2:00PM Water Cooler 7/10/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

#COVID19

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’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. It will be interesting to see if and when New York starts going up again.)

CA: “UC Berkeley has 47 new COVID-19 cases in a week, mostly from frat parties” [Berkeleyside]. “‘The majority of these new cases stem from a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system, which included students both within the CalGreek community and others, and led to some secondary spread within households and within other smaller gatherings,’ according to the statement from UC Berkeley University Health Services Medical Director Anna Harte and Assistant Vice Chancellor Guy Nicolette. ‘Generally, these infections are directly related to social events where students have not followed basic safety measures such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, limiting event size, and gathering outside.'”

TX: “Internal Messages Reveal Crisis at Houston Hospitals as Coronavirus Cases Surge” [ProPublica]. “What’s happening in Houston draws eerie parallels to New York City in late March, when every day brought steep increases in the number of patients seeking care at overburdened hospitals — though, so far, with far fewer deaths. But as coronavirus cases surge in Texas, state officials here have not reimplemented the same lockdown measures that experts say helped bring New York’s outbreak under control, raising concern among public health officials that Houston won’t be able to flatten the curve…. Even as new cases and hospitalizations soar, the number of daily deaths in Texas has remained relatively low. On Tuesday, the state reported nearly 7,000 new cases, a record, but only 21 new deaths. All told, New York state has reported nearly 25,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. Texas has recorded fewer than 2,500, including 378 in Harris County, which includes Houston. But experts caution that rising hospitalizations today will likely result in a spike in deaths in the coming weeks, and those who require ICU care for COVID-19 but recover often leave the hospital with lasting health problems.” • It does make you wonder why the difference in death rate, immediate or not. I haven’t seen a study on this, or even a good theory. Readers?

TX: “Oil Refineries in Covid Hotspot of Texas Grapple With Outbreaks” [Bloomberg]. “The second-biggest U.S. refinery, Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Galveston Bay plant in Texas City, has well over 100 confirmed cases of the virus, people familiar with operations said. At least four other refineries also have workers who’ve tested positive….” • The story keeps saying “workers and contractors.” I wonder if the contractors move around a lot.

Politics

“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

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!

2020

Biden (D)(1): A fine metaphor for the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces Report:

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden Still Doesn’t Have a Plan to Stop Oil and Gas Production” [GIzmodo]. “The plan does include some language that could limit emissions from fossil fuel production, including repealing fossil fuel subsidies and reducing methane pollution. But it doesn’t say anything about ending new leases for oil and gas producers. And though fracking is a major source of methane emissions, it doesn’t include the pledge Biden made earlier in his campaign to end new fracking leases for public lands, let alone call to ban fracking outright… Instead, the proposal calls for the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to help curb greenhouse gas pollution.” • See NC here on one form of carbon capture. More: “There’s also no evidence that that technology actually works at scale. It’s at best an unproven strategy to curb greenhouse gases, and at worst a way to provide cover to corporations looking to make false commitments to reducing emissions without curbing oil and gas extraction.” • Oy.

Biden (D)(3): “Financial advisory firm tells clients Biden won’t be moving too far left if he becomes president” [CNBC]. “Financial advisory firm Signum Global Advisors told clients Thursday that it isn’t convinced Joe Biden is going to be as progressive as some may hope if he beats President Donald Trump in November. The firm told its corporate clients in a note that it believes the policy recommendations put together by task forces filled with allies of Biden’s and the more progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders show that the presumptive Democratic nominee doesn’t plan to side too often with those on the left side of the political spectrum if he becomes president. ‘The report is very aspirational; it pays lip service to some of the party’s more progressive ideas, though has few specifics about how ideas will be achieved, and generally repeats most of the moderate ideas from the Biden campaign’s website,’; the note said. • “Nothing fundamental will change.

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “Why Val Demings May Be the Best Running Mate for Joe Biden Right Now” [Vogue]. “Yes, America needs to heal. … My preference, however — especially now — would be the inspirational Val Demings, who has an amazing life story. Born in a two-room, wooden framed home in Jacksonville, Fla. — the youngest of seven children to a maid and janitor — Demings was the first in her family to graduate from college. She began her career as a social worker, then joined the Orlando police department, eventually moving up to be the city first-ever female police chief. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2017, and this year was one of the House impeachment managers…. Demings may be one of those once-in-a-lifetime politicians, a gifted orator, a woman who is completely self-made, a racial pioneer. America has a racism problem. Joe Biden has an enthusiasm problem. Someone like Val Demings could conceivably begin to heal both.” • So, as an impeachment managers, she’s acceptable to the intelligence community and the national security goons. As any mayor, governor, or gubernatorial candidate would be, they never having played in that league. (Of the [x] black [x] woman Veepstakes candidates, Susan Rice has the requisite experience, and Kamala Harris sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Donald Trump Has A Secret Plan To Win (Seriously)” [Crooked]. “I think the chaos and backbiting detailed in the press obscure the fact that the Trump campaign is in fact beginning to execute a plan to win the election… And after what happened in 2016, it would be foolish to assume that Trump can’t rebound from his abysmal position and stumble into a second term….. When I’m trying to understand what a campaign is thinking, I always apply two maxims. First, follow the money. Tweets are free. Ads cost a lot of money. Campaigns only run ads that are backed by polling and data. Second, ads released with great fanfare are usually designed to shape media narratives, not to persuade voters. Therefore, the ads that campaigns want to fly under the radar tend to be the most suggestive of what they believe internally will have the greatest influence on the electorate. … In the past week, the Trump campaign quietly began airing two ads that speak volumes about its plan to win. One ad running in the Philadelphia media market hits Biden for his role in passing the 1994 crime bill and says he “destroyed millions of Black lives.” The campaign is also airing a Spanish-language ad in multiple markets that falsely claims Biden is in cognitive decline and not up to being president. … [T]hey want to diminish overall Black and Latino turnout to make it easier to win the election with only white voters. This strategy isn’t crazy…. The second part of Trump’s plan is embedded in the Spanish language ad. The Trump campaign wants to convince some portion of the public that Biden is too old and confused to be president….Once again, the Trump campaign isn’t trying to increase Trump’s vote total, just shrink Biden’s. The final part of Trump’s strategy is to dip into the old Republican playbook and prevent as many people as possible from voting.” • Trump is going to need some luck: The virus needs to peak and decline in the Red States pretty soon. Something colorably like a vaccine in October would help. So would a V-shaped recovery. A master-stroke in debate (and Trump really did take apart Clinton on trade). Something that scares suburban voters back into the Republican fold. But Trump is lucky.

Trump (R)(2): “Democrats, it’s too soon to cheer Trump’s defeat” [CNN]. “Like a modern-day street magician, Trump keeps pulling out new tricks to stymie Democrats at the polls when they least expect it — as he did this past May when Republicans took back a Congressional seat in deep blue California, the first time the GOP had gained a seat in the state in 22 years. Let us be clear: We are political consultants who have spent the better part of the last 20 years working to get scores of Democrats elected across America. It gives us no great joy to think about Trump getting a second term, but here is some of what keeps us awake at night:” They give four reasons; this caught my eye:

Trump’s numbers are down by a lot less than one would expect given, well, everything. Let’s state the obvious: America has been turned upside down over the last few months. The country has been all but shut down during the Covid-19 outbreak, and ongoing efforts to combat racism are fundamentally changing America. Sure — Trump’s numbers have taken a hit — but the problem for Democrats is that they are not down as much as his abysmal performance deserves.

The latest Fox News poll shows Biden is leading Trump by 12 points, up from a lead of eight points back in May. Bottom line, the country is in tatters and Biden’s lead has grown by a paltry four points. No typo — Biden’s lead has increased by just four points as a surge of coronavirus is gripping large swaths of states that typically vote red.

How is Biden doing today among the White voters without a college degree in the swing states that Trump won in 2016? Biden’s support, according to The New York Times / Siena College Poll, has him rising by a single point with this group since October — that’s the extent of the momentum Biden has gotten by winning enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination in reaction to Trump’s poor performance over the last four months. A single point!

