2:00PM Water Cooler 5/28/2020

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 look at international data. Brazil, the United Kingdom. Sweden, China:

The vertical scale is scaled to the highlight, Brazil, and so the league leader, the United States, is not visible, but the differences between other states that otherwise are all jammed together at the bottom of the chart are now visible. While Brazil is the Latin American leader, Chile, Peru, and Mexico are also on the upward swing.


“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): “Tech billionaires are plotting sweeping, secret plans to boost Joe Biden” [Recode]. “hind the scenes, Silicon Valley’s billionaire Democrats are spending tens of millions of dollars on their own sweeping plans to catch up to President Donald Trump’s lead on digital campaigning — plans that are poised to make them some of the country’s most influential people when it comes to shaping the November results. These billionaires’ arsenals are funding everything from nerdy political science experiments to divisive partisan news sites to rivalrous attempts to overhaul the party’s beleaguered data file. They are pushing their favored, sometimes peculiar, fixes to a political ailment just like they might if on the board of a struggling startup…. In Silicon Valley’s new political moment, four billionaires in particular — LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt — have the most ambitious plans, according to Recode’s interviews with over 20 donors and operatives. The chess moves of this power set are instrumental to fulfilling Democrats’ — and much of Silicon Valley’s — four-year quest to oust Donald Trump.” • Oh. Great. Schmidt did so well for Clinton, too.

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden Has Struggled With Young People. He Has A New Plan To Win Them.” [Buzzfeed]. “League 46 will be “the coalition of young people that will make Joe Biden the 46th president,” says the narrator of an introductory video shared first with BuzzFeed News. Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden and one of his most visible spokespeople, will lead the project. League 46 will build on work by the previously launched Students for Biden while forging alliances with young professionals and young elected officials…. Among the events planned for this week is the kickoff of a young professionals finance council, featuring an online conversation Sanders will moderate with Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was a top contender for this year’s Democratic nomination.” • Aaugh! Aaugh! My eyes!!!!!

Biden (D)(3): “There Was A Pretty Loud Fart Noise During A Joe Biden Livestream” [Buzzfeed]. “A livestreamed campaign video chat between presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday was briefly muffled by the sound of what appeared to be a very wet fart. Biden was asking about what ‘the human cost’ looks like in Pennsylvania if more federal money doesn’t arrive to help with the coronavirus economic recovery when the toot rang out. He appeared to lean back in his chair at the same time as the noise, while Wolf appeared to blink and shake his head shortly after.” • I thought every old codger knew the rule: “Never trust a fart.” And, dammit, all those memes have to be redone. With sound.

Biden (D)(4): “Freedom Rider: Biden and the Low Point of Black Politics” [Black Agenda Report]. “Black America’s political hopes now consist solely of getting rid of Trump. There appear to be no other topics of interest or importance. A Trumpless presidency is seen as the fulfillment of every need. Apparently low wage work, homelessness, and mass incarceration will disappear if Biden wins. However, the truth is even worse. The Biden dead enders know that he won’t make these problems disappear but they are tacitly admitting that they have shrunk their politics down to a microscopic size. This negation of need is no accident. The end of black politics was a long time coming. They sealed the deal with a black president who embodied nothing that black people needed but his presence kept any doubt at bay. Now after years of acquiescence to disastrous neo-liberal policies the only thing that appears to matter is Trump’s defeat. This con job requires feats of mental gymnastics and self-delusion. But the traitorous misleaders have done their jobs well. Smart people who ought to know better ignore Biden’s history of racist policy making without complaint while simultaneously claiming not to notice his ill health and obvious stupidity.” • Ouch.

Biden (D)(5): “New York Times Reporter’s Probing Questions For Tara Reade Highlights Double Standard In Media Coverage” [Jonathan Turley]. “The comparison to the treatment of Biden is striking and unsettling. The recent interview with CNN’s Dana Bash is an example of the pattern. After days of editing out Biden’s false statement about the NAACP, Bash finally raised the fact that it is clearly false. Biden simply did not respond to the falsity and said that he has never taken black voters for granted. Bash immediately let it go and turned to criticism of Trump and asking Biden whether it is fair to him that there is a double standard that Trump is not expected to apologize. While many of us have criticized Trump for his refusal to apologize, the interview illustrated the double standard in the tenor and content of questions for Biden. It was more than a softball interview. You can miss softballs. It was a beachball interview where Biden could not miss.” • “A beachball interview.”

Klobuchar (D)(1): “As Chief Prosecutor, Klobuchar Declined to Bring Charges Against Cop that Killed George Floyd” [Mint Press]. “The latest example of America’s racist police brutality problem was caught on camera in Minneapolis Monday, as Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on 46-year-old African-American George Floyd’s neck for over seven minutes until he passed out and died….. Klobuchar also called for a ‘complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.’ However, this is unlikely to occur, in no small part because of Klobuchar herself and the precedent she set while serving as the state’s chief prosecutor between 1999 and 2007. In that time, she declined to bring charges against more than two dozen officers who had killed citizens while on duty – including against Chauvin himself, who shot and killed Wayne Reyes in 2006 and would later go on to shoot more civilians while in uniform.” • Oh. So, karma in this life? Or will Biden throw the Democrat Party’s most reliable constituency under the bus?

Trump (R)(1): “Trump is courting a landslide defeat” [Financial Times]. Yet there are unmistakable signs that older voters are turned off by Mr Trump’s pandemic record. In late February, Mr Trump had a double-digit lead over Mr Biden among voters aged over 65. Average recent polls showed Mr Biden 10 points ahead. By psephological standards, this is a tectonic shift. It explains why Florida, where many retirees live and Mr Trump’s primary residence, shows Mr Biden with an average four-point lead. Ditto for Arizona. Mr Biden has clear leads in Michigan and Pennsylvania and a slim one in Wisconsin — the three states that tipped the balance in 2016. Even deeply Republican Georgia and Texas show Mr Biden within striking distance. Were such numbers to hold in November, Mr Trump would lose by a landslide. Two things could prevent this. The first is Mr Biden…. The second is a dramatic economic rebound. That is what Mr Trump is trying to generate by pushing for an end to social distancing.” • Or an October surprise in the form of a vaccine.

Trump (R)(2): “In crucial Florida, some senior voters cast a skeptical eye toward Trump’s reelection” [WaPo]. “For months, Biden has been more popular than Trump with seniors. A national poll of registered voters released by Quinnipiac University last week shows Biden leading by 10 points among voters over 65. A Quinnipiac poll in late April found 52 percent of Florida seniors supporting Biden to 42 percent for Trump, while a Fox News poll around the same time found Biden narrowly ahead.” • Recall how long during the Democrat primary the Biden juggernaut rolled serenely on.

UPDATE Trump (R)(3): “What If Trump’s Record on the Pandemic Is Better Than We Think?” [John Harris, Politico]. After an enormous amount of throat-clearing, we come to these headings: “The country did mostly shut down and the public health system did not comprehensively fail… The United States is a lumbering giant… Trump and critics have to play by the same rules.” Worth reading. Harris concludes: “There is no way to “turn the sound off” on the modern presidency. It is above all an educational office — the most powerful platform in American life to set the national agenda, to illuminate complex choices, to help people understand how to reconcile competing values. It is not possible to judge Trump’s actions as distinct from what comes out of his mouth — from comparing coronavirus one day to the flu and boasting on another about his purported prescience in seeing before others how dangerous it is. Trump rhapsodized about churches swelling with worshipers on Easter and then backed off. In one mood he says that states should set their own policies on shutdowns and then in another he turns to mockery to pressure governors to open up before they believe it is prudent to do so.” • It is true that were Josh Bartlett in the Oval Office again, many wouild be able to “turn the sound on,” since after all Barlett was very articulate. (OK, not Bartlett, Obama, who was certainly not able to “reconcile competing values” — or fght fiercely for the values, if any, that he had.) But would “the lumbering giant” have performed that much better? The Clinton campaign, the ObamaCare launch fiasco, and the Obama Alumni Association’s miserably inadequate response to the last crash argue for skepticism. Of course, that argument is hard to turn into a talking point.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren seen as ‘obvious’ pick for Joe Biden’s vice president by veteran pollster” [MarketWatch]. • Not gonna play well among those who were hoping for a permanent woman of color.

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“Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day” [Ballotpedia]. “Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters have a family member who has lost their primary income due to the government shutdowns of the economy. A Ballotpedia survey of 1,200 registered voters found that 57% have not experienced that challenge….. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Hispanic voters have experienced such loss along with 49% of black voters. That figure is just 33% among white voters….. [J]ust 20% of white Democrats believe the lockdowns have done more harm than good. However, 38% of non-white Democrats believe that to be true.”

“Tlaib Opponent Brenda Jones Collected Campaign Contributions from Quicken Loans Executives as Public Subsidies Flowed” [The Intercept]. “In the weeks leading up to Brenda Jones’s vote in November 2017 to award $250 million in taxpayer funds to billionaire Dan Gilbert and his Quicken Loans empire, the Detroit City Council president cashed $8,000 in campaign checks from current and former executives at Gilbert’s companies. In total, Jones has received nearly $25,000 in campaign contributions from the executives, their spouses, and Quicken’s political action committee, while Gilbert, Michigan’s richest man, has accumulated over half a billion in public subsidies… Jones and Tlaib faced off in two elections in 2018, one to fill the remainder of former Rep. John Conyers’s term, the second for the nomination to succeed him in the next Congress. Jones won the first, serving for roughly three weeks, while Tlaib won the second, going on to become a high-profile member of the so-called Squad.”


“New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification” [The Hill].

Those of us who have speculated there was insufficient cause for beginning the investigation could not have imagined the actual opening document was this feeble. It is as if it were written by someone who had no experience as an FBI agent.

