By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, I hope your Fourth of July holiday was enjoyable — even if it did end on Monday morning, and not, as I thought, on Tuesday! I am not very holiday minded. –lambert
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:
And stop flapping your jaws, Red State h8terz, because California is tracking Texas very nicely.
India, with 719k confirmed COVID cases and counting, recently overtook Russia to have the world's 3rd-largest coronavirus caseload, behind only US & Brazil. It is lurking at bottom of mortality graph. If/when it “pops” it will inaugurate new phase of global pandemic. pic.twitter.com/w9jS5FWgsB
— Adam Tooze (@adam_tooze) July 7, 2020
“N.Y., N.J. and Connecticut Add Three States to 14-Day Quarantine” [Bloomberg]. “The full list of states subject to the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut advisory is: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. ‘New Yorkers did the impossible – we went from the worst infection rate in the United States to one of the best – and the last thing we need is to see another spike of Covid-19,’ Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement.” • Cuomo has such chutzpah.
“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. As of July 2: Still no change. So, regardless of polling, the consensus (aggregating ten organizations) remains the same. And a Biden 10 point lead means a swing of five flips the race. Of course, that can’t happen….
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): “Biden builds lead as Trump goes from trailing to flailing” [Politico]. Cutesy alliterative headline from the Editor; the URL gave a quite different slant: “biden-polling-lose-to-trump.” And the second paragraph: “But there are still four months before the election — and any number of ways for Biden to blow it.” No bias here! More: “Biden’s polling lead over Trump is significant, but not unprecedented. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Biden running ahead of Trump by just less than 9 percentage points.” • As I keep saying, that’s only a five point shift, and that’s before we consider swing states. This is mere Democrat triumphalism in the dog days of summer. Wake after Labor Day.
Sanders (D)(1): “What Went Wrong for Bernie Sanders?” [Ross Barkan]. “I’ve had campaign operatives try to spin me and tried to spin reporters myself. If the left is to win the future and back a candidate who seizes the Democratic nomination and eventually the presidency, it will mean practicing an inside-outside strategy to traditional media with the same sort of vigor it already channels toward field organizing. Mastering Chomsky, while important, will not win you an election in the 2020’s. Here’s the cold truth: most journalists and even their bosses aren’t mere automatons for oligarchs. They are largely culturally left people on the hunt for sexy angles to drive pageviews and ratings. They are human beings who react best when engaged with—courted, worked over, and even flattered.” • Hmm.
UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “We Worked on the Bernie Campaign — More Democracy Would’ve Made It More Effective” [Jacobin]. From three former Bernie Sanders field organizers: “[O]ur defeat can also be attributed to two major internal failures: an overreliance on the distributed model of organizing, and the lack of a system to maintain accountability, transparency, and feedback from staff on the ground to upper management…. The organizing program on the Bernie campaign was fundamentally a battle between two competing organizing philosophies. One is a deep organizing model that focuses on investing in field staff and community building. The other model, known as distributed organizing, places the work of organizing almost entirely on volunteers… In Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and California, the campaign invested heavily in deep organizing. That investment paid off. Campaign management acted as though the momentum of winning Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and California would be sufficient to carry us to the nomination. This strategy drastically underestimated the combined influence of corporate media and power brokers…. Downsizing the field program and failing to listen to lower-ranking staff was a massive error implemented by those at the top. Had management been willing to pivot strategy and take advice from those on the ground, these mistakes may have been avoided.” • This is very thoughtful and interesting. I think it illustrates the contradiction between a campaign (by definition, temporary) and a movement (permanent, hopefully).
UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Republican internal polling signals a Democratic rout” [Harry Enten, CNN]. “Right now, Democrats and liberal groups are releasing a lot more surveys than Republicans, which suggests the public polling showing Democrats doing well is backed up by what the parties are seeing in their own numbers.” • Republican pollsters not barking in the night is a better sign for Democrats than the triumphalist nonsense.
UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Coronavirus is surging in Florida — and so is anxiety over Trump’s chances with senior voters” [CNN]. “John Dudley [(77)], a retired banker, proudly cast his ballot for Donald Trump in 2016, excited at the prospect of sending an entrepreneur to the White House on a pledge to change Washington. It’s a vote he regrets, he said, and a mistake he hopes to correct in November.
‘He blew it,’ Dudley said, not mincing words as he assessed Trump’s first term. ‘We were so excited in the beginning. A businessman to run our country like a business and it hasn’t happened.'” • Lol. Trump is running the country like a business! If your business is, say, Boeing. Or Uber. More: “For Trump, there is virtually no path to reelection without winning Florida, a state where seniors have outsized influence. The key battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin also have large elderly populations, which has top Republicans sounding the alarm about the erosion of support among older voters. ‘It wasn’t going to be easy anyway, but coronavirus has turned this into a perfect storm,’ a senior Republican told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss growing concern over the prospect of losing a significant share of older voters. ‘We can’t win if we lose seniors.’
The fight for the critical senior vote is playing out as a contest among peers, with Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, steadily escalating their campaigns against one another.” • Wait ’til Trump asks Biden to draw a clock, an hour into a debate….
Trump (R)(3): “Trump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP” [The Hill]. “The lack of an agenda just four months ahead of Election Day sparked a shower of criticisms and left GOP lawmakers shaking their heads.”
West (I)(1): “Kanye West declares he will run for US president in 2020” [Guardian]. “Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, rapper Kanye West declared his candidacy for US president…. Nor was it clear whether the 43-year-old had filed any official paperwork to appear on state election ballots. The deadline to add independent candidates to the ballot has not yet passed in many states….. If he ran, West would follow in a long tradition of independent or third-party campaigns challenging the Democratic and Republican stranglehold. In 1992, Ross Perot, an eccentric Texan billionaire, took 19% of the vote.” • I’m skeptical until I see West on some ballots somewhere. Until then, he’s just doing celebrity marketing. Nevertheless!
West (I)(2): “kanye for president” [Reading the Tarot (DG)]. “For years, we have been in essence functioning without a government. Our president issues some insane edict and we all have to find ways to survive it. Our local governments give free reign to police unions and property developers, and we have to find a way to survive their decisions….. Maybe it would help, then, to make it official and abolish the presidency. Or not abolish it, exactly. Just remove all of the office’s powers. We need a place to store our megalomaniacs, after all…. It’ll be ceremonial, like the Queen of England. And like the Queen, we’ll let Kanye wear a nice hat and we’ll pretend we care about the goings-on of his children and he’ll go to other countries to have his photo taken with other world leaders and we’ll let him sit in the best seats at polo games and so on.” • This will only work after we’ve put the squillionaires on their own island.
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“Chelsea Manning’s Jailer Is Running For Congress — As A Democrat” [Too Much Information (NippersMom)]. “James Averhart, who is competing in a July 14 run-off election for an Alabama congressional seat, also oversaw a Bush-era military push to track down and punish veterans who deserted the Vietnam War — an initiative seen as an attempt to discourage soldiers from deserting during the Iraq War…. In the Alabama race, Averhart became a candidate after overseeing the brig at Quantico, Va., where Manning was held between July 2010 and April 2011…. ‘Averhart and his successor rejected psychiatrists’ nearly weekly recommendations to ease the restrictions that kept Manning in an 8-by-6-foot cell at least 23 hours a day,’ the Associated Press wrote in 2012.” • That’s a damn shame. That Averhart isn’t a [x] woman, I mean.
Our Famously Free Press
UPDATE “America Needs Some Repairs. Here’s Where to Start.” [Editorial Board, New York Times]. “How to Make America Fairer and More Resilient: A Checklist.” • Nothing on health care in the checklist. Not even the so-called public option! Holy moley, are these people detached or what?
