2:00PM Water Cooler 6/17/2020

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. Doing Florida and the South today. Look at Florida go!

We have some exemplary badness from Florida (not to single them out too, since after all their numbers have been low by New York standards. So far).

“Woman, 15 friends test positive for coronavirus after night out at Lynch’s” [News4JAX]. “Erika Crisp has been short of breath for several days and has tested positive for COVID-19. So have more than a dozen of her friends. The one thing they all had in common: a night out at Lynch’s Irish Pub on June 6 in Jacksonville Beach… Crisp said she and her friends had been careful with social distancing and had stayed indoors for months ‘doing everything the right way.’ ‘And then the first night we go out, Murphy’s Law, I guess,’ Crisp said. ‘The only thing we have in common is that one night at that one bar.'” • Extroverts are gonna kill us all…. Maybe re-opening was not such a good idea after all? (The story does not mention, although the video does, that 7 workers were also infected.)

“DeSantis said 260 airport employees tested positive for COVID-19. MCO says that’s not true” [Orlando Weekly]. “MCO took to Twitter Wednesday morning with a ‘clarification’ saying, “We want to clarify that the number of cases recently shared with the media is the total number of cases confirmed at our airport since mid-March through June…. The airport says the 260 confirmed cases include 132 airport employees out of more than 25,000 who work there. The other 128 cases, says the airport, are not employees, ‘but have traceable connections to our employees.'” • So, at least Orlando Airport isn’t a hot spot. Good news!

NOTE The 91-DIVOC site has also added “COVID-19 Data for Locations of People You Love” (by county within State).


“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

Since we’re getting closer to the election, maybe it’s time to start looking at the electoral map, updated June 17 and unchanged today:

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!

“America’s anachronistic electoral college gives Republicans an edge” [The Economist]. Handy chart:

UPDATE “2020 Electoral Map Ratings: Biden Has An Edge Over Trump, With 5 Months To Go” [NPR]. “In this presidential election, our analysis finds just 16 states are competitive, in addition to two electoral votes in states that award some by individual congressional districts — that they either only lean toward one candidate or are pure toss-ups. Just eight states and one of the congressional districts are considered pure toss-ups…. Biden starts with a 238 to 186 advantage over Trump, when including states that lean in either candidate’s direction or that they’re likely to win. But Biden is no shoo-in. The analysis finds he’s still 32 electoral votes short of the 270 he would need, and the Democrat needs to peel off key states Trump won in 2016 to get over the line…. There are eight states that are toss-ups, plus one electoral vote in Maine, for 114 electoral votes — Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4) and one electoral vote in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District…. It’s notable that Biden is in the lead in all of these places, by less than 5 points in recent polls, except North Carolina, where Trump has a slight polling advantage. (There’s no recent data for Maine.)” • With several scenarios. Interesting wrap-up.

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Biden (D)(1): “Biden is doing worse than Clinton among Hispanic voters” [Harry Enten, CNN]. “Joe Biden is reaching heights that Hillary Clinton never did this late in the campaign against Donald Trump. The former vice president holds a significant national lead of around 10 points and is over 50% support. Yet a look at recent polls suggests Trump is outperforming where he was four years ago with a key part of the Democratic coalition: Hispanics. This could have implications for what electoral strategy Biden may need to take into the fall if he is to beat the President…. White voters tend to make up a much larger share of the electorate in the northern battlegrounds (e.g. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) than they do in the Sun Belt (e.g. Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas). Hispanic voters, meanwhile, are quite prevalent in many of the Sun Belt states. This could mean Biden’s best chance to accumulate 270 electoral votes goes through the north, like the president he served under, Barack Obama. Biden’s underperformance with Hispanics might also cause him to think about choosing a Hispanic running mate.” • Hispanic running mate…. That would be a turn-up for the books! How about Lucy Flores?

Trump (R)(1): “Tulsa Officials Plead for Trump to Cancel Rally as Virus Spikes in Oklahoma” [New York Times]. “Officials in Tulsa, Okla., are warning that President Trump’s planned campaign rally on Saturday — his first in over three months — is likely to worsen an already troubling spike in coronavirus infections and could become a disastrous ‘super spreader.’ They are pleading with the Trump campaign to cancel the event, slated for a 20,000-person indoor arena — or at least move it outdoors. ‘It’s the perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission,” said Bruce Dart, the executive director of the Tulsa health department. “It’s a perfect storm that we can’t afford to have.’ Tulsa County, which includes the city of Tulsa, tallied 89 new coronavirus cases on Monday, its one-day high since the virus’s outbreak, according to the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency. The number of active coronavirus cases climbed to 532 from 188 in a one-week period, a 182 percent increase; hospitalizations with Covid-19 almost doubled. That spike has local officials and public health experts concerned about welcoming the nation’s first indoor mass gathering since Mr. Trump declared a national emergency in mid-March, an influx of thousands of people interacting inside and outside, amounting to a sprawling coronavirus petri dish.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump campaign: Biden must get out and campaign more” [The Hill]. “President Trump’s reelection campaign is accusing Joe Biden of intentionally avoiding the campaign trail and is demanding that the media raise pressure on the presumptive Democratic nominee to cut a more visible profile…. The Trump campaign is eager to have Biden return to the spotlight, believing the race for the White House will narrow once they’ve been able to define him.”

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UPDATE Amy McGrath tries to knock out absentee ballots to neutralize Booker’s late surge. Thread:

What a piece of work. No wonder the DNC loves her!

Realignment and Legitimacy

See, the architect of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil,” an enormous military and strategic debacle that blew hundres of thousands of faraway brown people to pink mist, was a woke liberal all the time:

He’s a Hero Of The Resistance™!

And speaking of George W. Bush:

A traditional sign of dispect in America? I wish it were!

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Woke insurance (1):

Woke insurance (2):

Woke insurance (3):

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UPDATE “Simple math suggests complex back story at Supreme Court” [Associated Press]. “Each of the nine Supreme Court justices usually writes at least one opinion for each month the court hears arguments. Gorsuch’s [landmark LGBT rights ruling] was his second for October while three of his colleagues wrote nothing. That highly unusual lineup suggests something going on behind the scenes.” • Which remains a mystery!

UPDATE “Get Rid of the Presidency” [Counterpunch]. “When it came to defining the presidency, the constitution got more wrong than it did right. The vote wasn’t given to the citizenry but to electors, wise men in the provinces who would gather (in early December) every four years and pick a president. (Golf club membership committees work the same way.) But the way electors have been chosen over time has been a political variation of blind man’s buff. What went wrong almost immediately were the so-called presidential elections, which since 1792 have been rigged, fixed, finagled, gerrymandered, massaged, bought, and sold—yet another cornered commodity market, although this one trading only in political influence. Despite what you read about democracy-in-action in your high school civics classes, most accessions to presidential power have come as a result of a deal, bullets, blackmail, or fatal illnesses.”

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.


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Real Estate: “Brokers and investors say demand for warehouses remains high because e-commerce growth has accelerated during the pandemic, pushing retailers and logistics providers to seek space to get goods closer to customers” [Wall Street Journal]. “Investors have spent tens of billions of dollars on industrial real estate near cities in recent years, betting that a shift to e-commerce would push up rents…. Industrial real-estate prices increased by more than a third over the past three years but Green Street Advisors says prices were down 4% in the past three months.”