Keep in mind the FBI cannot begin to investigate anyone, especially a U.S. citizen or entity, without first creating a document that lists the reasonably suspicious factors that would legally justify the investigation. That’s FBI 101, taught Day 1 at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va.

To the untrained eye, the FBI document that launched Crossfire Hurricane can be confusing, and it may be difficult to discern how it might be inadequate. To the trained eye, however, it is a train wreck. There are a number of reasons why it is so bad. Two main ones are offered below (if you would like to follow along, the document is here):

First, the document is oddly constructed. In a normal, legitimate FBI Electronic Communication, or EC, there would be a “To” and a “From” line. The Crossfire Hurricane EC has only a “From” line; it is from a part of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division whose contact is listed as Peter Strzok. The EC was drafted also by Peter Strzok. And, finally, it was approved by Peter Strzok. Essentially, it is a document created by Peter Strzok, approved by Peter Strzok, and sent from Peter Strzok to Peter Strzok.

Second, the Crossfire Hurricane case was opened as a Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) investigation. A FARA investigation involves a criminal violation of law — in this case, a negligent or intentional failure to register with the U.S. government after being engaged by a foreign country to perform services on its behalf — that is punishable by fines and imprisonment. It is rarely investigated.

In a normal EC opening a FARA case, we should expect to see a list of reasons why the FBI believes individuals associated with a U.S. presidential campaign had been engaged by the Russian government to represent and advocate that government’s goals.

This, however, was no normal EC. Try as we might to spot them, those reasons are not found anywhere in the document.

Check the author’s bio. Yes, he’s in counter-intelligence, so he could be a loon, but then the RussiaGate pushers were loons, too. Anyhow, here’s the document. And the memo header is just as bizarre as described:

One wonders if the “To” field was once there, or was never there. Either way!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How Long Will the Actual Left Stay with the Democratic Party?” [Down with Tyranny]. “It’s about progressive activists, the sleeping mass of progressive voters (and non-voters) who are starting to wake, and the potential beginning of the end of progressive support of the Democratic Party. Recall the opening point: ‘Black activists to Biden: If you Klobuchar, we may not support you.’ That’s a threat for this time, for the 2020 election….. There’s no question knee-jerk Democratic voters, and also some thoughtful ones, will line up to support every bad mainstream Democrats (because Republicans!), but the real resistance (hashtag #RealResistance) is not to Republican rule, but to donor class rule and devastation by both parties. How long will actual progressives — let’s call them ‘FDR voters=’ or #RealResistance voters, those who used to flock to Sanders every time he spoke — continue to flock to Democrats at the ballot box, simply because they’re Democrats no matter how bad?” • Let’s assume that black activists and #RealResistance activists can unite. My view is that, institutionally, a third party should be dues-paying, have a single, simple, fixed programmatic platform for at least three Presidential election cycles, and be able to enforce party discipline. No more of this Blue Dog, Big Tent garbage. If you don’t stick to the platform, you’re out. And above all, don’t call the party “Progressive” or “Peoples” whatever. Base it firmly in the working class (and not “working families” ffs).

UPDATE “How Democrats Became the Party of the Upper Middle Class” [Bloomberg]. “If [Sanders] had consistently won large majorities among white working-class voters, it would have vindicated the left-populist theory behind his candidacy. In the end, he did worse than former Vice President Joe Biden — as establishmentarian a figure as imaginable, with a long record of chumminess with corporations — in several states. Nor did the Vermont senator generate the increased turnout that his allies predicted. As Eric Levitz pointed out in an incisive analysis of the class dynamics of the Democratic Party, Sanders’s socialist profile didn’t improve his standing among working-class whites in the general electorate, either. They rejected him by roughly the same margins they reject other Democrats… The party’s economic agenda, even on its left wing, increasingly reflects the priorities of its new upper-middle-class supporters.” • Oddly, Franks What’s the Matter with Kansas? is mentioned, but Listen, Liberal! is not. This whole article is worth a read. I think we can all agree that if Sanders’ strategy was to bring disaffected working class voters into the Democrat Party, it failed. I can think of two possible reasons for this that go unmentioned in analysis like this: (1) The Democrat Party brand is irremediably polluted; the idea that the Democrat Party is actually hated doesn’t figure in the discourse at all; but it surely is. In partial consequence: (2) Door-knocking is not enough, especially when practiced by fresh-faced and downloadly mobile failsons and -daughters of the professional class. At some point, I’ll have to incorporate all this into my “pathways to misfortune” matrix for the Sanders campaign (Clinton version here), which I am still meditating.

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.

GDP: “Second Estimate 1Q2020 GDP Growth Declines to 5.0% Economic Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The coronavirus lockdown is the reason for the decline – and pushed GDP into contraction. No doubt the U.S. economy is in a recession. From the BEA: …’The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.” I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed a significant decline from last quarter.”

Employment Situation: “Jobless Claims at 2.1 Million, But Joblessness Shrinks Slightly” [Industry Week]. “The next significant sign of how the economy is adapting through the COVID-19 crisis will come next week, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its May jobs report June 5. The last available Employment Situation report, for the month of April, was released May 8 and showed an active unemployment rate of 14.7%, its highest level since the Great Depression. That figure doesn’t include people who are considered outside of the labor market or who have stopped working for work. Some predictions have the unemployment rate reaching 20%, or about 5% shy of records set during the Great Depression.”

Manufacturing: “Headline Durable Goods New Orders Again Significantly Declined In April 2020” [Econintersect]. “As expected, there was a serious decline in durable goods due to coronavirus. \In the adjusted data, the weakness in new orders was widespread.”

Manufacturing: “May 2019 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Remains Deep In Contraction” “[Econintersect]. “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts. Note that the key internals remains deep in negative territory. This survey should be considered better than last month.”

Manufacturing: “General Electric Co. is turning out the lights on an iconic part of its business. The company is getting out of making lightbulbs…. selling a unit that defined GE for nearly a century and was its last direct link to consumers. The company will sell its lighting business to Massachusetts-based Savant Systems Inc., a seller of home-automation technology in a transaction that values the unit at around $250 million” [Wall Street Journal]. “That hardly makes the business a financial heavyweight, but the sale is the latest sign of the transformation of the American manufacturing landscape and a big marker in the changes at GE. The company has been selling off industrial units to pare down its debts, making GE smaller but also making it more reliant on an aviation unit that now faces tough prospects under the coronavirus pandemic.” • Good job, GE.

Housing: “April 2020 Pending Home Sales Crash Continues Due To Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “The year-over-year growth is in NEGATIVE territory. I believe the housing industry will reset due to the coronavirus – and I suspect housing will slump until a permanent fix for the pandemic is realized.”

* * *

Retail: “Dollar General, Family Dollar Same-Store Sales Jump” [PYMNTS.COM]. “Amid increases in average transaction amount and shopper traffic, Dollar General Corp. reported that same-store sales rose 21.7 percent for fiscal year 2020 Q1 compared to Q1 2019. The company reported a rise in same-store sales in consumables, home products, seasonal and clothing categories, noting the biggest percentage increase in home products, according to an announcement. ‘The Company believes consumer behavior driven by COVID-19 had a significant positive effect on net sales and same-store sales,’ it noted in the earnings announcement.”

Retail: “Americans, It Turns Out, Would Rather Visit a Store Than Buy Food Online” [Bloomberg]. “[H]ere’s the bad news for companies that have spent billions building web supermarkets: Russolillo and shoppers like her prefer to walk the aisles themselves. ‘If I feel it’s safe, I’d much rather do my own shopping,’ says Russolillo, who is 62 and lives on Long Island. ‘It’s much different than going online and looking at pictures.’… Problems with online food shopping also persist. The operations are expensive to run, and limits on capacity and inventory abound right now with supply chains upended. The shopping experience can be clunky and confusing, especially for older consumers. And one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed is that Americans still like to squeeze their cantaloupes and eyeball their rib-eyes.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 28 at 1:31pm.

The Biosphere

“The New Cash Crop: Carbon” [AgPro]. “What if farmers could get paid for practices that promote ecosystem services? Let’s say you’ve been using cover crops as a way to reduce the amount of nutrient inputs and keep carbon in your soil. Well, now it’s possible to get paid for that. But it’s complicated. To start, what would qualify as an ecosystem service? According to [Christophe Jospe, the co-founder of Nori], ecosystem services can mean anything from carbon sequestration, water retention, carbon reduction, and nutrient density. An ecosystem service market, according to Jospe, ‘is like a digital crop that you can sell. So along with physical grain crops, there are abstractions of the improvement of what you can do to your land and then sell that to companies.’;Those companies could be interested in your data for the supply chain or those who are looking to offset their carbon emissions by paying someone else who can remove an equal amount or carbon.” • Hmm. I have a vague feeling I should beware of this “services” concept, since it implies monetization — as we see here. Do readers think this is a good way to incentivize good soil?

Health Care

“Despite The Hype, Gilead’S Remdesivir Will Do Nothing To End The Coronavirus Pandemic” [The Intercept]. “[W]hile [Gilead’s] clever rollout has generated excitement among investors, politicians, and the public, a combination of generic drugs that appears to be more effective in fighting the coronavirus has flown under the radar…. While some patients and their families have spent the past few weeks frantically trying to procure remdesivir, another Covid-19 treatment has been quietly been shown to be more effective. Although neither option appears to be the much-needed cure for Covid-19, a three-drug regimen offered a greater reduction in the time it took patients to recover than remdesivir did. People who took the combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin got better in seven days as opposed to 12 days for those who didn’t take it. Critically, the treatment has another leg up on Gilead’s: It clearly reduced the amount of the coronavirus in patients who took it, according to a study published in The Lancet on May 8. Yet so far there has been no stampede of patients demanding the new regimen or lotteries to mete out the doses, which may be due at least in part to the fact that the treatment hasn’t been the subject of a major marketing campaign. It’s worth noting that each of the three drugs in the new combination is generic, or no longer under patent, which means that no company stands to profit significantly from its use.”

