By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states, with New York for comparison:
I guess I’ll just keep doing this one until I see a peak followed by a decline. (Seems like the “first wave” is geographically and chronologically distributed.)
“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 8: Pennsylvania moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. Uh oh….
Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
UPDATE “New July 2020 Electoral College Ratings” [Cook Political Report]. One of the pollsters in 270toWin’s consensus: “This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points), and Wisconsin (9 points). He’s even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina.” Their changes to WI, PA, and NE2 (Tossup to Lean Democrat), ME (Lean Democrat to Likely Democrat), and GA (Tossup) put Biden over 270. Of course, it’s only July.
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!
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Biden (D)(1): “Progressives wary as Biden talks compromise with GOP” [The Hill]. “Progressives are warning Joe Biden about compromising with Republicans, saying they will hold him accountable if he moves too much toward the center if he is elected president. The former vice president has increasingly signaled a willingness to cooperate with Republicans as he takes a bigger lead on President Trump in national and statewide polls, a stance some interpret as a strategy to win over independents and even some Republicans who may be abandoning Trump, who has seen his approval numbers slide. During a speech Friday to the National Education Association’s virtual Representative Assembly, Biden said change will take compromise and compromise ‘is not a dirty word.’ ‘It’s how our government was designed to work,’ the former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware added. “I’ve done it my whole life. No one’s ever doubted my word, and I’ve been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress to pass big things, to deal with big issues.'” • Big things…
Biden (D)(2): Duckworth auditions:
Sen. Tammy Duckworth on President Trump's Mt. Rushmore speech where he defended Confederate monuments: "His priorities are wrong. What are we going to do to push Russia back? Instead, he had no time for that. He spent all his time talking about dead traitors" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Qs6bzdGGY3
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 5, 2020
But propaganda works…
Biden (D)(3): Biden’s typefaces:
Folks, it’s time to introduce you to our new typefaces: Decimal & Mercury.
Decimal finds its roots in wristwatches — it’s true as time. Mercury, with its roots in the written word.
Put simply, our typography is bound by the truth. https://t.co/1E406o2SYG
— Robyn Kanner (@robynkanner) July 4, 2020
Looks like Obama’s Gotham/Hoefler combo, but without the twee flourishes.
Trump (R)(1): “Trump drops out. Biden gets sick. Pence is fired. What if 2020 gets really crazy?” [Politico]. “Based on the record so far of the Trump years — and especially of the crisis-infused year we are in now — it borders on crazy to imagine that the balance of 2020 will unfold without becoming even more crazy. Multiple interviews in recent days with influential people in Washington’s political class, including strategists and government veterans in both major parties and figures who have served at high levels in the Trump White House, found most people expecting some sort of dramatic shift of plot in this election year.” • I think 2020’s showrunners need to be replaced entirely. More: ”
But if there is consensus on the high odds of more disruption, there is hardly uniformity on its precise manifestation. Here are seven scenarios that are something less than predictions but — by virtue of the experience of the people interviewed — something more than pure parlor-game speculation. One veteran Republican operative, close to many in the GOP’s donor class, said in the past couple weeks it’s been stunning the extent to which people who have some association with Trump are speculating he might drop out of the race. “He doesn’t want to be a loser, and that’s all in jeopardy now,” this strategist said. “It’s less than 50-50 [Trump would pull himself off ticket] but I’m amazed at the amount of New Yorkers that are talking about this — his former friends. … They think he’s looking for an excuse to get out.’ Worth emphasizing: This speculation is not coming from people claiming firsthand knowledge of Trump’s thinking in recent weeks.” • Oh.
Trump (R)(2): “In Interview, Trump Vows to Counter the Left’s ‘Culture War'” [RealClearPolitics]. Trump: “‘This was going to be a blowout, and then China hit us with the ‘China virus,’ and all of a sudden, it discombobulated this country and the entire world. Now, it’s a much closer situation. We were sailing to an easy victory. Now, I have to fight for the victory, but I’ve been fighting all my life. That’s what I do. I fight for victory. I want it with all my breath, with every ounce of what I represent.” • Then he’d better straighten out his campaign. (I think part of the difficulty is that Trump can’t do A/B testing any more, so has no way to adjust his message to go beyond his base.) A Rove/Bannon combo would be something to see….