How about non-White voters — many of whom are taking to the streets and demanding justice and equality? Biden, according to the New York Times/ Siena College poll, has made virtually no gains whatsoever — up only two points among Black voters from 74% in October 2019 to 76% in the most recent poll and up just one point among Hispanics, from 35% in October 2019 to 36% today.

In fact, according to an early June NPR / PBS / Marist Poll, 3 in 10 non-White strongly approve or approve of the job Trump is doing as president — a number that has only declined by a single point since mid-March. And the poll finds that 9% of Black voters are supporting Trump today — essentially the same level of support The Donald enjoyed in 2016.

Ouch.

UPDATE West (I)(1): “Kanye West Says Expecting Black People to Be Democrats Is ‘White Supremacy'” [Newsweek]. “Although he has not yet filed paperwork required to enter the 2020 presidential race, West announced that he intended to run in a July 4 weekend tweet backed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Speaking to Forbes in the wake of his announcement, West said: ‘That is a form of racism and white supremacy and white control to say that all Black people need to be Democrat and to assume that me running is me splitting the vote.'”

West (I)(2): “Wakanda, the Birthday Party and Kanye West’s presidential hopes” [Reuters]. “Rapper Kanye West says he is running a serious campaign for the White House under the banner of a self-styled Birthday Party committed to a presidency modeled after the fictional nation Wakanda in the film ‘Black Panther.'” • This is really a hit piece; whether or not West is bipolar, he’s a billionaire and is or was an accomplished artist. And name the billionaire who isn’t bughouse crazy anyhow.

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UPDATE “Florida Democratic Candidates Organize To Protest Florida Democratic Party” [The Intercept]. “Democratic candidates competing in state legislative and congressional races across Florida are revolting against the Florida Democratic Party, saying that the party has abandoned them — and that the party’s refusal to support their efforts to flip the legislature could hurt Joe Biden in November. Several candidates are being denied access to a powerful voter data tool, significantly impairing their ability to organize and campaign, and are now asking the state Democratic Party to either help turn Florida blue or get out of their way. More than 50 candidates signed onto a letter on Thursday demanding that the Florida Democratic Party share access to its voter files and resources. For access to VAN, the widely used Democratic voter file technology firm, the party is charging about $3,500 for a congressional campaign, $1,500 for state Senate, and $750 for House — fees that many candidates can’t afford before their campaigns get off the ground. State Democratic parties in New Jersey, Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska, The Progressive noted in a 2018 article, do not charge candidates to access their voter data.” • Well, these are Democrats. So of course “access” is means-tested.

UPDATE “Will “Cancel Culture” Stop Democratic Momentum?” [Cook Political Report]. “Even so, warns one GOP strategist I spoke with this week, there is real concern among suburban voters about where this so-called ‘cancel culture’ or what we called in the old-days, PCism, is headed. This strategist, who has been deeply involved in both quantitative and qualitative work with suburban voters across the country, acknowledged that these voters are not interested in preserving Confederate statues or flags. They are sympathetic to Black Lives Matter and supportive of the protests against police violence. But, this person points out, they are also wary of how far this reckoning will go. Over the last week or so, they’ve raised the question of ‘where does it end?’ They cringe at reports of statues of Christopher Columbus being tossed into a lake and are upset to read of another public figure fired for a controversial Facebook post that they put up years ago. However, the challenge for Trump in being able to exploit these concerns is that these voters ‘are mostly done with him’ and think that ‘he makes everything worse.’ As a messenger, this person said, Trump has ‘zero credibility’ with these suburbanites. In the era of Trump, Democrats have become more and more reliant on suburban voters. But, as one Democratic strategist wondered aloud the other day: are Democrats simply renting them until Trump is no longer in office?” • Just talking price, eh?

UPDATE “Joe Kennedy III Hired a Cop to Advise Him on Race and Justice” [The Nation]. “[L]ast week, Markey introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, seeking to eliminate the legal protection that insulates police from accountability for their on-duty crimes and civil violations…. Enacted as the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act [(!!!)], the law that led to qualified immunity actually sought to protect civil rights and increase police accountability, but starting in the 1960s, the Supreme Court handed down a series of decisions that expanded the arguments law enforcement could use to avoid legal consequence—from ‘good faith’ to ‘objective reasonableness’ to near-total immunity. ‘So we need to overhaul the whole system,’ Markey said.” • Meanwhile, Kennedy’s advisor is Sheriff Steve Tompkins, who “flashed his badge, thus exerting his authority as a police officer, to dissuade local businesses from publicly supporting his opponent. The fact that Tompkins is not just a cop but one with a documented record of exploiting his power makes him a strange choice for a senior adviser for ‘racial and economic inequality and criminal justice reform.'” • I wonder if the DSCC has blacklisted any of the Democrat consultants and strategists advising Representative Jawline.

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Realignment and Legitimacy

The Great Assimilation™:

“Ronald Reagan Wasn’t the Good Guy President Anti-Trump Republicans Want You to Believe In” [Teen Vogue]. Republicans and liberal Democrats! “It’s difficult to boil an entire administration’s worth of economic policy down to a few words, but for a working definition of Reaganomics, let’s look at a few key features of Reagan’s policies: cutting taxes (especially for the rich) for trickle-down economics, cutting social welfare spending, increasing military spending, and deregulating economic activity in the name of “free” markets. Reagan’s path to American greatness meant making rich people pay less in taxes, giving poor people less help, building the imperial forces he used in foreign policy, and making life easier for the capitalist class.” • Interesting that Teen Vogue puts economics first.

“Think Tank in the Tank” [Democracy Journal]. “At this point I became convinced there was editorial interference coming from the boardroom. Two suspects came to mind. The first was the Manhattan Institute’s chairman, Paul Singer. The hedge fund billionaire was the Board of Trustees’ biggest yearly donor ($525,000 in 2016) as well as one of the Republican Party’s most generous and influential funders…. Second, the number two donor among the trustees ($450,000) was Rebekah Mercer, daughter of another hedge-fund billionaire, Robert Mercer.” • The author seems naive in the extreme. It’s a big tank, and you ain’t in it. But meanwhile:

“Clearly!”

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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.

Leading Indicators: “03 July 2020 ECRI’s WLI Improvement Continues But Continues In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward improved, remains in contraction, and remains at a level at the values seen during the Great Recession.”

Producer Prices: “June 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year inflation pressures remain soft as this index remains in contraction. This may be the beginning of a deflationary cycle – we will know only in hindsight.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 04 June 2020 – Some Improvement” [Econintersect]. “Week 27 of 2020 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) contracted according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is taking a hit from coronavirus…. The improvement this week is likely due to a holiday mismatch between years – we will know for sure next week. Intermodal and carloads are under Great Recession values. Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. declined and remains deep in contraction.”

* * *

Travel: “Seasonal changes bring challenges for Colorado tourism amid pandemic” [CBS]. “In any season, Colorado offers some of the world’s best outdoor adventures for tourists — in 2018 travelers spent $22.3 billion in Colorado, an all-time spending record for the Centennial State…. Many of those jobs are impermanent, as seasonal workers support the state’s economy taking different jobs as the seasons change. Some who spend late spring and summer as climbing, fishing and rafting instructors pick up winter gigs as lift operators, ski instructors, and ski patrol. Seasonal work is a lifestyle and has its nomadic elements. Many live on campgrounds, communally through their employer, or in their vehicles to keep the cost of living low and their mobility high. But what happens when you add the limitations of COVID-19 to Colorado’s tourism industry?” • And what happens when the rich fly in?

The Bezzle: “Robinhood reportedly installed bulletproof glass after frustrated traders kept showing up at its office” [Business Insider]. “An explosion of stock-market volatility as the global economy grapples with a pandemic, coupled with record unemployment, has caused a surge in interest for the [Robinhood] app, which pioneered commission-free stock trading for a much younger audience than traditional brokerages. But as Robinhood grew, it added more complex products that are inherently risky. Those products, combined with Robinhood’s gamelike interface and relative lack of educational features that are prominent on older platforms, mean there’s real risk of massive losses for the platform’s traders, who are about 31 years old on average.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 53 Neutral;) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 10 at 12:51pm. Finally we shift into Greed mode!

