2:00PM Water Cooler 7/22/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states, with New York for comparison:

Another few days of this and I’ll have to call a peak (though not, I think, without another deep dive into the data-gathering). And then look for a multiplying growth in smaller states…..


“How to Understand COVID-19 Numbers” [Pro Publica]. “The first thing I asked experts was: What metric would you recommend I track if I wanted to understand what was going on in my state? Both Matthew Fox, professor of epidemiology and global health at Boston University, and Youyang Gu, a data scientist best known for his COVID-19 prediction models, advised looking at three measurements together: number of cases, case positivity rates and number of deaths. ‘Cases going up or down tells you a fair bit about what’s going on at the moment in terms of transmission of the virus — but it’s only valid if we’re testing enough people,’ Fox said. • What I would really like is a source that combines all three on one chart. Concluding: “The bottom line: We don’t have the pandemic under control.” • As I kept saying before the problem five exploded — based on case counts :-)

UT: “Politicians and Business Interests Pushed Health Officials Aside to Control Reopening. Then Cases Exploded” [Pro Publica (ES)]. “Email correspondence and interviews with more than a dozen state and local officials in Utah show that the health of the state’s businesses was prioritized over the health of the public, as officials stopped slowing the spread of the virus and instead calculated how many sick people its health system could bear…. And in Utah, infections are rising. The percentage of tests that come back positive is at 10% as of July 13, compared with 3% to 5% in April. On July 14, the state reported its highest number of deaths on a single day since the pandemic began. Since late May, the seven-day average of daily case counts statewide has quadrupled. Utah’s story is mirrored in states across the country, where leaders sidelined public health experts and forged ahead without meeting criteria scientists say are necessary to reopen.” It certainly would have been helpful if Pelosi, back when she had the most leverage, had gotten the states and localities — the non-currency issuers — help with revenue when they needed it. No commerice, no state taxes, no state (and everything else the state funds, which also includes health care).

“For its COVID-19 response, Utah leaned on business consultants to steer logistics” [Salt Lake Tribune (ES)]. “A group of business consultants is playing a behind-the-scenes role in Utah’s coronavirus response, advising the state budget and management heads who have at times supplanted health officials in decisions about fighting the disease…. Representatives of Goldratt Consulting, who have close ties to the state’s chief budget officer, have facilitated discussions about the creation of a $2.75 million mobile app meant to assist the state in contact tracing, email records show. They offered input about securing data gathered through the TestUtah survey, designed to screen people for possible coronavirus testing. Goldratt even built the economic model that spat out the numbers for the state’s COVID-19 testing targets, a high-ranking state public health official says.”


“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

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270.

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!


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden’s advantage over Trump with Black voters is currently smaller than Hillary Clinton’s was” [CNN]. ” Trump continues to do something perhaps unexpectedly among Black voters: Hold his own against Biden relative to many people’s expectations. There have been over 10 national live interview polls since the protests began for which I could assess Black voter sentiment in the presidential race. Altogether, we’re looking at well more than 1,000 interviews…. Biden leads in those polls by an 83% to 8%, or 75-point, margin. That, of course, is a huge advantage for Biden, but it also represents a small improvement for Trump since 2016. Hillary Clinton was ahead of Trump by a 79-point margin among Black registered voters in the pre-election polls taken right before the 2016 election, as compiled by the New York Times’ Nate Cohn. Biden, for what it’s worth, is equaling Clinton’s 83% in those polls. Trump’s picking up a lot of the vote that went to third-party candidates. Given the way margins of error work (i.e. it gets smaller as the result gets more extreme), this slight improvement for Trump from 2016 is statistically significant. Biden currently has such a large lead overall that Trump’s small gain among Black voters doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the 2020 election. But if the race for president tightens, Trump’s small gain with Black voters could make a difference.”

Sanders (D)(1): “Judge acquits Sanders delegate of DNC breast-licking charges” [Philly Metro]. “A 74-year-old Bernie Sanders delegate in town for the Democratic National Convention was accused of slathering his tongue over the breasts of a younger female delegate during a late night at a hotel bar. But on Thursday, a judge acquited Walter Weeks, of Delaware County, of a criminal charge accusing him of the salacious act. The story was widely reported after Gwendolyn Snyder, 31, of Philadelphia, went to the news media and criticized District Attorney Seth Williams’ decision not to press charges.” • A crowded bar, a dozen witnesses….

Trump (R)(1): “Trump on Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell: ‘I wish her well'” [The Hill]. • Hoo boy. Class solidarity? Or something worse?

* * *


It’s OK when our side does it:


Obama Legacy

Finally, a comic who could do Obama


Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats Call for 2024 Party Reforms After Iowa Caucus Mess” [Bloomberg]. “A group of Democrats want the party to make changes that could lead to a new presidential primary calendar and the elimination of caucuses after the messy Iowa caucus earlier this year…. “The Democratic Party must continue to push forward structural reforms that engage more and new participants in the Democratic Party, inspire confidence with voters, and continue to build a strong and inclusive party ready to win elections up and down the ballot,” reads the resolution the group submitted to the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday.” • It coudln’t be more obvious that the Democrat Establishment wants nothing to do with “new participants” in the Democrat Party (unless they’re Republicans).

“Americans tune in to ‘cancel culture’ — and don’t like what they see” [Politico]. I’m skeptical any polling on this topic can be meaningful. Matt Taibbi: “One of the reasons I took up the subject is that I have a lot of discussions with people who work in the media who in the last few months have said they are afraid to pitch a certain kind of story because they don’t want it to get around that they’re interested in a certain topic because they might end up on the radar of people in the union or those who are very politically engaged in the newsroom. He gave the example of a colleague who wanted to do a story about a pharmacy in a small town that was damaged during protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and resulted in the sick and elderly unable to fill prescriptions.” Osita Nwanevu: “You often see pluralities or majorities saying this stuff goes too far. But then if you ask whether we ought to be more concerned about sexual harassment or racism or whether certain specific kinds of speech ought to be sanctioned, then you start to see the that fundamental ideas behind these freighted terms are more popular than the terms themselves.” • Which in a way is Taibbi’s point.

UPDATE “When electoral politics disappoint, uprisings are our Option C” [MinnPost]. “Imagine this awful scenario for a moment: Your spouse and child have been kidnapped. The kidnappers present you with two options. Option A is that you get to pick between your spouse and your child. Only one of them gets to live. Option B is you say no and let them both die. This is the situation in which many people who identify as being somewhere on the liberal spectrum finding themselves today – where Option A is Biden and Option B is Trump. Most people would feel forced to choose option A. I get it. They would look at the choices before them and do what they think is least harmful in the moment. But what if there was a third, less obvious option – an Option C? What if we could zoom out of this situation and say, “Who are these kidnappers? Why have they kidnapped my family and what will stop them from doing this again?” Option C is rejecting the false choices before us, mobilizing our community and rescuing our family. Once we are done with that, we abolish the kidnappers and eliminate the circumstances that allow kidnapping to occur in the first place… As both Trump and Biden refuse to rise to this moment, these uprisings are our option C. People all over the country are embracing option C because they do not trust our institutions and leaders to look out for us. We are doing so through mutual aid, civil disobedience, protesting and by being street medics.”

“The Last White Election?” [New Left Review]. This, from 2013, is typical NLR, heavy but also rigorous. 109 footnotes. That said, for me, because I didn’t come up in the Republican party, it’s very useful. From the conclusion:

Inured since Reagan to routine thunder and lightning from the Republican hinterlands, the globalized American ruling class has failed to grasp the Weimarian nature of the Tea Party politics. The destruction of $19 trillion of personal wealth in the United States since 2008 coupled with the fears of economic stagnation and minority ascendency have crazed the base of the Republican Party. Something indeed has run amok when the merely wealthy stop obeying orders from the very rich or when the privileged 20 per cent mutinies against any concession by the peak 0.1 per cent. Tea Party Republicanism is not the future, not the majority, not even the conservative past. It’s the gangrene of imperial decline.

This doesn’t exactly call Trump. But it certainly calls “the conditions that created Trump.”



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.

Trucking: “Trucking Industry Growth Improved In June 2020 But Still In Contraction Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. “Headline data for the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the CASS Freight Index show that truck volumes improved but show the year-over-year growth deep in contraction… The CASS index is deeply in contraction year-over-year whilst the ATA index is barely in contraction year-over-year. The CASS index is inclusive of rail, truck, and air shipments. The ATA truck index is inclusive of only trucking industry member movements (ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight). I put a heavier weight on the CASS index year-over-year which is consistent with rail and ocean freight. It is not logical that truck freight goes up when industrial production and ocean freight decline – not to mention the continuing effects of the trade war and the coronavirus shutdown.”

* * *
Entertainment: “With Hollywood On Hold, Celebrity Stylists Navigate Life Without The Red Carpet” [HuffPo]. “When the film and TV industry halted production, there was a ripple effect throughout the entire ecosystem. It’s obvious that the lives and careers of movie stars, producers, directors and studio heads are impacted, but what about crew members? Boom operators, film editors, hair and makeup artists, gaffers and production assistants are out of steady jobs for the foreseeable future. Marketing teams have little, if anything, to promote. Ushers at cinemas are deemed useless. …. The life of a celebrity stylist seems luxurious when compared to what others are facing in our country right now. But like many working professionals, they’re freelancers who are trying to find gigs, secure some sort of salary and fight for their own worth as the pandemic looms large. And their work, in part, makes the fashion industry go ’round.”