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UPDATE “Democrats hold $30 million ad advantage in battle for Senate control” [CNN]. “In 12 races that will determine the next Senate majority, Democrats have spent roughly $30 million more on the airwaves than their Republican counterparts, according to a CNN review of data from Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis. In total, Democrats — including campaigns and outside groups — have spent $109 million on television, radio and digital advertisements, compared with $79 million for Republicans since the beginning of the election cycle last year, the records show. While some of the disparity is due to Democrats attacking each other during the party’s primaries, both sides are keenly aware that Republicans have been outspent on the airwaves so far. Top Republicans expect the gap to close as the elections draw nearer.””
“Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” [The Hill]. “None of this disproves the allegation that the Russians are paying bounties for dead Americans in Afghanistan, an activity that, if true, would require a resolute U.S. response. It is not out of the question that the Russian government or parts of it might see such bounties as payback for perceived U.S. perfidy in Ukraine, Georgia and Russia itself. But it certainly means that the standard of evidence for validating such allegations should be much higher than our media’s barely concealed lust to embrace them would suggest.” • What was “barely concealed” about it?
UPDATE “Steele Dossier’s Billionaire Claim ‘Misleading’, Judge Says” [Bloomberg]. “Christopher Steele stated in his report that Mikhail Fridman and his fellow Alfa Group billionaire Petr Aven arranged for the delivery of ‘large amounts of illicit cash’ to Vladimir Putin in the 1990s. But Judge Mark Warby ruled Wednesday that Steele’s intelligence firm ‘failed to take reasonable steps to verify the allegation’ as he awarded 18,000 pounds ($22,600) in compensation to each man.” • Christopher Steele? Surely not.
UPDATE I don’t care what Klain did on Ebola if these are his views on policy:
High up Democrats saying idiotic shit like “we have the best healthcare system” are why people don’t see a difference between the parties. https://t.co/es8LMUxXcy
— Dave "Alive" Anthony (@daveanthony) July 5, 2020
(This is Dave Anthony of the West Wing Thing podcast).
Obama in a nutshell:
"If you detect a repressed smile on the salesperson's face, you paid too much for it." – Nassim Taleb #wisdom
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Wisdom (@TalebWisdom) June 29, 2020
Realignment and Legitimacy
UPDATE “Democrats, Biden look to accelerate Southern political shift” [Associated Press]. “Democrats see Biden as a party leader who can put a metro-based coalition over the top by mitigating margins beyond big cities and suburbs. “Biden is a safe vessel for these (white) voters who might have been OK with Trump when everything’s going well, but now are just looking for a stable leader who’ll do the right thing,” said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster based in Alabama and whose firm is aligned with Biden’s campaign. If Biden manages the feat, it would bridge the Southern appeals of the last three Democratic presidents.”
UPDATE “Democrats see victory in Trump culture war” [The Hill]. “In the eyes of Trump’s Democratic critics, the president is leaning on divisive cultural issues both to energize the politics of white resentment and shift the nation’s attention away from the fast-moving spread of COVID-19 across the country. And a number of Republicans are voicing similar concerns, privately pressing their White House ally to drop the talk of race and focus on his policy agenda for a second term. ‘I believe the majority of Americans want some calm and stability, not focusing upon divisive issues that most days impact their lives very little,’ a GOP lawmaker told The Hill. ‘I ask again — what is his vision for the next term if he wins? What is his vision of the future of America?”” • Worth remembering that Trump actually did run on policy in 2016, and delivered on both trade (no TPP) and war (nothing new — despite The Blob’s best efforts). Also worth remembering that the socialist candidate, as well as his policies, has been completely erased from the discourse. So far, then, liberal Democrats have been winning their two-front war against both conservatives and the left.
The Great Assimilation™:
This is incredible. pic.twitter.com/JRJfarUICO
— Charlotte Clymer ?️? (@cmclymer) July 8, 2020
Now liberal Democrats are finding their inner Reagan. (“Come on. You know you want to.”)
On the horrid assimilation of Bush Republicans by liberal Democrats, I still haven’t been able to find the William Burroughs quote that I want (and only a writer with his style and turn of mind would be equal to the occasion). However, I did stumble on this from Gravity’s Rainbow. Kreplach is like a Yiddish wonton:
Remember the story about the kid who hates kreplach? Hates and fears the dish, breaks out in these horrible green hives that shift in relief maps all across his body, in the mere presence of kreplach. Kid’s mother takes him to the psychiatrist. “Fear of the unknown,” diagnoses this gray eminence, “let him watch you making the kreplach, that’ll ease him into it.” Home to Mother’s kitchen. “Now,” sez Mother, “I’m going to make us a delicious surprise!” “Oh, boy!” cries the kid, “that’s keen, Mom!” “See, now I’m sifting the flour and salt into a nice little pile.” “What’s that, Mom, hamburger? oh, boy!” “Hamburger, and onions. I’m frying them here, see, in this frying pan.” “Making a little volcano in the flour here, and breaking these eggs into it.” “Can I help ya mix it up? Oh, boy!” “Now, I’m going to roll the dough out, see? into a nice flat sheet, now I’m cutting it up into squares-” “This is terrif, Mom!” “Now I spoon some of the hamburger into this little square, and now I fold it over into a tri-” “GAAHHHH!” screams the kid, in absolute terror-“kreplach!”