Shipping: “The peak shipping season hasn’t even started and it’s already a bust as far as container lines are concerned. Shipping lines have canceled more than a quarter of all sailings on Asia-to-Europe and trans-Pacific lanes… as bloated retailer inventories and feeble importing forecasts drive down expectations for the fall” [Wall Street Journal]. “The outlook has shipping lines retrenching operations at the time of the year when they’re usually scaling up. SeaIntelligence Consulting says the service cancellations have withdrawn more than 4 million containers of capacity from the biggest trade lanes and that the blanked sailings now stretch into the third quarter.” • Demand destruction?

Shipping: “Crew crisis is on verge of becoming global trade crisis” [Freight Waves]. “Watching the growing threat to global trade from the stranded-crew crisis is like watching a train wreck in slow motion — and the governments of the world still don’t see it coming. A June 15 deadline was set by the union representing seafarers, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), to resolve the crew-repatriation issue, get many thousands of seafarers stranded by COVID-19 travel restrictions back home, and designate all seafarers “key workers” who can travel unrestricted. That deadline has predictably come and gone, and fallout for the global shipping industry and world trade now appears virtually certain. In the most extreme scenario, ships would be forcibly idled, tanker and bulk spot rates would rise, and container liner schedules would be thrown into disarray. The ITF has just adopted a new strategy that it explicitly states ‘could be highly disruptive to global trade.’ Between mid-March and mid-June, the ITF and affiliated unions did not fight contract extensions for crew who were unable to be repatriated due to the pandemic. No longer. According to ITF President Paddy Crumlin, ‘We have drawn a line in the sand and today is the day we make it crystal clear to governments that from June 16, seafarers are going to start enforcing their right to stop working and return home. No more contract extensions.'” • Hmm.

Tech: “We cross now live to Oracle. Mr Ellison, any thoughts? ‘Autonomous self-driving computers eliminate human labor, eliminate human error'” [The Register]. “Big Red co-founder, executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison followed Catz with a review of new customers and a reprise of his vision of technical infrastructure unpolluted by people, in the form of the Oracle Autonomous Database. ‘Autonomous self-driving computer systems eliminate human labor and eliminate human error. There is nothing for humans to learn and nothing for humans to do,’ said Ellison. ‘Eliminating human labor dramatically lowers the cost of running an autonomous system. Eliminating human error dramatically increases data security and system reliability. All of the big data losses at Amazon were caused by human error. There is no opportunity for any human error if your data is stored in an Oracle autonomous system.'” • What could go wrong?

Manufacturing: “Senate bill targets FAA certification process used for 737 MAX” [Freignt Waves]. “The Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020 would address a number of issues related to the manufacture of commercial aircraft, most notably incorporating human factors in assessments of pilot responses to cockpit alerts and requiring more FAA oversight of the certification process…. The legislation requires the FAA to reassess assumptions related to the interface between humans and machines when certifying aircraft, particularly situations involving multiple cockpit alerts and automation. The agency would also have to conduct more research into human factors related to design and certification of aircraft and establish a Center of Excellence that would examine human factors and automation in aviation…. The bill also instructs the FAA to approve the appointment of Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) unit members and require the FAA to develop guidance for technical qualifications for such members. Under ODA, the FAA can delegate certain certification responsibilities back to a manufacturer. Critics contend that ODA opens up potential conflicts of interest and that in the case of the MAX, the FAA failed to effectively oversee Boeing. The bill also requires the development of best practices for ODAs, including those that would ensure any reports of undue pressure or regulatory coziness are addressed, and prohibits limitations on direct communications between ODA unit members and FAA inspectors.” • Not perhaps as bad as might be?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 17 at 12:42pm.

Health Care

“How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?” [Pro Publica]. “Everyone I spoke to was optimistic that manufacturers would eventually develop a COVID-19 vaccine. This isn’t just because there are so many scientists and pharmaceutical companies working on the endeavor, and so much money being poured into it, though that also raises the chance of success…. Dr. John Mascola, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is hopeful because our natural immune system, when healthy, is capable of handling the infection. ‘Most of the time, people recover from COVID-19, because their immune system eventually clears the virus,’ he said. He contrasted the coronavirus to HIV, for which scientists so far have struggled to create an effective vaccine: ‘In HIV, the natural immune system is not effective and people get AIDS.’ In this virus’s case, if we can mimic a natural infection closely enough, it’s likely that a vaccine will work.”

“Emergency Use Authorization of Remdesivir” [JAMA]. “A transparent plan for distributing remdesivir is imperative if a potentially life-saving drug is to be given to the patients in most need. Allocation should be based on hospital, regional, and state COVID-19 infection data with equitable distribution within a region to states and within states to hospitals.9 The process should also include a mechanism for redistribution based on the constantly changing endemicity of the outbreak. The plan should ensure appropriate patient access and equitable distribution regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. The plan should be designed to prevent a surge in patients at institutions known or thought to have access to the drug or a large increase in requests to transfer patients to these centers from hospitals that may not have access to remdesivir. Although the distribution of remdesivir via the EUA is an issue unique to the US, as worldwide demand for the drug increases, the imbalance between drug availability and need will be further exacerbated. Countries, working with the manufacturer, will need to develop a system of distribution.” • One to watch….

* * *

“U.S. Health Care Puts $4 Trillion in All the Wrong Places” [Bloomberg]. “The new coronavirus was a test of America’s ability to protect the health of its people, and the country failed. The U.S. has the greatest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the world. Months after arriving in the U.S., the virus that wrecked the economy with disorienting velocity continues to inflict an unfathomable human toll. The U.S. isn’t alone in failing to stop the coronavirus. But it is unique in how much of the nation’s economic resources are devoted to health care—about 18% of gross domestic product, more than any other country. The spending, approaching $4 trillion a year from taxpayers, employers, and households, is what makes America’s vulnerability to Covid-19 striking. What are we spending $4 trillion for, if not to avert disease and death?” • Profit?

“The Microbiome of the Nose—Friend or Foe?” [Allergy & Rhinology (nvl)]. “Current research suggests that the nasal cavity is a major reservoir for opportunistic pathogens, which can then spread to other sections of the respiratory tract and be involved in the development of conditions such as allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, asthma, pneumonia, and otitis media. However, our knowledge of how nasal microbiota changes originate nasopharyngeal and respiratory conditions is still incipient. Herein, we describe how the nasal microbiome in healthy individuals varies with age and explore the effect of nasal microbiota changes in a range of infectious and immunological conditions. We also describe the potential health benefits of human microbiota modulation through probiotic use, both in disease prevention and as adjuvant therapy. Current research suggests that patients with different chronic rhinosinusitis phenotypes possess distinct nasal microbiota profiles, which influence immune response and may be used in the future as biomarkers of disease progression. Probiotic intervention may also have a promising role in the prevention and adjunctive treatment of acute respiratory tract infections and allergic rhinitis, respectively.” • Interestingly: “The nasal microbiome can also influence and modulate infection by other viruses.” • So it may be we’ve been thinking the wrong way with our Neti Pots. Speculating wildly, the point would be not to simply clear the nose, but to replace an ineffective biota with a beneficial one.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“They Used To Be Strangers. Now They’re Organizing Some Of The Largest Protests In America’s Biggest City” [Buzzfeed]. “Despite their steady growth and national reach, the BLM protests have no central leadership. They emerge in different ways in different states, without the approval of any coordinating committee. The forms they take are reflections of the young and in some cases first-time activists who come together to lead, learning as they go. The organizers of the afternoon’s march came together — pretty much spontaneously — just a couple of weeks ago, right as the protests in New York began to take shape. Most of them met in the crowds. Joseph Martinez started up a chat on Signal and named it ‘Warriors in the Garden,’ taken from a Japanese proverb. The name stuck. Then they started asking more people to join them…. There was anger at the officers who lined the streets, but there was also an exhilaration in the crowd’s unity. ‘When I’m chanting and I can hear everyone, there is a joy there because I just feel like I’m not alone in this. All these other people are here too.'”

