2:00PM Water Cooler 7/27/2020

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 (Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Arizona), 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). So, looking at the chart and speculating freely, let’s call the peak 9 days ago in Florida on 07-18-2020. New York’s peak was 2020-04-09, and colorably flattened at a low rate 2020-06-23, but let’s say puffery rounds the flattening date back to 2020-06-01. That’s 54 days. There are 99 days ’til election day. A vaccine plus America having the memory of a goldfish could solve a lot of problems.

This chart includes new cases and positivtity (because deaths scrunch together at the bottom of the chart and I don’t trust that data anyhow; excess deaths would be nice). In terms of undercounting as measured by positivity (higher is bad), the order from worst to best would be AZ, FL, TX, GA, CA, and CA, at 7.42%, is still too high by WHO standards (they want 5%).


“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!


UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Biden organizers say campaign is ‘suppressing the Hispanic vote’ in Florida, mistreating staff” [The Hill]. That’s extraordinary. I had no idea the Biden campaign had organizers. More: ”

This video file cannot be played. A group of 94 field organizers for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a letter to the the state Democratic Party claiming the Biden campaign is ‘suppressing the Hispanic vote’ in Central Florida and mistreating staff. The letter, which was obtained by the Miami Herald Saturday, alleges that the Biden campaign mistreated field organizers and relocated trained staff members without adequate explanation…. ‘The [Coordinated Campaign of Florida] is suppressing the Hispanic vote by removing Spanish-speaking organizers from Central Florida without explanation, which fails to confront a system of white-dominated politics we are supposed to be working against as organizers of a progressive party,’ the letter reads, according to the Herald… The organizer’s discontent comes amid negotiations between the Coordinated Campaign in Florida, the Democrats’ Florida campaign branch, and the field organizers’ union, IBEW Local 824, a Democratic official told The Hill.” • “Organizers of a progressive party”…

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “‘She had no remorse’: Why Kamala Harris isn’t a lock for VP” [Politico]. “When former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Joe Biden’s vice presidential search committee, recently asked Kamala Harris about her ambush on Biden in the first Democratic debate, Dodd was stunned by her response. ‘She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,’ Dodd told a longtime Biden supporter and donor, who relayed the exchange to POLITICO on condition of anonymity.” • So, ritual fealty is a thing for Biden…

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders delegates mount convention rebellion over ‘Medicare for All'” [Politico]. “A revolt is brewing among Bernie Sanders delegates three weeks from the Democratic National Convention. More than 360 delegates, most of whom back Sanders, have signed on to a pledge to vote against the Democratic Party’s platform if it does not include support for “Medicare for All,” the petition’s organizers told POLITICO. They argue that single-payer health care is an urgent priority amid a worldwide pandemic and the biggest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression….. The warning is all but certain to set up a clash between Sanders’ most dedicated supporters and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who opposes Medicare for All, at a time when the party is seeking to demonstrate unity ahead of its August convention. Though the petition signers have little chance of revising the platform to include Medicare for All support, they do have the numbers to draw attention to their protest and cause.” • Unless the DNC edits everything out of the Zoom feed (or whatever the tech is).

Trump (R)(1): “Trump goes all in on vaccines and therapeutics” [Axios]. “Top Trump advisers and GOP leadership have told the president in recent weeks that he needs to switch gears on the coronavirus and go all in on messaging about progress on vaccines and therapeutics. The big picture: The goal is to try to shift the focus of the election conversation to who would be better at reviving the economy. Administration officials say this is a key reason Trump restarted his briefings this week and that this rhetoric will only accelerate in the weeks to come. When scientists and health care researchers make big strides on vaccine and therapeutic development, the White House wants Trump at the podium, delivering the good news himself.” • That wasn’t hard to see coming…

* * *

“The Establishment Is Gunning for Rashida Tlaib” [Jacobin]. “Like her colleague and close ally from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is facing a primary challenge with support from a political establishment that desperately wants her to go away. Unlike Omar, who is trailing in funds raised thanks to a massive influx of Wall Street and lobbyist cash, Tlaib does at least enjoy a clear lead in fundraising and is currently blowing out her opponent (Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones) by a whopping margin. But the challenge, which in many ways mirrors the recent effort to take down New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaks to the ongoing resolve of big Democratic donors and other establishment interests to neutralize the growing insurgency within their ranks.” • Gee, I wonder if the DNC blacklisted any of the challengers running against incumbents Tlaib, Omar, and AOC. Kidding!

UPDATE “How Brooklyn Assembly Insurgents Rode Absentee Ballots to Upset Victories” [The City]. “Local political observers chalk up the [DSA] upsets to relatively high voter turnout fueled by the availability of mail-in ballots and the consolidation of primaries on June 23 — both measures taken as a result of the coronavirus crisis. They also rode the coattails of the 2018 wave of progressives who mounted challenges to sitting state elected officials. That includes actress and activist Cynthia Nixon’s run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in which she outperformed him in gentrifying areas of Brooklyn.” • Not sure whether DSA is lucky or smart…

“Inside 100 Days To The Presidential Election, 9 Things That Could Change The Race” [NPR]. “Biden’s advantage in those national surveys has come largely from a drop in Trump’s support rather than a big increase in the percentage of people saying they would vote for Biden. The Biden campaign has been saying for months during this surge that it expects the race to tighten, and no one should be surprised if it does….. With no bigger wildcard than Trump, we should all be prepared for the unexpected.” • Yep. Worth a read.



This won’t help you, Charles.

UPDATE “McConnell, Rubio defend senior intel official over remarks on election interference” [The Hill]. • Democrats ding Republicans for not being hysterical enough; Republicans react huffily. In case anyone has forgotten, here is one of those deadly Russian memes, from a compendium at The Times. Really!

This is the meme that sold me on Sanders!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Fasten your seatbelts:

Frustratingly, Duncan doesn’t list the factors.

“Bartlet For America” (podcast) [The West Wing Thing]. • On The Great Assimilation™ (though it’s not named).

* * *

“Anatomy of an Election ‘Meltdown’ in Georgia” [New York Times]. “[Daryl] Marvin had previously lived in Connecticut, where voting was a brisk process measured in minutes. But on the day of the primary, June 9, he and his wife waited four hours to vote at Park Tavern, an Atlanta restaurant where more than 16,000 voters were consolidated into a single precinct. An electrical engineer by training, Mr. Marvin was baffled by what he saw when he finally got inside: a station with 15 to 20 touch screens on which to vote but only a single scanner to process the printed ballots. ‘The scanner was the choke point,’ he said. ‘Nobody thought about it, and this is Operations Research 101. It’s not very difficult to figure it out.'” • A good round-up of the GA debacle. That said, sloppy reporting legitimizes ballot marking devices, and ignores the possibility of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. Sadly, Mr. Marvin doesn’t entertain the possibility that the “operation” itself should not exist.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Manufacturing: “July 2020 Texas Manufacturing Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Of the four Federal Reserve districts which have released their June manufacturing surveys – all are in expansion…. Important subindices new orders improved (remains in expansion) and unfilled orders improved (remains in expansion). This should be considered about the same as last month.”

Manufacturing: “Headline Durable Goods New Orders Improved In June 2020” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say the durable goods new orders improved for the second month. Our analysis shows the rolling averages improved…. The data this month was within expectations – however, the previous month was revised down. In the adjusted data, the improvement was in automobiles – with headwinds in aircraft and manufacturers who have unfilled orders.”

* * *

UPDATE Small Business: “Shutdowns For Small Business, Windfall Profits For Megacorporations” [The American Conservative]. “What has been billed as “the economic shutdown” would more accurately be described as the small business shutdown Robert Fairlie, an economist at the University of California, Santa Cruz studied the early effects of COVID-19 on small business owners for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He found the number of working business owners fell from 15 million to 11.7 million between February and April 2020—a drop of 22 percent. The impact on minority owned businesses was even worse. The number of African-American business owners plummeted from 1.1 million to 640,000—a 41 percent decline. Harvard researchers surveying over 5,800 U.S. small business owners report massive dislocation from the pandemic among small businesses, and the prospects for their survival diminish the longer the crisis continues. “When firms are told to expect a six-month crisis, the average expectation of remaining open [until December 2020] falls to 38 percent,” the study found. It could take up to a year to know the toll on small business.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 63 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 65 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 27 at 11:58am. Firmly in greed territory.