The Biosphere

“Artificial Lights Tell the Story of the Pandemic” [The Atlantic]. “From a satellite’s perspective, Earth at night, under cloudless conditions, is, in normal times, a navy-blue marble with a dusting of gold. The electric sparks of human activity shimmer in the darkness: a bustling downtown, a well-traveled highway, a fleet of container ships in open water. But when the coronavirus swept across the globe, the glow of civilization shifted from city centers to residential areas. Entire stretches of road, once shiny like strands of tinsel from car headlights, vanished from the nighttime map. As entire populations and industries curtailed their usual movements, pixels of light on satellite images rearranged themselves accordingly—a new bright cluster here, a fresh spot of darkness there…. Near Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged, the data showed that residential areas brightened while commercial areas dimmed this spring… Christopher Elvidge, a researcher who specializes in nighttime observations of light sources at the Colorado School of Mines, found similar effects in the U.S. Analyzing data from the same satellite that Liu’s team used, Elvidge and his colleagues found that from February to March, artificial light dimmed in states such as New York and California, which were among the first to introduce widespread stay-at-home orders, but remained unchanged in states such as Florida and Arizona, which took a less stringent approach.”

Health Care

Coronavirus uses same strategy as HIV to dodge immune response, Chinese study finds” [South China Morning Post]. “Both viruses remove marker molecules on the surface of an infected cell that are used by the immune system to identify invaders, the researchers said in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on preprint website bioRxiv.org on Sunday. They warned that this commonality could mean Sars-CoV-2, the clinical name for the virus, could be around for some time, like HIV.

Virologist Zhang Hui and a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou also said their discovery added weight to clinical observations that the coronavirus was showing “some characteristics of viruses causing chronic infection.” n=5. Big if true, but there’s no link to the paper, and I wasn’t 100% sure that what I could find in bioRxiv.org was the paper referred to in the article. Interesting though!

“This Company Just Made N95 Masks Available to the Public, But at What Cost to Frontline Workers?” [Rolling Stone]. “Based out of New York, N95 Mask Co. says its Respokare NIOSH N95 Respirator Masks use “advanced antiviral technology” to block up to 95% of small particles (measured at .3 micron or less). What’s more, the company says the masks “inactivate up to 99.9% of particles within minutes,” neutralizing germs and viruses on the surface to prevent potentially harmful exposure into your airstream and lungs. By not only trapping viruses, but destroying them too, the company says these are some of the most effective protective masks you can buy online…. While the technicalities of supply chain management can be complicated, the short answer is that the more production a company can implement at its factories, the more prepared it will be once hospitals and other government institutions come calling. … The N95 Mask Co. face mask is NIOSH-certified, CDC-approved, and appears on the FDA list of approved manufacturers.” • For one-time use…

Gallery

“These Two Last Suppers Are My Quarantine Obsession” [New York Magazine]. “Which is how I found myself, recently, looking closely at two versions of the Last Supper. Painted just 50 years apart, in almost the same place, more than 500 years ago, they allow me to glean how ideas and worldviews can shift almost overnight. The first is the second-most-famous painting in Western art history: Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, begun in Milan around 1495. The other is an almost unknown 1445–50 masterpiece by Andrea del Castagno in Florence, a painting Leonardo probably knew, studied, and tried to move beyond. Leonardo’s painting shattered older artistic forms and embedded new ideas in material; Castagno’s version, tremendous in its own right, can still surprise and imparts incredible spiritual power.” • The del Castagno preferred!

MMT

“Everybody Loves to Hate Modern Monetary Theory” [Bloomberg]. “Marxists, Austrians, and Keynesians agree on nothing … except that they don’t like MMT…. At the very least, The Deficit Myth and other arguments of MMTers are forcing economists of all stripes to go back to basics and rethink the assumptions that underlie their policy prescriptions. That’s a useful exercise.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How Black & Brown Workers Are Redefining Strikes in the Digital COVID Age” [Payday Report]. “This June, the U.S. saw more than 600 strikes or work stoppages by workers in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, bringing the total number of strikes or work stoppages since the outbreak of COVID in the U.S. to at least 900 since March 1. According to the latest analysis prepared by Payday Report and its Strike Wave Tracker, Payday estimates that the strike and work stoppages total is likely a severe underestimation as many non-union Black, and Brown workers are now calling out en masse to attend Black Lives Matter protests without it ever being reported in the press or on social media. On July 20, Black Lives Matters activists, in their largest strike action to date, intend to hold strikes and work stoppages in more than 25 cities as part of the “Strike for Black Lives.” The movement is the largest wave of strikes and work stoppages that the U.S. has seen in decades. ‘I am a product of the ’60s and ’70s on up, and I have never ever, ever seen a movement like this,’ said [Ken Riley, a Black dockworker and President of ILA Local 1422].” • Exactly the kind of solidary the political class does not want to see. We’ll see what the coverage is like on July 20. Mark your calendars. For both liberals and conservatives, identity and class — “the streets” and the workplace — must be kept separate at all costs!

UPDATE “Don’t Let the Democratic Party Bury the Movement” [Black Agenda Report]. “The Black movement will be asphyxiated by the ubiquitous fingers of the Democratic Party if it does not build independent nexuses of people’s power….. Only community control of the police can create the institutional people power to transform, and eventually do away with, policing as we know it. The cops will still be the cops, whatever their numbers and pay scales, unless they are made accountable to the communities they ‘serve,’ who will shape the security force’s mission and manage and evaluate its performance. Community control of the police is a project in democracy and Black self-determination, while defunding the police – inevitably, in practice – is an immersion in Democratic Party budgetary dickering that legitimizes the imposition of the police upon the people. It will suck the righteous energy out of the movement, while failing to transform any power relationships of importance. Along the way, key operatives will be ‘captured’ as they form alliances with the ‘better’ Democratic politicians in divvying up the budgetary spoils.” • Yep.

“Honor William Cuffay: The Chartists’ Forgotten Black Leader” [Jacobin]. “Born in Chatham in 1788, Cuffay trained as a tailor and lived most of his life in Westminster. By the 1840s, he became the chief leader of the Chartists in London and nationally. He was black, the son of a freed slave from Saint Kitts, himself the son of a man kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery…. Cuffay’s early life encompassed a period of mass migration by black people into Britain, fueled chiefly by the recruitment or impressment of black men into the armed forces to feed Britain’s almost ceaseless global warfare between 1775 and 1815; Cuffay’s father, Chatham Cuffay, was a cook aboard a British warship. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the black British population ran into the tens of thousands, many of whom had, like Cuffay, been born in Britain. Marginalized by racism and poverty, opportunities for the black population were largely concentrated to sailing or domestic service. Owing to a shortened spine and legs at birth, Cuffay possessed even fewer options, but being apprenticed as a tailor provided him a degree of independence. By 1819, he had moved to London, settling in Westminster…. .In the following years, he was drawn, after some initial antipathy, into labor organization, as increasing competition and a large labor surplus led to low-paid and sweated conditions for tailors.”

“How America’s Founding Fathers Missed a Chance to Abolish Slavery” [Guardian]. “Only in recent years have scholars begun to acknowledge the extent to which the true abolitionist movement in America began not in the mid-19th century leading up to the Civil War, under such famed figures as William Lloyd Garrison, but in the very earliest years of the republic, at the hands of such anti-slavery Founding Fathers as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. It was shortly before the Revolution that the Pennsylvania Abolition Society was formed, with Franklin later elected its president. The New-York Manumission Society was created in 1785 by Jay, and joined by Hamilton, to promote the gradual abolition of slavery. Franklin, who was a sage, grandfatherly figure revered by the other founders as a font of wisdom and advice, actually made the abolition of slavery the last crusade of his life. Though as a young man Franklin had owned slaves himself and published advertisements for slave sales in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, toward the end of his life he became a passionate activist for emancipation. Franklin’s last public act before his death in 1790 was to send to the first Congress of the United States a petition asking it to ‘devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People’ and ‘promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race.'”