UPDATE “Burning Down the 3rd Police Precinct Changed Everything” [The Nation]. “How did this demand [for police abolition] jump from a small, mostly black contingent of revolutionary thinkers to the mainstream in the span of a few weeks? The most obvious answer is two weeks of rioting, looting, and protesting. That is correct, of course, but it’s not enough. Rioting and looting against the police took place in Ferguson, Mo., and eventually across the country, following the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014; Baltimore rose up against the killing of Freddie Gray in 2015; and Charlotte, N.C., saw looted and overturned semitrucks turned into burning highway barricades for Keith Lamont Scott in 2016. And yet the call that emerged out of that movement was for officers to wear body cameras. The difference, this time, is not simply in the national character of the riots, nor some other quantitative change in their ferocity or visibility. It was, I believe, the destruction of the Minneapolis Third Precinct house on the night of May 28, three days into the riots. Having just completed a book on the history of anti-police rioting and uprisings in America, I cannot recall another time when protesters took over and burnt down a police station.” • Except, if this link (“Man charged with arson of Minneapolis Third Precinct station“) from Water Cooler on 6/9 is correct, “protesters” did not take over and burn down a police station (and I love the quote from the Dad).

“Transcript: In conversation with Ruth Wilson Gilmore” (interview) [University College London]. ” it is absolutely the case – or and it is absolutely the case – that the distribution of vulnerability to premature death in the United States, the distribution of unemployment and under employment in the United States and the specificity of state violence in the United States in response to it have all come together. They’ve come together so strongly that I actually think, one, some people can’t not see any more what they could not see earlier…. the tendency that’s got me worried is the one in which people are insisting that only certain demographics of people are authorised to speak about – speak from or speak against – certain kinds of horrors, and other people have already existing assignable jobs based on their demographic – let’s call it a caste system – that they’re supposed to do, so white people are supposed to fix white supremacy and so on and so forth. That path, which is actually a pretty strong path, doesn’t excite me. I’m 70 years old, I’m done with it, I’ve been done with it a very long time. The path however which some of the young Black Lives Matter people named 5 years ago in that year of uprising in the United States, after the death of Mike Brown and Freddie Gray and so forth, the one in which they said quite simply ‘when black lives matter everybody lives better’ – that’s the path that is of interest to me.” • This is a little discursive, but interesting and well worth a read.

“”The Black Lives Matter Foundation” Raised Millions. It’s Not Affiliated With The Black Lives Matter Movement.” [Buzzfeed]. • Read the article for detail. I went down this rabbbit hole too. The genuine Black LIves Matter site has an About page has nothing that I would expect to find for an NGO that got $6.5 million grant for organizing. No board, for example. Or any executives. Or any statement saying that we’re leaderless, or fear retaliation, so no names. Since donations go through Act Blue, which is a 501(c)(3) I expect everything is OK, but…

* * *

More from Bethel, OH (birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant):

Good for her!

Our Famously Free Press

“WhatsApp, Instagram surge in popularity as people search for coronavirus news” [WaPo]. “Misinformation can be especially tough to combat on private messaging services, such as [Facebooks’] WhatsApp, where information is visible only to users in specific groups and is therefore harder for companies to police. WhatsApp has worked to limit the number of times a specific post can be shared and to label posts that have been forwarded, but misinformation about the coronavirus still flooded the encrypted messaging service in early March.” • All of the algos, but none of that great content?



“Rearing Children of the Market in the “You” Decade: Choose Your Own Adventure Books and the Ascent of Free Choice in 1980s America” (PDF) [Journal of American Studies]. From the abstract: “Exploring some of the key tenets of neoliberal American culture, this article examines the historical forces behind the meteoric rise of interactive ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ (CYOA) children’s books in the1980s, [which sold] over 250 million copies worldwide. becoming the fourth most popular children’s series of all time… [T]his article demonstrates how the incredible success of solely text-based CYOA books stemmed largely from the cultural ascent of individual market choice to the heart of American notions of agency, liberty, subjectivity and selfhood in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Feral Hog Watch

“Laying a foundation for feral hog removal” [High Plains Journal]. A review of the literature, with this nugget: “Although the problem is particularly bad in Texas and Oklahoma, [Russell Stevens, strategic consultation manager and wildlife and range consultant at the Noble Research Institute] pointed out that some states, like Kansas, have avoided the wild hog epidemic. ‘They have kind of tackled that up front, and they have not allowed sport hog hunting,’ Stevens said. ‘Because as soon as that happens, hogs start to spread everywhere and they don’t have wings.'” • Wait, hunting feral hogs encourages them? Why? Also: “Another aspect which is unique to Texas, and that has contributed to feral hog numbers, is that it is legal to market feral hogs as meat animals in the state. ‘It’s complicated, because it’s not just hunting, it’s also legal to capture wild pigs in Texas and sell them through an approved holding facility—governed by the Texas Animal Health Commission—and that food goes through a couple animal processing plants here in the state and it winds up on markets, so there’s also a meat packing aspect,’ [Jim Cathey, associate director for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute] said. ‘Catching and selling wild pigs is not the same as going and hunting them.'” • It would be amusing if the next zoonotic pathogen came from feral hogs in Texas (and given the current pandemic, I’d worry about quality assurance in those “animal processing plants.”

Screening Room

“On the Implausibility of the Death Star’s Trash Compactor” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. • Somehow I missed this in 2002.

Class Warfare

“A Left-Right Populist Agenda To Take Jobs Back From China” [The American Conservative]. “he neoliberal era of global governance has given us a centrist establishment in favor of free-market fundamentalism, austerity, open borders, and political correctness. It is far right on economic policy often displaying the worst aspects of woke virtue signaling. Time after time, economic crises throughout the past three decades have resulted in bigger corporate bailouts, more jobs being shipped off to China, accelerated destruction of American communities, and the continued enrichment of both America’s and China’s ruling class at the expense of workers. These issues have come into clearer focus with the COVID-19 crisis. Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment in a country where a vast majority of its people already lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Amidst the chaos, a bipartisan voice-vote on the Hill secured the largest corporate bailout in U.S. history. Many of these corporations that applied and received bailouts are corporations that have, at one point in time, closed their American factories and shipped them to China. It is clear that the problem here isn’t just the American establishment, which is obviously selling out its people, but also with the ultra-authoritarian and hyper-capitalist People’s Republic of China.” • That’s quite the pivot.

“‘We’re heroes, too:’ Hospital janitors risk lives to stop spread of COVID-19” [USA Today[]. “Luis Padilla, 46, stood in line at McDonald’s, excited to order his free meal. Earlier that week, the chain announced it would give thank you meals to front-line workers battling the coronavirus. Padilla, who has spent the last three years as an environmental service tech at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center – the technical term for a hospital custodian – was thrilled his work was being acknowledged. Then he got to the register. The cashier glanced at Padilla’s work badge and waved him away. ‘This is not for you,’ Padilla recalls the cashier saying. ‘This is for doctors, nurses, and police. Don’t be trying to get free food.'” • Remember when woke liberals were all about the “heroes,” the “essential workers”? That went away fast. It’s almost like they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. As I keep saying: All workers are essential.