Rapture Index: Closes down one again on Beast Government. “The government movement is having trouble with world unity” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.)

The Biosphere

“Flaring from Unconventional Oil and Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas” [Environmental Health Perspectives]. “Our study suggests exposure to flaring from [Oil and Gas Development] is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth. Our findings need to be confirmed in other populations.”

“A Guide To Homemade Mulch” [A Guide to Homemade Mulch]. “Expert gardeners from the Texas A&M University Extension also say that if done properly, a well-mulched garden can yield 50 percent more vegetables than an unmulched garden of the same size. You can get mulch at your local garden center for a pretty penny, but there are also a number of ways to make your own for much cheaper. You can use a cocktail of materials for effective mulch or opt for a single ingredient. This guide will give you a variety of options.” • Avoid garden centers! You don’t know what’s in that mulch. (Casella’s mulch in Maine was made from sewage and gawd knows what was in it but it felt dry and dead when I rubbed it between my fingers.) Let “nothing mulchable leaves the property” be your guide. As we see–

“Contaminated compost: How an industrial herbicide is ruining backyard gardens” [The Counter]. “[Clopyralid,] along with aminopyralid and picloram and a few other varieties, are all known as ‘persistent herbicides’ because they take a long time to break down. All of them are commonly used on golf courses and hayfields where they’re deployed to kill problematic broadleaf weeds. Even though state rules (which vary) are supposed to prevent clopyralid-contaminated grass, wheat, or other clippings from ending up in compost, cases like the [ruined community gardens] in Portland are not uncommon. If an animal like a horse or cow eats feed that has been sprayed with clopyralid, the herbicide can pass through the digestive tract and come out in the manure still active, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. This contaminated animal manure can also make its way to local composting companies. Clopyralid leaves grass or hay intact while killing pesky broadleaf weeds like thistles and dandelions, according to Rick Carr, farm director and compost specialist for the Rodale Institute, a nonprofit that researches organic farming methods. This has led to its popularity on everything from rangelands and pastures to golf courses. But it’s now finding its way into compost facilities through clippings from sprayed lawns and clopyralid-laced manure.”

“Sultry Nights and Magnolia Trees: New York City Is Now Subtropical” [New York Times]. “It was the fig trees that tipped him off. Something was very unusual at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was May in the early 2000s and Chris Roddick, the head arborist there, was making his rounds when he noticed a big mistake. Months ago, a gardener had forgotten to wrap the fig trees in burlap, which protects them over the winter — an annual rite handed down from immigrants who brought them over from Italy 100 years before. Mr. Roddick expected them to be damaged, perhaps even destroyed. But they were fine. Actually, they looked great. That year the garden reaped a phenomenal bounty of ripe figs.” • Yikes!

Health Care

“Virus vaccine put to final test in thousands of volunteers” [Associated Press]. “The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government — one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race. There’s still no guarantee that the experimental vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will really protect. The needed proof: Volunteers won’t know if they’re getting the real shot or a dummy version. After two doses, scientists will closely track which group experiences more infections as they go about their daily routines, especially in areas where the virus still is spreading unchecked. Several other vaccines made by China and by Britain’s Oxford University began smaller final-stage tests in Brazil and other hard-hit countries earlier this month. But the U.S. requires its own tests of any vaccine that might be used in the country and has set a high bar: Every month through fall, the government-funded COVID-19 Prevention Network will roll out a new study of a leading candidate — each one with 30,000 newly recruited volunteers. The massive studies aren’t just to test if the shots work — they’re needed to check each potential vaccine’s safety. And following the same study rules will let scientists eventually compare all the shots.” • That actually sounds rational, and couples nicely with Operation Warp Speed.

“Particle sizes of infectious aerosols: implications for infection control” [The Lancet]. “. The purpose of this Viewpoint is to review the scientific literature on the aerosols generated by individuals with respiratory infections, and to discuss how these data inform the optimal use of masks, respirators, and other infection-control measures to protect health-care workers from those aerosols. This is not a review of the literature on the use of surgical masks or respirators, as several have been done already.” • If you work in health care, this might be useful. (It’s not about SARS-COV-2 as such, but about the size of the particles that bear the virus through the air.)

“The Best Ad Slogans to Get Americans to Wear Masks” [Bloomberg]. “”My first thought is to have our military promote it by saying, ‘We’re out here protecting America. You could do the same thing in America and wear a mask,'” said Graf, the founder and former chief creative officer of Barton F. Graf, an ad agency that recently closed.” • Hmm.

“You Can Stop Cleaning Your Mail Now” [The Atlantic]. “In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to clarify that while COVID-19 spreads easily among speakers and sneezers in close encounters, touching a surface ‘isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.’ Other scientists have reached a more forceful conclusion. ‘Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,’ Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me. He also emphasized the primacy of airborne person-to-person transmission. There is a historical echo here. After 9/11, physical security became a national obsession, especially in airports, where the Transportation Security Administration patted down the crotches of innumerable grandmothers for possible explosives. My colleague Jim Fallows repeatedly referred to this wasteful bonanza as ‘security theater.’ COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk—even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. This is hygiene theater.” • I understand the metaphor. But in my own personal practice, it seems to me like those aerosols have to land somewhere, and the virus is capricious. So I will continue wiping down my computer with rubbing alchohol, wiping off light switches and doorknobs, etc. (I never did wash vegetables, but I do wash milk cartons, because they are refrigerated, which can preserve the virus for long periods.)

I hate to, er, platform an insurance company-funded lobbyist paid to prevent #MedicareForAll, but Slavitt has the right of it. Good thread:

Now, if you read the thread with an eye to political economy — unemployment insurance is not the only thing that workers thrown out of work need — there are weaknesses. But solely from the public health perspective, Slavitt is right.

“Maine’s community health centers need long-term funding” [Bangor Daily News]. “Thanks in large part to Maine’s rational approach to the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases in our state remains relatively stable. Yet, we cannot overlook the toll that the pandemic has taken on our state’s economy and on our health and well-being. Loss of jobs and income is increasing mental, emotional and physical stress at a time when the ability to pay for medical care is decreasing. With Maine’s economy so heavily dependent on seasonal cycles of tourism and natural resources, we will feel the economic impacts of this pandemic for many long months to come. … Maine’s community health centers serve more than 210,000 people annually, a number that will most likely rise from the economic downturn. Seventy locations throughout the state provide services on a sliding fee scale, offering affordable health care options to all residents, including those who are just above the threshold for Medicaid coverage. Community health centers are Maine’s health care safety nets because no one is turned away. Community health centers are on financial shaky ground, however, because Congress has failed to allocate sufficient emergency funding during the pandemic and has yet to reauthorize long-term funding for community health centers as it has done for decades. Unless Congress acts quickly, millions of Americans could lose access to health care services that they depend on.”

Police State Watch

“Windows smashed, courthouse lobby set ablaze following huge Saturday night rally in Oakland” [San Francisco Chronicle]. Interestingly: “Most people in the diverse crowd were wearing masks, from bandannas to full respirators.” More: “A fire was set at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, and police station windows were smashed hours after protesters had peacefully marched from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza along Broadway.” • “Huge” equal thousands.

“More LA Protests Underway Sunday After Turbulent Night” [Patch]. Also interesting: “The Daily Bruin tweeted a video showing one counter-protester in the midst of the group being shouted at by demonstrators for not wearing a face covering.” More: “[I]t was at the federal prison that some demonstrators ramped things up a notch, smashing three window panes — one kicked in, another smashed with a skateboard, writing “FTP” — a profane anti-police slogan — across adjacent windows and blacking out part of the facility’s emblem with spray- paint.”

“City Hall, jail vandalized during Sacramento march. One woman was arrested, police said” [Sacramento Bee]. Nothing on masks: “But after about 150 protesters broke off from the main group and began their own downtown march, windows at City Hall were shattered and protest slogans were spray-painted onto the front doors of the Sacramento County Main Jail. Along H and I streets, large trash bins were dragged into the roadway, blocking traffic. Police radio dispatches indicated that one person, armed with a chainsaw, was cutting down branches from nearby trees and leaving them strewn about.”