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Lincoln Project capitalizes on Trump’s rage as its spending comes under scrutiny” [Open Secrets]. From May, still germane: “The Republican super PAC has amassed a substantial war chest, but it has come under scrutiny for funneling money to its advisory board members and spending relatively little airing political ads to influence voters. The group also hides some of its vendors by stealthily paying subcontractors, making it difficult to follow the money.” • Bitcofer seems to think highly of it….
UPDATE “To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful” [New Yorker]. “The sorry state of America’s political and physical health ripples across the globe. The United States, long the bedrock of the Western alliance, is less inspirational today—and perhaps will be even less so tomorrow. ‘The United States has traditionally had an ability to reinvent itself,’ Mark Leonard, the co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, told me. ‘The brutality of the American political system—where entire élites get kicked out whenever there is a change of party at the top—has historically led to resilience. What you see now are structural problems much more difficult to solve.’ He added that inequality is so ‘deeply baked’—in education, property and the economy, job opportunities, gerrymandering of voting districts, policing and justice, and the media—that America is now a ‘toxic brew’ of problems. ‘That means there’s not much bandwidth in America for thinking about anything other than its culture wars,’ he said.” • “[W]here entire élites get kicked out”? Really?
UPDATE “Pan movements and the weakening of liberties” [Asia Times]. [For Nazi legal theorist Carl] Schmitt, the political is characterized by the friend-enemy relation. Those within my group are friends; those outside are enemies. Groups are perpetually at war or in preparation for war. Professor Steven Smith of Yale University notes that Schmitt is thinking in terms of politics in extreme situations. But with all the anger and violence, and groups rejecting integration within society, with growing numbers going so far as to hate those who accept the basic premises of the society, are we not at least entering an extreme phase?… Schmitt rejects liberal society in which differences can be ameliorated, and his view is more a return to a tribal structure where the safety of the group depends on its ability to defend itself. Many, including those in prominent positions, hate US President Donald Trump. Large numbers of people rejected his election and immediately began resistance. In a normal situation envisaged by liberal democracy, the losers would not have been happy, but they would not have been willing to ignore national well-being just to undermine the president. There are many substantive reasons to disagree with him, but today we see personal hatred. When pressed for reasons based on actual policy, nothing drastic is substantiated. If the essence of the political is friend and enemy, then the hatred is understandable: I hate my enemy.”
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.
Coincident Indicators: “07 July 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Declined and Remains At Recession Levels” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) declined and continues to show an economy that is significantly worse than seen during the Great Recession…. This data set should be considered a high-frequency coincident indicator on a par with the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index produced by the Philly Fed – and both show conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are already worse than the Great Recession. However, the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index is improving whilst the WLI is still declining. Logic would say with the partial reopening of the economy – the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index seems to be correct.”
Employment Situation: “May 2020 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Rate Improved But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future job growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings improved but remains in contraction…. The unadjusted data this month remained well below average for the rate of growth seen in the last year. With this low average rate of growth, JOLTS is predicting lower employment growth than we have seen over the past year. Jolts predicted the slowing of employment growth. However, the pandemic effects will drive this data.”
Housing: “May 2020 CoreLogic Home Prices: Home Prices Projected to Cool This Summer, Plunge 6.6% by May 2021” [Econintersect]. “CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI) shows home prices increased by 4.8%, compared with May 2019. Home prices increased 0.7% in May 2020 compared with April of this year…. This is a rear view of home prices. Econintersect believes home prices will deteriorate as the year progresses as the knock-on effect of the coronavirus will grow. The worst-case will be a decline to Great Recession levels but the most likely scenario is a 10% decline roughly equal to the expected unemployment rate. Too much money is being removed from the economy due to the COVID restrictions and elevated unemployment.”
Commodities: “A world-wide surge in oil prices is coming as output in the sector plummets. U.S. crude supply is falling at its quickest pace ever… easing a global oil glut as OPEC and its partners also reduce output at a record rate” [Wall Street Journal]. “Weekly U.S. output recently fell to 10.5 million barrels a day, down from a near-record 13 million barrels a day in March. Turmoil is still rippling through the U.S. sector, and many investors still expect a wave of bankruptcies and deals that overhauls the U.S. energy landscape. Tanker operators have warned about a falloff even as they continue to book vessels for floating storage. Lloyd’s List Intelligence reports ships storing oil at sea reached a new record the week ending July 3.”