“An Uprising Comes From the Viral Underclass” [Slate]. “t is not surprising that this virus, such a marker of our present crisis, got into Floyd’s body before the Minneapolis Police Department took his life. Nor it is surprising to consider Breonna Taylor—who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, two months before Floyd was killed in Minneapolis—had been working as an EMT helping to take care of people infected by the coronavirus. The virus didn’t kill either of them; police did. But both Floyd and Taylor are part of the viral underclass—a population harmed not simply by microscopic organisms but by the societal structures that make viral transmission possible. Viruses directly affect the lives of people who become infected. But the bodies of the viral underclass are made needlessly vulnerable, and that vulnerability shapes their lives and their communities, even if individual people ultimately don’t become infected or killed.” • I think that “viral underclass” is called “the working class.” Still, with that friendly amendment, well worth a read!

“DNA from ancient Irish tomb reveals incest and an elite class that ruled early farmers” [Science]. • How Wagnerian!

News of the Wired

Bloomsday for Chapo:

It was only a matter of time:

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Re Silc: “A Tree of knowledge, new on my North Carolina street.” This is, I believe, a Little Free Library. Neat!

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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. periol

    “working class Mexican man gets fired from his job because a Twitter user took a photo of him cracking his knuckles”

    I followed the links to the actual picture, and there’s no way the guy was “cracking his knuckles”. I don’t know whether he was making some racist sign or not, but he was definitely doing something funky with his hand. The article says he was fired cause after an investigation, no matter what this Twitter account says – honestly makes me think there’s more going on than just this incident. Also who says he couldn’t have been using a “white power” symbol just because he’s Hispanic? People do weird stuff all the time.

    Link to article: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/sdge-worker-fired-over-alleged-racist-gesture-says-he-was-cracking-knuckles/2347414/

    1. Vladimir

      The fact that his first response wasn’t “I was flicking a booger” I can assume he was making a hand gesture of some sort.

      1. Pelham

        So what if he was making a hand gesture? Hand gestures are forbidden? Do we need to add a Constitutional amendment protecting hand gestures?

        1. periol

          The company’s statement about the firing leads me to believe this wasn’t his first time annoying people around him.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Maybe this is a white power symbol but if you work with your hands, there is almost no configuration of fingers you won’t do at some time to unkink your hands. I am always VERY careful not to flex my hands in public (which I do a lot at home) because it looks like I’m getting set to strangle someone and not unkinking my fingers from too much typing (it’s not just a manual labor thing).

      Many immigrants to this country have to be taught not to point with their middle finger. Now they’re going to have to learn all the different things you can’t do with your fingers?

      I’m a former union steward so I have to side with the worker on this. Reporting this seems very Karen-ish, imo.

    3. jo6pac

      This is a WTF he gets fired for hand jester and pg&e management pleads guilty none them get any jail time.

    4. teri

      We let some wackaloon 4chan people co-opt what used to be a simple “A-okay” sign and turn it into something it never meant. And now people get fired for it.

      The first time I read an article about this “secret white power hand signal”, I wondered how they could so quickly turn what has been accepted for centuries in the US as signaling “all is okay” or “I am okay” into something that means something else entirely.

      This happened very fast, and was an intentional alteration of the gesture by (seriously) the nutty people on 4chan, deliberately making an attempt to alter society. It worked. In a matter of a year or two, the meaning of a small hand gesture that means a good and simple thing (especially amongst older folks) is now “shocking”.

      Interesting article on wikipedia about how the whole thing started: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK_gesture

      We need to resist this sort of nonsense when it starts.

      1. hunkerdown

        We who?

        The wackaloons on 4chan didn’t turn it into a white power symbol, they simply gave the corporate media the opportunity to cast aspersions on anyone who doesn’t genuflect toward the bourgeois neoliberal narrative the corporate media sells. They couldn’t help but take the bait because ratings are more important than truth.

        In other words, maybe the bourgeois neoliberals who blame others for not cooperating with their kitschy fantasies and pathological power relations are the problem here, and not the low-level delinquents (who, as Veblen taught us, take after the predatory mores of the upper class) exposing the weaknesses in the system.

      2. The Rev Kev

        4chan bet that woke liberals & the media were stupid enough to be taken in by saying that the OK sign was actually a signal for white power. Others said that they could not be possibly so stupid or shallow. Guess who won? Next up on the list – the thumbs up sign is actually a phallic symbol for male dominace of woemen.

        1. flora

          Brings to mind this 1999 dust-up over the correct usage of an old 14c ME from scandinavian origin word that means ‘grudging or tight about spending’, ‘stingy’, ‘covetous’.

          People who grew up with the word in local correct usage continued to use it. Not everyone grew up with that word in use or knew the definition, and instead of bothering to check what it meant went nuts. I remember protests on campus against the correct use of an appropriately used word… that sounded to some hypersensitive ears like it meant something else. When it was explained what the word meant the response was ‘they use that to describe ‘african americans’ in a negative way. no. The word has been in active use in northern europe since the 1300’s. sigh…


          1. periol

            Culture changes, so do words, their usage and meaning. Not a biggie, really.

            Personally I’m a regular user of swear words, just doing my part to make them [family blog]ing acceptable in polite society.

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              OTOH, as the late, great Michael Flanders was wont to say of swear words — notably when preparing to perform with his stage partner Donald Swann a song rendered on their record covers as “P** P* B**** B** D******”: “If all of these words come into common use, we shall have nothing left for special occasions. . . .”

      3. periol

        If you look carefully he is NOT making the OK sign with his fingers.

        He is definitely flashing some sort of sign though.

      4. CoryP

        Thanks for bringing this up. I always thought the OK sign thing was bizarre but never bothered to look into it further.

        Also, god help me, if I’m on camera I usually make a face and flash a random hand configuration that couldn be read as a sign. Generally out of camera shyness.

      5. ChrisPacific

        I think after 4chan came up with it, it got picked up by the various outrage factories like Occupy Democrats, that look for plausible-sounding stories that can’t be definitively proved or disproved and use them to generate ad revenue from Facebook echo chambers. (What used to be meant by ‘fake news’ before Trump co-opted the term).

        This made it widely known, after which some people started doing it on purpose, some ironically and some not, and it’s all disappeared into a haze of self-reference, with sightings popping up constantly. Does this person using the sign think it’s real even though it’s not? Does that person using the sign think it’s not real even though it is? Who knows? Who cares, as long as people keep sharing the stories and generating revenue? Welcome to media in the Facebook era.

    1. clarky90

      “In Defense of Destroying 600,000 Books”
      Dr Helen Heath hits back at a critic of the National Library’s decision to discard more than 600,000 books.


      “Just because a librarian decided decades ago to purchase a book doesn’t mean it needs to be kept forever. It’s surprising that Professor Dolores Janiewski, who argued her case in Newsroom, thinks it’s right to spend millions of taxpayer dollars storing books that are not being borrowed just in case a handful of people might want to borrow them one day…..”

      This story upset me. When I wrote my MS Thesis, I was astounded in the genius quality of some of the medical/physiological research done in the 1800s and first 75 years of the 1900s. This was all before our nonsensical obsession with pharmaceutical “solutions” to every problem.. (obesity, diabetes, depression, insomnia….”

      Or a “genetics” explanation and solution to everything else.

      IMO, most physical, emotional, spiritual ills have free, mechanical solutions that humans have known and talked about, for thousands of years.

      I watch old videos (>50 years ago) and notice how, in general, people used to look and act.