UPDATE On Portland:


“How water sustains movements from North Carolina to the borderlands” [Southerly]. “On a sweltering evening last month, I attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Durham, three hours west of Asheville. Community members had set up water stations in front of bars and restaurants and hauled water bottles in wheelbarrows and shopping carts. After hours of marching, I sensed a metallic taste in my mouth — one of the initial symptoms of dehydration. Almost instantly, I found a water station. As I tipped back the paper cup, the relief reminded me that water sustains dissent and energizes movements. In the desert, we wrote words of encouragement with sharpies for migrants to continue their journeys — an affirmation of their crossing, a show of solidarity. Thousands of miles away, this offered the same message. It was a practice of radical care.”

Groves of Academe

Debate still exists. I suppose:

The Tube

“Beavis and Butt-Head are Coming Back and They’re Dads” [The Dad]. “The revival is part of Comedy Central’s efforts to double down on animated content geared towards adults, as they try to program more shows to pair with ‘South Park.’ The news is already firing up fans on social media, who are mostly reduced to GIFs and an endless stream of “heh heh heh ehehs.'”

Is this a valid interpretation:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Bill by Sen. Tom Cotton targets curriculum on slavery” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]. Cotton: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.” • This is uncomfortably close to the “positive good” theory promoted by pre-Civil War slavery advocates. Interestingly, the Democrat-Gazette lists the critiques of the project form historicians, and the Times walkback in response to those critiques — Hannah-Jones won her Pulitzer for commentary, not as a historian — but doesn’t cite to their source: WSWS, the only publication with the guts to take on the topic. Although for different reasons than Cotton gives, under no circumstances should the 1619 Project be taught to children.

News of the Wired

For the student who has trouble writing a paper to the required length:

Changing period sizes is GENIUS!!!! The kids are alright!


* * *

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 (AM):

AM writes: “Backyard – hard to photograph due to height differences. Garden came with the house, apart from the roses, not sure what everything is.” Those chairs look like they’d be really nice to sit in, and just take the garden in.

* * *

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 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.



    RE: Mike Duncan

    If anyone understands how revolutions develop, its this guy. He is probably as well versed than any modern scholar.

    He’s also very responsive to his fan base. I don’t do Twittering, but if anyone else does, it’s probably worth asking him what the antecedent factors are.

    1. Mr. House

      Watch the video he has on the politics and prose channel on youtube. I think he does excellent research and i enjoy his podcasts. That said i totally disagree with his analysis with regards to where we are on the roman timeline.

    2. Otto

      If I may let’s go the the Yodi of these things – Jared Diamond & and here’s what 50 years of studying & living it has taught him: and my assessment of where we are at.

      Table 1.2. Factors related to the outcomes of national crises
      1. National consensus that one’s nation is in crisis [nope[
      2. Acceptance of national responsibility to do something [nope, emphatic- I’m not responsible]
      3. Building a fence, to delineate the national problems needing to be solved [haha, nope]
      4. Getting material and financial help from other nations [technical a yes, but really a no, ‘cause make stuff?]
      5. Using other nations as models of how to solve the problems [nope]
      6. National identity [we’re trying but nope]
      7. Honest national self-appraisal [no]
      8. Historical experience of previous national crises [yes, we learned nothing etc., ]
      9. Dealing with national failure [no]
      10. Situation-specific national flexibility [ no]
      11. National core values [slavery, kill the natives, be a WASP or not at all]
      12. Freedom from geopolitical constraints [sure, we can nuke everyone]

      1. dcblogger

        huh? I cannot think of any revolution, except mebbe Costa Rica 1948 where these were present.

        1. Otto

          Have you read Dr. Diamond? He has analyzed by last count, 37 times societies that either made it if failed. One needs to take his classes or read his books:
          Upheaval (2019)
          Collapse (2005)

          Mike Duncan was just talking about revolutions he was talking about how everything goes to hell. And then what happens next. Say, the US Civil War.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “made it or failed” is orthogonal to the concept of revolution. Did 1789 France “make it” or “fail”? It’s not even a wrong question.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I had held Jared Diamond in high regard but if your list related to “Table 1.2” reflects his thinking on revolutions and how they develop — or their outcomes … I guess I will look elsewhere for expert opinion, even after his 50 years of study.

        I have trouble fitting most of the factors listed to the American Revolution of 1776 or the Russian Revolution of 1917. Perhaps you could make an attempt,

    3. clarky90



      Published on Jul 26, 2020

      “Hundreds of armed members of the ‘Not F**king Around Coalition’ (NFAC), an all-black militia, held a march in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.

      The activists were clad in black and carrying weapons, while marching through the city.

      The leader of the group, John “Grand Master Jay” Johnson, called for the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death to be sped up……”

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Negligent discharges notwithstanding, I see property owners (guns ain’t cheap) organizing to demonstrate against institutional denial of their civil rights. No gangstas in evidence. And no destruction of property so far?

        Essentially a bourgeois conservative movement?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Could be. The Black Panthers weren’t, for example.

          More information needed. Surely if Obama taught us anything, it’s that skin color doesn’t give a straight readout of politics?

  2. fresno dan

    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). So, looking at the chart and speculating freely, let’s call the peak 9 days ago in Florida on 07-18-2020. New York’s peak was 2020-04-09, and colorably flattened at a low rate 2020-06-23, but let’s say puffery rounds the flattening date back to 2020-06-01. That’s 54 days. There are 99 days ’til election day. A vaccine plus America having the memory of a goldfish could solve a lot of problems.
    I think everything will depend on school openings. And based on the terrific job that has been done so far (do I really need to label this with a sarc) I am not sanguine. I don’t have numbers, but it is hard for me to believe that bars/restaurants/hair salons reopenings exposed more people to close contact than reopening schools will.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Most leases turn over in our college town every August 1. I may take Monday off to stay close to home.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      They couldn’t get a week of baseball played between adults separated by large distances in the field. I highly doubt that school will last a month. The only way I can see it lasting if testing is not done at all on the students and staff.

    2. Otto

      Lambert you are many things, but an epidemiologist is not one off them. Call it a peak in terms of what?, new infectious, people getting sick, people going to the hospital, people in ICU, people dead, and/or people disabled. Then we have people giving up and OD’ing, people dying at home w/CV19, and people afraid to even go to hospital for anything. The data you using as opposed to all sources, say @NSA. All those simply amazing countries that just shut down CV19, except they didn’t. Until the very last human on the planet has been infected there will continue to be breakouts except in America were by any rational standard we are trying to kill ourselves. I posted Jared Diamond’s 12 ways (above) to determine if we have lost your [family blog]. You tell me how this plays out, without resorting to magical thinking. I do not see it.

      Vaccines you say, ah, your betting an awful lot on that one. A vaccine that works only on 50% of people and that only 50% will take is going help the problem – zero amount. I think we can keep sick people alive longer and disabled forever. In a country that loves the disabled (I am, the daily grief, builds character, eh?). Either trump has everyone thinking irrationally or as I read here @Water Cooler, everybody is Republican and is just looking for an excuse to vote for that menace. Where’s Rand Paul, or god, when you need them.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Call it a peak in terms of what?

        Er, in terms of what I’m tracking (new cases). Did you look at the chart? See the two peaks? Good work.

        I don’t claim to be an epidemiologist, contrary to your straw manning attack. I claim to be a political analyst. Did you read the complete post? See “There are 99 days ’til election day”? Good work.

        > Vaccines you say, ah, your betting an awful lot on that one.

        I’m not making a bet at all. Trump is making the bet. Perhaps I should have used the magic T-word, but that triggers people, and in any case I would have thought “puffery” a sufficiently broad hint. In any case “a vaccine plus America having the memory of a goldfish could solve a lot of problems” is surely not a medical claim, good Lord above.

        > or as I read here @Water Cooler, everybody is Republican

        This is just silly. You’re also insulting the readership and the blog. That’s a site violation, as is straw manning. Don’t do it again.

    3. td

      It is interesting how things began to level out nicely after the data began to be handled by HHS instead of the CDC.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The data goes through Johns Hopkins. Can you show they’re not vetting the data?

        Also, California is Democrat, and has every incentive to scream to high heaven if its data is being gamed.

  3. Stormcrow

    Frustratingly, Duncan doesn’t list the factors.