Retail: “Protective facemasks are giving one e-commerce operator a boost in the push for new online customers. Sales of the gear aimed at protecting users from the coronavirus have soared at crafts specialist Etsy Inc….” [Wall Street Journal]. “The company’s response to the pandemic demonstrates Etsy’s nimble approach to the market, highlighting a strategy that mobilizes third-party sellers without giving the company the inventory headaches that have troubled most retailers. That agility has proven to be a key advantage as competitors have been hamstrung by supply-chain constraints, warehouse closures and manufacturing and shipping delays. The company said it sold 12 million masks in April, 17% of its total gross market sales that month, even as the broader retail market sank.” • Remarkable.
The Bezzle: “Consolidation in the food-delivery sector is accelerating as the competition turns into a nationwide fight for customers. The Uber Technologies Inc. $2.65 billion acquisition of rival Postmates Inc. sets up Uber Eats as one of the top players in the market… and signals that the big operators believe home delivery of food and groceries will remain a big factor in consumer shopping” [Wall Street Journal]. “The all-stock deal would create the second-largest restaurant delivery service in the U.S., following DoorDash Inc. and ahead of Grubhub Inc. Uber is also betting it will expand the company’s identity and bring new customers to its ride-sharing. That provides while food-delivery operations still face big logistics and profit challenges as standalone businesses.” • Oh?
UPDATE The Bezzle: “Driver Using “Autopilot” Technology Criminally Charged After Collision” [Jonathan Turley]. “A driver reportedly relying on the “Autopilot” function of a vehicle was cited for driving with criminal negligence after his passenger car struck a legally standing police patrol car. Though anecdotal, I believe this incident demonstrates what I believe to be a legal fatal flaw in the foundational concept for vehicles equipped with autonomous navigation and driving technology–that they can cause either the “driver” or vehicle owner into criminal liability for essentially the passive act of allowing the car control over the journey.” • Ouch. To make robot cars work, we will not not only to re-engineer the physical environment, but the legal environment as well.
UPDATE Tech: “YouTube’s Alleged Blocking of Black Creators’ Content is “Overt, Intentional & Systematic Racism,” Per New Suit” [The Fashion Law]. “According to their June 16 complaint, Kimberly Carleste Newman, Lisa Cabrera, Catherine Jones, and Denotra Nicole Lewis (the ‘plaintiffs’) assert that YouTube and its owners – who are ‘members of the largest business enterprise, private or public, in the world’ – have carried out a scheme of ‘overt, intentional, and systematic racial discrimination’ to ‘rig the game [and] use their power to restrict and block the plaintiffs … based on racial identity or viewpoint discrimination for profit.’ In short, the plaintiffs argue in their 239-page filing that YouTube and its parents – which maintain ‘complete, absolute, and ‘unfettered’ control over access to approximately 95 percent of all video content that is available to the public’ – have ‘knowingly, intentionally, and systematically employed artificial intelligence, algorithms, computer and machine-based filtering and review tools to ‘target’ the plaintiffs and all other persons similarly situated’ based on their race.” • Hmm…
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 7 at 12:15pm. Mr. Market is about as exciting as a television tuned to a dead channel.
Rapture Index: Closes down one on Unemployment. “After months of negative news, unemployment data has turned positive” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. The Rapture crowd believes in a V-shaped recovery? Really?
UPDATE “‘Zombie Fires’ in the Arctic Pump Out Carbon at Record Pace” [Bloomberg]. “Arctic fires emitted 16.3 million metric tons of carbon — or about 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide — in June. That’s the highest since at least 2003 and almost nine times more than the same month in 2018, according to data from Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service…. The Arctic region is heating twice as fast as the rest of the world, leading to sea ice melting faster than scientists forecast. The warm air spreading from Siberia across the Arctic doesn’t directly cause wildfires, but coupled with low soil moisture levels and low precipitation, it can contribute to ripe conditions for fires to spread…. The fires typically burn through forests and peatlands in Siberia, a region that straddles across all of northern Russia and is home to the world’s largest forest. The dry vegetation on these vast plains can burn under the snowpack of winter and Copernicus data from May suggested that high temperatures were reigniting these ‘zombie fires.'”