Retail: “What Shopping in New York City Looks Like Now” [The New Yorker]. “Shopping in New York City, at least in the Before Times, was all about the schlep. The schlep—heaving heavy shopping bags across the city, often between boroughs and on several forms of public transportation—was rarely a planned activity…. I did not expect to miss the schlep when nonessential retail stores first closed down, in mid-March, as the coronavirus took hold of the city. Anything I needed I could summon to my doorstep; anything I didn’t need I was scared to let pass the threshold for fear of contamination…. It will be a long while before flânerie-style shopping will fully return to the five boroughs. While much of the rest of the country has reopened nonessential retail (a move that, given the spike in coronavirus cases in some states, may well have been premature), New York has taken a more cautious approach.” • Flaneur is the right word; lots of food for thought here if you are in retail — or if you want to think about how people move through streets and retail spaces.

* * *
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 22 at 12:21pm.

The Biosphere

“After 40 years, researchers finally see Earth’s climate destiny more clearly” [Science]. Hold onto your hats: “It seems like such a simple question: How hot is Earth going to get? Yet for 40 years, climate scientists have repeated the same unsatisfying answer: If humans double atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from preindustrial levels, the planet will eventually warm between 1.5°C and 4.5°C—a temperature range that encompasses everything from a merely troubling rise to a catastrophic one. Now, in a landmark effort, a team of 25 scientists has significantly narrowed the bounds on this critical factor, known as climate sensitivity. The assessment, conducted under the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and publishing this week in Reviews of Geophysics, relies on three strands of evidence: trends indicated by contemporary warming, the latest understanding of the feedback effects that can slow or accelerate climate change, and lessons from ancient climates. They support a likely warming range of between 2.6°C and 3.9°C, says Steven Sherwood, one of the study’s lead authors and a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales. ‘This is the number that really controls how bad global warming is going to be.’ … Humanity has already emitted enough CO2 to be halfway to the doubling point of 560 parts per million, and many emissions scenarios have the planet reaching that threshold by 2060. The report underscores the risks of that course: It rules out the milder levels of warming sometimes invoked by those who would avoid emissions cuts…. In recent years, another uncertainty in the climate future has also narrowed: Global emissions seem unlikely to reach the worst-case scenarios IPCC helped craft 15 years ago, ruling out some forecasts of extreme warming.” • Worth reading in full. And above my paygrade to assess the study. Readers?

“EPA proposes mild first-ever aircraft emissions standards” [The Hill]. “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday proposed new regulations to hinder emissions from air travel, prompting criticism the agency is codifying standards many aircraft makers have already met. The proposal from the EPA would adopt 2017 emissions standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’s top aviation authority, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new aircraft by 4 percent over 12 years. But both critics and the EPA found the standards would do little to improve emissions as they mirror advancements the industry is already making.”

Health Care

A video of Christo’s “Gates,” in Central Park.

When I saw “Gates,” it was not a windy day. Every so often, one of the orange fabric gates would move, seemingly of its own volition, but in reality making visible the capricious movement of breezes over the landscape. And if #COVID-19 really is spread as an aerosol, as I believe, that is how we are going to have to think of it: As capricious. We are going to have to give an account of the wind and the breeze we cannot see. Even indoors.

“Why United Airlines Is Cranking Up The A/C In A Pandemic” [Forbes]. “[Y]esterday United Airlines announced that, starting July 27, it will begin maximizing air flow volume through aircraft HEPA filtration systems during the entire boarding and deplaning processes. This will make ‘the air onboard a plane significantly cleaner than what people typically experience in restaurants, grocery stores, schools or even some hospitals,’ according to a statement….. Here’s how HEPA filtration works on a plane: Fresh air from outside the aircraft is constantly pulled in through the engines. That fresh air then flows downward into the cabin from ceiling vents and exits the cabin at the floor and sidewalls, and is then routed through the HEPA filters and mixed with more fresh, outside air before returning back to the cabin.” • Wouldn’t it be better if the air flowed up? Taking what we breathe out away from us? Can ventilation mavens in the readership comment?

* * *
“Planning ahead: U.S., Canada order 177M more COVID-19 vaccine syringes from BD” [Fierce Biotech]. “And now, as promising data begins to trickle in from a number of drugmakers, the U.S. is nearly quadrupling its orders for needles and syringes made by BD. åThe U.S. ordered an additional 140 million injection devices from the medtech giant, bringing its total to 190 million. Meanwhile, Canada just about doubled its order, from 38 million to 75 million. BD said a majority of the international orders it’s received, including over 100 million from the U.K., are slated to be delivered before the end of the year, in anticipation of a coronavirus vaccine being approved in late 2020 or early 2021. The company is also preparing for future vaccines to require two doses per person. the company said it does not expect these new COVID-19 orders to impact its other injector production plans, aimed at the annual flu season and other vaccination campaigns. BD is one of the largest producers of injection devices in the world, making billions of syringes and needles annually through a global manufacturing network.” • BD is located in Nebraska.

“FDA relaxes regulations for producing viral transport media required for COVID-19 tests” [Fierce Biotech]. “The demand for widespread COVID-19 diagnostics has strained every aspect of the enterprise, including the production of swabs, reagents and sterile containers. Now, the FDA has loosened its oversight of viral transport media, the liquid solution that keeps samples viable as they wait to be tested, in a move the agency says will help boost waning supplies. Most of the molecular and antigen-based diagnostic tests granted emergency authorizations require some form of viral transport media or different types of sterile saline solution. Now, the FDA is allowing commercial manufacturers to ship their products immediately, without submitting the formal, 90-day notifications typically required for a new medical device. In addition, the agency said it does not intend to enforce its product quality system and manufacturing regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as Unique Device Identifier requirements, as long as the company maintains compliance with certain ISO standards.” • Hmm.

“Civil War-era smallpox vaccination kits offer new insights on how the virus was eradicated” [CNN]. “A new study published in Genome Biology on Sunday, carried out by scientists and historians from McMaster University, the Mütter Museum and the University of Sydney, identified five vaccine strains used by Civil War-era physicians to protect people from smallpox… Between Jenner’s early trials and the diffusion of modern and standardized vaccination practices that led the World Health Organization to declare smallpox eradicated in 1980, physicians practiced human-to-human vaccination. That involved harvesting infectious materials from one individual and applying them to a wound on a healthy person to cause an immune reaction.” Cowboys! More: “Traces of these types of materials were found in the vaccination kits examined in the study. The vaccination kits were serendipitously found in a drawer in the phlebotomy section of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia.” • When I lived in Philly, I could never bring myself to go to the Mutter Museum. Too creepy!

“Man Suffers 4 Hour Erection With Covid-19 Coronavirus Infection” [Forbes]. “They stuck a needle into the blood vessels of his penis…. The blood sample had dark blood clots and high carbon dioxide and low oxygen contents. This was consistent with ischemic or low-flow priapism. Ischemia basically means not getting enough blood to certain body parts. Blood was probably not flowing out of his penis due to blood clots blocking the exit. When blood stays in the same place and can’t return to the lungs, it gets depleted of oxygen and loaded more and more with carbon dioxide. The doctors injected a medication, ethylephrine, into, yes, his penis. This medication can stimulate the sympathetic nerves in that area, which in turn can relax the blood vessels in the penis. Things then calmed down so to speak…. Why did the man have blood clots, given that he didn’t have any history of blood clots prior having Covid-19? Well, there continues to be more and more reports of patients with Covid-19 coronavirus infections suffering blood clots.” • Yikes. Not a joke!

Our Famously Free Press

UPDATE They need our help:


(My response: “Now do class.”) I retain a soft spot for USA Today, because they didn’t lose their minds in 2016 (as opposed to, say, the Washington Post and the New York Times).

Groves of Academe

“Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt is working to launch a university that would rival Stanford and MIT and funnel tech workers into government work” [Business Insider]. “Schmidt is teaming up with former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work to form a federal commission and kick off a university called the US Digital Service Academy that would train new classes of coders for the US. The school would offer degrees and coursework for digital skills such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. According to the report, the new academy has the backing of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, an agency launched by Congress in 2018 to help the US prioritize artificial intelligence in response to China’s advancement in that arena. The organization voted unanimously Monday to recommend the university to Congress. Commissioner and former head of the Federal Communications Commission Mignon Clyburn also emphasized during the Monday hearing the need for inclusion when recruiting students to the school/ Stanford University — the school Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page attended — and MIT have historically been the primary talent pools for the tech industry. According to the report, the Digital Service Academy would serve as a third reservoir for the best and brightest technology workers, but one that would ideally produce graduates imbued with a sense of government duty.” • Just what we need: énarques.

Class Warfare

“7 On Your Side Investigates: Testing centers in many non-white neighborhoods likely to be more crowded” [WABC]. “Health experts have repeatedly said early detection of COVID-19 is key to preventing the virus’ spread, but new analysis by the 7 On Your Side Investigates data team, ABC News and FiveThirtyEight found where Americans live and how much money they earn has impacted their access to tests in major cities from coast to coast. The New York Metro Area ranked among the top 10 major US cities with testing disparities, behind other cities such as Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas. In New York City specifically, we looked at nearly 400 testing sites active through at least June 18 and found predominantly black and Latino communities were likely to face testing sites up to 26% busier than testing sites in communities with a greater percentage of white residents. We found a greater concentration of testing sites per capita in wealthier areas of Manhattan reducing the likelihood of long waits for tests, compared to certain predominantly minority communities in parts of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.” • NO WAY! (And notice how the editor erased class when they wrote the headline.)