      Modernity, and now post modernity is a disaster. We must not pile the hard won, old knowledge onto the Book Burning Pyre. Even the incorrect, weakly constructed, poorly executed research can be very helpful. Knowing what not to do…….

      Remember our forebears figuring out which foods could be eaten, and what to avoid, like the plague. Trial, error, report the findings……

      1. farmboy

        Good sources, Cornerstone Gov’t Affairs, Des Moines Register, Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball

        1. Late Introvert

          I can’t speak to the others but the DMR is no longer a good source for anything at all. It taught me to read as a child in the 60’s (thanks mom and dad) but I wouldn’t let my 14-year-old daughter anywhere near that shite nowadays.

          And farmboy, sorry to be dismissive of your efforts, but so what if DNC Dems win? Nothing changes. I will vote against Joni Ernst, but have no illusions about her replacement.

  2. Krystyn Podgajski

    On that “Little Free Library”; A favorite quote of mine;

    ‘You know what else is a free library? A regular library.’
    Jane Schmidt

    Also from that article;

    Little Free Libraries sprout where public library branches are plentiful and where neighborhoods are white.


    Little Free Library is a brand name, which means that anyone who wishes to use it must pay a registration fee that ranges from US $42 – $89. As of November 2016, there were 50,000 official LFLs. Founder Todd Bol has said that nobody is allowed to use the name without permission.

    Customers can buy an optional structure to use, which costs anywhere from US $179 to $1,254, ordering from a website that sells branded totes, bumper stickers, signs, bookmarks, ink stamp, a dog treat container, sets of “rainbow library decorating pens,” mugs, guest books, and other random goods.


    Sorry. I have nothing good to say about human behavior lately.

    1. Billy

      Think I will install a Smaller Than Normal Free Library in my front curtilage.
      Is there some reason blacks can’t put up STNFLs in front of their homes and apartments?

      Yet another example of white ventriloquism for minorities, so as to direct and control their lives and the direction of their power?

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for info. My neighborhood has a couple of them. I have no knowledge of whether they paid the licensing fee, but they are logo free at least. And while this is no longer an all white neighborhood it is most definitely a middle class neighborhood. Haven’t spotted any copies of Das Kapital through the little door window.

    3. Arizona Slim

      A few years ago, one of those things popped up in my neighborhood. Don’t know what happened to it, but it vanished shortly after it was planted.

    4. clarky90

      Lilliput Libraries is the “Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) 2015/16 project.”


      “They’re located on their Guardian’s (the person taking care of the library) fence lines and passers-by are welcome to “take a book now, leave a book later.”

      The books are free for anyone to take away. You don’t have to become a member of Lilliput Libraries, you don’t need to return the books. But we encourage you to take a book now, return or donate one later. If you’re walking by and see a book that interests you, take it home.”

      They are tiny community centers, here where I live. Neighbors bump into each other. Kids rummage through, looking for a book to take home. There are no library cards needed. No panic about “due dates”, or “lost books”.

      Our “libraries” are the same highly decorated and unique form, as the one Lambert posted. And there are no licence fees etc……just lots of cooperation and good will……..

  3. Katiebird

    I spent most of yesterday calling roofers (and waiting for them to return calls)

    Eventually I talked to 4 and made appointments with them. But the weird thing was that 2 don’t wear masks. They aren’t angry or rageful about it, just matter of factly – for this meeting to do the bid – don’t wear masks.

    I know, it’s outside and I’ll have my mask but it was still weird. I just don’t understand the reluctance.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I find wearing a mask a pain for several reason, especially in the heat. It’s the socially responsible thing to do, however, so I do it.

      As a rule, Americans are taught to be conformist, not socially responsible, and there’s a big difference between the two.

    2. antidlc

      Why do so many Americans refuse to wear face masks? Politics is part of it — but only part


      Americans who choose not to wear masks, Abrams said he suspects, “don’t want to admit that this is the new normal,” he said. “They want the old America that they’re used to.”

      It may be a reaction (or overreaction) to authority. “There’s a certain bravado of being angry and defying requirements to wear a mask,” he said.

      On the other hand, Americans are rarely up in arms when they see signs that require them to wear shoes or shirts because abiding by those standards is part of our culture, he added.

      1. Katiebird

        I just talked to one of the guys. I think he’s just lost interest (lost a sense of danger?) He volunteered that he’s given all his crew a kit with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and I don’t know what. That half his guys don’t come to work because they are nervous about catching COVID or bringing it to their families. And he told the ones who are working that if they don’t feel safe they can take the time off.

        But he wasn’t wearing a mask.

        1. mle detroit

          Last month, we had a crew cleaning, repairing, and painting our basement for two weeks. They arrived with masks, but we were upstairs, they were down, so we all relaxed. At the end, the lead guy thanked us for letting them into our home to work.

    3. Divadab

      Masks fog my glasses. They are uncomfortable. They don’t fully cover my beard.

      If I’m outside I won’t wear one generally, but put one on on the rare occasion I need to go into indoor public space. If I were working on a roof no way I would wear a mask – it’s a dangerous distraction.

      Anyway, not trying to justify perhaps politically-motivated bad behavior, but did you ask the person to put on a mask? Some people just need to be reminded……

      1. Katiebird

        I did when I made my appt. — Telling him I was at risk. But he said then that he didn’t wear them. And I knew we’d be outside.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        That’s where I’m at…if I’m outside and can keep a good (6 to 8′ ) distance then I feel comfortable not wearing a mask/bandana. Any indoor public place? Bandana. Plus if you haven’t had the pleasure of wearing a mask/bandana for an 8 to 10 hour shift everyday, you may not know how irritated the ears can get. I’ve had a number of tradesmen ask if I mind if they don’t wear a mask in my shop as it’s just annoying to them. I say in my shop, gotta wear a mask. Or we can talk outside from a distance. For my part I think it’s part of trying to find a way to be that works for the “new normal” now and for the next year or so?

        1. Janie

          They don’t have to go around the ears; the can be two loops behind the head, elastic or tee shirt fabric.

          PS. I bet if they find masks annoying, they’ll really be annoyed by a ventilator.

          1. wilroncanada

            Yes Janie.
            I can’t wear a mask that firs around my ears, because mine are not Prince Charles style. They’re holding hearing aids and glasses, so elastics or clth bands are one thing too many. I wear two elastic, both behind my head, one high and one low.

    1. ambrit

      You might get sued for copyright infringement.
      If a tree falls on BLM land and there is no credentialed expert to file a report, did it happen?

  4. fresno dan

    UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump campaign: Biden must get out and campaign more” [The Hill]. “President Trump’s reelection campaign is accusing Joe Biden of intentionally avoiding the campaign trail and is demanding that the media raise pressure on the presumptive Democratic nominee to cut a more visible profile…. The Trump campaign is eager to have Biden return to the spotlight, believing the race for the White House will narrow once they’ve been able to define him.”
    What is that called when you don’t campaign, and isn’t it done by the incumbent?
    Front porch strategy? Rose garden strategy? Mom’s basement strategy sorry, I’m getting my underground clandestine activities for Putin mixed up with American politics, but don’t we all?

    1. David Carl Grimes

      Biden is going to coast to victory from his basement. He did it in the primaries. He’ll do it in the general.

        1. Briny

          Frankly, at this point, we might just not notice. If he stays off Twitter, we’ll all be relieved, even!