“An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice” [Science]. Rarely, a pre-abstract: “Broad-spectrum antivirals are desirable, particularly in the context of emerging zoonotic infections for which specific interventions do not yet exist. Sheahan et al. tested the potential of a ribonucleoside analog previously shown to be active against other RNA viruses such as influenza and Ebola virus to combat coronaviruses. This drug was effective in cell lines and primary human airway epithelial cultures against multiple coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. Mouse models of SARS and MERS demonstrated that early treatment reduced viral replication and damage to the lungs. Mechanistically, this drug is incorporated into the viral RNA, inducing mutations and eventually leading to error catastrophe in the virus. In this manner, inducing catastrophe could help avoid catastrophe by stemming the next pandemic.” • This sounds hopeful to me, even if it is in vitro, mouse study-level. Readers?

Our Famously Free Press

“Left-Wing Podcasters Are Charting a Future Without Bernie Sanders” [Bloomberg]. “Chapo Trap House and a handful of other tiny socialist media outlets—many of the most successful of which center on podcasts—had found a niche during Sanders’s two presidential runs. The collection of podcasts, sometimes called the “dirtbag left” ranges from serious Marxist analysis to crude comedy shows that are vaguely political at best. Chapo Trap House sits somewhere in the middle, combining some of the shock-jock aesthetic of right-wing talk radio with the emerging business model of the online micro-media company. The six-person team generates about $2 million annually from podcast subscriptions through Patreon, a platform for artists and creators to get paid directly by supporters, in addition to revenue from book sales and in-person events. The live shows, of course, are on hold due to the coronavirus, and subscribers have dropped 6% from their peak on March 16. The pandemic has thrown doubt on every media company from Walt Disney Co. down as corporate advertising budgets have taken a hit. But smaller media outfits that rely predominantly on subscriptions may be uniquely positioned to weather the economic slump.” • Hmm.

Groves of Academe

“Dartmouth to apply for federal coronavirus relief funding” [WCAX]. “Dartmouth College plans to apply for federal aid to help students during the coronavirus pandemic. The college is eligible for approximately $3.4 million through the coronavirus relief bill. President Philip Hanlon said in a weekly online forum Wednesday that the college will apply for the first portion – $1.7 million – which by law is designated for student aid. Officials expect to announce on June 29 whether students will return to campus in the fall.” • Federal aid for MOOCs. You hate to see it.

Class Warfare

UPDATE A good question. Thread:

We care about the employment relations, silly! Hence the palpable inadequacy of the bailouts for the working class. Not hearing that word “Rooseveltian” much anymore, are we?

News of the Wired

“Man acquitted of entering a home with a weapon after successful sex fantasy defence” [Guardian]. “Two men hired to carry out a stranger’s sexual fantasy of being tied up while clad in his underpants went to the wrong rural NSW address with machetes, but politely left after realising their mistake.” • There’ll always be an Australia. Of course, for all we know what happened was the fantasy, as so often happens.

“The general wisdom of Ulysses S. Grant” [Strategy + Leadership]. “Grant’s second attribute was his strategic sensibility. He understood that the Union had more men and resources than the Confederacy. But he also knew that the secessionists could win by not losing — that is, by hanging on until the Northern states lost the will to fight. Accordingly, he adopted an aggressive strategy that relied on corralling the enemy by cutting its forces off from the territory needed to maneuver, the resources needed to fight, and one another. And then, after mustering the largest force possible, Grant attacked to destroy or capture the enemy armies.” • I expected to skewer this as airport bookstore leadeship fodder; it’s not too bad. My views in Grant here. The left needs a Grant.

“What Tony Hawk’s First Skateboard Shows About the History of the Sport He Made Famous” [Smithsonian]. “Skateboarding remains an American anomaly. It was born here, died here and then came back—again and again and again. In its 60 years, it has been viewed as a menace, an art form and now, finally, a noble athletic pursuit recognized at the highest level of international sports.” • I had no idea skateboarding had been going on that long. I think skateboarding is neat!

“Me, myself, bye: regional alterations in glutamate and the experience of ego dissolution with psilocybin” [Nature]. “ollowing a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group design, we utilized an ultra-high field multimodal brain imaging approach and demonstrated that psilocybin (0.17 mg/kg) induced region-dependent alterations in glutamate, which predicted distortions in the subjective experience of one’s self (ego dissolution). Whereas higher levels of medial prefrontal cortical glutamate were associated with negatively experienced ego dissolution, lower levels in hippocampal glutamate were associated with positively experienced ego dissolution. ” • News you can use!

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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 (Clive):

Clive writes: “Some variety of fungus, somewhere in north Japan. I know no more than that. But it is beautiful in that beautifully creepy way fungi are.” Can anyone identity this odd little number?

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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. Gary

      Speaking of Japanese mushrooms, you should check out The Attack of The Mushroom People.
      I wonder where you can steam it???

    2. Clive

      Thank-you Nate! I was completely stumped by this one as I don’t think they’re found in England. I’ve certainly never seen one of those and I’ve seen most native varieties here. I will now be able to show off to my relative in Japan about how clever I am in identifying it (although I’ll probably have to give you a credit because I’m hopeless about knowing my fungi names and I’ll be inevitably caught out if I try to bluff it).

  1. ShamanicFallout

    The skateboarding of my youth was just before Tony Hawk. It was the Z Boys, like Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and (definitely not a boy) Peggy Oki. The emergence of the fiber flex board, Road Rider, Kryptonic, etc wheels and the newer trucks and those SoCal skaters were so cool to us at the time. Though looking back now though, not nearly as impressive and daredevil as it became. Any rate, the documentary ‘Dogtown and Z Boys’ is definitely recommended.

      1. JacobiteInTraining


        I never was much of a skateboarder…once for a week until knees horribly skinned in the late 70’s, then hung out with some of the ‘next generation’ skater punks in the late 80s, but after finding ‘Dogtown and Z Boys’ I ended up watching it from beginning to end, enthralled.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          ‘Dogtown and Z Boys’ is a great documentary. I didn’t skate but 80s skate culture and Punk/Hardcore/Speed Metal** had a lot of cross connections so i was very familiar with everyone in the doc.
          The last time I watched it was like viewing a foreign country. That America was an entirely different place.

          ** Oddly, a lot of cross bleed with comic books/80s computer culture/80s pen and paper RPGs and Punk/Skate culture.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      My family went to Los Angeles, California with the intent to move there in 1976. When we were there my brother and I saw a movie called “Go For It“. Here is a longer clip of the skateboarding part. Yes, the original Dogtown and Z Boys. It was the coolest thing a 10 year old could have seen.

      We ended up buying Proline Skateboards (this is the exact one I bought) while we were there are were the first kids to bring them back to our little suburb of New York.

      We cranked the trucks as tight and would ride straight down hill as fast as we could wearing only shorts. Yes, no shoes, shirts or helmet. Needless to say I will never forget trying to pick up my front teeth off the pavement with my fully broken wrist (true story). And the hamburger meat we saw that summer…wow.

      I am only a year older than Tony Hawk so pretty much a similar generations experience.

    2. Dita

      Love that documentary – another documentary Riding Giants could be a good side dish to that

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Nice! That looked like us. Like the kids in the Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau!

  2. carl

    If you like skateboarding, please don’t miss Dogtown and Z Boys, the documentary, not the vapid fictionalized film. Stacy Peralta, one of the original “boys”, does an excellent job of directing, with great vintage footage, Sean Penn narration(!) and a soundtrack that’ll take you back to the 70s. I had no idea how close surfing and skateboarding were until I saw the film.

  3. antidlc

    So a friend got an Economic Impact Payment Card instead of a check.

    It was sent to his address, so they could have mailed a paper check to the address instead.

    Here is the info:

    and here is the fee schedule:

    $2.00 out of network ATM withdrawal fee.

    $.25 fee for balance inquiry (either in or out of network).

    “Bank Teller Over-the-Counter Cash Withdrawal
    This is our fee. You may withdraw funds at banks displaying the Visa® logo. You may also be charged a fee by the bank. We will not charge this fee for your first withdrawal on your Card.”

    How did they determine who gets a paper check and who gets a debit card?


    Others have to wait for a paper check in the mail that they can cash. You can track your check using the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website. But the Treasury announced on Monday that nearly four million Americans will instead get a prepaid EIP debit card in the mail. The first of those cards are now on their way.

    1. curlydan

      I believe the card is issued by Meta Bank, a company with the stock symbol (I [bleep] you not) CASH.

  4. BoyDownTheLane

    The left needs a Grant. And Grant had a Sherman, who burned his way through the South, and then the US Army decimated the Native Americans.

    As for incentivizing good soil, the old techniques of stone dust and cow manure could still do a good job.

    1. Keith

      It may not be ethical, but waging war against the civilian population and starving them out can be effective, as is providing them with small pox laced blankets!

      1. hunkerdown

        If we can use CIC Obama’s doctrine as a guide, all neoliberal supporters can be presumed combatants.

        While I believe I am dispositionally qualified to go full skin-that-cat on the Democrat Party, I’m too socially awkward for the main gig, and would make a better lieutenant.

      2. Bruno

        The vast majority of the “civilian population” were black and they were enthusiastic supporters of Sherman’s march “From Atlanta To The Sea!”

        1. Keith

          Until he left them behind for themselves. Also, so were the white women and children lawful combatants in your view? They were the targets, while the able bodied men were at the front.

          1. JTMcPhee

            “Don’t start something you can’t finish.” War is hell, they say. And there is more than enough blameworthy to go around. See, e.g., History of the United States.

          2. occasional anonymous

            Considering many of those white women were themselves active agents in the slave industry, yes.