    As one might expect, there are various theories about the “standard compounding factors.”

    I don’t know what Duncan would say, but here are a few places to start.

    Lawrence Stone, Theories of Revolution (1966)

    Rod Aya, Theories of Revolution Reconsidered (1979)

    Alazar Gebil, Caauses of Political Revolution (1990)

    In the Duncan thread, we read:

    What are the standard compounding factors?
    To name a few: An (economic) crisis, incompetent and reactionary leadership, & long-simmering frustrations about inequality.

    And it is suggested that the police would need to defect and join the people.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, the thread may have evolved since I snagged the tweet.

      Not a lot of likelihood about the police going over, I think. Method to elite madness!

    2. km

      If there is one thing that the elites, the Establishment, the oligarchs, whatever you want to call them are aware, it is that last factor.

      They can sleep safely in their beds, as long as the can keep the security apparatus on their side. The moment their grip on the security apparatus slips, then they are done.

      Something, something, muh warrior cop.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > They can sleep safely in their beds, as long as the can keep the security apparatus on their side

        That is why Obama was so smart to “look forward and not back” on torture. Getting the intelligence community onside with liberal Democrats really paid off with RussiaGate, and I would imagine will pay off in any “hacking” controversy in 2020.

        Adding, though, that having the security apparatus on their side didn’t help the Romanovs at all.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Where I live, one main step on the way to revolution/civil war was not the police as much defecting but either ceasing to exist or completely losing any support of working and middle classes.
      All kinds of organizations made attempts to replace the police, eventually consolidating into two camps. And from there an armed confrontation was basically given.

  4. David Carl Grimes

    Flattening the curve means lengthening it. This pandemic could take almost forever. By then, businesses and the economy would have been ground into the dust. The example given in this thread is Mississippi. It would need 3K cases/day (or 3 times current infection rates) to infect 40% of the population. The US is averaging 50K cases per day. At this rate, it would take us until the end of 2025 to infect just 100 million people if no vaccine is invented by then. And that’s like just half the amount needed to reach herd immunity levels.


    1. IMOR

      Leaving aside the rest, when you have had a scleriotic government whose political class rejects, excludes, sabatoges any potential governmental or political actor who won’t slavishly mime either the values, language and style of a 1980s realtor or those of a 1960s war criminal for thirty years– yeah: things take forever. Nothing will change. They needed to be on an ice floe or in a home 15-20 years ago.

    2. a different chris

      And “lengthening” the curve via “flattening” means pushing it down below pandemic levels, thus by definition the pandemic would not last “almost forever” or even close to it.

      I’m cool with that.

      (used quotes around lengthening/flattening because they are generally words that the sayer means what the want them to mean, nothing more.

      The flattening can be implied to be like “omg we will have 50 zillion cases per day forever!” but the peak is not where the curve actually flattens.)

      1. Otto

        Sorry D.chris, ‘flatten”, in the first million references to it was about keeping the load off hospitals by reduction of the rate of infections. Infections are not going away until we have anti-virals or a vaccine and likely both. Over time yes everyone gets infected. Not necessarily sick.

        1. wilroncanada

          Sorry, Otto, You’ve been reading the wrong information, or misinterpreting it. I guess you must be referring to only the US. For everywhere else in the world, what follows “flattening” the curve, if people continue to follow the common-sense guidelines, is to “CRUSH” it, in other words, driving the R/O rate so far below 1, that contact tracing can be collecting any contacts before they spread it farther. That is the whole idea of maintaining small bubbles. I’ll give you an example from British Columbia.
          The weekend after July 1, Dominion Day, 6 (young) men got together in Kelowna, the Okanagan Valley. Two were from Alberta, two were locals from Kelowna, two were from the Vancouver suburbs. They lounged on the beach, playing with others, they visited pubs and clubs in Kelowna Following the weekend they returned to their homes. One or two of them were infected. BC has quite effective contact tracing, but nothing could be done until one of those men, at least, showed symptoms. By the following weekend, the total number confirmed infected was 11 (I think), then within 2 1/2 weeks later, the number confirmed was 70, and more than 1000 people were being asked/ordered to socially isolate. The R/O in BC, which had been well below 1, had from that one incident risen to 1.1.
          The incidence of infection, which had come close to being crushed–fewer than 10 a day in a population of about 6 million–has since then risen to between 25 and 30 per day. Most of the rise is attributed to careless contact by people between 18 and 40, cheating by some businesses, especially nightclubs, reopening as “pubs” but with table-hopping and dancing, both forbidden under the rules for pubs.
          Today’s results seem to be improving again, marred by an outbreak of 15 in a blueberry packing facility.

          1. RMO

            We were down to zero new cases on several days and then it went back up again. Still pretty good relative to many places but I was hoping for us to get to New Zealand levels this summer. Just about to go shopping for some groceries and I’m still keeping to my regular routine of A: set of clothes for outside only B: strip in garage and shower upon return C: gloves D: mask (N95 because I had a lot for sanding etc. before this hit) E: still trying to stay two meters away from everyone in the store F: washing everything that comes home in soap and water or leaving it in the quarantine area for three days at least. It’s become ingrained habit now! Despite there being little evidence of surface contact transmission I don’t find it worthwhile to take the risk, low as it may be.

            It all sure makes my plans for the future of moving to someplace like Texada Island look more and more sensible and practical rather than just a dream of rural idyll given that things such as this could well continue to happen.

          2. a different chris

            Thanks. I thought that was basic knowledge, but…. I can’t even tell you what Otto was trying to say.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Sorry, Otto, You’ve been reading the wrong information, or misinterpreting it. I guess you must be referring to only the US. For everywhere else in the world, what follows “flattening” the curve, if people continue to follow the common-sense guidelines, is to “CRUSH” it, in other words, driving the R/O rate so far below 1, that contact tracing can be collecting any contacts before they spread it farther. That is the whole idea of maintaining small bubbles.

            Well, let’s be fair. The countries that were able to “CRUSH” it were First World countries.

    3. Massinissa

      Sweden tried not flattening the curve. They have a much higher death rate than their neighbors yet are still only at like at most 10% antibodies when they need at least 80. Its taken them like 4-5 months to get to 10%. There’s no reasonable timescale for achieving herd immunity without a vaccine.

      ALso do math. To get herd immunity, 80% of people in US will need covid antibodies. Lets assume Covid kills about 1% of the people infected. That would be about 2.5 million deaths. Even if its less than 1%, thats still alot of people.

      1. Massinissa

        Also, we don’t know how long immunity to Covid lasts. Could only last a few months. There are scattered reports of people getting covid twice. That would make ‘herd immunity’ impossible.

        Also about the math: I calculated 80% of the US population, then calculated 1% of that number to get 2.5 mil.

        Lastly, we don’t really know the long term consequences of surviving covid, so the problem isn’t just deaths. Also, if we don’t flatten the curve, hospitals will be overwhelmed. THey’re having to triage ICU beds in Texas. Even if it were ideal to ‘have everyone get covid at once to get herd immunity as fast as possible!”, we just don’t have the doctors and number of ICU beds to do that. And that would be IF that made any sense, which I contested above.

      2. HotFlash

        We also don’t know if immunity can be transmitted to offspring. If it can’t be, then Generation 2 is back to Square 1. Sorry, herd!

      1. jonhoops

        The Mike Rowe statement is decent taken by itself, but the site it is published on gives away it’s own bias with the tell “Wuhan Virus”. They then double down saying that fear mongering Leftist ignoramuses are the reason we are in the predicament we are in, and that only a short shutdown to let our hospitals get their ducks in a row was needed. Heck, the US couldn’t even ramp up testing & contact tracing in the last 4 months to the levels needed.

        1. HotFlash

          Yeah, and where are 331 *MILLION* doses of vaccine supposed to come from, let alone twice that if a booster is needed? As Amfortas reminds his feed store students and us, “We can’t even make cotton on a stick.”

    4. Jeotsu

      Those who advocate surrendering to the virus should first double-check if the virus is willing to take live prisoners.

      A nation can decide to un-lockdown. A person cannot decide to un-die.