To explicate: “the kid who hates kreplach” is the liberal Democrats, especially The Resistance. The process of making making the kreplach is forty years of neoliberalism. And the kreplach…. is Trump (“GAAHHHH! Orange Man bad!”) But the conditions that created President Orange Man? They are good! (“That’s keen, Mom!”). So all we need to do decompose the kreplach back into its ingredients, and everything will be jake with the angels. (I don’t know who “Mom” is. The goddess Clio, perhaps.)
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UPDATE McGrath/Booker race:
Alert: 6,645 absentee ballots were also rejected in Fayette County.
— Ben Tobin (@TobinBen) July 7, 2020
McGrath’s margin, IIRC, was 15,000.
UPDATE “Many Americans are ready to question the result of the presidential election” [The Economist]. “A study finds that a significant share of partisans will support a re-run if they don’t get their way.” • Handy chart:
And where would “credible evidence of foreign interference come from”? Why, the intelligence community, to whom, as a consequence of RussiaGate, we have de facto turned over the function of certifying elections.
UPDATE “‘It’s egregious’: thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected over small errors” [Guardian]. “In a typical election only a small percentage of mail-in ballots get rejected (318,728 ballots, about 1% of those returned, were uncounted in the 2016 general election)…. “I have a hard time believing we aren’t going to see an increase in rejection rates across the country,” said Daniel Smith, a professor at the University of Florida who has closely studied mail-in ballot rejections. ‘The odds are you’re having more people who are not familiar with the process, they’re not going to have people there to help and assist as you would in person.’ The vast majority of ballots that go uncounted are rejected for three reasons: the ballot arrives late, there is a problem with the signature on it, or there is no signature at all, according to EAC data. Many states don’t count ballots if they arrive after election day, regardless of when they were put in the mail. .” • The hanging chads of 2020…
“Here’s What Could Invalidate Your Absentee Ballot. And It’s Beyond Your Control” [Gothamist]. “[T]here’s another reason some otherwise valid votes might get tossed: a missing postmark…. Another unusual part of this absentee ballot cycle involved the envelopes from the BOE. They were business return, postage paid. Normally, a voter must use stamps that the United States Postal Service postmarks to cancel so it cannot be used again.” But this election, the USPS must change its procedure to cancel ballot envelopes, which are postage paid, hence normally not cancelled. “‘Several commissioners were reporting that they got large batches of envelopes with voted absentee ballots without any postmarks,’ [Doug Kellner, a Democratic commissioner and co-chair of the state BOE] said. “This has been a persistent problem,” said Dustin Czarny, the Democratic elections commissioner in Onondaga County in Central New York, and an officer in the New York State Elections Commissioners Association. He said they have had an ongoing issue with the postal service not postmarking election mail, even if it had a stamp.What’s worse, Czarny told Gothamist/WNYC, is that without those markings election officials have little choice but to toss the ballot.” • Oy.
“Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure?” [The New Yorker]. • Buffing the turd of digital voting; the assumption stamped into every line of the piece is that hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, are not safe and secure. Worth a read to watch a bunch of smart people going all the way around the barn and triumphantly finding something there was no reason to look for in the first place. (And, since it’s a software solution, it’s by definition hackable. Sigh.)
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.
There are no stats of interest today.
Shipping: “A China-based blockchain platform for the shipping sector is taking shape. State-run container line Cosco Shipping Holdings Ltd. struck an agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its payments affiliate Ant Financial Group… setting up a three-legged support system for technology meant to track goods across seaborne supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “Alibaba signed a similar deal in May with China Merchants Holdings to create a digital platform for port operations. The digital deals effectively set up China operations that rival the TradeLens blockchain platform established by Maersk Line and International Business Machines Corp., a network that has signed on several other big container line.”