      1. HotFlash

        I’m not so sure. Biden had the DNC/DLC fixers on his side in the Dem primary, so that was a done deal, but it will be which party has the better fixers in the general. OTOH, maybe both sides are trying to lose? Really, who wants to be ‘in charge’ of the worst economy, the highest unemployment, the lowest GDP, the greatest inequality in nearly 100 years *and* nationwide strikes and protests?

        1. jsn

          Diebold has the source code (Republican) regardless of whatever they sold the Democrats.

          Win or lose, they get to decide.

          It’s the reductio ad absurdism of “market based policy making.” Either way, the GlobeTrotters beat the Generals.

      2. albrt

        That would frustrate my fond hopes that his VP nominee will shove him out an upper story window.

        1. John k

          Trumps got pence, Bidens probably got Harris. And Harris likely means Hillary picks Nuland for state.
          The replacements are worse.

    2. km

      Considering that very few people are voting for either presidential candidate, but rather they are voting against the other guy, staying in his basement and letting Trump do all the talking sounds like the smartest strategy Biden’s handlers could dream up.

      We’ve all heard it:

      “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” – N. Bonaparte

      1. RMO

        Biden is like a Mandelbrot-set of awfulness: the closer you look at him, the more awfulness you find, to infinity. Keeping him under wraps is the best thing his handlers can do to help his campaign. Every time he gets in front of a camera or a microphone he increases Trump’s chance of a second term.

  5. DJG

    Yep. It is a Little Free Library. We have quite a few of them here in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.

    And the things people try to recycle: I have a copy of the classic Wilhelm translation of the I Ching from one little library–hardbound. Another look elsewhere turned up a special edition of The Asiatics by Frederic Prokosch, a wry masterpiece by a written not much read these days.

  6. Fox Blew

    In fairness to David Frum, his mother Barbara was a legend up here in Canada. Her interview with a drunk hard-of-healing British cabbage farmer is a classic.

    1. wilroncanada

      She was an excellent interviewer, Fox Blue. But her cheerleading for Israel, Israel, Israel, was a portent of things to come.

  7. Seth Miller

    On Left-Right populism.

    I’m all for prohibiting outsourcing, creating funds to repatriate jobs, imposing tariffs on goods made in outsourced factories, and nationalizing the left-behind factories and intellectual property of any company that moves our jobs abroad. But I’ll be damned if I’m in any kind of coalition with the right. I have yet to meet a conservative who doesn’t believe that bosses have the “right” to fire workers. If they give that up, and if they adopt the belief that a worker’s tenure in a job is a property right belonging to the worker and his or her union, then we can talk. But there’s a word for people who believe that: socialist.

    1. Pelham c

      I agree about folks on the right. But politics is about working with people like that from time to time. Get a bit of what you can on one subject and then move on to the next thing.

    2. Billy

      Seth, careful of dogma:
      “in 1874, the cigar makers in San Francisco created a “white labor” label to indicate that unionized white men rather than non-union Chinese workers made the product. The Shoemakers’ Protective Union also followed suit, adopting their own “white labor” label. The Cigar Makers International recognized the potential support that working class consumers could provide in encouraging the production and sale of union products. They initiated the first national union label in 1880, this one blue in color, thus doing away with the racially motivated white label from the West. Other unions rapidly followed suit in the next decade, including those representing typographers, garment workers, coopers, bakers and iron molders.”

      1. Seth Miller

        Nice story, but what is the connection to the discussion of re-shoring jobs, and whether it makes sense to view right wingers as allies in that struggle? That unions in the past have had a history of racism doesn’t say much about whether the racism needs to be replicated now. Or that we could never have gotten what we won without the racism.

        And I’ll risk being called “dogmatic” if the dogma is the absolute non-negotiable demand that the power to fire workers be taken away from the capitalists and their enablers.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          The thought of having employees is a personal nightmare. Having employees I could never fire would be a nightmare within a nightmare.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I think it’s too easy to forget that unions got started because Big Money was having trouble controlling the workforce — too many wildcat strikes and too much workplace sabotage. In this age without unions it’s easy to forget how the union leadership became infected with ties to organized crime and how easily that union leadership adopted the same attitudes and salaries as their Corporate counterparts. I believe unions also pushed for a certain amount of featherbedding and ill-considered impediments to getting work or business done.

      It’s also too easy to forget that unions work to constrict general access to jobs to enhance the bargaining power of union members. This was used to split white and black workers until the Civil Rights movement.
      “But career with one company (CWOC) was a white man’s world, to which minorities as well as women were given unprecedented access from the last half of the 1960s by virtue of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
      “One of the major points of contention between the AFL and the CIO, particularly in the era immediately after the CIO split off, was the CIO’s willingness to include black workers (excluded by the AFL in its focus on craft unionism.) Later, blacks would also criticize the CIO for abandoning their interests, particularly after the merger with the AFL.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFL%E2%80%93CIO]
      It was also the source of nepotism in jobs.

      Why not go hard-core Socialist and make Government protected worker rights for all workers a matter of Law and Social Culture? The Government must break up business and enforce some greatly enhanced anti-trust/anti-monopoly laws. It also wouldn’t hurt to build a body of philosophy and cultural belief in the nature of enterprise as belonging to the people … not the ‘entrepreneur’ who received protections of law and public savings in-trust for starting their venture. [I am no fan of the employee owned business idea — it echoes too much of ‘occupy-style’ leadership.] Why not reinstate highly progressive income taxes and heavy estate taxes to re-level Society and eliminate Big Money like a poisonous weed. I am of course assuming we might have a different Government. I still like to believe we might someday possess a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        this from Seth:” I have yet to meet a conservative who doesn’t believe that bosses have the “right” to fire workers. If they give that up, and if they adopt the belief that a worker’s tenure in a job is a property right belonging to the worker and his or her union, then we can talk.”

        as well as your mention of things like anti-trust/anti-monopoly….I could sell all that in the feedstore (to just about everybody except the owner of the feedstore,lol), given the time and the quiet.
        even estate taxes and progressive income taxes…I’ve made that case to many of those folks, and had them nodding, with the wheels behind their eyes turning.
        as with the rest of this sort of outreach, it depends on how comfortable that other person is…as well as how plugged in they are to the local power structure, and to the local GOP/DemParty apparatus…and how easily they can be separated out from the Herd(necessary with things like taxes and “Big Gubmint”, etc…to overcome the herd reinforcement mechanisms)
        I understand that this far place where i am is not the world…there’s still a functioning sense of community, here….of belonging, however frayed. I would imagine that this matters a whole lot to my ability to talk this way with these folks.
        and it’s probably a lot easier out here to make the case for taxes—everyone knows and/or is related to someone who works for government, here(school, city and county…plus our highway dept outpost..are the largest employers, in that order)…so it’s simple to point to where the taxes go, and to pronounce it Good, without a lot of pushback.
        My point, here, is that it ain’t impossible…and that the Left(and the Center, for that matter) is just as ignorant of who the Right actually Is, as the Right is ignorant of who the Left is. everybody has these cartoon villains in their mind, put there by the Boss Class, and that just ain’t the whole story….and is often even the opposite of the truth.