      If we have a worst case of no-vaccine, no lasting immunity even with the ‘low’ cfr for younger people a 20 year old today would have a very fraught path to making it to retirement age in a place with endemic, seasonal C19. And that is presuming that in your ‘yearly bout’ of Covid-19 you managed to avoid picking up the sort of organ damage that would be a big co-morbidity and disease-compounder when you next fell ill with it.

      As it stands now this disease still has the frightening potential to be a civilisation-ender. There is too much flippancy about possible bad outcomes. (Mostly because people don’t like thinking about bad things. I spent 10 years as a volunteer USAR team member. It can be really difficult to get elected officials to provide funding for a ‘maybe’ bad thing in the future. They would rather just think the happy thoughts that get them re-elected.)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Imagine this is the virus speaking, not Karl Rove:

        [THE VIRUS] said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ […] ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ [THE VIRUS] continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.

        1. BillC

          You’re a master of the unexpected correlation, but you’ve really outdone yourself here, Lambert. Kudos!

    5. temporal

      Herd Immunity

      Current herd size, given the ability to travel easily by various means, is about 7.8 billion of which only a small portion have gotten the bug.

      Proof that these software generated models of herd-immunity are correct would at a minimum require that it has been proven that those who are immune or at least those who are somewhat asymptomatic are unable to pass on the disease. It would also require knowledge that those that get the disease and survive won’t get it again.

      One of the many things that concerns me is that the focus seems to be on the number of deaths, whereas we are also seeing those that do not return to normal after catching the disease. Given the US’s pitiful health insurance system, what happens to those that get well enough to be released but don’t actually recover. The idea that success is simply measured by those that don’t die in the first couple of weeks doesn’t seem quite correct.

      Successful herd immunity for colds caused by other corona viruses have a long history. Just different outcomes.

      1. Copeland

        >7.8 billion

        Thank you for typing it right here for all to see.

        So many online commenters are stuck on “we now have 7 billion people on this planet!”…rounding down, for years and years, heads in the sand. We’ve been closer to 8B than to 7B for a long time now.

  5. Carla

    @AM — nice backyard! Those magenta-flowered plants with blue-grey foliage are called Lychnis coronaria (common name: rose campion). Directly in the foreground looks like some begonia foliage. The blue flowers at the very bottom of the picture could be liatris — hard to tell. The spikey looking leaves toward the right look like some sort of Yucca, and the white feathery-looking flowers beyond them are Astilbe. I don’t know what the tall, columnar yellow flowers are…

    1. grayslady

      I agree with your id on everything but the blue flowers–I think they are Salvia East Friesland, given that the Astilbe are in bloom. Liatris blooms later than most white Astilbes and is more fuschia pink. The plants with narrow green leaves in the background look like some variety of daylily. The plant with the tall yellow plume is a mystery to me, too. It looks like a plant that might flourish in the high desert.

        1. grayslady

          Good call, IMO. The height and the bloom time are correct for the other plants in bloom in the garden (late spring or early summer) when this photo was taken.

      1. GF

        I think the blue flowers in the foreground bottom are lavender. The spicy leaved is a yucca I would say. The flowering stock is evident just to the left of the orange flowers.

    2. MJ

      Thank you, Carla.

      I have seen them and I want them in my garden, but didn’t know what they are called. Lychnis coronaria. Must try to remember that.

  6. fresno dan

    “Beavis and Butt-Head are Coming Back and They’re Dads” [The Dad].

    Considering that Beavis and Butt-Head seemed incapable of EVER scoring, are the children their actual genetic progeny, or did they just hook up with women who already had children?

    1. km

      Yeah, the idea of Beavis and Butthead having children, even step-children, sort of defeats the entire point of The Boys.

      1. christofay

        I hope there is a healthy supply of celebrity appearances. It would be a real bridge builder to have Hunter Biden on.

      2. RMO

        It’s even more unimaginable than having Richie and Eddie from Bottom go on to have wives and children. It seems to miss the whole point of the characters.

          1. fresno dan

            July 27, 2020 at 8:20 pm

            Soooo, they are raising the kids without moms? Or, they just fathered children, and take no part in their upbringing? Or do they get custody for some (hopefully) short period of time?
            OR, they are fathers, but killed their offspring in a tragic dare to see if the kids could run across an interstate while balancing a goldfish bowl on their heads?

            1. ambrit

              Hey. There are so many possibilities here, it boggles the pair of functioning brain cells in my cranium.

  7. Ranger Rick

    Similar tactics in Colorado. The rally’s organizer was the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

    “Unruly protesters tore down a newly-installed fence surrounding police headquarters and targeted officers with objects, laser pointers and large fireworks, police said.

    Using the plywood window coverings as a shield, some protesters began shattering windows to the municipal building and used pieces of the wood to start fires inside.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      FWIW, I think the black bloc, BLM, and The Moms et al. are acting in parallel, not coordinating. So the issue is which “silo” will end up exploiting the others. My guess would be Moms > black bloc > BLM. Perhaps I’m too cynical, but those leaf blowers are a class marker if ever I did see one. Correct me if I am wrong!

  8. ACF

    Monsters Inc. (spoiler alert)

    Yes, it’s one valid interpretation.
    I’d say it’s more analogous to big oil secretly plotting the shift to fracking to make tapped out/less productive stuff very productive, along with big spike in negative externalities and becoming defeated because a line oil worker discovers cold fusion.

    The actual plot:
    electricity in monster world is generated by collecting the screams of human children, whom the monsters don’t mind terrifying b/c they think the kids are life-threateningly dangerous.

    over time, kids scare less and less easily, a lot more effort must be expended to get the same # of screams.

    Management invents a torture device to horrify children and squeeze out all the terror they can. It’s still in test mode.

    line worker discovers that a) kids aren’t dangerous and b) kids’ laughter is a much more potent energy source.

    1. Jen

      I apparently came of age in a more innocent time and/or less bureaucracy in the groves of academe. After attempting all sorts of font manipulation, I finally decided that if I had nothing further to say, I’d just turn the paper in as is. Never got a bad grade.

      1. JWP

        A better time to have been a student. With regard to the essay’s I have been assigned, about 75% of the instructions are dedicated to technicalities and ways to avoid cheating. Clearly there is a need for it, but the result are students who write to meet word/length markers at the expense of thought and substance. One of the reasons I have played around with different fonts is that, unlike yourself, I have been marked down a full grade or more for not meeting the word count despite receiving praise for the essay’s writing. It’s clear the Groves have coopted even the simplest of academic mediums.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        prof wanted a 5 page paper on Kant’s Categorical Imperative.
        I said all i wanted to say in 1.
        got an a+ and was teacher’s pet from then on.
        i hate busy work,lol
        it’s too much like asskissing.
        don’t thing college would have me, these days.

        1. ambrit

          I was criticized several times in High School for too many words.
          One memorable comment on the top of one history paper I got back was: “Too much information. Too little analysis. Try again.”

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    About persistent herbicides in grass, hay, etc. So even these ( and the manure from the animals who eat them) are not safe.

    One hopes and wants to believe that the runners of livestock on “mixed species pasture” mean pasture composed of legumes and other non-grass broadleaf plants equally mixed in with grasses. Such pasture would be harmed by anti-broadleaf herbicides because broadleaf plants are part of the nutrition intended for livestock intake. But it will not be enough to hope. One will have to actually know.

    Does “grass-fed” mean “herbicide fed”? Obviously “alfalfa-fed” CAN’T mean “herbicide fed” because alfalfa is one of those broadleaf plants which the persistent herbicides would kill. But how is the urbo-suburban customer supposed to be able to know what is in the pasture which the pasture-fed beef ate?
    It sounds like yet another layer of certification will be needed on top of the layers of certification already required for those would-be buyers who want to buy Harmless Products.

    Certified Mixed-Species Pasture. Certified Zero-Herbicide Use. Though of course one hopes that Certified Organic MEANS Certified Zero Herbicide Use. Including for meat.

    In the meantime, if you did not produce the mulch or manure yourself, you cannot trust the mulch or manure. Its a new update to the old warning. Don’t take candy, mulch or manure from strangers.
    Grow or otherwise harvest your own from sources you KNOW to be Zero-Herbicide Use.

    1. L

      That sounds like an argument for the tag line I get from my local beekepers: “Know your grower.”