Manufacturing: “[Auto] sales in China are picking up steam even as business in the U.S. and Europe founders… adding to strains on an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic hit. Fresh data from German luxury-car maker BMW AG illustrates a changing world map with China sales up 17% from a year ago in the second quarter while its U.S. and European sales fell at least 40%” [Wall Street Journal]. “Ward’s Auto forecasts overall U.S. light vehicle sales fell 27% last month, and sales have been down even more across Europe. The slack demand could weaken a budding recovery in U.S. auto supply chains that saw automotive shipments on North American railroads grow more than triple from May to June, according to the Association of American Railroads.”
Supply Chain: “U.S. authorities are sending a strong warning to American importers over the use of forced labor in supply chains. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently seized nearly 13 tons of hair from a Chinese manufacturer…. signaling a crackdown on imports suspected of originating from forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region” [Wall Street Journal]. “The supply chains of dozens of multinationals in the fashion and food industries pass through the area of northwestern China where Muslims have faced mass detentions. A Customs official says the latest seizure is part of a “foot-stomping” reminder that U.S. importers are obligated to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labor.” • No gold teeth, I trust.
The Bezzle: “Q&A: The Masterminds Behind Toyota’s Self-Driving Cars Say AI Still Has a Way to Go” [IEEE Spectrum]. “The industry-wide effort vacuumed up many of the world’s best roboticists and set rival companies on a multibillion-dollar acquisitions spree. It also launched a cycle of hype that paraded ever more ambitious deadlines—the most famous of which, made by Alphabet’s Sergei Brin in 2012, was that full self-driving technology would be ready by 2017. Those deadlines have all been missed. Much of the exhilaration was inspired by the seeming miracles that a new kind of AI—deep learning—was achieving in playing games, recognizing faces, and transliterating voices. Deep learning excels at tasks involving pattern recognition—a particular challenge for older, rule-based AI techniques. However, .” • Thank heavens.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 48 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 8 at 12:19pm. Mr. Market is about as exciting as a television tuned to a dead channel.
Arctic sea ice melt. Thread:
#Arctic sea ice extent is currently the lowest on record (in JAXA data)
• about 290,000 km² less the 2010s mean
• about 1,090,000 km² less the 2000s mean
• about 1,840,000 km² less the 1990s mean
• about 2,520,000 km² less the 1980s mean
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) July 5, 2020
“‘Landscape of fear’: what a mass of rotting reindeer carcasses taught scientists” [Guardian]. Memento mori once more: “Rotting bodies also change flora. Surrounding the 323 reindeer carcasses were seeds of crowberry – a keystone species of alpine tundra – that scavengers were dropping around the site. Out of 24 faecal samples from crows, 21 contained viable crowberry seeds, according to a study published in Biology Letters in 2018, that suggests seed banks are likely to build up around carcasses…. Research published in the science journal Plos One in January suggests the red deer carcasses benefited biodiversity in Oostvaardersplassen. After near-complete decomposition, plant biomass surrounding them was five times greater than usual, leading to an increase in plant-eating invertebrates and therefore an increase in predators. This bloom of life lasted for months and spread through food chains – even creating scrubby areas and heterogeneity in the landscape, scientists found.” • As one would expect!!!
“Airborne SARS-CoV-2 is Rapidly Inactivated by Simulated Sunlight” [The Journal of Infectious Diseases]. “Aerosols represent a potential route of transmission of COVID-19. This study examined the effect of simulated sunlight, relative humidity, and suspension matrix on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols. Both simulated sunlight and matrix significantly affected the decay rate of the virus….. Decay rates in simulated saliva, under simulated sunlight levels representative of late winter/early fall and summer were 0.121±0.017 min-1 (90% loss: 19 minutes) and 0.379±0.072 min-1 (90% loss: 6 minutes), respectively. The mean decay rate without simulated sunlight across all relative humidity levels was 0.008±0.011 min-1 (90% loss: 125 minutes). These results suggest that the potential for aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 may be dependent on environmental conditions, particularly sunlight.” • Re-upping this, because I am becoming somewhat hopeful that real COVID prevention strategies are becoming possible in the indoor spaces that I control, which is good news. Perhaps a combination of light and a home HEPA air purifier (see below) would neutralize the aerosols, leaving only worries about fomites. Readers?
“Airborne coronavirus spread: Five things to know” [Al Jazeera]. “In closed spaces at schools, offices and hospitals, increasing proper ventilation with outdoor air by opening windows can also mitigate the risk of infection, [Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado] said. ‘For spaces where ventilation cannot be increased, we recommend portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air cleaners or possibly ultraviolet (UV) germicidal lights at the high end of need. We do not recommend other types of air cleaners.'” • The right kind of lightbulb (see above) plus the right kind of air cleaner might not be insuperably expensive, either.