        1. Seth Miller

          Interesting point. I won’t debate you, except to say that not everyone in the feed store who says they are conservative necessarily is. Where is the famous feedstore?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Yeah. Texas Hill Country.
            I grew up in Rural East Texas, and after a few years of wandering(throughout Dixie in a green ’76 VW van) moved out here, about 25 years ago. I mention this so i can point out that I’m aware of the unique qualities of this place….I noticed immediately that there’s a different quality of redneck out here, as opposed to points East( as in East of I-35, behind the Pine Curtain…a Faulknerian Darkness underlays everything over there…all the way to the Florida Panhandle)
            I hypothesise that this difference is due mostly to the influence of the first European settlers in this region: German Idealists.
            Nevertheless, I think this fieldwork can scale up….and I’ll again flog the utility of the Evangelical Model for inserting these sorts of ideas into the minds of our right-leaning neighbors.
            Teabilly Whispering, infecting them with a sort of probiotic Thought Virus to counter the Neolib/Hyerindividualistic Thought Virus that the Reagan Counterrevolution infected them with…using that same Evangelical Model.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I am listening to the Librevox reading of “Mainstreet” by Sinclair Lewis. I’m only just over a third into the readings. Although written in 1920 about small town life in Minnesota I am surprised by how much of the attitudes and character of the people echo the attitudes and character of people today … and not just in small towns.

  8. Keith

    I do not think could choose a Hispanic (or Warren for that matter) to be his number two. The current zeitgeist is BLM and they own the moment. Not sure the group, as whole, wants to give up the spotlight just yet. Add to that the feeling that they saved the Biden campaign, it seems Biden has to choose a black female as his running mate. He will have to find other ways to make in roads into the Hispanic community. Perhaps DACA? If the Democrats can poison pill any deal, they could still easily shift blame to the GOP and reap the benefits.

    1. Pelham

      It’s just possible that there’s a black or Hispanic woman out there who’s eminently qualified above all other beings to run things. But it looks to me as if this country is the equivalent of an airliner in flames plunging toward a mountain peak with the point of impact moments away due to the climate crisis and pandemic. Appeasing BLM with a VP pick doesn’t register on the radar by comparison. We need some combination of FDR, Churchill and the Green Lantern at this stage.

      1. Keith

        No, you need somebody that can win elections. Without office, you have no power, without power, you cannot invoke change (not that that’s gonna happen). The current political mood is what it is, and it does seem that COVID is falling onto the backburner.

        New big headlines about Bolton “the Hero of the Resistance” new book leaks and not changes being brought against the Atlanta cops, which includes the non-shooting cop being charged for assault due to the black guy resisting arrest. I expect politics and the black/white “divide” to pick up and amplified in the media. After all, nothing sells papers like Orange Man Bad and racial hatred.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not if you’re trying to lose elections and avoid change. Without office, all you have is the other wing of the oligarchy to save a place for you.

    2. Pelham

      Here’s a thought: How about Biden picking Washington Gov. Jay Inslee? Wouldn’t that quite obviously make the most sense if we weren’t in a nasty idpol straitjacket?

      1. edmondo

        Michele Grisham of New Mexico would be an interesting choice. She just passed free college in NM and seems to be free of the CV-19 and BLM stains. It’s unlike Biden to do bold so I am guessing it’s Kamala. Of course it’s all academic to me. Biden could pick Joan of Arc (I think they are about the same age.) and promise to resign on January 21st and I still won’t vote for him (or Trump).

        1. Pelham

          I can respect that. I’m wondering what in heck I should do in November, besides hiding from the virus. I guess I’ll see what comes of these various mixed committees that Biden has named to tell him what he thinks.

      2. Yves Smith

        Condi Rice has none of the considerable negatives of Harris and she actually comes off as presidential. And Biden even said he might pick an R. Not that I like Condi but Harris would come off as a poke in the eye to BLM supporters/protestors.

        1. Redlife2017

          She also knows how to exude power. I remember seeing pictures of her during her time as National Security Advisor and wow. Knee-high black leather boots with quite the heel. Long coat (leather, I think?). Just wow. She owned everyone around her in those moments. Like you, I have no love for her politics, but more than almost any female politician I’ve seen in the last 20 years, she has no fear of being in control. Not bombastic. Intelligence radiates from her very being. She has a supertanker named after her! (eat that, Harris) Yeah, she is the real deal.

          From a pure power politics standpoint, Biden would be stupid not to have her as VP. Think of all the suburban votes he’d hoover up. And even I’d figure he’s at least serious about taking and using power. But for the elites who forget nothing and learn nothing…well…Harris it probably will be.

    3. Tomonthebeach

      Hispanic is a meaningless classification. So often people assume that Hispanic = Mexican = Liberal. But not all Hispanics are racially dark-complected, short-statured South and Central American aboriginals. People from Spain and Portugal are of white European extraction racially and economically. A large percentage of voters who claim to be Hispanic and are from South and Central America are of white European extraction. They are super conservatives because they are refugee landowners who took their wealth to the US after one of the many regional revoluciones. Miami is chockabloc with well-off nth-gen Cubans who put Rubio in the Senate.

  9. DJG

    Yes, the conversation with Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a transcript, with some loop-de-loops and non sequiturs, but it is worth reading. Both of them are putting together a way of looking at events that is universal. It may be that I am used to their style because it is close to the way that artists and writers talk–so if you become impatient, I’ll understand. But give it a whirl.

    Quoting the interviewer, Paul Gilroy:

    So I don’t have a problem with that but I do wonder about the limits of that as a politics really and about the vulnerability of this sort of declarative political culture, this affective political culture, to a kind of – what would it be – a sort of managerialism, which is the latest tool to remove what St. Clair Drake used to call the ‘racial blemish’ on the countenance of America – so we get rid of the racial blemish you know the racial blemish is George Floyd this week or whatever and then business as usual resume because the blemish is – maybe we have some surgery to get rid of that blemish – but then the blemish will be gone and we can go back to the things that we are used to, the habits we’ve acquired. Well I see those crowds, when I look at those crowds in some quite unexpected places I must say, I don’t see a sense that their hopes for the future can be reduced to removing the racial blemish from the countenance of the United States or, I must say, from the countenance in my country. Their demands are deeper than that, they’re more disturbing than that – the language of structural racism is very visible here so we have to see what that really does mean in this context as the mobilisation starts to congeal

    1. molon labe

      Maybe we can add yogurt Neti Pot rinses to go with yogurt enemas? JOKING–don’t try this at home, folks.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      man…thanks for this!(I love NC!)
      We’re going to San Antonio for chemo manana, and I’ll be hunting for kimche(or the Lanto probiotic stuff)
      sinusitis is a constant PITA in this part of the world.

    3. Jim Thomson

      Please, could you provide more details; what is the supplement, how to take it and what were your symptoms before and after.

    1. SalonBee

      Dems making fun of the Trump ramp thing comes off as being petty. Trump looks like he is trying to walk carefully so he doesn’t slip. Do they think this plays well?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Makes me wonder where President Ford is when we need him. I mean, that dude could *faceplant* like no other POTUS.

      2. edmondo

        This is just immunization for when Joe Biden falls down/wets himself/dribbles food all over his face sometime this autumn. Now the Dems can point to Donald’s “weird walk” as a counterbalance.

        They are attacking Trump “wellness” because it’s Biden’s weak point.

        Sun Tzu: Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak

        1. MLTPB

          Balance is an important issue for many, if not all seniors.

          I understand balance decline starts from age 45, or so.

  10. Toshiro_Mifune

    ‘Autonomous self-driving computers eliminate human labor, eliminate human error

    Translation; “You know, admins and DBAs cost a lot of money. Can we get rid of them?”

    1. Briny

      For a while, specializtion was considered a good thing in the fields of IT. No longer and, indeed, I’d argue it’s anti-survival, for now. The worm will turn, as it always does. After fifty years, I’ve lost count.

