.

    I suggest “bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-…” until you don’t need to anymore. Meaningless, so no thought. Takes focus and effort, so sucks attention and energy away from the anguished midnight worry machine. It guides me right back into sleep.

    Try it; ‘works for me!

    1. John Richmond

      Our NPR station plays the BBC all night. My wife turns it on. Just stimulating enough to pay attention to, and just boring enough to put her right back to sleep.

      1. Massinissa

        I have an aunt, in her 60s, who can’t fall asleep without having Rush Limbaugh or other conservative news on in the background.

        1. John Richmond

          Hopefully it bores her — Rush rarely lasted more than 45 seconds on my radio before I threw something at it.

    2. RMO

      I’ve had severe enough problems with insomnia that when I was in my late teens I ended up getting referred to the sleep disorders clinic at the University of British Columbia and it went so far as being booked into a hospital ward for multiple nights with them taking EEG readings. In the end I managed to get the problem relatively under control with more exercise in the evening and the reduction in stress that came with ending high school but I still have nights when falling asleep can be extremely difficult. Oddly enough though, once I fall asleep for the first time after going to bed if I wake up again at night I can always fall right back to sleep. This is even on the occasions when I’ve woken up and had to get up and go to the bathroom, take the dog out or check on noises in the yard (such as the occasion someone was breaking into my car).

  36. ThomG

    RE: Trump (R)(1): “Trump-Pence: The Ticket That Seems (Almost) Certain for a 2020 Reprise”

    An older relative (80ish) recently mentioned to me that a friend around her age has been receiving phone calls from pollsters about Trump. Specifically, she was asked to compare Trump Jr. and Pence. I couldn’t place why they would ask that question, but this article offers some possible explanation.

    1. John Richmond

      I’ve heard of more than one analyst who considers Chump Jr the odds on favorite for the 2024 Republican nomination.

  37. jr

    Regarding online teaching: A friend who teaches history at a PA State uni. saw a sharp drop in attendance once online classes began, old news now. He is pretty strict about things like attendance and he reached out to students to inform them they were in trouble in that regard. He got the usual litany of excuses, many undoubtedly true vis a vis COVID, but many were obvious nonsense.

    Then he was informed that a number of students were applying for a special status that would allow them additional time to complete their work. This is usually reserved for disabled students or extreme cases but it was clear that many of the applicants had no such problems. The administrators, always happy to pile it on the professors because why not, were approving these requests left and right. It got so bad that the department just extended everyone’s time.

    Now some students got their work in on time, some straggled along, and some came busting in the door in the last seconds of the extra time. His incredibly busy reading and grading period was stretched out two additional weeks, papers coming in dribs and drabs, testing here and there. Chaos. It threw his, and no doubt many others, personal life into turmoil. He believes that it was an intentional act on the part of the administration to make things difficult for the faculty. That is their job, apparently.

    He’s nearing retirement and although he loves to teach, he is drained. It’s always something and now the pandemic is a goldmine of problems to be laid at the faculty’s feet. Just about a year ago he was telling me about a particularly great freshman survey class he had conducted, filled with curious minds and fun discussions. Now he is talking early retirement.

  38. ambrit

    Did anyone else notice the ‘trial balloon’ lofted in today’s “Our Revolution” e-post?
    In the bold letters interleaving there is this bald statement: “….the person most qualified to be our next president, Bernie Sanders….”
    This sounds like preparation for a Sanders Restoration Movement. Now, as to whether this is approved by Sanders himself, or is some of his more stalwart campain workers trying to force his hand, I know not. Still an interesting titbit to see in print.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Let’s not forget: there are still seventeen primary elections/caucuses still to run, and a convention. Bernie only suspended his campaign, did not concede, Biden continues to harpoon himself and the CorpoDems are squeezing things to wring a tiny “win” over Trump, which if by chance it happens would not give a mandate. Coattails? Maybe not — but the CorpoDems will still manifest their real focus, to crush any kind of energy and movement from the progressive direction. That’s what so plainly is a threat to their hegemony and the huge flux of bribes (“campaign contributions” only because a bought Congress and relevant agencies have made bribery, payoffs and related corruption “all nice and legal, see?

      There’s movement toward at the very least in favor of pledging to withhold votes if there’s continued “No, never, never” from the CorpoDogs. As with that marvelously clarifying “If you don;t vote for me, you ain’t black” remark, it is so plain that the CorporDems take the vast majority of ordinary people for granted – “You have nowhere else to go, Biden is Maybe minutely less bad than Trump, we can’t precisely tell you why on actual policies, but take our word for it, so we OWN your votes!”

      Not mine. Not voting is the only power the CorpoDems leave us, as long as they carry water only for the 0.01-10 percent and thumb their noses at the working class. You want our votes, EARN them by giving us universal concrete material benefits. Your own polls tell you that M4A is 70+ percent of all voters, support payments and debt and rent relief too. About the same number are afraid to go back to work our out to eat. While Biden hides in his green screen basement and the Dem establishment punches down at the rest of us.

  39. John Richmond

    Once again a nice water cooler, Lambert, though a bit too snarky in spots:

    1. That zucchini in the bottom left of the vegetables. If he drops it on someone’s porch, he’ll break the porch!
    2. We recently had a tenant who had to switch to all online teaching for her art history classes. Her stress level went up distinctly. She returned to her home state when she figured out how to do online from there. Still the best tenant we’ve had in ten years.
    3. The Andy Slavitt response. Spot on. Appropriate snarkiness.
    4. We went the wrong way down a Whole Foods aisle the other day. Our second trip to a new store since March. Rookie mistake.
    5. Those testing numbers. California and Georgia (!) doing OK but not great, Florida (!) almost at that level. Texas and Arkansas…oy vey. And Virginia in oy vey territory too. Thanks again, Lambert.

  40. chuck roast

    Yeah, I had an Economics professor many years ago that got his masters from MIT, but he didn’t have a BA…or so he said. He was extremely bright. I showed him how to play chess. I couldn’t believe that he had never played before. Anyway, we played a couple of quick games…good thing we didn’t continue our gamesmanship because he would soon have been delivering a mighty buttocks whipping to yours truly.

  41. Charles Fox

    Has anyone attempted to adjust the excess deaths for causes that are unlikely to be mislabeled? For example, car accidents. Miles driven are way down.

  42. cm

    I’m sure this will get censored, but here we go. Why do you people continue to fixate on Twitter? We know they are acting in the interests of the PMC, but yet you continue to fixate on Twitter.

    Here’s a great example which you yourselves linked. Note the high-voted replies. Note the replies that need verification because they contain “potentially sensitive content.”

    We also know how they worship Trump posts. We know they censor Assange-related posts. Yet you all continue to breathlessly post exciting Twitter posts.

    Here’s a thought — if you really care about degradation of media content, you ignore Twitter?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “You people”?

      Sorry to dilute the purity of your news flow, champ. Where can I find the list of trusted sources? Kos? Maddow?

      Gotta sit down, I’m so “breathless.”

  43. ambrit

    Your mention of Biden ensconced in his basement ‘festung’ makes me wonder why no-one else, to my knowledge, has made the connection between Biden hiding in his basement and ‘Der Fuhrer’ squirreled away in his bunker beneath the Reichschancellory Building in early 1945.
    This level of vituperation can be expected from the Republican party Public Relations Department this fall.

  44. cm

    One good outcome: H1-B visas should get eliminated due to insanely high US enemployment /sarc

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