UPDATE “Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Heightened COVID-19 Risk” [Time]. “In the study, published Tuesday in pre-print form in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, scientists led by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Dr. Brennan Spiegel conducted an online survey involving more than 86,000 people. Among them, more than 53,000 reported abdominal pain or discomfort, acid reflux, heartburn or regurgitation, and answered questions about the medications they took to relieve those symptoms. Of those, more than 3,300 tested positive for COVID-19…. When the researchers analyzed the data, they found that respondents who said they used proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to treat their heartburn had anywhere from two to nearly four times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19, compared to people not using such medications…. The gut, which includes the stomach and intestines, can be considered one of the body’s largest immune organs…. While people who take PPIs showed an increased risk of COVID-19 infection compared to those who don’t, the absolute risk is still small.”
UPDATE “Fauci says being ‘at a bar, inside, is bad news’ during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are 7 reasons why he’s right, according to science.” [Business Insider]. “If you want to drink to support your local businesses, consider taking it to go, or enjoying it outside, at a socially-distanced spot. That way, you’re protecting the workers, who will be in a very precarious situation if they get sick.” • Good point.
“Anthony Fauci: The Last American Hero?” [The Nation]. “Despite his famous halo of truthfulness, Fauci has deliberately misled the public on several occasions during the crisis. At the beginning of the outbreak, he and CDC Director Robert Redfield defied medical common sense and lied about the efficacy of face mask usage. While news programs were showing entire Asian societies safely masked, we were told that face coverings were unnecessary, useless, and possibly dangerous. Asked in February about what advice he would give to ordinary Americans, Fauci remained in lockstep with the White House. ‘So the question is, should we do anything different from what we’re already doing? No. Should we all be wearing a mask? Absolutely not.’ Six weeks later he explained that this was a necessary ploy to stop panic-buying and conserve existing supplies for hospitals.'”
“The retired inventor of N95 masks is back at work, mostly for free, to fight covid-19” [WaPo]. “When the novel coronavirus began gripping the globe in March, Tsai was summoned from his short-lived retirement. He was in urgent demand because he is the inventor who, in 1995, patented the filtration material used in disposable N95 respirators…. Oak Ridge National Lab, a Tennessee-based laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Energy Department, got in touch, too. The team at Oak Ridge was searching for ways to scale production of N95 masks…. The goal was to convert the lab’s carbon-fiber-processing facility into a filtration-cloth facility to produce the filter technology needed for N95 masks. The conversion process proved complicated, but with Tsai’s help, “we quickly got the system up and running,” said Lonnie Love, a lead scientist at Oak Ridge…. While Oak Ridge does provide the filter material to other labs to study, it does not sell the product directly for widespread distribution. Rather, the team teaches industry partners how to scale production.”
“Walgreens strikes deal with primary-care company to open doctor offices in hundreds of drugstores” [CNBC]. “Walgreens Boots Alliance will soon have doctor offices inside of hundreds of its U.S. drugstores. The pharmacy chain said Wednesday it has struck a deal with VillageMD, which will staff and run the primary-care clinics. The companies said they will open the clinics in 500 to 700 stores in more than 30 U.S. markets over the next five years…. Walgreens will invest $1 billion in equity and convertible debt in VillageMD over the next three years as part of the deal, including a $250 million equity investment completed Wednesday. Most of the money will be used by VillageMD to open the clinics and integrate its technology with Walgreens. VillageMD will recruit and pay employees’ salaries, cover other operating expenses and pay Walgreens to use the space. Walgreens said it will own about 30% of the primary-care company after the multiyear investment.” • VillageMD is a start-up. Zeke Emannuel (Democrat) [vomits] is on the Board of Directors. So its Annie Lamont, wife of (Democrat) Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. So there’s your answer on #MedicareForAll, or part of it. (I have to say, again, that I find Walmart very depressing. I hope VillageMD’s offices are bright and cheery.)
“Comparing Private Payer and Medicare Payment Rates for Select Inpatient Hospital Services” [KFF].
Our analysis finds:
- Private insurance payment rates were between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than Medicare rates, with some variation among the ten DRGs included in our analysis.
- Private insurance rates varied more widely than Medicare rates.
- The average private insurance payment rates paid for diagnoses related to COVID-19 increased between 9.3% and 22.4% from 2014 to 2017, much faster than Medicare rates.