          3. Bsoder

            Sherman, didn’t leave anybody behind because it was never part of his general orders to have them in the first. Still many persisted. Sadly, he took down a bridge he had built and many blacks drowned. He says he deeply regretted it. Easy to say? Not really. Sherman was a guy who had suffered very much In life, it wasn’t like he did this stuff lightly. His orders did not include harming women & children unless they interfered. He did hang a few of his men to make a point.

            War is war, the idea is to kill people on the other side. I’ve been in two, I don’t recommend it. No one is innocent. At least in the Civil War. Sherman was sick of the killing and wanted an end to all it as fast as possible. Sherman and Grant’s view was the southern state fighters were not soldiers but felons committing murder. Bobby Lee was no saint, he was offered command of the entire union army. Once he turned it down he should have been shot. As a general his goal, professed by himself was to commit as much mayhem as possible. Lincoln was unbelievably compassionate, I don’t think I could have been, not to Lee.

      3. occasional anonymous

        Between the utterly shameful display in the Democratic Primary and now the vocal stupidity of the lockdown protests, I’d say some significant portion of the US civilian population is already waging war on itself.

    2. Phacops

      The recognition that the civilian population is not innocent because they support the conditions that allow a combatant to field an army is an axiom of warfare. I wonder if Americans realize that they are legitimate targets by those opposing our occupation of their territory. Wasn’t Bin Laden opposing the stationing of American troops in Saudi Arabia? If so, his actions can be seen as warfare on a culpable American population.

      1. albrt

        Foreigners opposing occupation of their territory cannot kill American civilians unless the foreigners have a spreadsheet and a committee meeting to justify the killing. Then it’s due process and it’s OK.

        I learned that from Eric Holder.

  5. petal

    All Trump has to run are commercials of JB sharting in a loop. I realise everyone has moments of optimism and sharts from time to time, but come on, man. Combine that and his potential brain issues, it’s not a good look.

    1. polecat

      Oh C’mon! EVERYONE FARTS …..It’s just that some do it with more ‘liquidity’ then others, however. Especially when there are not any ‘softballs’ whizzing by ..

      1. petal

        We’ll have to keep watching..erm listening in case it happens again when there are no softballs in sight.

    1. nippersmom

      I’m disappointed in Bernie, too, but don’t see how he is to blame for this one,

          1. hunkerdown

            I suppose that depends on one’s class perspective and how attached one is to the liberal order as a package.

    2. remmer

      Things aren’t that bad, Flora — the leader of League 46 is Symone Sanders, a Biden adviser, not Bernie.

      1. richard

        or, things are that bad
        but this just doesn’t happen to be a piece of evidence ;)

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its Symone Sanders.

      I figure 46 is about how many people they can get to watch or a reference to the minimum age of the viewer.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          67 views….this is an increase of almost 50%! We are going to sweep all 50 states! 2 more views. 69 Joe’s favorite number! We did it.”

    4. Svejk

      Reading about the Bernie/Beto-jedge lovefest motivated me to give another donation to the Green Party and firm up my resolve to campaign for the Greens in swing states–if they have the stomach for that. Really sorry for all the work I did for Bernie.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Really? Do you have a link? Where did you read this? The only instance I can find of Mayo Pete is a Symone Sanders doing just enough to explain how they have a youth out reach program.

        1. nippersmom

          From above:
          Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden and one of his most visible spokespeople, will lead the project. League 46 will build on work by the previously launched Students for Biden while forging alliances with young professionals and young elected officials…. Among the events planned for this week is the kickoff of a young professionals finance council, featuring an online conversation Sanders will moderate with Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was a top contender for this year’s Democratic nomination.”

    5. Massinissa

      Thank god its Symone Sanders. I would be genuinely embarrassed if it were Bernie. Hell, I’m embarrassed that Symone Sanders thought this was a good idea, her having run Bernies 2016 campaign and all.

      1. hunkerdown

        Of course it was a good idea. Stable, well-remunerated sinecures adjacent to nobility (aka “careers”) are their aristocratic right.

        1. JBird4049

          Geeez, this is just like how the oligarchic families under the benevolent leadership of their patróns run places in Central and South America. A pyramidal society with an extractive economy as described in Political Science 101.

    6. THarry

      When I read this article and saw her name I thought “what a clever bit of psyops on their part”. Of all the people they could have chosen lets pick someone with the same name as Bernie’s who could easily be mistaken for him during a quick review of this “students for Biden” atrocity. It should be renamed “Masochistic student load debt serfs for Biden”.

    7. L

      You could essentially summarize #1,2, & 4 of the Biden headings under one thing:

      What do you do when giving people what they actually want is too much?

      I mean think about it:
      1) Americans neither like nor trust Silicon Valley?… “More data mining!”
      2) Young people need jobs and debt relief?… “Tell them they don’t know how to manage their (nonexistent) assets!”
      3) African Americans need substantive change? … “Remind them they have no hope and no alternatives! Rub their faces in it!”

      It is almost like Biden really has no sympathy for many of these groups or an understanding of where they are coming from. He did say that he had no sympathy for young people. And his use of a baseball metaphor (average age of MLB fans is 59) suggests a lack of awareness.

      I mean sorry to be snarky but really is he trying to lose? Or does he just assume he cannot?

      1. polecat

        It truly IS the end of an era .. the problem is, is that the Democrats just can’t grok it!

      2. Bugs Bunny

        Come on man, I imagine he sleeps poorly, as do a lot of elderly people. Makes one cranky and clumsy. And sometimes you fart without thinking about it. Just lean back and relax.

        My grandmother was like that. Actually she got kind of mean near the end.

      3. albrt

        Joe Biden has never displayed any sympathy for anybody except maybe his kid who died of cancer.

        And yes, most of the professional Democrats want to lose so they can fund raise off of Trump for another 4 years.

    8. ChrisPacific

      Paraphrasing the Biden pitch:

      Calling young leaders! Are you committed to the appearance of change, but secretly love the status quo? If so, the Biden campaign wants you! There are a lot of political initiatives out there right now with great potential for change, and a lot of lobbyists and donors are willing to pay good money to prevent them from succeeding. Why choose a side when you can have both? We’ll teach you techniques of virtue signalling, rationalization, incrementalism, and selective blindness so you can convince yourself that you really, truly did your best. What’s more, we’ll use our fundraising network to put you in touch with mysteriously well-funded organisations you never heard of who are eager to support your important work financially. What’s not to like? Sign up today!

  6. diptherio

    An ecosystem service market, according to Jospe, ‘is like a digital crop that you can sell. So along with physical grain crops, there are abstractions of the improvement of what you can do to your land and then sell that to companies.’

    Horrible idea, imnsho. I don’t see how it’s any different from the standard carbon-credits market nonsense.

    How about just paying small farmers and ranchers to implement soil-building practices (heavy mulch/cover crops for farming, rotational/mob grazing for ranching)? I mean, I know that would cut out the market middlemen and provide direct assistance to people who are all too often having to work second jobs to support their agriculture habit, but that can’t be all bad, can it?

    1. Hana M

      A lot of farmers are discovering the benefits of cover crops for soil improvement. One wrinkle that pays is using cover crops to create habitats for pheasant, quail and other wildlife and then opening land for a fee to hunters, I know this is probably anathema to a lot of the NC commentariate but outfits like the wonderful Pheasants Forever are doing great work developing see mixes and helping farmers use their land in ways that benefit the environment. https://www.pfhabitatstore.com/store/items/FP/

    2. Carla

      Why not just SHOW farmers how building their soil will build the health of their fields and raise their bottom line, like these guys are doing?

      I was so impressed, I made a donation to the filmmaker.

    3. HotFlashre pony and trap show -- on this side of the pond we say dog and pony show.

      No-till, cover crops, diversity, living roots all year round, livestock raising on the land — not just resilient, but regenerative farming. Gabe Brown has a lot to say, in short, medium, and long versions. I would say take your carbon financialization and stick it. Gabe says, take your own carbon, water, and air, and make it make a profit for you.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    Re: Me, myself, bye: regional alterations in glutamate and the experience of ego dissolution with psilocybin

    Oh Glutamate (and GABA)…when will you ever be acknowledge by the psychiatric world as an important modulator of the human experience? But you know, with the magic of the mushrooms this all starts with serotonin, whose receptors modulate the release of glutamate in these different areas of the brain.

    Where they see lower glutamate they will see higher GABA, becasue glutamate is turned into GABA by a single enzyme. The yin and yang was never more obvious in the human experience. The decrease of glutamate in the Hippocampus makes us forget ourselves and where we are, literally, since that is where “we” and “where” exist and it is a major place of damage in Alzheimer’s.

    The Prefrontal Cortex, well that is just to much “reality”, so no wonder the bad trips are associated with higher glutamate there.

    But why anyone would want to give themselves temporary schizophernia is beyond me.

    A tiny dose of klonopin, which increases GABA and blunt the glutamate response, will stop me from suicide every time, but I cannot get my doctors to believe how much it helps me. (For those who are going to tell me how dangerous it is, please don’t. I take .25mg only when I need it which is rarely.)

    And yes, glutamate added to foods to increase flavor sensitivity will bother those who are sensitive. Talk about ego, what better way to hardern the ego then to make your experience heightened the way that Glutamate can.

    1. dougie

      Whereas higher levels of medial prefrontal cortical glutamate were associated with negatively experienced ego dissolution…….

      “Bad trip” is a much better meta-communication, IMO(grins)

      1. Cuibono

        i love how science pretends to add to our understanding of these things with all of this neuroimaging…
        bad trip is so much more cogent

  8. Lee

    Retail: “Americans, It Turns Out, Would Rather Visit a Store Than Buy Food Online” [Bloomberg].

    “….And one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed is that Americans still like to squeeze their cantaloupes and eyeball their rib-eyes.”

    From A Supermarket in California

    What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
    In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
    What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Not gonna play well among those who were hoping for a permanent woman of color.