    2. cnchal

      What is the point of a self driving computer? It would prefer to spend it’s days toiling in an air conditioned building, slaving away on solutions to problems given it by humans, and would never want ot go for a drive to the beach.

  11. Jason Boxman

    Black lives matter to Chase as a source of exploitation for which no justice will ever be rendered. So it might be genuine, in a perverse way. I’ll take these corporate pronouncements seriously when they advocate for systemic change.

    Also, love this lack of agency from Bloomberg:

    “The new coronavirus was a test of America’s ability to protect the health of its people, and the country failed.

    How does a country fail, exactly?

    1. Kurt Sperry

      The one place AI would perhaps make sense would be to replace management with algos and give the workers free rein to hack the code.

      1. hunkerdown

        I know that’s not the comment you intended to reply to, but this seems like a good place to shout out W. Paul Cockshott who could have replaced the entire management of a modestly-sized industrial city with a neural net running on a university VAX, in 1991.

        Anyway, zero*-administration databases have worked their way pretty far up the food chain ­— even IBM had put some R&D toward a feather-light Lotus Notes-alike for the web, back when they did that R&D thing. What we’re seeing here is Larry having lost the near-entire small-medium RDBMS market due to commodification, FOSS clones, and the resurgence of non-relational (graph/network, column-family, document-oriented) database systems which fit some applications more readily.

        In a nutshell, I think Larry’s trying out some of that Amazon “working backwards” product design magic.

        * “and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit” -Vice Adm. Sir John Cunningham, “Expedition to Lake Pahoe”, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

      2. Briny

        I’ve spent a career automating myself out of jobs, especially the managerial. Lead, why yes. Manage, phftp!

      3. a different chris

        >eliminate human error

        We’ve all heard this, but it’s well known because it is true: “To err is human, but to really screw things up it takes a computer”.

        Man our billionaires aren’t actually stupid, most of them, but they somehow seem to get their heads wedged way up their (family-blog) sometimes.

  12. molon labe

    “America’s anachronistic electoral college gives Republicans an edge” [The Economist]. Cute chart. It’s another economist model–just like all of their others, it won’t be followed up when it doesn’t pan out. Wish I could get a job like that.

  13. a different chris

    People in Big Media keep making Furrowed Brows over these lists. They love a horse race.

    There are eight states that are toss-ups, plus one electoral vote in Maine, for 114 electoral votes — Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4) and one electoral vote in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District….

    Not even trying to figure out Maine, but 5 of the other 8 states now have Democrats as Governor. Sixty-two (62) electoral votes. So that’s the way the population most recently voted for what is, in their world, the biggest political office outside of POTUS.

    But nobody wants to mention this. Takes all the fun out of it.

    Now I personally am still not betting on the outcome :D, but I’m just saying… If I wanted to be nice I would say they are still burned by 2016. But the Republican wave had not crested, Obama did nothing for his party, and well Hillary.

    And I actually had another thought: nobody on Big TV pays really any attention to groundwork. None of those people, either party, became governor because of anything any pompadoured pansy said on the TeeVee. So I guess that’s probably the biggest reason, like everything in the country it pretty much boils down to stupidity.

  14. t

    “Wait, hunting feral hogs encourages them? Why?”

    Hunting anything increases the population, so far, especially on this landmass.

    People feed wild hogs. You can by a solar powered wild hog feeder today, from the comfort of your home.

    If it were up to me, we’d outlaw deer corn and salt licks and everything else that these bozos litter the woods with.


    Not sure if the “hunting = population increase” equation scales or would still be true if we started hunting urban squirrels or something. And not sure what’s going on with the push to hunt invasive Lion Fish. But we didn’t have any idea who bad that was when they started begging people to hunt them so hard to say.

    So, relax everyone in the Americas. We’re all set with hogs and Lion Fish. Both of them can kill you so be careful!

  15. Cat Burglar

    In arid Central Oregon we had a feral hog infestation that beganabout 20 years ago. A rancher hoping to start a commerical hog hunting business brought them in and began to breed them. It is hard to understand how he expected to keep them under control, but then let them out to be hunted –I suspect the rancher was not one of the brighter lights. In any case, they escaped, and spread out over a few counties. That’s one way legal hunting has established a pig population.

    Many times, especially in creek valleys in late winter and early spring, I found seemingly rototilled meadows from hog rooting. Once, while checking a remote fence, I scared a boar out of the brush near a spring — he was at least twice my size. I was happy he ran away from me.

    The State of Oregon put together a hog killing program. Ranchers had to have their own pig control program (which amounted to baiting and checking State-built traps). The State hunted the hogs from helicopters several times a year. Pig sign has disappeared for the last couple years, and they may finally be gone now.

  16. Chef

    re: BLM global, per a recent Buzzfeed article, since they are not a non-profit org they fund raise through Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX).

    TC programs include BLM, a Climate org and various ‘program’ named orgs- Africa Program, Asia Program, Latin America Program, etc.

    Also interesting: also interesting: In 2018, TC formed an LLC, Buen Vivir Investment Management.

    and “one donor representing approximately 40% of total revenue support”

    Couldn’t find them in IRS database to locate funders but maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

    2019 financials> https://thousandcurrents.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Thousand-Currents-06.30.19-FS-FINAL.pdf

  17. fresno dan


    In an email sent Circuit-wide on Sunday, Judge Laurence Silberman, a Reagan appointee, lambasted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for her amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the military to strip the names of rebel officers from any military assets.
    “Hi Judge Silberman,” began the career-risking reply-all email, “I am one of only five black law clerks in this entire circuit. However, the views I express below are solely my own,” they went on. “Since no one in the court’s leadership has responded to your message, I thought I would give it a try.”
    Finally, I will note that the current movement to rename Government owned facilities is in line with your previous opinions on the importance of names and what they represent. In 2005, you publicly advocated for the removal of J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI Building due to the problematic material you came across in your review of his FBI files after his death. You equated it to the Defense Department being named for Aaron Burr. In view of your opinion of J. Edgar Hoover’s history and your advocacy for renaming the FBI building because of the prominence it provides Hoover’s legacy, it is very strange that you would be against renaming our military facilities, since the legacy of the Confederacy represents the same thing.

    1. Rod

      thanks for this–sometimes the goody is at the end.
      So perfect the Clerk would–With that Lang photo attached of Liberty Sq.–and then to clear eye shiv him with J Edgar.
      Most inspiring thing I’ve read in weeks for reasons that will come to me later.

      And this was included at the end about Warren–A Very Useful Tool(AVUT), imo, and the renaming amendment:

      The week before last, Warren privately filed an amendment to order the military to remove the names of Confederates, giving one year to form a commission and rename them. The amendment was to be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation that is debated by senators behind closed doors.

  18. Edward

    Several years ago there was a GM scandal involving selling defective cars that were killing their customers. They should consider an eight minute silence for that as well.

  19. Edward

    Was anyone in the ryley videos wearing a mask? It seems like everybody in this country is going to have to personally get sick before they decide masking is a good idea.

  20. Amfortas the hippie

    someone provided a link for something called “Food Forest/Farm/Restaurant” the other day…and i finally got around to it.
    pretty much off the shelf permaculture, and what I’ve been aiming for for a long while.
    but down at the bottom were the words “Foundational Economics”…which I hadn’t heard of.
    Turns out, it’s a thing:https://foundationaleconomy.com/introduction/
    …and it looks like exactly what is required at this juncture.
    an added feature: I could definitely sell this in the feed store,lol.

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