“Found art.” Thread:
'The Book of Bread' was a technical guide for commercial bakeries, but looking at the photographs now, more than a century later, they have the quality of found art. The trade edition has printed versions of the photos, the deluxe ed. has the original silver bromide prints. 2/6 pic.twitter.com/jUzWuy9H0q
— Incunabula (@incunabula) July 5, 2020
Department of Feline Felicity
Since we spoke of bee photos as a genre yesterday:
happy birthday Brian pic.twitter.com/jlv1rABE5O
— jas (@slippeehippee) July 8, 2020
I guess this is a thing now!
L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein
“The Complicated Orbit of Jeffrey Epstein” [Bloomberg]. • Very useful, and not exactly a yarn diagram, although some mischievous graphics person chose red for cross-organizational lines. However, there’s something left out: Any connection to the intelligence community. Odd!
“Deutsche Bank maintained accounts for Jeffrey Epstein despite ‘red flags’: Regulators” [ABC]. • It’s like Deutsche is the Wells Fargo of Europe.
“Empty Promise” [Chicago Tribune]. From 1996, describes the Manhattan townhouse Epstein bought from Wexner: “Visitors described a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.”
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“What Happened In Bethel, Ohio?” [Buzzfeed]. “When Lois and Andrea first entered the scene, someone yanked Lois’s sign and tore it in half. She didn’t recognize that person, or any of the others pushing her around. But later, once she’d made it to the rest of the demonstrators, she looked across the street. Like everyone else, she saw people she knew. She got in a ‘stare down,’ as her daughter later described, with one of her former colleagues. ‘Lois, I cannot believe you’re here,’ the other teacher yelled.” • Worth reading in full, especially if you’re from a small town.
“Opinion: Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways” [Los Angeles Times]. “Los Angeles was never a paradise of racial acceptance, but in 1910 some 36% of L.A.’s African Americans were homeowners (compared with 2.4% in New York City) — tops in the nation. L.A.’s comprehensive Red Car transit system, which offered easy, unsegregated access to the region’s growing economic opportunities, was fundamental to this success. Integrated, racially diverse neighborhoods like Watts and Boyle Heights emerged and thrived along these transit corridors. But as L.A.’s population surged from 320,000 in 1910 to more than 1.2 million in 1930 — including tens of thousands of African Americans from the Deep South — white Los Angeles decided it was time to ramp up its own brand of Jim Crow segregation. These efforts took many forms — most famously racially restrictive covenants, which barred African Americans and other ethnic minorities by deed from living in houses and neighborhoods deemed “white.”… But neither the Klan nor legally dubious covenants nor flagrantly unconstitutional land grabs were arguably as effective as the automobile and its attendant infrastructure at turning Los Angeles into an intentionally segregated city. When the 1944 Federal-Aid Highway Act allocated funds for 1,938 miles of freeways in California, planners used the opportunity, with full federal support, to obliterate as much as possible the casual mingling of the races.”
Unexpected consequences of the housing crisis:
Newbie RV owners discover driving them can be a horror show. “Every time we backed in, we ran over something.” https://t.co/5cJxXO4s1K
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 8, 2020
“The pandemic has exacerbated an under-the-radar health disparity: period poverty” [STAT (KS)]. “Period poverty isn’t new: Menstrual hygiene products aren’t covered by national food stamp programs and are subject to sales tax in 30 states, excluded from the list of essential items exempt from taxes like food and medication. But the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn that followed have only exacerbated the problem, leaving marginalized populations who were already struggling to afford menstrual products at even more of a loss.”
“The Meltdown Crisis” [Tressie McMillan Cottom, Medium]. “It is more likely that the Trader Joe’s woman is a raging Fox News anti-masker, of course. But everyone is not so easily classified. Some meltdowns are rooted in what COVID revealed to many people: they have a class position and it isn’t what they thought it was. Cheap credit and cheap imports and cheap slave labor let us consume like we are rich when we are anything but.”
News of the Wired
“Lime Unveils Pilot Program For Inexplicable New E-Cubes” (podcast) [The Topical]. • This is The Onion’s podcast, which does what The Onion does. I wish I liked the show better, but often the humor strikes me as a little off, somehow. This show, however, is very pure and very silly.
Goodnight, I shall leave you with this by Saul Steinberg. pic.twitter.com/sFmIvxkelF
— Sardonicus (@RealSardonicus) July 7, 2020
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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 (MR):
MR writes: “Woods plant.” I should know it. I think these are Ladies’ Slippers?
Readers, I could still use some just a few more images of plants — especially garden projects!
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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!