Class Warfare

“NYC Rental Market Pushed to Breaking Point by Tenant Debts” [Bloomberg]. “Two-thirds of New Yorkers rent their homes, making it America’s biggest rental market, and it’s always had its own crazy kind of housing math. But with unemployment soaring and the typical rent about twice the national average, the numbers no longer add up. A quarter of the city’s apartment renters haven’t paid since March, according to the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), a group that represents mostly landlords of rent-stabilized buildings.” • Hard to imagine what will happen if a quarter of the city’s tenant population is evicted.

“No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die” [New York Magazine]. “Though elderly Americans receive Social Security and Medicare benefits that lift millions above the federal poverty line, other, more precise measures of economic hardship suggest that senior insecurity is higher in the U.S. than in many other wealthy countries. Research informed by the Elder Index, which was developed by the University of Massachusetts Boston to track senior poverty, found that half of all seniors who live alone lacked the means to cover basic expenses; among two-senior households, nearly a quarter reported the same. Many of those low-income seniors continue to work, or enter poorly regulated care facilities that can pose unique dangers to their health…. As coronavirus carves through the elderly, it tells us something ugly about the high price of the American project. The prosperity it engenders is real but limited; it is exclusionary by design. Wealth flows upward, where it stays, and creates an inverted pyramid that bloats at the top then vanishes to a fine point at the bottom. Proper care for the elderly and for people with disabilities requires what some corporate executives might call a restructuring — an unpalatable task for those already at the top. Coronavirus lays the consequences bare. In the U.S. the elderly and the disabled aren’t quite unworthy of life, fit only for extermination. But they exist somewhere in the same hostile neighborhood. Life is expensive, which makes it a luxury. Whatever care we extend to the aged we consider a gift, or an act of charity, and not something we owe them because they exist.” • Rather disposes of the ugly “Boomer” myth…

“What In The Name Of The Lord Is Boasian Antiracism?” [Policy Tensor]. “Boasian antiracism is the hegemonic ideology of the elite. At first pass, it is an ideology of inclusion. It is something you get potty trained in at elite institutions. It extends well beyond race. For instance, the proliferation of acronyms like LGBTQI et cetera can be traced to its hegemony. It tells you what sort of things you can say in polite company. More importantly, it tells you what you can’t say. Put simply, if you want to appear civilized, you better learn the language of Boasian antiracism. The core idea of Boasian antiracism is the negation of the core idea of high racialism, the hegemonic ideology of the Western world, and beyond, from the turn of the century to the anti-systemic turn after 1968. In order to understand the contours of Boasian antiracism, we must therefore begin with high racialism. The core belief of high racialism was that the world was composed of discrete anthropological races that sat in a natural hierarchy of ability, and it was these biological differences between races that explained why some nations were rich and strong and others poor and weak….The central idea that anchored the whole intellectual movement was anti-reductionism. This was the direct implication of the emerging commitment to Boasian antiracism: Since biological reductionism led one down the path to racialism, and materialist reductionism left subjects at the mercy of larger structural forces, reductionism was to be abandoned wholesale. Everything was to be regarded as socially constructed….. [Boasian antiracism] became at the same time a virtue signaling or status signaling device. Some time in the late-1980s or early-1990s, America’s wannabe elites started competing with each other on who is more Boasian antiracist than the other.” • When Tankus categorized identity as a credential, that seems to be the way of thinking. This is a very interesting article, well worth reading in full. Academic wars have consequences!

Gentrifiers:

News of the Wired

“The Bourne Collection: Online Search Is Older Than You Think!” [Computer History Museum]. “Full-text online search was prototyped in the early 1960s—partly through Charlie’s work – and commercialized by decade’s end. But pre-computer machine-aided search goes all the way back to punched card sorters. These were conceived in the 1830s and built in the 1890s, during a period of huge advances in card catalogs and other manual retrieval techniques. Real-time, interactive search was pioneered in the 1920s with Emmanuel Goldberg’s microfilm ‘search engine,’ built into a desk.”

Twitter users, pay attention:

Useful too if you’ve ever been dogpiled.

“Karen brings her own bell for when she needs her servers attention…” [Reddit]. • I’m restraining myself from filing this under guillotine watch:

Looks like brunch!

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Individually, June’s dry golden foxtails, pale blue-green desert holly, and other desert flora are not always particularly breathtaking, but they’re certainly nice accessories just after sunrise to the Trona Pinnacles.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

152 comments

  1. Geo

    “It does make you wonder why the difference in death rate, immediate or not. I haven’t seen a study on this, or even a good theory. Readers?”

    I have no good answers but my few experiences with NYC emergency rooms were all horrible. Wrong diagnosis, lost tests, over-crowded, filthy, and all around disorganized.

    Never been to a Texas hospital but experiences in Oregon and LA were much, much better. My experience in Cuba was on par with Oregon and LA, and practically free (small charge as a foreigner but less than $100).

    Again, not a good answer but in my experience NYC hospitals were a cesspit of dysfunction. Might have something to do with it. Definitely not a full explanation though. Possibly air quality too?

    Reply
    1. Daryl

      Texas has a large amount of excess mortality attributed to pneumonia, not covid, and other even less likely things like Alzheimer’s. Not near my computer but when I get back I will post some articles. The short version is my theory is just that they are covering it up better than NY did.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        NY state has so far had roughly ten times the “case fatality rate” as Texas so it’s not just a minor difference. I doubt the pneumonia theory can account. Other states including mine have a higher CFR than Texas but still nowhere near NY and especially NYC. Perhaps in places where they don’t use public transportation and don’t live in high rises the “viral dose” and lethality is lessened. But other Northeastern states are also much higher than most of the rest of the country even though somewhat more suburban.

        Reply
        1. Keith

          I read, maybe here, that the West Coast and East Coast were affected by different strains of the virus. Perhaps TX got the West Coast strain, as CA deaths seem pretty low, too.

          Also, from an anecdotal point, I had many family members use NYC healthcare, Brooklyn to be exact back in the 80-90s resulting in compounding problems. Could it be just poor quality care in NYC? Neither my family nor I have been back in decades, but it always seemed dingy with know it all types attitudes there.

          Reply
    2. grayslady

      My suspicions for difference in death rate are: 1) The hospitals are seeing younger patients, with fewer co-morbidities, who have a better chance of recovery; and 2) Earlier in the pandemic, there were very few successful protocols to help patients pull through, other than ventilators. Doctors were unprepared for cytokine storms. Even a few months seems to have made a difference in treatment protocols to improve chances for recovery.

      Reply
      1. Adam1

        While I wouldnt rule out better fudging the numbers… I agree it is likely do to surges amongst younger people. Florida is claiming the median age of positive tests is running well under 40. As a counter point, Mass. is showing mortality rates closer to 10% but there average positive test age is 52 and average age of deceased is 82.

        Reply
      2. neo-realist

        I’m also wondering if those that do the right things, e.g., mask up and isolate, and come down with the virus have better outcomes because they are getting less of a viral load?

        Reply
      3. D. Fuller

        The issue also will be, in the future, the continuing side effects of Cv-19 infection for those who recovered. Which will take years to discover, much like Gulf War Syndrome dragged out for over a decade, almost two.

        States and The Federal Government will be under budgetary pressure to delay recognition of such for as long as possible. Any disability payments should Cv-19 secondary side effects prove to be widespread will be a serious budgetary issue, among many.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          The issue also will be, in the future, the continuing side effects of Cv-19 infection for those who recovered.

          This has been absorbing my thoughts. Will 3 million-plus Americans need a drug cocktail for forever? And we won’t know until it plays out in the field. We’ll have the two-year evaluations in two years and six months.

          Reply
          1. Chris

            Follow up question – will millions of US citizens have to answer questions about their covid status going forward? For instance, on a job application, will they need to tell people they have had covid and haven’t “recovered” yet?

            Seems like it would be just as efficient a question to weed people out using online forms as past crimes?