“There’s a Divide in Even the Closest Interracial Friendships Including ours.” [New York Magazine]. Maybe it’s me, but this is one of the more creepy things I’ve read recently: “A lot of her white friends were grandmothered in under a more lax regime.” • Maybe this is what friendship in the PMC is all about? An HR department inside one’s head? Worth reading in full. Is this as creepy as an old codger like me thinks? However, to be fair, I am a WASP’s WASP, in an extremely white state. Maybe I’m not seeing the real difficulties?

UPDATE “OSHA Complaints Show the Morbid Dangers Healthcare Workers Face During Covid” [In These Times]. “During the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, with thousands dying every day, America relied on a select few essential workers to keep society running, like postal workers, grocery workers and meat packers—all industries that have seen, together, hundreds of Covid-related deaths among workers. Chief among them are nurses, on the front lines of the pandemic, who have put their lives on the line to intubate disease victims and provide lifesaving medical care. Since the pandemic began, over 500 healthcare workers in the United States have died from the virus. But these workers who we rely on so deeply—dubbed ‘warriors’ by President Donald Trump and ‘heroes’ by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—continue to work under hostile management and in dangerous workplaces that make the disease even more contagious and deadly. That’s according to a dataset and interactive map recently released by Strikewave, a newsletter of original reporting and analysis for the U.S. labor movement. The data show at least 21,510 Covid-related Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) complaints since the start of the pandemic. It’s unknown exactly how many more complaints than usual have been filed, as OSHA complaints are relatively confidential. But it’s clear that they are surging.” • The map looks good. We need more maps, more maps of all sorts.

UPDATE “Uber Deducts Millions from Drivers’ Wages for Airport Tickets They Can’t Appeal” [Vice]. “On March 3, 2018, Tedros, a rideshare driver in Sacramento, received an email from Uber notifying him that the rideshare giant would deduct $100 from his next paycheck. Five months prior, the police at San Francisco’s International Airport wrote him up for a permit violation while he was waiting to pick up a passenger. But rather than serving Tedros the ticket, as a police officer normally would, the airport issued the citation directly to Uber without Tedros’ knowledge. ‘We realize this likely will come as a surprise, but per your agreement with Uber, we must collect the violation amount from you,’ the email from Uber, reviewed by Motherboard, reads. ‘The violation amount will be deducted from your next pay statement.’… Tedros is one of thousands of rideshare drivers in the United States who have had this problem. Contracts between Uber and airports allow for millions of dollars each year to be funneled out of their paychecks into the hands of airports, which are typically owned by local governments and publicly-owned airport authorities.”

News of the Wired

“The ‘Friends’ reunion special is happening. And yes, every cast member is on board” [Los Angeles Times]. No. No, no, no, no, no, no. Who can afford an apartment like that?

* * *
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 (moss):

And this kind note:

I’m moss, a very occasional commenter here as being in nz I seem to read NC way into the night EST as so it’s way past any discussion time on most threads. Just now reading your Mekong thread and not even sure whether you’d see a reply now if I posted one.

All this aside, however, I noted your comment on the fascination of this river system and indeed the area on the map where the parallel river systems run through the upper parts of Yunan is a region of considerable botanic interest and and the source of many unique plants – rhododendrons and azaleas, camellias, meconopsis etc. Frank Kingdon-Ward the UK botanist who spent many years there wrote a wonderful book on it, Land of the Blue Poppy among others.

I moved house two years back and my present garden redevelopment is too much a work in progress to warrant sending you pics, but here’s two snaps of my last garden in which I did all the rockwork – which included barrowing down an 8m drop on the goatpath from the road about 5 cubic m of basalt which alone took several months. One is in spring, the other autumn.

The stone wall, and the S-curve!

* * *
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. fresno dan

    “Man Suffers 4 Hour Erection With Covid-19 Coronavirus Infection” [Forbes]. “They stuck a needle into the blood vessels of his penis

    The blood sample had dark blood clots and high carbon dioxide and low oxygen contents. This was consistent with ischemic or low-flow priapism. Ischemia basically means not getting enough blood to certain body parts. Blood was probably not flowing out of his penis due to blood clots blocking the exit. When blood stays in the same place and can’t return to the lungs, it gets depleted of oxygen and loaded more and more with carbon dioxide. The doctors injected a medication, ethylephrine, into, yes, his penis.
    FAINTS again….
    decided upon reviving not to read the rest of it.

    1. Otto

      Not sure why that was posted. A member of researchers have for awhile believed SARS-COVID-19 is in fact a vascular disease, in part due to the the body wide blood clotting and as in the brain and damage to the heart. Also the signaling by the lining of the inside of blood vessels for clotting agents. With so much information being generated and having to be analyzed it is taking awhile by CV19 is truly an awful disease.

    2. EricT

      I wonder if this symptom is the cause of so many recent sudden deaths among younger people.

    3. ChrisPacific

      It sounds funny, but (leaving aside the Covid link) it’s actually a serious medical condition that requires urgent treatment to avoid permanent damage. People often delay seeking treatment because it’s embarrassing.

  2. L

    It coudln’t be more obvious that the Democrat Establishment wants nothing to do with “new participants” in the Democrat Party (unless they’re Republicans).

    Nothing shows this so much as the call to end caucuses which actually attract motivated non-regulars. And of course the complete lack of efforts on voter registration.

    Every time I see this I go back in my head to Chuch Schumer when he stated precistely that “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”.

    This, by the way, was his description of Hillary Clinton’s Strategy in 2016.

    1. Darius

      In 2016, Hillary lost the election by failing to bring out the vote in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Flint, and Milwaukee. Those are African American voters. Biden doesn’t appear to appreciate this enough.

      1. Big River Bandido

        It’s the party that nominated him that doesn’t appreciate that enough. Tough to motivate black voters in those cities to come out and support the dude who put their brothers and friends in jail. Or worse.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The election could be an interesting test of whether Biden’s having been Obama’s loyal Vice President has earned him Absolution and True Forgiveness in Black America for all his anti-black prior actions.

          If Biden wins the election because of having been Obama’s Vice President, that would show the power of Obama’s coattails through time and space.

  3. allan

    Phase 2 is the new Phase 3:

    Novavax executives could get big payday even if vaccine fails [Reuters]

    One of the leading U.S. firms developing a coronavirus vaccine, Novavax Inc (NVAX.O), has awarded executives stock options that could pay out tens of millions of dollars even if its efforts fail.

    Novavax CEO Stanley Erck and three other executives would earn the options, worth $101 million at Tuesday’s closing stock price, if the company’s vaccine candidate enters a mid-stage clinical trial – regardless of its eventual success, according to a company filing. The incentive plan, which has not been previously reported, allows the executives to start exercising the options a year after Novavax starts the so-called Phase 2 trial, as it expects to do soon. …

    In a statement to Reuters, Novavax said the stock options were awarded to retain its top talent and recognize their intense effort. …

    Rest assured that the executive compensation expert of negotiable affection consultant who cooked this up
    was well rewarded for their intense effort.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There are two issues here, which some of the coverage conflates. The first is the executive bonuses, which are obviously both ridiculous and business as usual. The second is “even if its efforts fail,” implied to be bad. This is Operation Warp Speed, which is paying multiple pharma companies, in parallel, to not only develop but to prepare to manufacture vaccines even before they have been tested. Unfortunately, we have privatized vaccine development, so this is rational, given the givens. If one of the parallel efforts pays off, it’s worth all the money in toto, because the alternative is ruin. Now, I personally would prefer that some more humble country, like Thailand or South Korea, came up with the vaccine first, and donated it to a joyful world. But this is where we are.

      1. allan

        I have no problem with a shotgun approach to both vaccines and therapeutics, since this is an existential crisis for the U.S. (although it didn’t have to be). But I’m not OK with shoveling some of the generous funding the USG is providing up to the C-suite (or even to the shareholders) for a nice try, no cigar.
        In the current environment, they should be grateful just to have jobs.

      2. Bill Smith

        There have been a number of reports that the Chinese have a vaccine they have been giving to their military and that the Russians have a vaccine they have been giving to their ‘elites’.

        Is the Chinese and Russian thinking it might not work that well but if it doesn’t hurt lets try it? Or are they just further along than the rest of the world?

        1. jo6pac

          Both countries deny the vaccine story. I did read Russia and China something that will slow it down once you are infected.

      3. Ignacio

        Operation Warp speed is sponsoring 14 projects, so far. One can expect that only one of these will get the final OK and if we give each program equal opportunities the chance for any of those to fail is about 93%. But as positive results come out (there is a strong incentive to show positive results) we will probably see that 100% of the projects see their executives handsomely rewarded and the cost of that being passed to the public. Is this good reason to become anti-vaxxer?

        1. ptb

          Per standard procedure, the crisis response doubles as an opportunity Cabinet members to line their pockets, essentially, by inflating these development contracts as much as possible for favors with the pharma+diagnostic firms.