UPDATE “Carbon pricing and the exit from fossil fuels” [Adam Tooze, Social Europe]. “Since time is not on our side, we need to preserve the maximum freedom of action. We should avoid, as far as possible, getting bogged down in politically damaging debates about the totemic policies of an earlier era—above all carbon pricing. Time is too short to cling to the neoliberal dogma that creating markets and setting prices is the high road to success in all cases. Carbon prices, whether set by emissions trading or carbon taxes, are unlikely to be enough…. In the urgent push for action we cannot however escape our history. Since the 1990s, carbon pricing has been at the core of European environmental policy. It retains committed elite support, including from influential voices in the German government, which will be directing European Union affairs for the next six months… Thanks to the coronavirus-induced recession, energy demand has collapsed. There would be every reason, therefore, to expect the system to have been swamped by a surplus of emission allowances, whose prices we should expect to fall. But instead, after an initial downward blip, prices for European carbon allowances have recovered to near their pre-crisis level, at around €25 per tonne. Combined with the collapse of natural-gas prices, we thus find ourselves at the fuel-switching point. At the current price for allowances and given the relative prices of gas and coal, the most efficient power plant burning coal cannot compete with the least efficient gas-fired plant. If sustained, this should spell the end for commercial coal-fired power in Europe. Gas is, at best, a transition fuel but ending coal would be a big win.” • Carbon pricing is above my paygrade. Readers?
UPDATE “The Stakes Of Losing This DICE Game Are Enormous” [Erik Kobayashi-Solomon, Medium]. “According to [so-called Nobelist William Nordhaus’s DICE model.] the global economy will suffer an aggregate drop in GDP (i.e., all-in over the next 130 years, not annually in perpetuity) of a few percentage points even assuming a temperature increase high enough to cause agricultural output to plummet. While Ivy League economists may not have a visceral sense of this, it is clear to your correspondent that large swathes of the workforce might be marginally less productive if they were only able to consume 500 food calories a day.” • Steve Keen on the DICE model:
According to Keen, DICE’s egregious errors are threefold:
- The assumption that the small effects on GDP from the modest changes in global temperature to date can be extrapolated into a future of much more extreme temperature increases,
- The assumption that a complex adaptive (i.e., non-linear) system like our planet’s ecosystem would respond to extreme stimuli in a linear way,
- A dubious mischaracterization of climate scientists’ assessment of ecological “tipping points” that leads to an assumption these potentially catastrophic points will never be reached.
“Months of Trial and Error in the ICU Offer Clues on How to Save Covid Patients” [Bloomberg]. “Faced with an unmanageable influx of coronavirus patients at Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s step-down unit, an intermediate care ward, Jelic made an unorthodox decision: she asked those struggling to breathe to roll onto their bellies while they waited for intubation to mechanically ventilate their inflamed lungs.” • It worked! I’m also sure we had an alert NC reader suggest just this, but I cannot find the comment. Whoever you are, take a bow! More: “In the absence of a cure, doctors like Jelic were left relying in part on trial and error, but months into the most destructive pandemic in a century, their collective experience is starting to build a framework of how best to cope with coronavirus patients… The collective experience may be showing results. U.S. deaths, which often ranged between 2,000 and 3,000 a day in April and May, have mostly remained below 1,000 and in the low hundreds since the beginning of June.” • Hopeful. It’s going to much easier to “live with” COVID-19 if it becomes a treatable disease (like AIDS).