            Reply
      4. John k

        Age might be a lot of it. Maybe in the beginning the elders weren’t that careful, and or people that helped them weren’t careful, especially in homes. I read somewhere that at one point seniors in nursing homes were half the fatalities. Plus didn’t Cuomo sent sick ones back into the homes?
        Nowadays fearful seniors are the most careful. And since they mostly are retired there’s little Need to mix with others, so except for weekly trip to the grocery store they can hide at home. And we’re now seeing the red states after they open up, where younger people think they’re immortal. But now I’m hearing the icu’s are full, presumably mostly with these immortals, so maybe they’re not. Hope the word gets around, not that it’ll be believed.

        Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      The most convincing explanation I’ve seen is that the lag time between positive tests and deaths has significantly increased, because symptoms are being recognised much quicker and test results are more efficient. In other words, the trend of deaths has fallen 2 weeks or more behind the death rate compared to a couple of months or so. Anecdotally, I know people who ‘tested positive’ well after they’d been sick and recovered and so were counted as ‘new’ cases. This is unlikely now as there is far more awareness of the early symptoms, especially the atypical ones like a loss of smell.

      We’ll know very quickly if this is the reason, as if it is, deaths will spike very rapidly before the end of the month.

      Reply
    4. D. Fuller

      My father came down with Cv-19. He was diagnosed with flu-like symptoms in March, had a host of other problems. He wasn’t diagnosed with Cv-19 until two weeks ago. The doctors refused to rest for Cv-19 the entire time. It wasn’t until his sense of taste was gone that he was tested. Came back positive.

      The test was delayed, the doctor then lost the test, after which the doctor refused to give him the results initially. The results were finally emailed, in encrypted message with no key. My sister had to drive to the doctor’s office to pick up the results. Which she did without any written authorization.

      Meanwhile, the major national trucking company he works for requires proof before they put him on paid leave. Fax it in? The company says they can only send faxes, not receive them. So another trip for said sister this time to his workplace to drop off the diagnosis.

      He’s now been tested 3 times in less than two weeks.

      As for sanitary conditions? Your mileage may vary.

      On another medical front, my nephew’s wife was recently diagnosed in Pennsylvania with ligament damage. That went untreated for years. The initial diagnosis by a Texas doctor was “that’s what happens when you play sports”. She has permanent ligament damage that requires physical therapy.

      Welcome to Texas.

      On a side note? If one is an illegal immigrant in Texas? I know how easy it is to obtain a State-issued ID card. Texas is the only State were I have witnessed a person walk into a DPS office with their name and SSN written on a piece of paper- with no further proof, to recieve a State-issued ID card. House fire destroyed documents and it would normally take awhile in any other State to gather the proof.

      Reply
    5. Aumua

      It seems obvious to me that increased testing plays a role here. In NYC I’ll bet that most people who were tested early on had symptoms. Now much more cases are being diagnosed, even many asymptomatic cases that would have flown under the radar before. So the explosion in cases is not necessarily as severe of an emergency as it certainly is being played up to be.

      Note that I am NOT saying it isn’t an emergency. It is. Hospitalizations and deaths clearly are rising in the trouble states, and the quoted figure of 21 for Texas on Tuesday isn’t really indicative of Texas’ daily death rate, which has been over 100 several times this week.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Australia stats:

        Average year flu deaths = 1,000
        Covid deaths so far = 110
        Expected additional suicides from the economic effects of lockdown = 1,500
        Average Covid victim age = 82
        Average number of Covid co-morbidities = 1.8
        Average suicide age = 48

        So we traded the lives of 15 48-year old fathers of 2 for possibly extending the life of one granny, all for what may have been a bad flu season.

        Those are the numbers, happy to entertain a counter-interpretation

        Reply
        1. The Historian

          Love you Spenserians who think that some people (who fit your own criteria, of course) deserve to live more than others.

          For your information, this isn’t a zero sum game. There is enough for all to live a good life – IFF it were distributed properly, but it isn’t, is it? And isn’t that the REAL problem?

          A 48 year old doesn’t commit suicide because an 82 year old is still alive. And it isn’t the 82 year old’s fault that the economy is so lousy that a 48 year old chooses to die – if indeed that is why he/she commits suicide rather than something else, like a medical condition.

          And yea, I got that “48 year old fathers” v. “granny”.- no misogyny there, huh?

          And Covid-19 is not the flu nor even like the flu in any way shape or form.

          Any more straw men for us to consider?

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            A 48 year old doesn’t commit suicide because an 82 year old is still alive.

            A 48 year old may indeed commit suicide because of policies that destroyed his/her economic prospects that were enacted to try to keep the 82 year old alive a little longer.

            And it isn’t the 82 year old’s fault that the economy is so lousy that a 48 year old chooses to die

            Nobody said the blame was with the 82 year old. It’s the policies enacted on their behalf to the severe detriment of the 48 year old.

            And yea, I got that “48 year old fathers” v. “granny”.- no misogyny there, huh?

            And yea, I got that “48 year old mothers” v. “granddads”. FIFY, please try a substantive argument next time.

            And Covid-19 is not the flu nor even like the flu in any way shape or form.

            History will be the judge of that. But my argument is not about the nature of the bug, it’s about the nature of the policy response. When Australia had 1,000 flu deaths last year we did not respond with policies that wrecked the economy and massively spiked deaths from despair. Oxfam estimates that the starvation deaths from the lockdown will exceed global deaths from the bug. If we are not trying to reduce deaths, what are we trying to do?

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              You really don’t get it, do you?

              The policies were NOT enacted to save the old. They were enacted to save our medical system. Young doctors and nurses have been dying of Covid-19 because the ones who are treating patients with Covid-19 get way higher viral loads than normal people. Look at today’s Links, how more and more nurses are going on strike due to their exposure to Covid-19. Regular MD have been put into service treating Covid-19 in many hospitals; I know personally of one in Birmingham and I hardly know anyone here.

              They also save people with compromised immune systems, such as those with autoimmune diseases or undergoing chemo. Again, I hardly get out, but I’ve met young women (one a receptionist in an MD’s office, another a grocery store clerk) both under 30, both terrified of getting Covid-19 because they have autoimmune diseases.

              Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          OK, I’m game. So let us try a military interpretation. A battalion goes into action against an enemy. They maneuver right, avoid getting into kill zones and mop up the enemy. Lots of the soldiers are hit but their battle armour stops them getting killed or wounded. Those that are actually hit are immediately evacuated to a mobile field hospital where most of them are saved. The casualties that the battalion has are minimal even though over time the survivors do have suicides.

          But what you don’t get is someone saying ‘Well, we lost very few people. I guess that all that maneuvering, battle armour and field hospitals was all a waste of time then.’ Based on what is happening with Victoria at the moment, can you imagine what would have happened if Oz’s response had been like that of New York or Texas? And the numbers of people that would have been crippled by this virus in the decades to come? It’s not the flu, bro.

          Reply
        3. Aumua

          I have ~700 deaths from world meters. I don’t know where the discrepancy is but you’re right, AU has not been hit very hard, along with many other countries. So count your blessings I would say. You’ve been lucky, so far. But AU is not the whole world. With over half a million deaths worldwide and counting in about 4 month’s time, and that is with massive efforts to slow the spread of it, you can’t really say that COVID-19 is nothing. It’s significantly worse than a bad flu season, globally.

          For projected deaths of despair, those numbers are ‘projected’ so it’s hard to say. There will be an increase, of course, but really it’s not the lockdowns per se that would be causeing those deaths. It’s the virus. Australia’s economy would be heavily impacted by the global spread of coronavirus regardless of imposed restrictions.

          Reply
        4. sbin

          Do work for funeral homes in American great lakes region.
          Suicides out pacing covid deaths.
          20-50 year olds

          Covid 80-90 year old that were almost dead already but had been generating revenue for some awful nursing home.

          Reply
        5. a different chris

          I like the theory that nothing economically about the last 10 years has anything to do with current male suicides in their 40’s, it’s all just a couple of months of downtime that made these formerly ecstatically happy people off themselves. /s

          Conveniently, they can’t speak for themselves.