    This and the snake emoji are what is missing along with her usual reactionary foreign policy views. The Warren as an ally of not the extreme right is a major is one thing, but Warren in action and only picked after Larry Summers and Rahm are brought back puts her into…hey she finished third in Massachusetts…so theres that.

    1. Billy

      Well,there’s always a Temporary woman of color….which one?
      Kamala Harris’ sister self-identifies as East Indian, as was their 100% East Indian mother. Kamala has one great-grandmother who was half black and half Carib Indian. Harris’ father is the descendant of Hamilton Brown, an Irish colonizer in Jamaica, who owned 86 slaves, listed in the “Legacies of British Slave-Ownership” project at University College London (UCL), Brown was at various times the owner, manager, or executor of several dozen plantations and estates on the island of Jamaica.

      Harris’ father:
      “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown‟s Town) and to my maternal grandmother Miss Iris née Iris Finegan, farmer and educator, from Aenon Town and Inverness, ancestry unknown to me.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Still waiting for the name or information of whatever source Wheeler handed over to the FBI to appear in any offical context at all, but wev.

      1. richard

        I have never seen “wev” for what ev
        that’s catchy, and preserves 2 syllables of energy for more meaningful words

    2. Darthbobber

      Wheeler does not literally lie, but she relies heavily on drawing implications from words and facts that most readers of the words or observers of the facts would not agree are there. She also stopped taking a journalistic approach to Russiagate sometime ago, and writes like a lawyer with a brief for the chosen narrative.

      Part of her conclusion about a country planning to attack the United States giving one party a heads-up about it gets to the central problem. She is firmly convinced that this is literally what happened here, that the Russian state “attacked” the United States, and tipped the Trumpies about it. And long after this collapsed under it’s own weight she remains committed to this reading.

      Her pieces are often quite long, but filled usually with conditional chains with fairly weak backing for each link in the chain.

      To make matters worse, the Russiagate fiasco has bled severely into her treatment of Assange and Snowmen, to the point that her past civil liberties concerns have been diluted so badly in practice that we’re down to homeopathic doses.

      1. rowlf

        Thanks for the summary. I could never quite put my finger on why she hit so many wrong notes on her piano. She did seem to have eaten the whole jar of blue pills, and maybe put a few in her ears too.

      2. tomk

        Not unfair. I don’t buy in to her all her conclusions and insinuations, but I do find her worth reading.

    3. Yves Smith

      Ahem, you need to read the epic Glenn Greenwald takedown of Marcy Wheeler:

      Perhaps the single most shameful and journalism-destroying episode in all of this — an obviously difficult title to bestow — was when a national security blogger, Marcy Wheeler, violated long-standing norms and ethical standards of journalism by announcing in 2018 that she had voluntarily turned in her own source to the FBI, claiming she did so because her still-unnamed source “had played a significant role in the Russian election attack on the US” and because her life was endangered by her brave decision to stop being a blogger and become an armchair cop by pleading with the FBI and the Mueller team to let her work with them. In her blog post announcing what she did, she claimed she was going public with her treachery because her life was in danger, and this way everyone would know the real reason if “someone releases stolen information about me or knocks me off tomorrow.”

      To say that Wheeler’s actions are a grotesque violation of journalistic ethics is to radically understate the case. Journalists are expected to protect their sources’ identities from the FBI even if they receive a subpoena and a court order compelling its disclosure; we’re expected to go to prison before we comply with FBI attempts to uncover our source’s identity. But here, the FBI did not try to compel Wheeler to tell them anything; they displayed no interest in her as she desperately tried to chase them down.

      By all appearances, Wheeler had to beg the FBI to pay attention to her because they treated her like the sort of unstable, unhinged, unwell, delusional obsessive who, believing they have uncovered some intricate conspiracy, relentlessly harass and bombard journalists with their bizarre theories until they finally prattle to themselves for all of eternity in the spam filter of our email inboxes. The claim that she was in possession of some sort of explosive and damning information that would blow the Mueller investigation wide open was laughable. In her post, she claimed she “always planned to disclose this when this person’s role was publicly revealed,” but to date — almost two years later — she has never revealed “this person’s” identity because, from all appearances, the Mueller report never relied on Wheeler’s intrepid reporting or her supposedly red-hot secrets.

      Like so many other Russiagate obsessives who turned into social media and MSNBC/CNN #Resistance stars, Wheeler was living a wild, self-serving fantasy, a Cold War Tom Clancy suspense film that she invented in her head and then cast herself as the heroine: a crusading investigative dot-connecter uncovering dangerous, hidden conspiracies perpetrated by dangerous, hidden Cold War-style villains (Putin) to the point where her own life was endangered by her bravery. It was a sad joke, a depressing spectacle of psycho-drama, but one that could have had grave consequences for the person she voluntarily ratted out to the FBI. Whatever else is true, this episode inflicted grave damage on American journalism by having mainstream, Russia-obsessed journalists not denounce her for her egregious violation of journalistic ethics but celebrate her for turning journalism on its head.


      There’s more where that came from….

      Recall also that Wheeler had briefly joined The Intercept as a consultant and then left. One wonders if Greenwald was in the internal information loop on her short-lived gig there.

  10. Michael McK

    Having the market for Carbon offsets involved in farm based Carbon sequestration would be a disaster. Having current Federal farm subsidies tied to Carbon sequestration would be great!

  11. ChrisAtRU

    Freedom Rider: Biden and the Low Point of Black Politics

    Not a word wasted. I giggled to myself as I read the excerpt – as other no doubt have and will – not just because it’s bitingly funny, but because I thought to myself, “… that has to be Margaret Kimberly” … and I was right!

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Trump (R)(1): “Trump is courting a landslide defeat”

      Lambert: “Or an October surprise in the form of a vaccine.”

      Personally, I still don’t discount that full-preservation-mode Trump won’t go #M4A either. He’d call it #TrumpCare and whip the GOP into shape to push it through.He should push for it just to see the Democraps scramble to find ways to reject it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is a bit like making points about what Biden should do. In the end, Trump is not very smart or knowledgeable, limiting the amount of ideas he can generate on his own, leaving him at the mercy of his advisors who are largely grifters and movement conservatives. Even marginally good government would be a bridge too far.

        The Democrats have left room for Trump to nod off at a meeting and be less egregious than Team Blue so it seems like a possibility. They will attack Biden for hypocrisy and lie about their own performance, but good government…I don’t see it.

        I suspect the GOP plan is to force enough people to move to challenge every potential voter. They suspect Biden will be the doddering fool he has always been and know Biden’s “volunteers” will probably try to claim the time they watched The League of 46 (I mean…its just so dumb) as volunteering.

        1. Tomonthebeach

          The problem with your logic is that Biden is as vulnerable to that stuff as Trump is. You or I could blunt Trump readily, but Blast-from-the-P-ass Joe is getting so senile and frail, that he is at significant risks of several events all previously witnessed, but pig lipstick’d:

          a) losing his cool and blowing his image – low impulse control,
          b) getting disoriented mid-sentence – common dementia symptom,
          c) responding with another invented story to blunt criticism – confabulation/dementia
          d) quite literally soiling himself on camera – “What’s that coming out of your pantleg there Joe?

          Any one of those things happening on-camera would likely be a campaign stopper. A consequence would be a medical dropout and the VEEP candidate becoming Pointwoman. If they run a Veep candidate already shown to be weak – Trump wins. That seems to mean Warren or fuggedaboudit. I guess DNC billionaires are not big on strategic thinking.

          1. John k

            Warren not acceptable to the banks, plus nobody trusts her.
            My moneys on the Klob.

          2. albrt

            I don’t think any one of those things is a campaign stopper for Biden. Any typical Karen can overlook one or two or three insanely awful moments from a boss. The Karens are in control of the party now more than ever, black voters under Clyburn and his ilk having already shot their wad to get Biden where he is.

            I think Biden needs a combination of about 4 or 5 more such events, spaced about a week apart to have maximum embarrassment effect at the cocktail parties that will be restarting all over the country, and then the Karen core of the Democrat party will insist on his removal by any means necessary. Bonus points for literal defenestration performed by a woman of color.

      2. ambrit

        Do not count out the possible “October Surprise” of a false flag attack against American interests or a war. (Say, the Republic of Vietnam starts a low scaled naval war with China over competing claims to South China Sea resources and then an American ship is “accidentally” sunk by the Chinese there. Easy, ‘Gulf of Tonkin 2.0.’)
        We are dealing, on both political sides, with “Reality Challenged” people.
        Rove or whoever may have made the bold assertion that his ‘clique’ was comprised of “Reality Creators,” but as the coronavirus shows us, the “Real” reality is not at all impressed by human pride and arrogance.

      3. Samuel Conner

        IIRC, back in the heady days of 2017, when DJT and GOP were wrestling with how to repeal/replace ACA without antagonizing too many people, DJT remarked in a meeting, “why not simply enroll everyone in Medicare?” It’s a simple solution that everyone can understand.

        DJT seems pretty well-attuned to the sentiments of his base, and IIRC a plurality of even Rs things that M4A is a good idea. It could also be a way to earn the votes of enough of the Sanders wing of the D party to seal the outcome.

        I hope you are right. Wouldn’t it be something if, out of self-interest, DJT were to grow some Rooseveltian stones?

        1. Arizona Slim

          I can’t help thinking that DJT will just do one of those executive orders and enroll everyone in Medicare. But, then again, I am a perennial optimist.

          1. polecat

            Quasi-Nixonian × Riddlerarian Glee ??

            There’d be so many blue brains exploding, it would give the AAACKK Ones from Mars total planetary pangs of Envy!

        2. Massinissa

          I hate to say this, as Trump is an odious man, but if he was to come out tomorrow saying “No ifs ands or buts, no takebacks, I am delivering Medicare for All!” or the functional Trumpian equivalent, I may actually vote for the bastard… Currently planning on voting Green at the top of the ticket.