    2. furies

      I reside in an agricultural area that is pretty much monocrop: alfalfa. While I don’t know what they are spraying on their fields, they do spray. A lot. Also learned to my shock and horror that some alfalfa is GMO.

      1. Wukchumni

        You can never bee too safe, and yes it’s a tight squeeze fitting yourself into a microwave and letting it blast for a minute, but so worth it.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I thought about that after I wrote my comment. So the GMO alfalfa would be introducing its load of Roundup residue into whatever food chain it feeds.

        I am not an expert on alfalfa. I believe I have read here and there that alfalfa is such a strong grower that it in itself suppresses any weeds which die under its shade. If that is true, then making alfalfa Roundup Ready in order to be able to save it from weeds is an excuse, not the reason, for making it Roundup Ready.

        What would be the reason? Partly to put the exclusive high-profit Monsanto Patent Brand on the alfalfa. Partly also to contaminate all the alfalfa in the world with the Roundup Ready genes. Once all the alfalfa in the world is Roundup Ready Contaminated, alfalfa can no longer be used for Certified Organic Livestock, because there will be no more Certifiably non-contaminated alfalfa left anywhere in the world. That is meant to bring organic agriculture and meaticulture a step closer to extermination.

        The only hope Organic Agriculture will have for surviving the IGMOC ( the International G M O Conspiracy) will be to give up its vain and silly hope for GMO-free genetic purity. The best Organic Agriculture will ever achieve will be to keep the level of GMO contamination low. The Certifiable Organic Community will have to reconcile itself to testing its products for levels of unwanted GMO contamination and settle for advertising its wares as 99 % GMO-free or whatever percent GMO free
        the organic wares may be. Bioactive FrankenGene fallout is everywhere. The IGMOC rains it down over the whole planet on purpose.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        passes through(all 4 stomachs).
        i’ve seen zero info on what it does to the meat/health of the animal.
        they use this on “improved pasture”…which, here at least, means irrigated high gear(or other sorghum hybrids), klein grass or bermuda.
        it’s monocropped.
        mostly the bigger cattle outfits and hay farmers use it, because it’s expensive.
        smaller guys(like my neighbor) don’t bother with herbicide, and are mostly growing hay for winter for themselves. they don’t mind a few weeds mixed in.
        the local extension guy promotes this stuff…as well as other gee whiz “latest improvement!”.
        extension agents are state employees…Texas a&m + TDA…and shouldn’t be allowed to be shills for dowpont…but what do i know?
        i got this crap pulled from the shelves at our local feed store for a time, until a local version of a rich a$$hole bought it.
        to him, $$ is all that matters, and environmental/ecological issues are for pansies.
        i feel very strongly that these particular herbicides should be banned outright…totally screws up the ability to do organic farming. if all manure is itself a potential herbicide, you either produce your own, or join the chemical club.
        which the tinfoil says might be the point.
        i get a tear in my eye every time i drive past the 3 feedlots in town, and see he mountains of cowshit going to waste.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          So in other words a mixed multi-species pasture should be herbicide free. How can the artisan-pasture producers of artisan meat call attention to the fact of the multi-species zero-herbicide nature of their pastures?

          How might the discerning customers of bio-clean toxichem-free beef create information-dispersion organizations so they can all be aware of whom the non-toxic pasture-feeders are?
          ( I gather the Weston Price Foundation does a version of this with its ” buy from THESE people, not from THOSE people” fact-booklets.)


          their top-of-the-page list of subsections has a find-food subsection.

          Its for happy shoptivists like me, who go shop! shop! shopping! for a better world.

          Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat. Your enemies know that even if you don’t.

    3. Copeland

      It’s worth pointing out that if these chemicals were impossible to buy in the first place nobody would be spraying them on anything.

      #Starve Bayer (Monsanto), etc., etc.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        last i looked, all 3 of these particular chems are made exclusively by dow and dupont…which then ate each other and became what i lovingly call dowpont.
        EPA guy…some 10 years ago was very worried about them…said they couldn’t do anything without people like us filing a formal complaint(which i did—apparently it takes more than one)
        also said that dowpont had a test for the presence of these chems but was keeping it locked up…”proprietary information”.
        so the only test we have is the Bean Test: obtain a sample of the manure you’d like to test…put it in 3-5 little pots…plant a pinto bean in it. see what happens.
        if the first true leaves of the beans are deformed…if they look like they’ve been sprayed with 2-4-D, all curled up and twisted and yellowing at the edges…then the manure is likely contaminated.
        this is arduous, takes too much time and effort, and is hardly exacting science.
        my answer is to know the people whose animals produce the manure.
        Horse owners who stable their horses are the best. Horse people are generally averse, in my experience, to any unnecessary chems…they’re freaks about their horse’s health.
        back home in East Texas, we were thick with such horse people.
        out here, few stable their horses…so the manure is spread upon the fields…or if they do stable, they don’t have a skid loader and manure must be loaded by hand.
        I’ve got 2 more horsefolks to try…made more difficult due to pandemic.

        as for all that herbicidal cowshit: these persistent herbicides do break down…eventually.
        national composting association(don’t remember specific name of org) says it takes 5-7 years if just piled up somewhere.
        less if spread out on a pasture.
        and a very hot composting process will break them down in 2-3 years…but you need equipment to accomplish that at any large scale….as well as more inputs, like water….and dry molasses.
        if i could ever obtain($8K) or build a dumping trailer, I’d be bringing a bunch of that cowstuff from the feedlots and spreading it in the pastures.
        in long strips, so my forbs and wildflowers and such could survive in the interstices.

        I should also note that this stuff is likely in the hay and straw that you can get at the feed stores…so the article about using hay for mulch should also include this unpleasant fact.

        Thanks for erecting this issue, Lambert. It’s one of my long term beefs.

    1. L

      “She had no remorse” may have been intended as the new uppity but I refuse to see it as a badge of honor until it is applied to someone who is actually trying to change the system. Harris is trying only to change herself.

      I prefer to zero in on her attributed statement “That’s just politics.” If you look back at her career, she was an African American AG who pursued “tough on crime” policies but now she wants to lecture on minority concerns. She gave MERS and OneWest a pass on fraud while families lost their homes but now she wants to be seen as a champion of the people. And she says she wants to redirect funding from the DOD to schools but has voted against bills to do so.

      She talks a good talk but I have yet to see her use her positions to really advance the causes she says she cares about. In some sense all of what she does is “just politics” and she wants to climb, a creature of the moment.

      Like Biden’s career only shorter.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m sure The Harris can be trained to breathe into the nostrils of The Biden in order to make him move:


        Question is: who will be breathing into the nostrils of The Harris in order to make her move? (Willie Brown could previously be counted on to fill up her facial orifices but he’s not around any more). And isn’t a WMA (Woke Maxillo-Facial Attachment) required? To ensure that the outbound breaths, in the form of words, of The Harris always attain the level of ideological purity we demand?

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘I’m sure The Harris can be trained to breathe into the nostrils of The Biden in order to make him move’

          Gaaa! I’m trying to erase that image from my mind. Brrrr!

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It feels to me like those wishing for The Biden are rooting for No President to replace Bad President. I’m very unsure that will be a wise choice.

          2. ObjectiveFunction

            I dunno, whatever else she may be, Kamala is a good looking lady.

            But for Creepy Uncle Joe, the trick is to ‘dope’ the hair and let him do the sniffin’. The Medusa succession!

      2. a different chris

        Good comment but… she’s not African American. She’s half Jamaican and half Indian. Neither of which get along real well with AAs.

        Really not the same thing at all. (yes I know Jamaicans came from Africa, and walking down the street she has the same difficulties, but she does not belong to AAs as they are considered under that social, as opposed to a genetic, label)

    2. Lou Anton

      No, I think it’s fail to sufficiently kiss the ring sort of thing.

      I like Harris rejecting the idea she has anything to feel bad about. I don’t like her policies or body of work, but she’s got backbone (titanium infused probably, like Robocop!)

      1. ChrisPacific

        Agreed. She is awful for a whole bunch of reasons, but that’s not one of them.

    3. hunkerdown

      It’s the old “She’s not a team player.” Let us hope Harris’ career is just like Eric Cantor’s: handed a fast track to the top, trying too hard to stand out, disappearing never to be mentioned again (we hope).