          Reply
    6. Pelham

      Maybe people at this time of year in Texas are getting more sun than New Yorkers were getting in winter and spring. And that means more vitamin D, which appears to help a great deal if you get the virus.

      Reply
      1. Sutter Cane

        Maybe people at this time of year in Texas are getting more sun than New Yorkers were

        It’s 100 degrees every day now in much of Texas. People are inside in the AC and are probably getting less sun than at other times of year, so I find this explanation unlikely

        Reply
      2. John k

        Seniors like me (sun damaged sensitive skin) rarely get vit d bc we hide from the sun year round. Maybe Texans got vit d in winter and spring but are hiding in ac now. Can get hot in tx, Az, Fl, etc.
        Plus many seniors not taking supplements might be receiving less zinc, selenium and other nutrients.
        Personally, for many years I had serious leg cramps, and not just at night. Didn’t go away until I took substantial potassium and mag supplements… not many know the recommended daily potassium intake is 5 grams… apparently my diet wasn’t close to that.
        Doctors rarely test for deficiencies.

        Reply
    7. martell

      It’s my understanding that there was an order from the NY governor that elderly Covid-19 patients be returned to elder care centers (nursing homes) upon being discharged from hospital. Given the well-known age gradient to the case fatality rate, that might go a long way towards explaining the high case fatality rate statewide. Additionally, physicians in NY might not have known how best to deal with acute cases and thus mistakenly (in retrospect) opted for overly-aggressive treatment (with the best of intentions, of course). Physicians in Texas and elsewhere now have the benefit of previous trial and error. One more thing: no one knows what the IFR is. There is a range of good guesses (and it’s a big range). But whatever the IFR turns out to be, it is to be expected that the values in some regions will be higher (in some cases much higher) and others lower depending on a host of factors such as age of the local population, frequency of comorbidities, local hospital capacity, access to care, effectiveness of treatment, local government policy pertaining to vulnerable populations, and so on and so forth. Given what I think I know about the peculiar conditions that obtained in NY, I would be surprised if the virus was just as or more deadly everywhere else in the US. Of course, I could be wrong. We’ll see.

      Reply
    8. Scott

      Heated high flow oxygen is now the first line standard of care, instead of a ventilator. Prognosis on a ventilator is atrocious, ventilators early on likely killed multitudes of people, who would have had a much greater prognosis on heated high flow oxygen.

      Reply
    9. Cuibono

      Sadly we dont know and we likely WONT know too.
      Likely a combination of things but which of them matter the most?
      Far more telling is the data from some places in Italy which saw death rates go from 24% to 2% in less than 2 months.
      How could this be?
      One has to imagine that the most vulnerable (including those already very sick, those already in the hospital those nearing the end of life in Nursing homes) died in those early weeks…

      Reply
  2. Billy

    Boasisms,
    Imagine if the criticism of patterns of financial improprieties, extortionary interest collection and financialization became vilified and thus covered by the umbrulla of “anti-racism”?

    “a profound change in American thinking occurred in the first two decades of the 20th century. A new philosophy, that today might be termed “cultural relativism,” began to influence American intellectuals and their students. The emergence of this philosophy in the U.S. owes a great deal to Franz Boas, a German-Jewish anthropologist who taught at Columbia University from 1896 through the 1930s. In this essay, “The Instability of Human Types,” delivered at an academic conference on race in 1911, Boas boldly argued against assumptions of innate racial inferiority; insisting that culture, not nature, explained differences among the people of the world.” http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5069/

    Whatever you do, Brer Rabbit, don’t be a Culturalist!

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      > Imagine if the criticism of patterns of financial improprieties, extortionary interest collection and financialization became vilified and thus covered by the umbrulla of “anti-racism”?

      Why imagine when one can just watch Democrats during any election season in the past 40 years?

      On the other hand, the term “cultural relativism” is, 99% of the time, just an authoritarian’s butthurt crying over having to grow up and move out of the house already.

      Reply
    2. martell

      The history of so-called Boasian anti-racism is interesting, but the article sidesteps the key issue of whether the anti-reductionist position on race is true. The biological reductionist view, I assume, is that there are necessary and sufficient biological conditions of racial identity (so that we could, in principle, replace any race term that occurs in a sentence with terms of the science of biology so that the resulting sentence is true on exactly the same conditions as the original). Now, I don’t think there are such necessary and sufficient biological conditions of racial identity. Am I wrong? The article doesn’t provide any reason to think so. The author also goes on to suggest that there is some causal connection between adoption of a constructivist position on race (which is the obvious option to adopt if you reject the notion that biological reduction is feasible) and a decline in so-called elite-mass relations that began around 1970. We’re told that Boasian anti-racism is part of the hegemonic discourse of elites and that such speech stifles alternate, mass ways of “making meaning.” And how do the masses make meaning? Oh, well, they say racist things (in the sense in which Adolph Reed uses the term ‘racist’: someone who believes that races are biologically real). So the thesis is that smug elites won’t let the masses express their racism and that’s what’s caused the decline in relations. Not sure what to say about that idea. It might rise to the level of being interesting if there were a shred of evidence for a causal relationship beyond correlation in time. But if the article mentioned that shred, I seem to have missed it.

      Reply
  3. EGrise

    I can hardly believe someone from the Washington Post is recognizing the actual experience of the unemployed:

    https://twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/status/1281336419005456385

    But then again, it’s on Twitter so it may just be performative.

    The comment itself (and the responses on Reddit) is rather heartbreaking, so possible trigger warning for those who retain any empathy at all (most here at NC, I imagine). But further evidence to my assertion that the US is in a pre-revolutionary state.

    Reply
    1. phoenix

      Jeff Stein is a former reporter for Vox (he’s also a millenial). That should explain it (not performative)

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Our college town sets most leases to renew on August 1. There will probably be a lot of reality popping up on all economic levels. We have an absurdity of new high rise apartments on the ramparts of the university. There’s a whole ecosystem around a university that will starve without butts in chairs.

        I’ve been thinking about how ‘stay home, do some home cooking, and concentrate on personal pursuits’ has tanked our whole economy.

        Reply
        1. Chris

          You should listen to the howls of despair coming from Suburbia now that the teachers are weighing in on school plans for Fall 2020. They’ve all decided to not be sacrificial lambs to the Economic God in need of “healing.”

          We had our first back to school meeting this week and the comics from board members and parents have been terrifying and fascinating. The teachers say they won’t go back unless it’s safe to do so. The parents say they won’t accept the teachers doing virtual learning again. The school board want the governor to tell them what what to do. The govenor wants money and direction from the feds. And so it goes…

          Reply
  4. taunger

    Re: TX deaths, it might have been in the 4 stories post this morning, where the author notes many non respiratory Covid-19 deaths were not recorded as Covid-19. a concerted campaign to not use COVID as a cause of death, as opposed to the Occam’s razor reasons given in the article, does not seem beyond TPTB in Texas and Florida. Would be interesting to compare death rates with the contemporaneous increase in cases in CA

    Reply
  5. Mark Hessel

    My daughter lives in Texas. She texted me a twitter photo – no link, that said Florida and Texas were under reporting pneumonia counts. Quote – According to the CDC for Feb-May 30th, Texas had 1,420 deaths from
    #COVID and 5,344 from pneumonia. ****Historical average pneumonia deaths in Texas over the same period from 1999-2018 was ONLY 1168***

    How big are the under counts?

    Reply
    1. Gary

      Texas: My 35 year old nephew had Covid in April, but seemed to recover. In early June he was carrying a basket of clothes in his apartment and collapsed and died. He is not counted as a Covid death. He did not smoke or smoke and was not over weight. He is an ex-marine.
      Borger is another large refinery in the pan handle and it is also in the middle of a huge meat packing area of the state. I wonder how they are fairing. I drove through that area in June and no one was wearing masks.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        My grandfather was in what is referred to as “sheltered accommodation” here in the U.K. (I can’t find out if there’s any direct equivalent in the US) which was used as a dumping ground for COVID-19 patients from hospitals without a care plan or effective PPE protocols — or training — for the staff. He was very elderly but that wasn’t the point. He may have had a few more years left, who knows.