          Anyway, if it produces a working vaccine, great. But think about it for a minute- lots of drugs and therapies look perfectly good 9 months in, only to get canned multiple years into testing/approval.

          By necessity, the results of this effort have to be deployed well before that is even possible. What are you going to do in a 6-9 months window? You can test for severe short term effects, see that you get an immune response, and maybe estimate how fast it decays. A lot more is possible of course, but that’s where the money corrupts everything. Lets say a researcher discovers that the level of some obscure protein associated with a long-term negative health effect is increased. You think that’s going to get reported if the actual symptoms aren’t due to show up for years? Ha!

          Not going so far as to say it’s a reason to be an anti-vaxxer. But I would be sympathetic to anyone not wanting to be first in line for something developed at a speed that is possible only by cutting all kinds of corners, together with a clear motivation to hide risk from beginning to end.

          1. Ignacio

            Yep. Shortcuts are being taken in some instances giving the false impression we are close to a vaccine. Some projects claim now to be in Phase III but there is no public info (as far as I have searched) about preclinical assays, particularly results on animal models and I find that disturbing. It may be the case that clinical trials and pre-clinical assays are being done simultaneously and it will take some more time to get the results of the latter. But going to Phase III without careful safety analysis in animal models could be criminal. I am trying to figure out what is exactly going on but so far I cannot feel reassured. I am not an anti-vaxxer but I agree with you. I wouldn’t volunteer to any project that is unable to show me a comprehensive preclinical work on safety and good risk assessment.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > But going to Phase III without careful safety analysis in animal models could be criminal.

              Or we get a vaccine that’s painful and complicated to take, with bad side effects.* Then not enough people take it. Worse than a crime, a blunder.

              Meanwhile, a cheap, effective, safe, and easy-to-take vaccine magically becomes available somewhere else in the world…

              NOTE * Is there a scenario where Vaccine A, first out of the box (assuming) somehow interferes with the working of Vaccine B, released later, but better?

      4. Synoia

        I do not want to be “helped” with a Version 1.0 of ANY Vaccine.

        Version 3 or 4 might be a somewhat safe inoculation.

    2. Mel

      One possibility is that the new U will imbue the best&brightest with a strong sense of what the government’s duty ought to be. They could do for technology what the University of Chicago did for Economics.
      I don’t know Eric Schmidt, so I can’t guess how true this might be.

  4. L

    “Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt is working to launch a university that would rival Stanford and MIT and funnel tech workers into government work” [Business Insider].

    So let me get this straight, China is kicking ass in this area by building on their existing university system and training students while we keep cutting funding for education and jacking up the cost. Then when faced with a crisis Congress’ ‘solution’ is not to fund our existing, and still quite good state universities or community colleges, but to beg Eric Schmidt to privatize it.

    This is an insult to our existing educational system and a clear sign that they have no interest in actually spreading things around.

    1. Otto

      You are not thinking about this in the manner of the ruling class. Obviously they are not happy with with this whole CV19 thing and it must not happen again, including Trump.

    2. zagonostra

      What struck me from the recap of the BI report was:

      .. the Digital Service Academy would serve as a third reservoir for the best and brightest technology workers, …that would ideally produce graduates imbued with a sense of government duty.”

      So the implication is that those graduating now do NOT have a “sense of government duty.” I think what they (Schmidt and his ilk) want is just the opposite, they want system administrators/coders, automatons that have no sense of civic duty or empathy for fellow citizens or the consequences to the whole of what their work affects. Pesky problems of externalities, environmental and social, are eliminated. I’m sure such a “University” will have many electives in the humanities…

    3. Larry Y

      Considering Eric Schmidt got his degrees from the other great university near Silicon Valley… a top public university.

    4. Olga

      I don’t know why, butt my first thought on seeing this was J Rockefeller’s statement “I don’t want a nation of thinkers; I want a nation of workers!” And sure enough, “Rockefeller was also the founder of the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines.”
      So now Schmidt only has to live until 100.

  5. JJ

    You actually can view cases, case positivity, and deaths on the same chart, using that 19-DIVOC tool. It’s pretty powerful

    Here’s a link: http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=states&highlight=New%20York&show=highlight-only&y=both&scale=linear&data=cases-daily-7&data-source=jhu&xaxis=right&extra=Florida%2CTexas%2CCalifornia%2CGeorgia%2CArizona%2CNew%20York&extraData=deaths-daily-7%2CtestPositivity-daily-7&extraDataScale=separately%2Cseparately#states

    I’ve removed the other states because with that much data it gets pretty messy.

    But you can see how while CA, FL, and TX are close in number of cases, the positivity rate in TX is double of CA and FL is triple.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Awesome! I had missed the “additional data” button (perhaps it wasn’t there in the beginning; I am a creature of habit). I will change my practice forthwith!

      1. Otto

        There’s an additional problem and that is how many people are dying of what? Every state has rates exceeding 200% to 400% in excessive deaths – year over year. Opioid related deaths have doubled from 2018, (there is no complete 2019 data, another Trump innovation), delayed treatment of chronic and acute illness 20-30%, known CV19 deaths and then – what, what are the rest? The least we could do is determine a cause of death. The country I live in, we raised the money to do a histopathology reports no matter where they died. We have had over 1700 ‘official’ cases of CV19. The rest in our county, are CV19 as well. None that we know of were tested prior to death. CV19 is like a million endemics going off around the world each which there very own very local data set.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > There’s an additional problem and that is how many people are dying of what?

          I believe methodology for determining the cause of death in the United States can go down to the county level. I think a more reliable measure would be excess deaths, as opposed to “deaths from COVID,” probably an undercount.

  6. ambrit

    That Democrat Party as bench meme is pure neo-liberalism ‘virtue signalling.’
    First, it’s a public bench. Why is it displaying any ideological content at all. Are we now in an “American Glorious Homeland” phase of culture?
    Second, those dividers look just close enough together to deny any poor person the possibility of stretching out on it to nap. So, the subliminal message is, “No poor people need apply.”
    Third, the idea is material and labour intensive compared to standard basic paint jobs for public installations. Thus, is it a “Public Private” co-operative endeavour? With ‘donors’, er, ‘partners’ footing some of the cost? One step away from privatizing the park.
    I’m waiting for a new edition of “Why Mommy is a Democrat.” It’ll be called; “Why Mommy is a DRINO.” With lots of cutesy anthropomorphic aminalz and lots of rainbows gracing the skies in the background.

      1. ambrit

        From what I can see, all of the above paragraphs describe one sick joke or another.
        As for “Why Mommy is a Democrat,” well, I can see it as the basis for the question the kids are always asking Mommy:
        Child: “Why does Daddy live with the stripper over on the west side of town now?”
        Mommy: “We don’t talk about that dear.”
        Child: “But Mommy. Trina is showing me how to do my makeup really good! She’s cool.”
        Mommy: “Learn how to respect your self child. Makeup is for shallow people.”
        Child: “Then Daddy likes shallow people Mom. Don’t I want Daddy to like me?”
        Mommy: “Not if it makes you less than you can be dear.”
        Child: “Aw Mom!”
        Mommy: “Quiet now! It’s almost time to go to your Oboe lessons.”

      2. ambrit

        Oh, yes. Are you suggesting that the Democrat Party “bench” is empty? The Meta, it burnsssss!

      1. ambrit

        Sorry for a clumsy formulation. DRINO = Democrat Republican In Name Only. (One bling to bind them all.)
        It’s a bi-partizan culture of failure!

  7. Ignacio

    “After 40 years, researchers finally see Earth’s climate destiny more clearly” [Science]

    Thanks for this. The science report does a very good explanation of the research done. Three lines of work and evidence were analysed and i found most interesting, –obviously apart from the line that investigates current data- the paleo-climate research that found a sensitivity range between 2.5ºC – 3.2ºC, the lower value for the coldest part of the period and the upper estimate for the hottest part.

    Narrowing the window for sensitivity to 2.9-3.6ºC, let’s say the average 3.2ºC is the most probable outcome of CO2 doubling should help to focus our minds: this is a big change. We will have to wait to 2021 to learn which could be the consequences of that, how sea levels would rise, how regional climates would change but it can’t be pretty. Economists will have to work hard to counteract this with models that show that such warming will be good for the economy.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, rebuilding some semblance of all the Sea Sunken Cities would provide a whole lot of Mohr Dzhobs.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      “Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), defined generally as the steady-state global temperature increase for a doubling of CO2, has long been taken as the starting point for understanding global climate changes.”
      I interpret this statement from the introduction to the linked paper as follows: the steady-state change in global temperature resulting from a change in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 offers a convenient proxy measure for climate change. I have a problem with this notion.

      I view the steady-state global temperature as a very convenient measure for quantifying the Politics and Economics of burning fossil fuels. Without such proxy how could we possibly set up a CO2 “budget”? And CO2 budget assumes a lot of content into this proxy. If CO2 changes by amount “X” then global temperature changes by “Y” degrees. We just need to stay within budget and ‘share’ our CO2 ‘expenditures’ and everything will be all right — or sorta OK — or? Our best scientists can’t say with any confidence what particular global temperature increase will be all right. Why should we care whether we know “climate sensitivity” is 2.6-3.9 K [66% range] or 2.3-4.5 K under the robustness tests or 1.5-4.5°C based on Charney’s back of the envelope calculations. The changes we can easily observe right now with the current increase in global temperature are far from all right. The poles are melting promising new beachfront. The weather is becoming noticeably more intense and more random — which hardly bodes well for agriculture. Climate change will have and is having global effects on human socio-economic systems — systems made ever more fragile by the same powers that squeeze CO2 budgeting numbers out of the scientific community.