“The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay” [The Atlantic]. “Popescu is one of many public-health experts who have been preparing for and battling the pandemic since the start of the year. They’re not treating sick people, as doctors or nurses might be, but are instead advising policy makers, monitoring the pandemic’s movements, modeling its likely trajectory, and ensuring that hospitals are ready. By now they are used to sharing their knowledge with journalists, but they’re less accustomed to talking about themselves. Many of them told me that they feel duty-bound and grateful to be helping their country at a time when so many others are ill or unemployed. But they’re also very tired, and dispirited by America’s continued inability to control a virus that many other nations have brought to heel. As the pandemic once again intensifies, so too does their frustration and fatigue. America isn’t just facing a shortfall of testing kits, masks, or health-care workers. It is also looking at a drought of expertise, as the very people whose skills are sorely needed to handle the pandemic are on the verge of burning out.”
“Walmart to open Medicare insurance agency in the Dallas market” [Talk Business & Politics]. “Walmart is jumping into the insurance brokerage business under the business name Walmart Insurance Services LLC. The Bentonville-based retailer is in the process of hiring Medicare insurance agents in the Dallas area….. Kaiser Health reports nearly 20% of the U.S. population is covered by Medicare, and that is expected to rise sharply in the next five years in states like Texas, Florida and California that have the largest populations of adults over age 65. Medicare spending will top $835 billion this year and is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion in the next five years.”
“US rivers and lakes are shrinking for a surprising reason: cows” [Guardian]. “A recent analysis published in Nature found cattle to be one of the major drivers of water shortages. Notably, it is because of water used to grow crops that are fed to cows such as alfalfa and hay. Across the US, cattle-feed crops, which end up as beef and dairy products, account for 23% of all water consumption, according to the report. In the Colorado River Basin, it is over half.” • Absurd!
“Thursday’s Unemployment Report Made “The Case for a Job Guarantee” Imperative, Read This New Book” [Medium]. Pavlina Tcherneva, The Case for a Job Guarantee. “Tchervenva wrote her book before the Covid-19 Crisis produced the disastrous employment numbers shown above. During this crisis, the key question for tens of millions has been my job or my health? That has been an agonizing dilemma for precariat workers because they have no bargaining power, no savings, and often no health insurance. JG would help redress their lack of bargaining power, so that workers can do what’s right for them, their families, co-workers and communities. With JG, low-wage workers can stay home if they feel they need to, a public health measure to control Covid-19 could be part of their JG job, knowing that they can still get a living wage job with benefits, which they often don’t have, if their previous job is no longer available. It gives them some power and control over their lives that those with much higher income have right now. Even during an economic recovery, without JG many long-term unemployed will become ‘unemployable,’ a catch-22 the longer they remain without a job. JG would help prevent that outcome. Tcherneva uses the metaphor of joblessness as a deadly epidemic that must be prevented.”
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Reparations Are a Concrete Way to Address Systemic Racism and Inequality” [A. Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity, Teen Vogue]. “As we say in From Here to Equality, some believe recompense should come from clearly identified perpetrators. But, as we write, when ‘the entire political order is complicit, it is not sufficient to bill individual perpetrators. Laissez-faire or ‘piecemeal reparations’ may assuage individual guilt but cannot meet the collective national obligation. . The U.S. government, as the federal authority, bears responsibility for sanctioning, maintaining, and enabling slavery, legal segregation, and continued racial inequality.'”
“The Racial Wealth Gap Is About the Upper Classes” [Matt Bruenig, Jacobin]. “What this means is that the overall racial wealth disparity is being driven almost entirely by the disparity between the wealthiest 10 percent of white people and the wealthiest 10 percent of black people.” • Handy chart:
This is broadly speaking what I think the racial wealth gap solutions landscape looks like in simplified flow chart form. pic.twitter.com/JRr66RcuUh
— Matt Bruenig (@MattBruenig) July 6, 2020
Even if Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending, that’s no reason not to soak the rich.