        My father wasn’t informed of my grandfather’s diagnosis or the use of the facility to take recovering elderly COVID-19 patients so couldn’t make enquires about his treatment or steps being taken to have prevented his infection in the first place.

        We couldn’t even go to a funeral service because of the lockdown. All I could do was send flowers which the florist was kind enough to send me a picture of in the memorial grounds. That’s it. It’s not like my grandfather really passed away, it’s more like he just vanished somehow. It is dreadfully dehumanising.

        All of us going through this sort of experience must not forget and must be ceaseless in demanding answers and those answers must be the truth.

        I can offer little from here to ease your burden but this message is sent in deepest sympathy.

        Reply
          1. Clive

            Thank-you Janie. The economics and politics of COVID-19 gain most of the attention for most people but underlying these are a lot of personal heartbreaks for individual people and families.

            One good which I hope will come out of the adversity is an at least acknowledgement of the awful, awful state of elder care (certainly here in the UK it is grim, the US doesn’t sound any better but it might not be quite as bad; it’s hard to see how it could be). Fragmented, poor quality, costly and, above all for me, institutionally un-caring care.

            My grandfather was lucky, he lived his final years in a really nice establishment which he didn’t need to worry about the cost of — it was a social care provision which was, forgive the pun, grandfathered rights from his generation. Now sadly but not surprisingly watered down. But the healthcare is a different area of responsibility from accommodation here, and it was the healthcare authorities (plural, it’s all been salami-sliced and part-privatised) which mismanaged COVID-19 in a community healthcare setting and allowed it to spread pretty much unchecked and unmanaged.

            Reply
  6. Geo

    “A fine metaphor for the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces Report:“

    Heard a great (crass) metaphor for the presidential election yesterday:

    When America elected Trump it sh** it’s pants. Electing Biden will just be America changing into a new shirt and walking around proudly as if it doesn’t still have a stinking load in its pants.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Let me spell it out: The truck is the Biden campaign. The tennis ball is the “pushing Biden left” (I realize the video reverses these directions but I’m dyslexic so bear with me). So, if the Biden campaign is moving right at 50 m.p.h., it doesn’t matter — as far as outcomes — if the task force reports are being “pushed left” at 50 mp.h.

      Reply
    2. polecat

      A shirt sure as hell can stain …

      Problem being, is that we basically have a ‘choice’ .. between either Pumice .. or mudstone. One is Very abrasive, while the other cracks apart.

      Where’s that granodiorite that we all thought durable, to be had … to beat that stubborn oneringaroundthecollered out ?

      Reply
  7. ACF

    My hunch on why Texans, Floridians and Arizonans haven’t (yet) died like NYers:

    1) NY’s death rate was inflated from a ‘normal’ Covid death rate
    a) nobody knew how to treat; turns out respirators aren’t helpful
    b) Cuomo sent people from hospitals to nursing homes
    c) NY hospitals did not share capacity competently (there’s reporting on this back in May)

    So, other states benefit from
    a) evidence-based care (to the extent we have it, and we’ve learned much in months but not nearly enough
    b) not making this mistake
    c) not making this mistake (I keep reading stories on how the hot spot states are moving patients around efficiently)

    That said,
    Covid does kill some percentage of infected people. It takes time, however. As you’ve linked, death rates have started to rise in hotspot states. For so long as the virus is allowed to spread uncontrolled in the hotspot states, which it is doing, both hospitalizations and deaths will rise. Indeed, hospitalizations and deaths will rise after spread slows and even is initially controlled because of the time it takes for the percentage of new infections that lead to hospitalization or death to manifest. So it is inevitable that the daily death count in hot spot states will keep climbing, at least for now.

    ALL THAT said, there’s also, as you’ve linked, problems with the numbers. Deaths that are Covid-caused are not counted, sometimes deliberately, b/c the state isn’t reporting probable covid deaths, or less deliberately, because dead people aren’t tested for covid.

    The way we’ll best approximate the true mortality of covid will be excess deaths, and that data set (again, as you’ve linked) lags by a lot.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      It should be said that Ron Paul–who has his own minimizing agenda but nevertheless is a doctor and a Texan–claims that Texas hospitals are overcounting Covid cases and deaths because they get higher reimbursement for Covid cases and because the CDC has told hospitals to treat any death with Covid as a death from Covid. By this thinking the same would have applied to NY.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Aside from white water rafting-which had no season anyhow on account of snowpack being a little more than half of an average winter, there isn’t much here in outdoor pursuits by outfitter, the onus is to be on your feet one after another, and you don’t need any help doing that, well take a couple hiking poles.

    There was a 2 mile back-up all the way to Mineral King Road on Hwy 198 to get into the main part of Sequoia NP on July 4th weekend, and 40% of last year’s visitation was by foreigners who did a disappearing act, the consensus among those i’ve talked to, it’s all Angelenos picking up their slack, and for a good many it is their first time to the NP.

    3 car campgrounds (out of a dozen) are open now, and rumors of AirBnB demise around these parts was exaggerated, as they’ve benefited from a paucity of overnight lodging possibilities, and are back to making bank, and following strict cleanliness of their abodes, as per diktat.

    So instead of Europeans with a cornucopia of fascinating accents giving us a cosmopolitan feel, we have a more wary feel of contracting C-19 from the SoCalist movement, giving us the willies.

    Reply
  9. ambrit

    The “book benches” are pretty bad, in an intellectual way, but the “modern” bus benches I see all around are strictly anti-poor in a functional way. The new bus benches have two raised partitions, each a third way in from each end of the flat of the bench, to make it physically impossible for a bilaterally symmetric vertebrate to lie out horizontally and relax.
    Very much like the conditions experienced by the poor and homeless of Late Victorian London as described by Jack London in his work, “The People of the Abyss.”
    Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_People_of_the_Abyss
    A bot more ‘modern,’ but still relevant would be Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London.”
    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_and_Out_in_Paris_and_London

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Yeah. I was thinking a person might actually be able to lie down on those although having to sort of perch. Here in NYC it is only older benches that allow for that, those from the last decade or so all have those divisions you describe.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        By my estimation, a pool noodle lodged into the back fold would just about do the trick. Any one gives you flack .. tell them you’re resting between pool parties.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Those are really perfect examples of ‘Neo-liberal Benches.’ They have large cracks through which the “undeserving” can fall.
          As for “using your noodle,” hah, they are books after all. One should have to “use your noodle” to figure out the problems presented by those ‘short term places of respite.’
          What really frosts my bottle is that, these benches are exemplars of Fascist thinking, but yet the buses still do not run on time.
          Silly sods can’t even get their supposed ideological memes right.
          Where’s Mussolini when you need him?

          Reply
      1. ambrit

        Ouch! These static books could be considered to have the recumbent sophonts as their “contents.”
        Theologically speaking, certain books should be concerned with “giving comfort.” Such would characterize the ‘Book Benches’ as “Good Books.”

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i noticed in san antonio that the bus stop benches are usually placed well outside of any shade…can’t be an accident.
      so when i needed a rest(during sep-oct 2018 cancer emergency), i sat/lay upon the ground under a tree.
      I admit that it’s difficult to get up, sometimes.
      But i insist that i have a Right to sit/lay in public, dammit.

      Reply
      1. Moshe Braner

        In Burlington Vermont the bus-stop “shelters” are made of transparent panels, including the roof, i.e., no shade. And the walls lack the bottom foot, so fail to keep the cold winter winds out. Plus the dividers on the benches. Must have been designed by the CIA torture experts.

        Reply
  10. flora

    Thanks for the Teen Vogue link. Good read. I watched the GOP anti-Trump ad. The only thing it was missing was at the very end, imo, when it should have closed with a 10 second clip of Biden saying, “and if I’m elected nothing will change.” ;)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Honestly, I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World. I came up in 2003-2006, fighting Bush tooth and nail. Or so it seemed at the time! Now all these grifters and war criminals are being rehabilitated so Democrats can win the burbs!