      I have confidence the many authors of this paper did their sums correctly. I am skeptical of the value of their totals, other than as an aid to the Politics and Economics of burning fossil fuels. Too bad their totals came out higher than might have been hoped for. I haven’t noticed any will or way to scale back and eventually staunch Humankind’s burning of fossil fuels regardless of the number calculated for Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS).

  8. jsn

    Downward airflow: there are two apertures through which humans emit vapors. The upper one is equiped with sensory organs that don’t like the signal they get from lower emissions. Hence the direction of air travel in engineered systesms.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Here is something I have wondered about Armey every time I have heard/seen him speak on TV. I keep thinking I hear the very slightest trace of a Spanish accent in his English. I keep wondering if his last name started out as something like Armijo, and then changed to Armey for business/political/personal advancement reasons.

        Has anybody else even wondered about this?

  9. Clive

    Re: Aircraft A/C (and why outside air is induced in ceiling diffusers then extracted through grilles at floor level)

    This is required to ensure destratification.

    As the conditioned space requires cooling and dehumidification (as a result of heat and water vapour being emitted from passengers and some sensible heat loads from equipment such as the galley kitchen area etc.) the supply air will be cooler and dryer than the ambient air. As cooler, dryer air is heavier than warm air, if it was attempted to be brought into the conditioned space through the floor e.g. via floor diffusers or vents, it would tend to “pool” around passengers’ feet and legs.

    If it was then required to try to achieve air mixing, supply air velocity would need to be increased, this would create cold drafts (you would get comfort complaints about chilly feet and legs but you would also still get warmish air at face level as there’d be little upward airflow even with high air velocities as aircraft are pretty tightly packed with seating at floor level — so your head might feel too warm).

    The earliest air conditioning installations in cinemas in the 1920’s made the mistake of having supply grilles at floor level. Cinema goers reportedly wrapped their legs in newspapers to avoid getting frozen feet and calves.

    Much of the “scientific” “research” I’ve read into COVID-19 airborne distribution is a load of hokum. Rarely, if ever, is any reference made to airflow, air distribution, air velocities, air change frequency, filtration efficiency and many of the huge array of other variables which are in play in an indoor environment. Usually, the studies simply ignore the complexities and the vast range of airflow permutations which might apply in a conditioned (or unconditioned) space.

    1. Otto

      The most important of those studies was done at MIT they did in fact take into account everything you brought up which is why the plotted the results agaisnt a range of variables. Why you think CV19 Virions (or “particles”) of coronary spherical particles that are between 0.06 micron and 0.14 micron in diameter, and averaging about 0.125 micron, measured by electron microscope (Zhu et al, 2020), can’t float around is a mystery to me.

      1. Clive

        The MIT “study” (still not peer reviewed, by the way, so just as much a part of the “science as entertainment” problem as pretty much everything else) did not “take into account” the variables. It modelled and simulated what it considered to be representations of the variables in static replicated (or computer generated) mock-ups. These were not done in real-life aircraft with real-life passengers doing real passenger behaviours on real flights with real-world HVAC equipment (which I can guarantee you does not perfectly meet design specifications after a few years in operation).

        Airborne transmission of viruses is based on them being carried in or on exhaled droplets not viral cells themselves. Droplet sizes too are highly variable in size https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843952/ so that’s another variable not accurately accounted for.

        Little wonder “scientists say” reporting in the media has become the new “my mate down the pub knows someone who…” aided and abetted, I am aghast to find, by former reputable seats of learning like so-called top universities and medical journals. Sometimes I wonder if they’re not just doing it for the money or the publicity (or both).

        People are hungry for information, I understand that. But that old adage “hungry people make for poor shoppers” applies here as much as it ever did.

    2. voislav

      I’ll add my 2 cents. In airplanes the filter unit is on the cabin inlet side, so it filters air coming into the cabin. Incoming air creates positive pressure, which also prevents unfiltered air from the outlet side from going into the cabin.

      Reversing the flow would mean that unfiltered air is going into the cabin and filtered air is leaving the cabin. I am pretty sure there are safety regulations against this kind of operation.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the vast range of airflow permutations which might apply in a conditioned (or unconditioned) space.

      Exactly my point with the Christo “Gates” metaphor. Airflow is capricious.

  10. flora

    From Kentucky: Things are heating up. The first pension v. PE suit was only the opening, it seems.

    BREAKING: A Major Wall Street Scandal Just Exploded In Kentucky
    Law enforcement officials are targeting the billionaire who bankrolls McConnell & Trump’s political machine — the suit threatens two of the most powerful firms on Wall Street.

    In a landmark case with potentially global implications, Kentucky’s newly elected Republican Attorney General is targeting some of the world’s largest financial firms in a new lawsuit alleging that teachers, firefighters and other government workers have been systematically bilked by Wall Street’s rampant fraud and self-dealing, which has created a massive financial crisis in the state.

    As TMI previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked workers and retirees from suing these kind of firms because the high court said they did not have legal standing. A Kentucky court then quickly cited that ruling to short circuit retirees’ case against Wall Street giants Blackstone and KKR, which said the firms investment schemes had fleeced the state pension system.

    But in an extraordinary move on Monday, Kentucky’s GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron intervened to sue on behalf of the state government — a maneuver that likely renders the standing issue moot. The suit alleges that the firms misled the state into funneling retirees’ money into investments that were “secretive, opaque, illiquid, impossible to properly monitor or accurately value, high-fee, high-risk gambles with no historical record of performance.”


    This is one to watch for lots of reasons.

    1. grayslady

      This is one to watch for lots of reasons.

      Yes, but it’s a pity the attorney general is a showboater rather than a serious AG. He’s 34 years old, with no trial experience and, apparently, not many street smarts. This is the same guy who wanted to halt abortions in Kentucky during the coronavirus because he claimed they were just another elective procedure, even though I doubt that there is an abortion anywhere in this country today that takes place in a hospital unless it’s an emergency illness for the mother. Even D&C’s are performed in outpatient clinics.

      He also just arrested 87 protestors on a felony charge, among other charges, for “trying to intimidate him.” The guy has refused to charge the police officers who just outright murdered Breonna Taylor. His excuses sound like something Trump would say.

      Sadly, I think this is little more than a bright, shiny object to try to detract from his abysmal performance in office so far. Since he used to be Mitch McConnell’s senate lawyer, I can’t even say with confidence that I believe he isn’t doing this in order to deliberately screw up this avenue of litigation for other attorneys general elsewhere. From what I’ve read about him, he’s just copying Obama’s playbook–a bright individual who’s all talk and no walk.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > he’s just copying Obama’s playbook–a bright individual who’s all talk and no walk.

        So in other words, Cameron will run in 2024 or, more likely, 2028?

  11. Toshiro_Mifune

    “With Hollywood On Hold, Celebrity Stylists Navigate Life Without The Red Carpet”…. It’s obvious that the lives and careers of movie stars, producers, directors and studio heads are impacted, but what about crew members? Boom operators, film editors, hair and makeup artists, gaffers and production assistants are out of steady jobs for the foreseeable future. Marketing teams have little, if anything, to promote. Ushers at cinemas are deemed useless. ….
    So you’re saying there’s an upside to all this !

  12. Geo

    “Maybe this is what friendship in the PMC is all about? One’s own personal HR department?“

    Years ago a Chinese friend of mine told me I was the only white guy he’d ever let call him a *censored*. I was shocked and said, “I’d never call you that though!” to which he replied, “That’s why I’d let you.”

    If she really knew her friend she would have had no issue at that party. I’ve brought black/brown/Asian friends to all white events and been at many where I was the only white. Never has it ever been an issue in these friendships. Seems to me a healthy response would be to introduce her friend to more black events where she could meet and possibly befriend others outside her circle.

    Another moment from years ago: Joked with a colleague and buddy he was my affirmative action friend. Over the years he’s become like a brother to me and we’ve been through some hard times and always been there for each other. He even tolerates my very white love for industrial and folk music!

    That little “talk” she had with her friend was pointless. Actions say more than words. And now their “friendship” will have that cloud of judgement hanging over it. How is that helpful instead of sharing each other’s lives? I’ve brought black friends to rodeos and Dolly Parton shows. They’ve brought me to slam poetry reads and Nas shows. Asian friends have brought me to see Classical Chinese orchestras, Thai drag parties, Japanese movies, etc. Hispanic friends to Bossa Nova shows and block parties.

    Too much talk about differences and not enough shared experiences in my white guy opinion. I still have lots of long talks about racial injustice both systemic and personal. Am always open to hearing if I’ve made a lapse in this regard. But, come on. Let’s work toward unity again.