          I mean, I would probably also vote Biden if he promised M4A, but sadly the chance of that promise happening is roughly zero, and even if he did promise it, the chance of him following through with it is exactly zero…

        3. Dr. John Carpenter

          That’s been the theory a lot of people have had. Trump might accidentally do something that benefits the 99% if it also serves his interests. OTOH, the Democrat, be it Hillary or Joe, states unequivocally no, it won’t happen.

          I still won’t be holding my breath, but it’s a long way to November.

        4. John k

          He could win with a promise and then after winning, can’t get the votes. I tried, those damn dems wouldn’t give me enough votes…

          1. Pat

            Trump trying to deliver Medicare for All would be the one time we would find the Democrats truly acting as an opposition party. I can not only see Pelosi forcing nearly every Democratic House member to vote against it, but Schumer shutting down the Senate like he could have done at multiple times rather than passing Trump nominated judges.

            Why do I see that happening even though the Republicans don’t want it either? Becausethey are also smart enough to force the Dems to be the executioners.

            1. Felix_47

              My sense is the health insurance industry is pretty firmly in control of the Dems. The medical industrial complex may be bigger and more powerful than the military industrial complex.

  12. Bambo

    Re: The New Cash Crop: Carbon: In theory, this is a good idea: paying people for managing farms in ways that have been proven in some cases to, for instance, capture soil carbon. Note most row crops (corn, soy etc) are already private operated land so this aspect is not as worrisome as say, privatizing a public municipal reservoir. I’m sure someone would argue that ranchers using BLM land and getting paid for improving this public resource is not entirely fair, though I haven’t thought enough about that). The problem is most efforts are based mostly on modeling. State entities like California’s Air Resources board and the province of Alberta and NGO places like The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium largely operate under the idea of paying people for practices that empirical evidence (and then models that use that evidence) shows they capture carbon in soil. This is a problem if for instance, not tilling as often sequesters carbon in the soil (good, we want to pay for this) but the model leaves out that the practice also ramps up other greenhouse gases like N2O (bad, it’s canceling out the carbon sequestration) or groundwater pollution (these are both real problems). It is costly to directly measure soil carbon on vast acreages (you have to go out the field, take a ton of physical samples, then drag them to the lab to put into a machine). So there is a huge incentive to more cheaply model carbon changes, either based as a function of recording that the farmer is doing something something different, or measuring things that are way cheaper to measure like spectral data from a drone or satellite. These models will always have lots of uncertainty built in, which means they are going to have trouble gaining trust.

  13. John Zelnicker

    I was an early skateboarder; had one 60 years ago when I was 10.

    It was wood on steel skate wheels, no neoprene back then. The flat platform was alternating dark and blond wood, basically a rectangle with rounded edges. No flexibility or maneuverability.

    There aren’t a lot of hills or slopes where I grew up so it wasn’t that interesting and I never developed any skill.

    1. Duck1

      Remember skateboards appearing around ’61 or ’62 in SF. We were nailing the metal skate trucks to 2″x4″s, but can’t remember whether commercial versions appeared first. There were these red boards with metal wheels that were the first commercial boards we saw for a couple of bucks. Within a year or so the one kid in the neighborhood that had the grace to actually do anything on them turned up with a sort of surf board shaped wooden board with the kind of trucks on skating boots. Much smoother than the metal. Think it cost about $10, but you could get a nice English 3-speed bike back then for maybe $30.

      1. Billy

        Those were the outgrowth of the Flexi-Flyers.
        I skated at North Beach Playground with a board that I bought for seven bucks at The Emporium

    2. ronnie mitchell

      In 1967 or ’68 I worked for a short time at a place making the ‘sidewalk surfboards’, it was line work and I was compressing the bearing in the wheel.Boring.

      1. Sharron

        Got a blue painted wood skateboard around 1966. Also got alot of skinned knees. Those wheels would stop dead on a little pebble in the street. Much preferred trick skating Saturdays at the local roller rink.

    3. Arizona Slim

      I can remember the daredevil neighborhood boys riding skateboards down the street where I lived. This was in Pennsylvania, and when I say down, I mean DOWN. Our street was on the side of a hill.

      This was in 1964-66. Back then, skateboarding was something that only boys did. TBH, I thought that they were being stupid. Because of that thing called the force of gravity. And speed increasing on hills.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Any discussion about Biden in the primaries and how it went down relies on both perceptions of “electability” and the simple reality is Biden lied and the media either kept silent or pretended those lies didn’t matter.

    There is a still a perception Obama fought valiantly against the GOP, but understanding that’s not the case is a real problem. Biden wasn’t simply a yes voter but the serious Democrat who carried water for Shrub. The Pro-war agenda of the mislabeled “liberal” MSDNC isn’t going to share the various eff ups Biden was a supporter of. Biden’s record on trade wasn’t touched at all.

    Its anecdotal but canvassers said they never met Biden supporters. This is partially true. What is the perception of Biden? Is he Leslie Knope’s celebrity crush or Joe Biden?

  15. Keith

    And one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed is that Americans still like to squeeze their cantaloupes and eyeball their rib-eyes.

    This I can agree with, especially once you think about the people picking your food for you. I was out on a little road trip and stopped by the Walmart for some grillable veggies. I had Walmart shoppers coming up to me asking questions about how to pick an eggplant (she never ate one!!) and another asking about a squash (not sure what it was, it is green and grills well). That made me realize two thing, I need to pick my own produce as there are bodies but no quality control and I should stick to shopping to wealthier areas where these kinds of foods are eaten rather than the processed types.

    1. Phacops

      Grilled eggplant (Homer Simpson food gurgling noises)! Even better is grilling one whole for Baba Ganoush!

  16. dbk

    While I don’t understand the details of the biochemistry, the concept of a “wide-spectrum” antiviral sounds very logical / promising, indeed it sounds like the next-best option after a “wide-spectrum” coronavirus vaccine.

    Hope others with training in biochemistry can make such an antiviral’s action a little more comprehensible to us non-science readers.

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      There will always be problems with broad spectrum anti-virals. The way they work is to interrupt some of the same enzymes that are active in humans. This will cause side effects, mostly psychiatric.

      Lithium has been looked at as a COVID treatment, for example.

      And other antivirals, like Valacyclovir for the treatment of herpes, have been seen to have an effect on mood stabilization.

      No, antivirals are not the answer. The answer is having a healthy host. People even survive Ebola, which has a lot to do with genetics, but genes are controlled by nutrition. Changes in gene called NPC1, which controls cholesterol transport in and out of cells, and human leukocyte antigen-B, can make people mostly immune to Ebola.

      Even tamiflu is associated with mood disturbances.

      So if you give everyone some antiviral, will you just make some people who would have been fine with the virus sick from the drug? Yup.

      1. Hana M

        ‘The answer is having a healthy host’. Yes. And I would add, ‘in a healthy environment’.

        Meanwhile on the non-Covid front, thoughtful physicians are pondering whether there will be benefits from less medical care. Vinay Prasad, the co-author of this piece, is well worth a follow on Twitter for us skeptics of the medical-industrial complex.


      2. Redlife2017

        Reminds me of why when I had to choose an antimalarial drug, I went with Malarone vs. Mefloquine. Basically it’s like asking a person, would you prefer a drug you take every day (Malarone) or a drug you take weekly (Melfloquine)? Uh…but the side effects of the weekly one include: anxiety, vivid dreams (both drugs to be fair), depression and tinnitus.

        And to be honest, I hated being on Malarone. I didn’t feel myself for months. But the prospect of possibly going nuts for a time? Well, I felt I didn’t really want to push my luck.

        It’s rather amazing how many drugs have side-effects that will wack your mood quite substantially. I’ll also note that when I was once put on hormones for IUI and got suicidal, the doctor told me that that couldn’t possibly happen (thanks, doc.). I went off them and I felt better immediately.

        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          “I’ll also note that when I was once put on hormones for IUI and got suicidal, the doctor told me that that couldn’t possibly happen (thanks, doc.). ”

          Ugh! yes, that is frustrating. They also think I am imagining that the drugs they give me most times make me feel the opposite of what they are supposed to.

          And once I went on some antibiotic and I felt as if I had been cured of my mood disorder, but they said it was all in my head.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          A friend took Mefloquine prophylaxis for a business trip to Ethiopia. He lasted 5 days and had to be brought to the airport to fly back home because he was having a psychotic episode.

          Then there are people who are just fine with it.

          I go to India a lot and have never had a problem with Malarone. No side effects at all. I only take it if I’m really, truly in a malarial zone.

          I also took it in Central Africa, but continuously, since I didn’t really know where risk areas were. A French friend caught it there and still has issues.

          1. Redlife2017

            I was in Togo for 8 days, partly in a village with no electricity / running water…so definitely not a place to get sick. My parter (Mr Redlife) was perfectly fine on Malarone, but I am weirdly sensitive to things I take, so I wasn’t. But I’m also the same person who had a nearly severe reaction to the Yellow Fever shot I needed as well (difficulty breathing, fever for a few hours – almost went to the A&E).

            What the medicial community doesn’t like to think about is that each body is actually rather unique and that people are not averages. It’s why I take what Krystyn says rather seriously in her comments. Her experiences really line up with mine.

  17. josh

    “(2) Door-knocking is not enough, especially when practiced by fresh-faced and downloadly mobile failsons and -daughters of the professional class.”

    I resemble that remark. From my own experience, door-knocking might be effective for GOTV operations, but is unable to sway low information, party-line voters.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is probably accurate. The absence of a narrative about Biden was a problem. He really is bad. Republicans might like him, but that just means GOP government. Even if you can consume msm, you are getting just drivel.