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        This is why I’ve not been able to understand why shes been in the VP race. Biden has made it explicitly clear he is looking for loyalty and a team player. Kamala’s debate grandstanding seemed to me to be an immediate disqualifier. She does not strike me as someone who has apologized for much in her life.

        1. L

          I can think of a few reasons though I make no claim she shares them:

          1) being vetted for veep has kept her national brand going. Booker, for example, seems to have sank back quietly while she is still on the stage even if she isn’t picked.

          2) if you look at her record in the Senate she hasn’t exactly stood up publicly in the way she did on the stage so perhaps she is itching to move on up.

          3) Biden himself said he was a bridge to what is next, and she really wants to be what is next.

          But it may not be her per se. A lot of the public action on floating names (e.g. Susan Rice) seems to come not from the person but from the interests they represent. Harris as a younger African American face that is friendly to Wall St., willing to get tough on (nonfinancial) crime, and is willing to vote for expanded war powers and war funding even when she campaigns on the opposite doubtless has a lot of boosters.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            I should have been more specific that I’m not sure why Harris would been seen as a top contender as she does not have one of the main qualities Biden stated he expects in a VP pick (loyalty.) But I’m with you 100% on why she’d want to be considered.

        2. hunkerdown

          She’s running for her career path, not just this election. Also showing off her power to make herself visible and stage controversy well enough, and perhaps hoping to impress leadership or some think tank owner with it.

    4. barefoot charley

      She’s no contender. Real black people just don’t eat her dog food, and even Biden has people who can tell. She’s phony enough for suburban moms maybe, but for the Dem base she’s no better than Klobuchar, and little blacker.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > She’s no contender. Real black people just don’t eat her dog food, and even Biden has people who can tell. She’s phony enough for suburban moms maybe, but for the Dem base she’s no better than Klobuchar, and little blacker.

        1) Just wait ’til all the “Voices” start proclaiming that she’s Black, and

        2) phony enough for suburban moms is just what the DNC wants.

        The DNC thinks that the Dem base will take it and like it, after being asked if they love Trump.

  10. cocomaan

    Andy Slavitt’s twitter thread says that March was a 50% lockdown, not a 90% lockdown like he’s suggesting.

    I don’t really buy it. I watched every event get cancelled, sports get cancelled, and every business in my area shutter. I live in rural PA. It was all shut down.

    No, the problem isn’t that enough businesses didn’t shutter, it’s that the government used that time to do absolutely nothing. Nothing happened. Testing did not increase. Nothing was learned.

    Who’s to say that if we closed the entire economy down again that we would actually pull it off this time? Not me. I’ve lost all faith in our infrastructure and leadership.

    Also, he’s saying we should stop people from harvesting food in September? What an idiot.

    1. Wukchumni

      As long as we keep allowing the public to fly all over the country @ a whim, and don’t ration gas to stop their movement, of course people are going to spread the virus, but do you really expect this administration to do the right thing in curtailing it?

    2. curlydan

      If I were Biden and we still had bad COVID results heading into 2021, I might consider another national lockdown in February of next year. Kind of like the bank holiday of 1933 but make it 4-6 weeks long?

      If he and his technocrats started planning it in November 2020, it might be able to accomplish something.

      1. John k

        You’re imagining competence. I’m not.
        I’m waiting for the vaccine that I expect will be severely rationed by price if it comes at all, and regardless of who wins the election.

    3. ChrisPacific

      He is being too optimistic in terms of the timeline but I didn’t find too much to disagree with otherwise (I couldn’t find the harvesting quote you referenced).

      The issue has never been the lack of a way to control the virus, but the underlying problems and constraints in American society that prevent it from mounting an effective response. Our man Andy himself is part of this. Note that he talks about getting hotels to provide free quarantine services for those that test positive, but doesn’t talk about providing free healthcare or hospital care to those that need it. Why is that, you ask? Well, Andy is a lobbyist for the insurance based healthcare-for-profit industry. He’s happy to suggest that everyone else provide stuff to Covid sufferers for free, but shies away from making the same recommendation in his own field, where he might actually be able to have some influence and make a difference.

      1. cocomaan

        Ah, well, he said in the same tweet as the 90% figure that farmers and truckers should be at home too. Given his October timeframe, that would be right in the middle of the harvest. Not to mention that people need to eat in the meantime, too, and that requires movement of goods.

        You’re right, now that I look at his resume, his response makes more sense. Everyone should be doing everything for free.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Yes, I see it now, thanks. I agree that was particularly stupid of him, especially since none of the countries he is quoting as exemplars did that (he even included healthcare workers). Lazy thinking on his part, particularly since his central argument remains valid without it. New Zealand kept basically the entire logistics sector running during the lockdown, for example, since it’s hard to do partial shutdowns (things back up at the ports, you get bottlenecks, etc.)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The issue has never been the lack of a way to control the virus, but the underlying problems and constraints in American society that prevent it from mounting an effective response. Our man Andy himself is part of this. Note that he talks about getting hotels to provide free quarantine services for those that test positive, but doesn’t talk about providing free healthcare or hospital care to those that need it. Why is that, you ask? Well, Andy is a lobbyist for the insurance based healthcare-for-profit industry.

        Yes, that is the political economy part. “Oh Lord, bring R0 below one, but not yet, not yet!”

  11. LifelongLib

    Re fig trees, in 1974 a friend planted one on his property about 20 miles north of Seattle. The tree lived for almost 40 years and produced figs until a new owner cut it down (I never met him but will loathe him forever). I’m sure western Washington winters are milder than New York ones but the place is not “sub-tropical”. So I guess figs are hardier than the writer thinks…

    1. Darius

      We can grow figs in the DC area. A hard winter will kill them to the ground, but they come back like a perennial.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Thank you, spared me having to supply my own anecdote. There are hardy fig varieties. Che figa!

    3. BillS

      Hardy varieties of fig trees grow readily in Northern Italy where temperatures can go below freezing (-10 to -15 deg C) in winter.

  12. VietnamVet

    Since “silence” is today’s NC key word, it is becoming clear that the USA is purposefully letting elderly little people and essential workers die waiting for a vaccine or patentable treatment. Don’t spend the billions now on a national public health program, testing, tracing or isolation of the infected but let the pharmacy industry rake in billions later after thousands have died.

    Placing the blame for the Pacific Northwest protests on slavery, not on the failure of U.S. federal government that is happening now, is a silent cover-up.

    1. savebyirony

      “Placing the blame for the Pacific Northwest protests on slavery, not on the failure of U.S. Federal government that is happening now, is a silent cover-up.” Completely agree.

  13. Billy

    “You Can Stop Cleaning Your Mail Now” Another vague confusing article.

    “touching a surface ‘isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

    Oh, so we’re supposed to risk our lives and that of our parents on a subsidiary thought pumped out by some magazine intern churning out excuses for online advertising? How much conflicting information, and pure bullshit, have we heard about Covid over the last 6 months?

    Plastic is known to harbor viruses for many days. Plastic coated advertising junk mail and magazines wrapped in film have been touched by how many people, plus the mailman, whose gloves have touched how many hundreds of mail box pulls along his route, touched by how many infected people?
    Thanks for your words of encouragement Atlantic, but we’ll keep microwaving our mail, and cash, plus washing our hands.

    p.s. Hillary didn’t win.

    1. Otto

      Dont microwave – get a UV-B light – takes 30 seconds. Your going to blow up your microwave. No one thinks it will happen until it does. The post office does UV-B all packages and letters already, but whatever.

  14. Bill Carson

    Regarding MULCH…..

    I discovered an online service for wood chip mulch called ChipDrop.

    From their website: “ChipDrop matches people who want free wood chip mulch with arborists and tree companies who are trying to get rid of it. By signing up and placing a request, you’ll be added to a list of people in your neighborhood who are trying to get free wood chips. The next time a local tree trimming company is in your area, they might deliver a load to you.”

    Here’s how it works—if you need A LOT of mulch and don’t want to pay a lot of ANY money for it, you register on the ChipDrop website. Then, when a tree trimming company is trimming trees in your area and has a full truck, they can log in and find people who want a TRUCKLOAD of mulch, and they will drop the ENTIRE TRUCKLOAD at your house in the spot you have identified. Let me tell you, a truckload of wood chip mulch goes a long way. You better have a good wheel barrow and a strong back.