    1. verifyfirst

      We have gone backwards a step even in our goals…from “integration” a generation ago to “Coexist” today.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      from the art:”Race is not a challenge to overcome. It’s something to be constantly aware of. ”
      this is prolly the fundamental problem i have with the whole current woke thing…the puritan “i am a worm” nonsense that never allows any reconciliation.
      that’s not trying to fix racism, that’s perpetuating it.
      My Mexican American Wife and i talk about race often enough…out there in the world…but we’re fine, thank you. we laugh morbidly about “stupid white folks” saying stupid things….and then remember numerous unforced counterexamples.
      I see her as a human…not a color coded human.
      I’m as embedded in her mexican american familia as she is in my pasty white bunch.
      it was interesting watching my folks tiptoe around race at the beginning, and stepmom said some unfortunate things out of ignorance. But we laughed about it, and continued to watch them flail until they finally got over it themselves. It was the same towrds me from her side. They all got used to it.
      or that year and a half when i was the only white guy working in a black club/catfish joint. interesting experience, there, fer sure!—other kitchen guys “protected me” when Ice Cube played there. he came and hung out in the kitchen for more than an hour. I was fascinated the whole time there by the cultural differences(prolly helped that my colleagues were all studying philosophy, sociology and black history at Huston-Tillotson. That kitchen was a raucus intellectual and ecumenical marvel, at times)

      exposure is the cure for the unscientific, social engineering weapon of “race”.
      Rule # 2: Don’t be a dick.
      the people in the article….and in the broader embrasure of victimhood…will never accomplish that.
      just be nice to each other, and give each other a break….not “lets have a focus group” and break out the white board, and document all of our failings as humans and then wallow in it.

      Our commonalities are what should bring us together; our differences are what makes it interesting.

      1. rowlf

        I wonder if, like John Bolton having reoccurring nightmares of world peace breaking out all over, do anti-racists (and racists) fear multiracial families? My family jokes about competing to get high score on the stupid government forms and how fast before we have someone to just lines through all options. I love that in the area I live in it is common to see grandkids that don’t look like their grandparents.

        Hearing Adolph Reed Jr mention working together instead of fracturing in his union story on a recent Taibbi/Halper Useful Idiots podcast was like water in the desert. Most people will tolerate some differences if they find they can agree on the majority of what they experience. I was always amazed how close to something crystallizing when the original Tea Party started seeing they had common concerns with what the Occupy movement was working on. I was also amazed when I heard military personnel saying they liked what Occupy was doing.

        It may be that the elites are seeing more chances that the proletariat is getting too close to unifying as a group.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “there but for the grace of god go i”…and “walk a mile in my shoes”
          the fella i traveled with in the van during my Wild Years was po white trash from Lake Charles. Stole a pair of shoes when he was a teenager and got thrown in prison.
          There…although he had grown up cheek by jowell with black folks, and even had black relatives, he had little choice but to align with the aryan prison gangs….because that what we, as a nation, had allowed prison to become.
          got a very shitty tat….and after he got out, obtained the same tatoo materials and attempted to obscure that aryan tat.
          ever after, he couldn’t get a good job, had great difficulty renting an apartment(ex con, you see), and all manner of tragedy and oppression.
          were he alive, today, i imagine the wokesters would consider him an exemplar of “white supremacy”…but he was anything but.
          unexamined assumptions, based on just another essentialist set of stereotypes…and made worse by the pseudocalvinist outer darkness…from which one is never allowed redemption.
          I awoke, this morning, thinking about my own family history…Huguenots, converted Bohemian Jews chased out of Prague, Irish Potato Famine, and the god dern Trail of Tears(!).
          all that horror and wanton oppression, visited on each of these groups by a Privileged Class….the existence of which is what all this division is intended to obscure.
          All the world is a cousin to me, dammit….and dividing ourselves by melanin content, obscure religious differences, and which political faction we somewhat adhere to is silly, and counterproductive, when our enemies are almost as one in support of the project to keep us all under thumb.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Interesting experience, there, fer sure!—other kitchen guys “protected me” when Ice Cube played there. he came and hung out in the kitchen for more than an hour. I was fascinated the whole time there by the cultural differences(prolly helped that my colleagues were all studying philosophy, sociology and black history at Huston-Tillotson. That kitchen was a raucus intellectual and ecumenical marvel, at times)

        Can’t do that on Zoom…

        1. ambrit

          I’ll bet you that Kanye gives it a good try. (Or whoever is ‘behind’ his “run.” Now, if it was “Killer” Mike…..)

    3. Oso

      it’s like commenting on NC. a white blog with white folks commenting from their white PoV. non-white comments that go with the flow are fine, race unnoticed by blog denizens. comments from a non-white PoV generally ignored, if one expresses a bit of pique in regards to race regulars reassure yourselves it’s not you, it’s us.

      1. HotFlash

        Oso, you are right. I believe you are what we Canadians would call a First Nations person? I live in a neighbourhood ‘purchased’ under Treaty 13, which was a total scam even back then — 10 shillings, what crap. But it got better in 2010.

        I have many First Nations friends here in Toronto, some of whom are very active in the various First Nations movements, others who aren’t, just living their lives. They help me understand what would be helpful. My people (Irish) were driven off their land by the British, so I have some kind of empathy. But we could (well, had to) come to the New World, except it was already someone else’s Old World. I have no idea how we can make this work. But we can only do it together, I think.

        1. ambrit

          I’m a first generation immigrant, born in London, UK. Everything over here in the “New World” was ‘taken’ and pretty much priced up out of our reach. The fact that Mom and Dad, and later Phyl and I managed to obtain our “own place” was pretty much a function of luck.
          Meritocracy, as applied to social relations and the associated human endeavours is bunk.

          1. Wukchumni

            Our situation here is somewhat unique, in that there were around 2,000 Wukchumni here for a few thousand years, and presently there’s the same amount of Californians. Not many places near so much water in our country had it stay the same like that.

            Measles killed close to 90% of the original population in 1868-69. The tribe never recovered and ended up on the Tule Reservation, where there might be 100-200.


            1. ambrit

              Terran Human genetics is a tangled mess, I’ll agree.
              Yesterday, in the parking lot of the local Winn Dixie, (we were waiting in line to get in,) I struck up a conversation with a nondescript white man. I am also very forgettable.
              Just before we entered the store, he mentioned that he was 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Scots, 1/4 Welsh, and 1/4 Cherokee.
              I replied to that that he was pretty unique.
              “Why?” he asks, waiting for the other shoe to drop. (It was that kind of conversation.)
              “Because,” I replied, deadpan, “you are descended from four of the Lost Tribes of Israel.”
              He then surprised me and returned,”Wow! Cherokee too. I thought that Sasquatch was the American Lost Tribe.”
              I couldn’t stop laughing. Someone else had heard of the Lost Tribe Sasquatch “Fun Conspiracy Theory (FCT).”
              We didn’t once talk about religion, politics, or the Dreaded Pathogen.
              Interesting Times.

  13. remmer

    “Democrats Call for 2024 Party Reforms After Iowa Caucus Mess”

    There are good arguments for and against caucuses, as well as against closed and open primaries, so any method a state party chooses is open to criticism. But Dems have been using caucuses since the 1970s, and there have been public criticisms of them only twice, both times by Hillary and her academic and media allies: in 2008, when she was losing caucuses to Obama, and 2016, when she was losing them to Sanders. They weren’t attacked before because they were either genuinely competitive races that took place before a front runner emerged, or an establishment-endorsed front runner was winning them. Those days of relative party stability probably won’t be coming back for a while.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The real argument is how to shatter the strangleh(g)old of Two PRIVATE CORPORATIONS, the Dem and Rep “Parties,” on the electoral process and the conduits of “legitimacy.” Amazes me that my state tax dollars go to pay for the primary elections where shits like Debbie Wasserman Schultz have near absolute control over who gets on the ballot and how the votes are counted and the various efforts to “direct” the franchise to people who will “vote the right way.” Speaking now as a mope who grew in the Chicago area when Mayor Daley was also head of the Cook County Democratic Party, and reading the disheartening Perpetually renewed expose’s in the Tribune and Sun Times laying out how the elections were stolen and the candidates were decided upon. Also as a poll watcher seeing how the “balloting” can be squee-hawed to produce the desired result.

      How about a movement to remove the corporate franchises of the corporate “parties?” Not that any kind of “reform” has much chance of getting past the powers of the Powers That Be…

    1. barefoot charley

      Yes, and all those basalt rocks wheelbarrowed down the goatpath are *heavy*! Hard work well rewarded.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yep. my back vibrated in sympathy before i even read the note,lol>
        well done, Moss.

        the labor is what keeps me from obtaining river rocks from the Llano.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Maybe they did one a day. There was a fishing village in ancient Japan whose boats were being frequently damaged by the weather so they made an agreement. Every time they went out, they would take a few large rocks out with them and at a pre-arranged place, would drop them over the side. Nothing changed for a long time but eventually the fisherman could see the stones getting closer to the surface. Eventually the fisherman finished what they set out to achieve – a stone jetty that would protect their boats from rough weather. I have taken this approach to heart for large jobs and this attrition based approach works.

    2. moss

      Thanks for the kind comments. The rocks were sourced from a farmer’s field where he had sold a volcanic basaltic dyke intrusion to the local town council to remove for roading and my contact was able to obtain the very cap of eroded “litter”, with the lovely patina and cleavage faces. I studied books on Japanese gardens for clues as to rockwork design and construction and the project took five years.