      I do suspect the primary universe expanded without the months campaign we see in NH and Iowa to where we get people who have become “more aware” since Trump who are now voting when they didn’t normally vote. They aren’t going to expand the electorate, but there knowledge of politics amounts to drivel from Aaron Sorkin or something repeated on Bill Maher based on like four data points. Back in 2008, there was no end to, “this country doesn’t elect Senators.” The people who went to the women’s march who had never done anything before. How many of them weren’t already safe Team Blue voters?

    2. Keith

      I doubt it would sway high information voters. I suspect it is treated with an “ugh” by the recipient. I know when those types (usually religious) knock on my door to sell their god, product, politics, or whatever, I just agree to make them go away. I am sure I am not the only one. That’s why I like the phone calls better, I can just ignore them.

  18. DJG

    And there’s this:

    Among the events planned for this week is the kickoff of a young professionals finance council [Bundling Those Contributions], featuring an online conversation. [Biden Spokespuppet Symone] Sanders will moderate with [Realistic Action Figure] Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, [a Burg in a Charmless State] who was a top contender for this year’s Democratic nomination.”

    And this is to cultivate the youth vote? A Zoom call with the gormless Buttigieg? A top contender? Was the field truly that talent-free?

    As I have said before, it is more than obvious to me that part of Pete Buttigieg’s appeal is that he is a nice young gay man who wouldn’t threaten anyone in any way, which means that he appeals to your grandma. So the election is turning into a contest between your long-suffering but clueless Grandma Thelma, who secretly would vote for the occasional Democrat, and loud and irascible Grandpa Zeke who snuck drinks from the liquor cabinet, harangued the workers at the widget factory he owned about their congenital laziness, and believed that a Cadillac was a well-designed motorcar.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Was the field truly that talent-free?”

      Yes. Pete is under 40, but anyone who joined and advanced in Team Blue between the ages of 40 and 60 is likely to be nothing more than a brown noser at best. Don’t forget the 1,000 lost seats. Talent was lost. Take Klob (I don’t know her age), but her big proposal is a $4,000 tax credit. She didn’t know the name of the President of Mexico despite being on relevant committees. This puts her in Dan Quayle territory. This is Team Blue.

      I don’t think Symone Sanders and the Biden campaign are after youth engagement as much as keeping older voters from seeing Joe Biden. They want something to show the old people who are stuck in their ways but want young people to carry on the legacy. Will anyone under 45 walk into a Biden campaign office who doesn’t willingly wear a tie to high school?

      I do think local committee democrats know how important GOTV is. They also know they don’t do it. Young people do, or young people are the driving force in Democratic wins. My guess is they are screaming about the need to get young people involved.

  19. Fastball

    As someone who constantly argued with Sanders supporters, and whose predictions of betrayal were correct both times I have to say, the Biden campaign’s idea of winning over young people is downright delusional on an epic scale.

    The young didn’t show up for Sanders enough to win even as I was regaled with massive triumphalist rhetoric of the “power of the movement”.

    These Sanders people didn’t even show up in enough numbers to carry Sanders. And now Biden expects they’ll show up for HIM? This is self deceit and hubris on a monumental scale.

      1. Fastball

        This is a cohort argument, I read the article in your link.

        I too am guilty. I regurgitated the “young voter” framing. I don’t really believe in cohorts as political blocs. That’s mass media framing. I apologize for going along with it.

        But like it or not, Sanders people are a faction.

        Biden is thinking he can get buy in with this group. I don’t doubt he could get some. He could get some people desperate about Trump, sure. A precious few.

        But Biden is so out of range as to be completely unpalatable to that group by and large. Every one of his actions falls flat with that group. Does he not see this?

        1. urblintz

          I’m not sure he cares but he has to pretend he can win these votes…
          but he’s counting on never-Trump republican votes and will likely get them, which is exactly what the loathsome Dem leadership desires most. Biden just wants to be POTUS… always has… pure political ego with zero integrity.

          1. Fastball

            Not among the “young”.:

            There is no never Trump (Biden) faction among the Sanders group, at least not one worth speaking of.

            You are changing factions. The original faction being Sanders dissidents. You were trying to talk about how they would come along?

            Biden can pretend but his efforts are ludicrous, and are obvious. He will never earn progressives in any numbers. I am talking about handfuls he can convert. Any I’m not even a big fan of progressives.

    1. Keith

      But you are missing a very important piece of the puzzle that will make them turn out, Orange Man Bad and a threat to democracy, #Russiagate, and a hipster Biden sporting his sun glasses.

      1. Bsoder

        Nah, dreams they were promised and thought they had are now gone. In that there is anger in some, fear in others, and sadness in all. And that deserved or not is on trump. Based on your comments I assume life is good and trump worked out for you.

    2. Pat

      Some of us still wonder how many voters were either not counted or counted for another that should have gone to Sanders, but beyond that tell me who else we should have supported.

      Call me wild and crazy, but I don’t think there are enough over 60’s voters to carry Biden over the finish line with Trump. He actually needs everybody. Not just the older voters (which is also his strongest category of black voters). Enough of the other demographic groups not showing up means he doesn’t win. HE does need to reach out to young voters. And a bunch of other voters he has either literally or figuratively told to vote for someone else.

      Trump is a bad bad man may be a driver, but Biden’s stench is going to be pretty overpowering before election day arrives.

        1. Fastball

          I have to wonder if your view extends beyond November.

          I am a leftist; I hate, as an organization, the Democrats.

          The best thing for me to do to utterly destroy the Democrats would be for me to give them total power to the best of my puny ability.

          Now, don’t get me wrong. I would be totally fine with this result. The Democrats would then need to fix things, and wouldn’t. And be destroyed as a result.

          But the other result suits me fine, too. Democrats lose electorally. Which begs the question, how can they lose to a game show host twice in a row?

          So, you see, I’m torn. I don’t know whether to give or withhold support.

        2. flora

          The over sixtyfive’s are now vastly outnumbered by the under sixtyfive’s in the population. The 26-64 year-olds are 50% of the population. The 35-54 age group is 25% of the population, the largest age cohort.

          The over sixty’s vote in larger numbers than the younger age groups, relative to their size in the population. Nothing is stopping younger cohorts from voting at the same rate of the oldest cohort, well, except maybe being uninterested in either ‘officially approved’ candidate. “Vote for Biden. He made your student loans undischargable in bankruptcy.” Pointing this out doesn’t make someone a T supporter.

        3. Pat

          Wrong. I voted third party in the last election. I will again. And I would do so in a swing state.

          I don’t see a Misogynist Racist war mongering serial sexual harasser who is a slanderer and proven liar and plagiarist in clear cognitive decline who has been on the wrong side of every major issue of the last forty years Along with being clearly corrupt to be an acceptable alternative to the brazen and embarrassing misogynist racist grifter in Israel’s pocket who is a proven liar, also clearly corrupt who seeks to expand every bad policy of the oligarchs. The latter has at least ended a hideously bad globalization agreement and has scaled back Syrian interventions. Venezuela and Iran being a draw between the two. Both would continue the assault on our natural world with oil leases and fracking, both would expand corporation rights, both would appoint judges with no interest in privacy/consumer and labor rights, both would continue to tear down our few safety nets as their real “owners” and “constituents “ are largely the same. BOTH are and would continue to be embarrassing on a daily basis, the former without any of the strategy the latter shows on a regular basis.

          Neither of these two men should be anywhere near the Presidency. There is no lesser evil here much as both tribes would like to pretend there is. That this is the “choice” we are being presented with says reams about the contempt the donor class and political leadership views the American public. That the public isn’t actively rejecting that choice proves this contempt may be deserved.

    1. Billy

      The Looters at Target and Autozone in Minneapolis are just taking a page from
      The Fed and Wall Street.

  20. ambrit

    Re: Bloomberg and the “…smaller left wing media outlets…” It states that outlets that rely more on the subscription model will fare better than advertising dependent outfits. Huh? When people are suddenly out of work and cannot afford to shop, what makes anyone believe that those same people can afford to ‘support’ online outfits? The logic doesn’t add up.

  21. TroyIA

    While some patients and their families have spent the past few weeks frantically trying to procure remdesivir, another Covid-19 treatment has been quietly been shown to be more effective. Although neither option appears to be the much-needed cure for Covid-19, a three-drug regimen offered a greater reduction in the time it took patients to recover than remdesivir did. People who took the combination of interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin got better in seven days as opposed to 12 days for those who didn’t take it.

    In China they gave interferon alpha to 2944 medical workers as a preventive measure against covid-19 and they ended up with no cases. Does anyone know what the differences between interferon alpha and beta-1b are? Are they interchangeable and could interferon beta-1b be used in the same way?

    An experimental trial of recombinant human interferon alpha nasal drops to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 in medical staff in an epidemic area

    1. fajensen

      In China they gave interferon alpha to 2944 medical workers as a preventive measure against covid-19 and they ended up with no cases.

      It seem that Coronavirus switches off the production of Interferons, which is a part of what makes it deadly.
      Adding “it” back (“it” because I don’t know all the differences between the ones available or possible :) seems to block the virus. If “Interferon Alpha” is the same as “Interferon 1”, then, there is an effect.


      And it turns out that the SARS-CoV-2 is an unusual one: it manages to block the interfeon-I and III response quite thoroughly, while setting off a larger-than-normal cytokine secretion response. None of the other viruses studied have that profile. If you add IFN-I back to the infected cells in culture, they clear the virus very strongly – the machinery is working, but it’s just not being engaged.
      These cell culture results carried over quite well to animal models of infection (ferrets, in this case)

      It might even be the case that it is a good idea to have a cold or something benign before getting Covid-19 because the other infection would have caused interferons to be produced before Coronavirus can switch it off, thus giving the immune system a better chance of clearing the Coronavirus.

      This could maybe be one of the probably many reasons why children are spared: They are always infected by Something (parents to some degree too, if they take their children to daycare. In my experience, one is at least slightly ill pretty much for 3-5 years after ones kids enter daycare or after changing to another daycare).