    The arbor company pays $20 to find a place to drop a load of mulch, which saves them time and is cheaper than taking the mulch to a landfill.

    And they’ve got a funny marketing campaign on youtube:

    Why ChipDrop is Probably Not for You

    So You Really DO Want a ChipDrop

    1. Otto

      For $75 dollars I can get 10 yards delivered of exactly what I want and nothing but what I want. I like shredded oak bark.

      1. Bill Carson

        That’s not bad. Who do you purchase it through?

        I got my chipdrop in April, and I still have most of it left. lol It is mostly pine with lots of pine needles, but it smells good.

        1. GERMO

          We had one good and one bad ChipDrop — the most recent time it was really gross yard debris/cleanup stuff and a load of fruit tree branches and rotten fruit and stuff that we had to pick out.
          If I did it again I’d specify for one thing and look at it before they dropped it to make sure. And you wait a long time in any case….

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      thanks for the link.
      i’ve tried to get the quasi-local tree trimmers out here to dump the chips in my pastures, but so far only one load.
      in 20 years,lol.
      so long as it doesn’t contain bits of catalpa or chinaberry, I’m cool with it.
      one must be discriminating with one’s inputs.
      the one’s out here seem to mostly work on the ROW for light company, highway dept and the county road dept.

  15. richard

    Rainbow Bernie always makes me wonder. I could just stare and stare at him all day. What is it that makes him so persuasive? Why does he make me so apathetic concerning liberalism and trump? And give me a vaguely positive feeling about russia? why does the image spin counterclockwise when I focus closely? why did i wake up in a pond in central park?
    so many questions

  16. nick

    The great news about those working class, DSA backed candidates winning after pulling ahead in the mail-in ballots is that they are having success reaching out to formerly disaffected people, or at least people who might not have bothered to vote otherwise.

    You might say that it’s all in NYC and won’t scale. Ok fine, but if the left can have electoral success against sclerotic Dems in Dem dominated environments then that makes me a lot more hopeful for positive momentum under Biden.

    1. ambrit

      You had me until the last sentence.
      Biden’s entire reason for being where he is, is that he will stymie any change and short circuit any momentum for progress. Just like his former boss, Obama.
      You think the DNC is being hard hearted and reactionary against Democrat Party Progressives now? Just wait till they “win” with Biden. (I am not conceding that event yet.) They will assume that anything they do will be ‘acceptable’ to the American electorate. That will include full purges of “disaffected elements” within the Party.
      All momentum ‘under Biden’ will be negative.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The great news about those working class, DSA backed candidates winning after pulling ahead in the mail-in ballots is that they are having success reaching out to formerly disaffected people, or at least people who might not have bothered to vote otherwise.

      Evidence? High turnout is akin to bringing in disaffected voters, but not the same. Thanks! (Of course, I would love for this to be true.)

  17. Big River Bandido

    The final paragraph of the Hill article on Biden’s campaign problems in FL pretty much sums it all up:

    In a statement to The Hill his campaign touted its Latino outreach programs, such as their move to hire Latino Decisions, a polling group that focuses on gauging Latinos attitudes.

    I don’t think these people are going to win, no matter how great the polls look for Biden today.

    1. richard

      well biden was himself exhibit A in the case for dems just not caring whether they win or not
      if they did, he wouldn’t be the nominee, ipso fatso
      it looks like biden in a walk now, but if that all went away it wouldn’t bother leadership in the slightest
      they certainly don’t want anything like a majority in both houses and the exec
      they need the Indispensible Enemy to be strong
      Grand Bargain strong
      I smell them throwing a few fights.

  18. Frowner

    Re Ilhan Omar: Just as with AOC, I don’t think the national press understands that she is extremely personally popular. She didn’t get elected by some fluke, she got elected because this is an integrated and left-leaning district with a lot of Somali people in it. It’s not a perfect place, god knows, but leftish people routinely get elected for various offices around here. People may just be left-liberals without a consistent analysis, but they do tend to believe their beliefs.

    Nationally, people don’t realize that the Minneapolis area has kind of a lot of Muslims for a Midwestern city, and Islamophobia doesn’t go as far when you’re pretty used to, like, your dentist being Somali and your new accountant wearing a hijab. The national press seems to have this idea that Minneapolis is some kind of hick backwater where she snuck into office because people weren’t paying attention and as soon as we realize that she’s, like, Somali and outspoken (and does very occasionally put her foot in it a bit) we’re going to go for someone more conservative. We’re also pretty used to mud-slinging campaigns around here – there have been several offputtingly ugly ones in the past few years.

    I mean, I guess anything can happen, but I don’t think this race is very well understood outside of the Minneapolis metro area.

    1. a different chris

      >and does very occasionally put her foot in it a bit

      Be nice if every elected official actually would have that attribute. Rather than being so smarmy and fake we can’t tell if we agree with them on any given point or not.

      Actually the Rethugs can be argued as like that, but there are so many closeted homosexuals, draft dodgers and the like in that party that their “tough talk” is their own sort of fakery. Most of them are just playing a part, count the Ivy Leaguers in the group if you don’t believe me.

  19. The Rev Kev

    That Andy Slavitt sounds like he has worked the basic strategy out and I like the way that he thinks. He recognizes that fighting the pandemic is actually a matter of national will but of course a big hindrance is the political leadership. Still, it could be done.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is July. A bit late for Democrats like Slavitt to claim to lead. If I had the time, I would go through the entire thread and ask when the case for each step could have been made. My guess is March at the latest.

      I am also extremely dubious that our supply chain and heath care-for-profit system could have delivered a good result, regardless of leadership. I’m also dubious that the leadership exists. Cuomo is a Democrat grandee, and brilliant on TV (at least everybody says so). He exercised, or appeared to exercise, leadership only after the disaster was evident (the mountain of bodies).

      If one posits a leadership vacuum starting in February — why wasn’t the vacuum filled?

  20. allan

    Those plucky bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus members are at it again:

    WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23) joined the bipartisan “Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act,” which would prevent jurisdictions that defund the police from receiving certain federal grants and stop specific federal taxpayer dollars from supporting jurisdictions who intentionally make their communities less safe.

    The legislation was introduced by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Reps. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Will Hurd (TX-23), and Jared Golden (ME-02).

    “We will continue to stand with the many brave men and women in law enforcement who work tirelessly to keep us safe. Defunding or degrading our police officers is not a legitimate policy proposal; it is simply a dangerous, extremist platform that would put our law enforcement in harm’s way and leave our communities more susceptible to crime,” said Rep. Reed.

    Rep. Reed continued, “Instead of taking critical resources away from our police, we should provide law enforcement with more tools, funding, and support to do their jobs effectively. Working together in a bipartisan fashion, we can develop real solutions that will encourage positive reforms, improve training protocols, and facilitate the removal of bad apples in the force.” …

    Freshmen Brindisi and Golden are DCCC Frontliners. It would be a shame if they lost.
    Fewer and better Democrats.

  21. richard

    The “I have a ________ joke” format is all the craze now! Or maybe the craze is all the format. Anyway, here are my 3 favorites:
    “I have a Hillary Clinton joke, but all you do is face left and flip the bird for 3 months”
    “I have a Gina Haspel joke, but it tortures my other jokes and steals their punchlines”
    “I have a Joe Biden joke, and it’s enthusiastically going down on Republicans as we speak!”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “I have a joke about unemployment, but it doesn’t work.”

      Or my meta: “I have a joke about Joe Biden.”

      Format = “snowclone,” a concept that Twitter seems to have given its day in the sun. The concept was first formulated in 2003 on the wonderful Language Log (“PHRASES FOR LAZY WRITERS IN KIT FORM*”) but was only named in 2004, also on Language Log (“SNOWCLONES: LEXICOGRAPHICAL DATING TO THE SECOND“). All stolen from Wikipedia.

      NOTE * So I spice up my prose with them, even if most people turn a bland eye.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have a joke about Controlled-Mainstream American politics. I made it up myself.

    The Conservative sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” Why don’t you pull yourself up by your
    own bootstraps?”

    The Liberal sees a homeless triple amputee and says: ” I can get you some benefits if you could just lose
    that other hand.”

Comments are closed.