      It is immensely satisfying looking at the photos … but the real pleasure was in the implementation. It’s six years ago now I sold it and the property was purchased to rent out and the garden fenced off to go to ruin. It’s now all shoulder high weeds! But I’m philosophic. One has no eternal control over these things and at least it wasn’t bulldozed for subdivision. The rocks are a resource that will remain there until it is, I’m sure.

      No regrets. The best years of my life were there and I’m now too old to ever contemplate anything remotely like this again, and the new owners did give me permission to go one day and do a plant raid so some of the best are now growing with me now.

      Don’t slow down, fellow horticulturists of NC!

      1. Billy

        The secret to good gardening, and housekeeping, is something I learned when I was a waiter; never go anwhere empty handed. Always carry something when entering a garden or leaving it. Always carry something to the kitchen when crossing the house. It makes work light because it’s mostly already done.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        “One has no eternal control over these things”

        To give birth, to nourish,
        to bear and not to own,
        to act and not lay claim,
        to lead and not to rule,
        this is mysterious power.

        Tao te Ching, trans: Ursula K. Le Guin

        Easier said than done, but you are to be thanked for creating so much beauty and for being able to let it go.

  14. Mark Gisleson

    I never watched Friends but I would watch the revival on one condition: that it be a remake of The Big Chill generationally updated. Which would also mean one of the Friends would have to be dead and wouldn’t it be fun if they let the fans decide which one?

    1. griffen

      Someone in the right cohort age perished from cancer. Dare I say it, but Ross loses his battle with pancreatic cancer.

      He didnt deserve Rachel.

    2. HotFlash

      I’ve never watched Friends either, but would be interested to see how Quakers would do a sitcom.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Could never stand ‘Friends’ and I heard one good story about them at their expense which today’s interracial friendship article reminded me of. Some people started complaining after the show had been going for a few years that the ‘Friends’ had no black friends. Much discussion ensued until some black people said no, no, that program is accurate. Friends like that don’t have black friends-


      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe David Schwimmer, Ross, the Largest of the Friends, said Friends should be rebooted with non-white faces, and a number of people pointed out Friends was a knockoff of a show featuring a largely black cast including Queen Latifah.

    4. ambrit

      Didn’t that ‘iconic’ eighties movie about a group of ‘frirnds’ start out with a suicide? That would be a very appropriate opening for a “Friends” nostalgia fest. One of them loses their job and finally breaks.
      Psychodrama at it’s finest!

    1. jo6pac

      I think the AG is running for a future office of senator or governor. The main thing his name is in the news for months. He’ll allow them to pay fine making look good then reduce the fine when it’d out of the lame stream press news cycle. Sorry I’m not much into hoping anyone govt. is doing the right thing;-)

  15. JohnnyGL

    Re: interracial friendships

    I think there’s a few things going on. There’s a creepy vibe to the article (along the lines of ‘white fragility’-style talk of feelings and insecurities), but there’s some substance.

    The first, is black people demanding a bit more from some of their white friends.

    Simultaneously, there’s white people being caught off-guard by increased expectations that they’ll practice in their personal lives, what they preach, politically.

    Separately, the article seems like it is blissfully unaware of how we got to a world where Ann, — who seems like she wants to be a force for racial justice and equality, — can still be surrounded by a mostly white group of friends/family. You can’t understand this world without being aware of how ‘race’ itself has been constructed. Obviously, the knee-jerk reaction is to point to slavery. But that’s not the end of the story. The more relevant, recent history is redlining and the FHA which led to the creation of wealthy, white flight suburbs. That history is crucial to understanding the racial wealth gap. That gap is crucial to understanding why PMC-types often don’t bump into a lot of black people in their lives, — America has already pre-screened them out by the time you even get to things like college and the workplace.

    With this context, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no real solution to these issues through individual actions. The real, long term solutions have to be political. That is because, of course, the divides were created through political action.

    I understand the story is supposed to be about interracial friendships in a racially strained and divided society, but we really need the context of the story of how we got to be so racially strained and divided! That strain was created through government policy and needs to be fixed in the same way!

    Better self-awareness isn’t good enough!

    1. JohnnyGL

      I think it’s important to point out real, concrete history (especially post-WWII) on race because a lot of bad-faith (and even some good faith) actors and elites want to make this all about white guilt and feelings about race. It’s all very mushy and doesn’t really lead anywhere beyond trying to consider someone else’s point of view. There’s a right way to talk about race and a wrong way. Making white people uncomfortable is certainly going to be necessary, but can’t be an end unto itself. If it seems like that’s the end goal, it eventually just brings about more backlash.

      On a side note, this shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to Lambert’s beloved (rightfully so) ‘concrete, universal benefits’. It should be a complement to it. I think it would help build the solidarity that we’re all looking to build.

      1. fwe'zy

        Great points here, Johnny. Totally agree that ” … a lot of bad-faith (and even some good faith) actors and elites want to make this all about white guilt and feelings about race. It’s all very mushy and doesn’t really lead anywhere …” Personally, I’m tired of white liberal exceptionalism aka humblebragging. (“White people are the WORST thing that’s EVER happened to this planet! We are UNIQUELY ruthless and settler-y! Oh boohoo boohoo.”)

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “…PMC-types often don’t bump into a lot of black people in their lives, — America has already pre-screened them out by the time you even get to things like college and the workplace. ”
      aye. that’s why my folks, brother, etc were so hilarious for the first 4-5 years of wife and i’s marriage.(comment above in modland i guess)
      They tripped all over themselves, because they had no experience with brown people…or poor people, for that matter.
      and it wasn’t as if they tried to arrange their lives that way…it just sort of happened.
      The Ways that happened is, indeed, a political question.
      but teaching my family how not to be idiots was not a political effort…as much as they may have preferred if it was!…but one of patience and exposure.

  16. Anarcissie

    I too found the ‘There’s a Divide’ weirdly creepy, I guess because it has the talking-down, didactic quality of a children’s religious story book or the like, whereas the characters are supposed to be (I think) well-off, educated, sophisticated, urbane PMC citizens. It lacks humor and nuance, and some of the situations are really difficult to believe, such as the Black Person, supposed to be a Close Friend of the White Person, being unable to express herself about it for weeks or months, as if they hardly knew one another. Was this supposed to be a warning against tokenism? It’s not 1950 any more. It’s like something by Jules Feiffer from the old days.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yes, lots of very mushy stuff about thoughts and feelings and confusion. It seems like these two just forgot that wealth is very racially stratified in the US. And, yes, that racial wealth gap is going to express itself in a variety of ways. Certainly, that includes the occasional awkward social situation.

      Another point to keep in mind from Aminatou’s point of view is that keeping an almost exclusively white social circle is one thing in a place where there’s barely any minority population. But in Los Angeles, I can see it coming across as a good bit weirder. Managing to have an exclusively white social circle in a very diverse city like Los Angeles is more of an eyebrow raiser.

      1. Tom Stone

        Long ago I worked in an office in the Suburbs and was listening to a political discussion between co workers in the break room when one of them turned around and said “Tom, you live in Oakland, what do black people think about this?”.
        I took a moment to recover and answered with “Which one?”.
        I’ll add that I had a wonderful long term relationship with an African American woman that ended amicably, it took her family (Especially her daughter in law) a lot longer to accept me than it took my family to accept my sweetheart.
        A lot of that was due to how charming she is, a good woman.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Close relative with skin tones of creamy white and peach, married to a person whose skin is as dark as it gets. Both mothers in law have crapped on daughters in law in all kinds of direct and passive aggressive ways. Mother of obsidian-toned skin person seems to have accepted finally and has been trapped by circumstances into living with the couple (CV-pandemic-induced lack of ability to return to home country.)

          Their children are beautiful, BTW. And they are fortunate to live in an area where what can we call them any more, “mixed marriages?” are commonplace and No Big Deal. Worst problems come from the behaviors of Japanese corporate employer toward ebony skin tones.

          How do punctillionists like myself answer survey and form questions on skin-color-based “race?” I personally am kind of a yellowish tan with pinker palms and soles. That ain’t “white” in my lexicon, but what do I know? Of course these forms do not provide space for a write-in answer, just a “bubble” to be filled in with a “black ball point pen…”

    2. Jeff W

      There seem to be a lot of assumptions underlying both what being the only person of a particular ethnicity at one social event, a birthday party, actually means—“it had larger ramifications”—and what the person whose event it is (although, in this case, it’s not even that) is supposed to know and do about that first set of assumptions (“I also resent that I have to be the one to bring it up…”).

  17. Basil Pesto

    When I saw “Gates,” it was not a windy day. Every so often, one of the orange fabric gates would move, seemingly of its own volition, but in reality making visible the capricious movement of breezes over the landscape.

    I had a similar experience visiting Monet’s garden at Giverny. Sat in a place with the water lillies in the foreground and miscellaneous greenery swaying in the gentle breeze. It was entrancing. Afterwards I immediately wrote a few essayish paragraphs about the experience and the impressions though I’m wary of looking at them again as one is when it comes to old writing. Still, The Gates as shown here and described by yourself reminds me somewhat of John Cage’s 4’33”, which of course demonstrated that silence is impossible. The Gates perhaps reminds us that stillness is similarly impossible (at the atomic/sub-atomic and, indeed, universal level). That analogy isn’t perfect – Cage’s work is a wonderfully ironic provocation and moreover is a negative, of sorts. Still, I had the same thought in the garden in Giverny too.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I took many photos there which I still have not edited (this was about 5 years ago, ugh) but once I do I’ll send them through for hopeful WC inclusion

  18. BoyDownTheLane

    I know that some people are having problems with China and some people are upset with white people.