      PS –
      “In The Pipeline” is, IMO, one of the best sources for quality information on bio-science there is!

  22. Samuel Conner

    Biden’s tech consultants continue to disappoint.

    All they needed to do was mic the seat of his chair
    and run the audio from that into a noise-canceling
    algorithm to remove extraneous noises from the
    main audio signal. Bose does this sort of thing
    in hardware in reasonably priced noise canceling
    headsets; software is even more flexible. Where
    are the D tech people?

    And this is not a minor oversight. Imagine what would
    have happened if that sound had been loud enough to
    set up a feedback loop between the microphones and
    speakers on both sides of the conversation. It would
    have become an everlasting meme — the shart that went

    Faced with the evidence of this scale of technical incompetence,
    should one reckon that the Ds have any hope?

    (This is not an offer of technical services; I’m voting for Bernie)

      1. Samuel Conner

        If Chris Matthews is any precedent, JB may have only a few months left on air.

        I wonder what Useful Idiots will do with this … umm … event.

    1. jr

      Thank you for that “nonlinear” comment, I’m literally laughing so hard I’m crying…

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Hey! Give them credit. It’s been at least a week since we’ve heard about a streaming event that broke down or Joe wandering off camera in the middle of one.

  23. Dr. Roberts

    Re: Bloomberg article on Chapo

    I remember seeing a Bloomberg writer basically plaigarize Slavoj Zizek, and now they’re talking up left-wing podcasts. Do we have secret Marxist moles on the Bloomberg editorial staff?

    Maybe this stuff is breaking into the PMC milieu and more and more of these people are carefully concealing their true beliefs while navigating their careers.

    1. Massinissa

      “Maybe this stuff is breaking into the PMC milieu and more and more of these people are carefully concealing their true beliefs while navigating their careers.”

      Hey, I’m fine with the Overton window shifting even if its goddamn PMC journos with no steadfast opinions doing it by accident. Better than nothing.

  24. marym

    > But would “the lumbering giant” have performed that much better?

    The fact that ““The country did mostly shut down and the public health system did not comprehensively fail” hasn’t been due to Trump policy, but to an uneven set of measures by the states, with results not fully clear yet.

    If Obama/HRC were president, the wealth transfer to the .1% and crumbs and COBRA for the folks would have been comparable. The grift would have been subtler – NGO’s and tech wizards rather than Kushner and golf cronies. The public face would have been Bartlett – calm speeches and press briefings, serious faces in the situation room. The main difference is that there would have been a national public health response. Some of the working groups, plans, and exercise results that Trump inherited from the Obama administration but tossed would have been in the mix. Not saying it would have been without error or omission (Gulf oil spill, to add to the examples) but it wouldn’t have been the current mix of ignoring and obstructing. Right-wing accusations of tyranny, socialism, and the like would have been worse, so probably no DPA or stringent federal rules about shut-down, but there would have been some actual coordination, at least with states that weren’t fomenting the second civil war. Criticism from the left would have been met with “Trump would have been worse.”

    Now if Bernie would have won…

    1. Bsoder

      “If Obama/HRC were president, the wealth transfer to the .1% and crumbs and COBRA for the folks would have been comparable.” And you know this how?

      1. km

        Look at Obama’s response to The Great Financial Crisis if you still need more evidence.

  25. Ohnoyoucantdothat

    Just a minor quibble about the Stanford thread from a few days ago. The university is named after Leland Stanford’s son, who died quite young from a tropical fever, not the senator. That’s why the strange name … Leland Stanford Jr. University. I’ve had, over the years, people ask me what a “Jr.” university is. I’m somewhat familiar with the place, having spent 4 years there in the early 70’s working toward a PhD. I go back every few years to visit my thesis advisor who is still teaching at age 75 and to absorb the wonderful atmosphere of the old quad built by the family as a memorial to their son in the late 1800s. It was badly damaged during the 1906 earthquake and rebuilt. Used to attend catholic mass in the magnificent memorial church (fondly called memchu by the community). Lots of fond memories on that campus. My oldest son was born there. Best years of my life.

    Stanford has always been “business friendly”. Silicon Valley started on Stanford land just south of the main campus. Engineering professor Fred Terman was instrumental in getting the whole process started. Hewlett-Packard was one of the first tenants along with Varian Associates (all founders were students who trained under Terman).

    I was on campus at the end of the “liberal” era and still remember that all the large plate glass windows of the Hoover Institute were replaced with plywood, having been repeatedly broken during the antiwar protests in the 60s. The glass returned in my last year there. It was a meme on campus that the Vietnam War was being run out of Hoover. They were stridently anti-communist and anti-soviet … Solzanetsyn was a fellow at the institute during his years in exile. The institute is a repository for president Hoover’s papers along with, if I remember correctly, Reagan’s papers from his years as California’s governor. Conservative to the core. Unfortunately the university took a “hard right” after I left and is now politically unrecognizable. Bastion for the children of the rich and powerful.

    1. Bernalkid

      I meant to comment as well that the name “Silicon Valley” really descended from Shockley who left Bell Labs to manufacture transistors. Members of Shockley’s company left and innovated the production of silicon transistors at Fairchild. Fairchild was a camera company (east coast) that invested in transistor production, and prior to Shockley and Fairchild innovations transistors were germanium based. Fairchild and Texas Instrument independently developed integrated circuits, and members who left Fairchild started Intel. So while no doubt some Stanford grads were employees of these firms, the jr. university was hardly the brood mare, for the silicon in the name comes from the switch to silicon from germanium in transistor production. Of course I am a Berkeley grad, so laugh at the Snodfart pretensions.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the interesting comments. Fans of the now departed HBO comedy Silicon Valley know that the valley and its peculiar culture are intertwined with Stanford.

      2. Ohnoyoucantdothat

        Shockley was a Stanford professor. I attended a lecture he gave about the origins of the transistor. And Fairchild and Intel both were headquartered near Stanford. I’m pretty sure more than a “few” Stanford grads did time in the valley. Funny that most of the tech companies “in the valley” are on the Stanford side of the bay, not near Berkley. By hey, who’s counting?

  26. polecat

    So, will the social media tech giants finally get their comuppance ?? Will mark, jack, eric et al face any repercussions for their arbitrary & capricious acts of censorship?? Enquiring minds wait with bated breath.

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden Has Struggled With Young People. He Has A New Plan To Win Them.”

    Old Joe may have a plan but all Trump has to do is to run ads where Biden is saying: “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break.” Millennials will just love that.

    Then to finish him off, they just play what he said then “Here’s the deal, guys. We decided we were going to change the world, and we did.” with clips showing him voting for making student debt undischarged in bankruptcy as well as all the rest of it. It is all there in his own words.

  28. smoker

    I believe this is extremely important, but it got snagged up over two hours ago. I’ve done very slight rewording (a change of one word, showing the strike through of the prior word) in case that was the issue.

    Re: “Tech billionaires are plotting sweeping, secret plans to boost Joe Biden”

    No doubt the incredibly personal data some of those same billionaires will criminally collect from this a horrid new job site monstrosity – quietly announced in April – for the millions of unemployed will aid in that agenda (for those who don’t remember, or are too young to know, there was once a non corporatized government job search site for the unemployed):

    040220 [Coronavirus updates] April 2, noon

    In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 1.9 million Californians have filed for unemployment since March 12. On average, 111,009 residents have filed for unemployment insurance per day in the past week. ….

    The governor [A huge BitCoin Fan – smoker] also announced a new website — created in partnership between Bitwise, Salesforce and LinkedIn — to connect Californians with new jobs. As of Thursday, OnwardCA.org featured 70,000 job listings. Employment opportunities are mainly in the agriculture, grocery, logistics and transportation industries.

    Oddly, there were numerous other sleazy partnering entities not named in that blurb, for example: Mastercard; and Schmidt Futures (yes, that Eric [Google] Schmidt, oddly there’s no wiki page for Schmidt Futures™, but it’s referenced at a wiki page for Schmidt’s Rise Education Program™).

    And, Oh my god, too lengthy and hard for me to html code it to be readable, but click on OnwardCA’s privacy policies icon, near the bottom left of the page, and see: This chart details the categories of Personal Data that we collect and have collected over the past 12 months: . It includes:

    Commercial Data: Purchase History; Consumer profiles


    Inferences Drawn From Other Personal Data Collected: Profiles reflecting user attributes; Profiles reflecting user behavior

    Both of the above(along with those equally horrifying data collections I had no space (or time) to mention) shared with: Service Providers; Advertising Partners; Business Partners; Parties You Authorize, Access or Authenticate

    At the bottom of the page, it’s disclosed that they want to spread this JAWBZ site across the USZ:

    Launch Onward in Your state

    and, slyly inferred that the State can’t be held liable for damages done by pushing its citizens onto it as if it’s Government Regulated and Run, because it’s actually a privatized, Oligarchy and Creditor site:

    DISCLAIMER: OnwardCA.org is a privately-operated site. It is not operated by, or affiliated with, the State of California.

    The State of California does not review the content on this site, nor does it receive or collect any user data.

    (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.)

  29. McWatt

    ” I was with the immortal Hawk at Trafalgar!” once meant that the person that said it fought with Admiral Hawk in the naval engagement at Trafalgar.

    Today it means “I saw Tony Hawk sign books and do a skateboard demo in Trafalgar Square.”

    How times have changed.

  30. The Rev Kev

    A story for the end of the day of some officials trying to borrow glory? “A US Medal of Honor recently sold at a German auction house despite attempts by US officials, including the National Medal of Honor Museum, to block the sale of the nation’s highest military honor.”

    So Ted Cruz tried to make a big deal of it and demanded that Germany halt the auction. The auction went ahead anyway and the medal was sold for only $15,000. Cruz could have bid for that medal and donated it to the National Medal of Honor Museum but a bunch of tweets was cheaper instead-


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