L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein
“”Ghislaine, Is That You?”: Inside Ghislaine Maxwell’s Life on the Lam” [Vanity Fair]. “t was not the first time in her life Ghislaine Maxwell went to ground. Her process of disappearing began, really, on a dreadful day almost 30 years ago, with a dead body floating in the sea. Arms splayed out, face staring into the sky, enormous belly bobbing in the Atlantic just off the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands: That’s how Spanish police discovered the ‘naked, stiff, and floating’ corpse of the British media baron Robert Maxwell on November 5, 1991. A helicopter hovered overhead, lowering its cable and straining to recover the cadaver, which weighed 310 pounds.” Flash forward: “Ghislaine helped Jeffrey become who he became,’ says one of Epstein’s victims. ‘He had the money, but he didn’t know what to do with it. She showed him.'” • One of the reasons to confiscate inherited wealth is to protect squillionaires children from the impact of it. Robert Maxwell was not a nice person at all.
Bad scholarship in — hold onto your hats, folks — mainstream economics:
Good news! I just got my first "Top 5" journal publication, in the Review of Economic Studies. Top 5 journals in econ are fetishized beyond belief. This publication helps show why we might want a more balanced attitude. #Econtwitter https://t.co/YQKNtCthbc
— Doug Campbell (@TradeandMoney) July 6, 2020
“‘They Want to Kill Me’: Many Covid Patients Have Terrifying Delirium” [New York Times]. • Of course they want to kill you; that’s what health care for profit does.
UPDATE “In the Covid-19 death of a hospital food worker, a microcosm of the pandemic” [STAT]. The epidemiological/social determinants of health nugget: “At Brigham Health, just 0.7% of doctors lived in the Boston area’s coronavirus hotspots, while 5% of nurses did. Among both environmental services and food workers, that proportion was above 40%. Geography, it seemed, might be a better explanation than job description. ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re working as a nurse, or a medical assistant, or in food services,” said Morris, the Brigham’s incident commander. ‘Living in certain areas of the city increases your risk.’ By June, the numbers would be even more convincing. The nurses who lived in hotspots had a 4.3% infection rate, while it was 2.3% for those whose addresses were elsewhere. Among food workers, 9.9% of hotspot residents had tested positive, while 3.2% of those from other ZIP codes had. For hospital employees, being on the front-most of the front lines wasn’t just about the patients you worked with, but also the zones in which you lived.” • This is so sad, a wonderful piece of writing, and well worth a read.
News of the Wired
Why I like cats:
— Mike Abernethy (@FLTDOC1) July 5, 2020
Would a dog say that? I think not.
“The Glossary of Happiness” [The New Yorker]. From 2016, still germane: “Soon after [Tim] Lomas returned to the University of East London, where he is a lecturer in applied positive psychology, he launched the Positive Lexicography Project, an online glossary of untranslatable words… It is a veritable catalogue of life’s many joys, featuring terms like utepils (Norwegian, ‘a beer that is enjoyed outside . . . particularly on the first hot day of the year’), mbuki-mvuki (Swahili, ‘to shed clothes to dance uninhibited’), tarab (Arabic, ‘musically induced ecstasy or enchantment’), and gigil (Tagalog, ‘the irresistible urge to pinch/squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished’). In the course of compiling his lexicon, Lomas has noted several interesting patterns. A handful of Northern European languages, for instance, have terms that describe a sort of existential coziness. The words—koselig (Norwegian), mysa (Swedish), hygge (Danish), and gezellig (Dutch)—convey both physical and emotional comfort. ‘Does that relate to the fact that the climate is colder up there and you would value the sense of being warm and secure and cozy inside?’ Lomas asked. ‘Perhaps you can start to link culture to geography to climate. In contrast, more Southern European cultures have some words about being outside and strolling around and savoring the atmosphere. And those words”—like the French flâner and the Greek volta—’might be more likely to emerge in those cultures.'” • Readers, can you think of any American words to add to the lexixon? They have to be untranslatable!
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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (RM):
RM writes: “Bee friendly to cactus.” Bee photos are a fun genre, but I have never seen a bee photographed in a cactus before!
Readers, I could still use some just a few more images of plants — especially garden projects!
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Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.
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