    And I know that there is such a thing as dyslexia.

    But where we talking about here?

    The Last White Election, or the Last White Erection?

    I now also that pharmaceuticals intend to create or support erections also promote cerebral vascular accidents.

    And I know that the trend is toward aerosolized matter that can alter genes which in turn can alter body chemistry.

    And it seems that there are some who are concerned with burgeoning population.

    And I know there are methods for subliminal mind control.

    Keep it up.

  19. barefoot charley

    I’ll stand with Lambert in the creepy zone wrt the article on racial sensitivity.

    For white people, being in all-white spaces is a choice they make, not something that accidentally happens when they don’t double-check the guest list.

    Commenters mostly thought this piece was over the top, but not all. And for doubters, it’s worth reading to see what office Maoists may accuse you of, because you’re guilty. This is what Taibbi said yesterday sensible people are afraid of calling out.

  20. flora

    re: Michael Brooks – finally a comedian who can do Obama

    That clip was hilarious. Brooks doing Obama giving a Louis F. type speech, complete with the bow tie reference. Genius!

        1. dcrane

          Yes! I love Mike’s imitations…Obama, Bernie, Mitt Romney, Harrison Ford…many great ones.

      1. flora

        Wow. Your’s and Dan’s 2 linked Jimmy Dore clips are pitch perfect. Obama really was a smooth, vacuous, indifferent to voters interests, neoliberal president. Obama knows who his boss was and is, and it’s not the voters. ;) Mike MacRae makes that shine through. (And Biden says if he’s elected nothing will change. oh…yippee…) / heh

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          McCrae is very good, but I think Michael Brooks captures Obama’s flow better. You can sense “Obama” thinking through what he’s saying in a very Obama-esque way.

          1. flora

            Brooks’s “Obama” thinking through a “Louis Farakan”- esque (!) speech in a thoughtful way. “Bow ties for everyone”!

            That’s hilarious on multiple levels. “Obama” acting out the ‘thinking through’ part without understanding what the hell’s on the teleprompter or what it means. But the flow is everything. ha. That’s just genius!

  21. upstater

    re. “What I would really like is a source that combines all three on one chart”

    Take the percentile value of each state for the 3 parameters, add together, divide by 3, then subtract from 100. Low values bad, high values good. One could use normalization for population, but I personally wouldn’t do that. Another option would be a 7 day moving average for the parameters.

    Call it the COVID Composite Index or CCI for abbreviation.

  22. Chris

    Who had monkey slave labor on their 2020 bingo card?

    Between stuff like this and people doggedly arguing against wearing masks I wish we could skip to Christmas and get the rest of this miserable year over with :(

  23. rowlf

    A long time ago… when working on McDonnell Douglas aircraft, particularly DC-10s, there were schematic manuals that were artwork, very useful in understanding the systems on the aircraft. These were the best system schematics from any aircraft manufacturer, just brilliant stuff in describing how systems worked, interacted, and what happened inside the black boxes. The airline I worked at did not maintain the manuals so we would often get copies from other operators and make our own.

    One of the schematics was for a cabin gasper system in DC-10 aircraft. On older aircraft (707, 727, 737, DC-8, DC-9) it was popular to have overhead gaspers in the passenger service units (PSUs) so passenger could have air conditioning pack air directed at them. Not a bad idea except in DC-9/MD-80/MD-90/B717 aircraft where sometimes water would accumulate and dump on the passengers. The DC-10 had the PSU with the reading lights mounted high above the passengers and a marketing point was how easy it was to reconfigure the cabin seating. The gasper solution was to place the gasper nozzle on the back of the top of the seat so it would blow in the face of the row behind, near where the seat back mounted in flight entertainment screens are nowadays. Unfortunately, the source of the air was below the seat and was moved by a small axial fan.

    I asked older mechanics about the system and they said the fart fans system was disabled pretty much at entry into service. You would see the circuit breakers for the system pulled and collared on circuit breaker panels, and seats where replaced in the mid 1970s.

    Larry Lamm


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s great stuff. Amazing that it came from McDonnell-Douglas. I wonder if Boeing took over the tech doc, or just the financial engineering….

    2. rowlf

      I found a picture of the original DC-10 seat backs with the gasper nozzles.

      Douglas had great manuals for the DC-10. Boeing’s were so-so and I had some bad experiences with missing or wrong information. Airbus is ok but more consistent across aircraft. I miss paper manuals where I could thumb through and find the wrong stuff. It is harder now to just wander around in computerized manuals.

      DC-10 seats

  24. rowlf

    Someone wrote a summary of a measles spreader flying on an international airliner and the infection rate around them. This occurred when masks were not a common concept. It would be interesting to see the same study with a measles spreader and mask use on an international airliner. (Not that I am volunteering).

  25. ChrisAtRU

    #ReasonsILoveNC – #UmpteenAndMillionth

    Les Énarques … and now I get to add calembour to my vocabulary! A most useful addition!

    And yes, we ought to reject Les Énarques!!

  26. Wukchumni

    I heard that the Minnesota Twins are under pressure to change the team name as its seen as unfair to single delivery infants who might suffer from the stigma of just not trying hard enough.

    1. HotFlash

      Totally unfair to blame us single-births, we were just children. It’s our parents who should be shamed for not trying hard enough!

    2. rowlf

      I have twins. My union shop committee member mentioned he stopped by my house to help us out when the stork couldn’t find the house. Twice. I asked if he would like to take credit on the birth certificates but he demurred.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t like the way the New York Yankees appropriated the name “Yankees” from real Yankees. It’s highly inappropriate. The Yankees* should be forced to disgorge their team name and give it to the Boston Red Sox.

      NOTE * Referred to by my father as “the hated New York Yankees.”

      1. ambrit

        Given New York’s origins as a Dutch colony, a good new name for that baseball team would be the “New York Patroons.” Eventually, the ‘commonality’ will shorten it to “Da Patrons!”

  27. ObjectiveFunction

    >”if you ask… whether certain specific kinds of speech ought to be sanctioned, then you start to see the that fundamental ideas behind these freighted terms are more popular than the terms themselves.”

    Some good writing from PolicyTensor on this topic (although I’m a bit confused by his later assertions that it’s partly a play for status by non-STEM academics).

    In short, antiracism is PMC newspeak:

    What is underway is the coming of age party of antiracism as the hegemonic ideology of the professional middle-class…

    Boasian antiracism is the hegemonic ideology of the elite. At first pass, it is an ideology of inclusion. It is something you get potty trained in at elite institutions. It extends well beyond race. For instance, the proliferation of acronyms like LGBTQI et cetera can be traced to its hegemony. It tells you what sort of things you can say in polite company. More importantly, it tells you what you can’t say. Put simply, if you want to appear civilized, you better learn the language of Boasian antiracism.

    The antiracist sees herself as not just striving to self-actualize but caring about a moral order in society. Antiracism involves boundary work [taboos?] that reproduces the moral order: that’s where the cancel culture comes from.

    Sixties radicals may have left the streets. But they didn’t disappear. An advanced band of them mounted a bid for the Ivory Tower…. Antiracism outposts within academia — Black studies, ethic studies and gender studies — mushroomed…. prestige schools are the central sites of reproduction of the professional class. These schools can now be described as mass manufacturing elite antiracists.

    [Starting in the 1980s] the deal that was struck with race and gender oppositional politics was that professional middle-class fortifications were to be inclusive meritocracies. Instead of colorblind, we will have the United Colors of Benetton. The meritocracy would not just be meritocratic but racially inclusive.

    The Reagan-Thatcher revolution was consummated when social democracy capitulated upwards and abandoned custody of the working class interest…. The professional-class increasingly began to consider the white working class racist. The white working class — with a different history and culture from the professional class — increasingly began to perceive class work behind the professional antiracist scold.

  28. stefan

    Cancel culture makes sense when it takes the form of a boycott by disenfranchised or disempowered people. But by the time these people have some sort of authority, the same impulse ought to be moderated and adjusted to fit a wider context.

    For example, it is clear that Confucius believed in the class system, but on the other hand it is very difficult (and slightly crazy) to discard Confucianism wholesale. It is telling that in the “Articles Criticizing Lin Piao,” a classic of the Cultural Revolution, all the terms of criticism are all rooted in the values of Confucian virtues as expressed in the Book of History’s opening chapters on Yao and Shun.

    Pretty soon we’ll all be wearing dunce caps and signs hanging around our necks.

    1. stefan

      Put differently, we are living through a period when gender fluidity can be used to reduce freedom rather than to enlarge it.

      What about the art of letting people be?

  29. caucus99percenter

    > There’s a Divide in Even the Closest Interracial Friendships Including ours.” [New York Magazine].

    I found that book excerpt super creepy too. Thank God we “locals” in Hawaii never regarded interracial friendship in such a complicated, politicized, twisted way. It would have driven everyone, of every ethnic background, crazy. If that’s the way the progressive vanguard on “the Mainland” (= the continental U.S.) thinks, may the people of Hawaii never, ever, ever become like people on the Mainland.

Comments are closed.