      Reply
      1. Pat

        My black joke re: Obama is that if I didn’t despise him for advancing right wing policies in a crash and largely continuing Bush’s foreign policy, I would for his making me miss the Nixon administration for being so much more left wing. No Democrat should be to the right of Nixon on anything, but…

        Reply
        1. flora

          Yep. Nixon, even accounting for all his many faults, was the last president who was basically a Keynesian and an Eisenhower Republican. The left and progressives got more from Nixon than from the following 3 Dem presidents combined.

          Reply
          1. John k

            Yes, odd to look back wistfully at Nixon. Wage and price controls, offered the dems nearly universal health care… and opened China to rep squawking… we’re they right?
            Even obstructing justice seems minor to me now compared with starting wars, surveiling the pop, militarizing the police and giving all big corps and banks too big to fail protection. Oh, and ceos don’t even get charged now, much less jailed for fraud. Even Reagan jailed bankers…
            Oh, those were the golden years…

            Reply
            1. Michael Fiorillo

              Nixon hated the likes of us: most of that legislation was signed because the inertial power of ’60’s movements compelled it.

              Reply
              1. flora

                Yep. The Nixon admin was such a low bar , it should be easy for the Dem estab to step over it for Main Street economics, but they can’t seem to muster the energy for that. imo.

                Reply
              2. Sacred Ground

                Exactly. Nixon faced a D majority that could and would override his veto. He opposed everything liberals now credit him for. He simply lacked the power to stop a liberal Congress’s agenda. FFS, that doesn’t make him any kind of liberal, it makes him a toothless conservative.

                Reply
      2. polecat

        It’s like trying to move forward, while having one eye with a kaleidoscope firmly attached .. and a telescope turned backward on the other!
        how can anyone maneuver that way?
        I’m lost as well. To the wilderness we go!

        No Wakchumni, not that one.

        Humm, on the other hand ….

        Reply
  11. dcblogger

    “Financial advisory firm Signum Global Advisors told clients Thursday that it isn’t convinced Joe Biden is going to be as progressive as some may hope if he beats President Donald Trump in November.
    what were financial advisory firms saying about France in 1788? Russia in 1914?

    Reply
  12. JWP

    Re: Berkley frat parties.
    Being well connected in that community, the college towns are genuinely screwed if the police are not allowed to enforce gatherings more than 5 people on and around campuses as well as entry to campus from non residents of campus. At some point leaders need to step in and punish young people for being super spreaders and thinking we are immune from getting COVID seriously. The musings about throwing covert parties, packing 20 people into a dorm room, using off campus houses and apartments, etc to throw parties is off the charts. All coming from the lust to party after months of being limited. Same students who diffuse to bars, restaurants, stores, coffee shops, etc with normal communal places being shut down on campus. College town’s worries extend far beyond the economic loss of not having a college fully functioning.

    Personally, placing strict legal restrictions on young people has a poor psychological effect in the long term especially amidst corporate and gov crackdowns on freedoms and agency, but I do not see any other way to protect the broader population. Thoughts on more effective ways to do so?

    Reply
    1. Keith

      In this political climate, do you think police really want to go in and break up parties of young people? Young people have plenty of time on their hands for protesting and need only an excuse. Camera coverage is too easily manipulated to produce a viral video and get a cop fired before any resemble of internal review or due process plays out.

      Reply
      1. JWP

        You raise a good point with which I agree. I’m not sure there’s a good solution here and am quite concerned for my professors and friends on campus/ in town who are taking precautions but are subject the ignorance of the rest.

        Reply
        1. JWP

          Large colleges have too much influence over PDs in town to the extent it largely cancels out the vigilante style busts of parties by cops. I’ve only seen them come when local residents call in and report them or there’s a broader threat like fires or gunshots. With the Defund the Police movement huge among college students, the party could easily turn on cops and take any slight gesture in tense situation as cause to post or report. Can’t speak for parties away from campus, but definitely on and around campus.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Back when I attended University in the NADS, the local coppers needed permission from the College Administration, a right usually delegated to the Campus Police Force, before they could enter the University grounds. I believe ‘Hot Pursuit’ was the exception. I knew someone back then who wriggled out of a City bust for possession because the arrest happened on University grounds without permission. (Not me. I was too paranoid to court suspicion for anything out of the ordinary.)
            The Campus coppers were a very eclectic lot. One I knew fairly well. He was a Graduate Student in Philosophy who took the job to pay his living expenses. If I remember him truly, he was a real Eclectic.

            Reply
  13. flora

    re: twitter users, pay attention.

    Very good thread. Very useful for everyone on twitter, not just women. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. Dr. John Carpenter

    Probably the only point I agree with Kanye on is pushing back against the idea that the Dems are owed the black vote. I’ve already seen freaked out Dems moaning about Kanye only jumping in as a spoiler to peel off black votes as if 1) they own those votes and 2) black people will automatically vote for West. The kvetching kind of proves his point, I think. (Not to mention that Kanye’s political viewpoint seems to be to the right of Trump, making me question the idea that anyone who would vote for him was a safe Dem vote in the first place.)

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      Kanye has a mental illness and is probably manic right now. I cannot even believe anyone would encourage him running or think it is a reality.

      Reply
      1. jr

        Probably because when he’s flying high, he’ll believe any F’ing thing he is told by his coterie of sycophants. It’s bad enough having weird voices in your head, imagine weird voices inside and outside your head all day long. And think what a joyride that presidential campaign would be for Kanye’s celebrity buddies, their hangers on, and their imaginary friends. All the publicity those worthless parasites and the parasites that feed off of them could ever want. Musk will be there too, his unbearable grin searing your eyeballs….

        Reply
      2. periol

        I mean, you say that like mental illness isn’t an axiomatic requirement for public service in America right now. I’m no fan of Kanye the politician, but I would bet, manic or not, that he is more sane than either Trump or Biden.

        Kanye has been talking about running for president for a long time, well before 2016 even. He’s running for the same reason Trump ran in 2016 – to increase his brand awareness. There’s not a chance Kanye wants to be president, megalomania or not.

        Reply
      3. jr

        He’s probably really easy to manipulate when he’s manic, all those sycophants whispering in his ears along with the voices in his head telling him he’s Jesus or what not. A lot of people stand to make a lot of air time and money if that dingbat actually runs…

        Reply
    2. Keith

      This might be entertaining to watch. Think of the debate stage, a hubby of a Kardashian vs. a demented fool vs the Orange monster. Pure comedy gold!

      Reply
  15. Krystyn Podgajski

    “Wakanda, the Birthday Party and Kanye West’s presidential hopes”

    This is really a hit piece; whether or not West is bipolar, he’s a billionaire and is or was an accomplished artist. And name the billionaire who isn’t bughouse crazy anyhow.

    Being diagnosed Bipolar and having to be in the hospital at times for it, I do not appreciate that “bughouse crazy” part. It pretty demeaning.

    People seem to appreciate all the stuff we do when we are well and abandon us and criticize us when we are sick.

    I agree he is probably in a manic episodes and is delusional, but people should be helping him see he is having delusion and not create antagonism and pushing him further into them by calling him “bughouse crazy” nor engaging in his delusion because he is a billionaire. That article is not a hit piece, it is a reality that he has Bipolar and he knows this, but when you are in a mania you forget.

    Kanye himself has said;
    “When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything. Everyone — this is my experience, other people have different experiences — everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy. You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel everyone wants to kill you. You don’t trust anyone. You feel all these things.”

    The only benefit Kanye has over Trump is that Kanye is more aware of his mental illness.

    But let’s stop the “crazy” talk because I know at times I seem crazy, but I am actually sick and struggling and need help. The stigma regarding mental illnesses, I can’t even begin to tell you the mountain that has to be climbed to get over it.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      thanks for having the courage to speak up. you are doing your part to destigmatize mental illness.

      also, it would be nice if one man’s bipolar disorder wasn’t another man’s entertainment.

      Reply
      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        In related news (which I’m just going to put down quietly over here before stepping away) . . . this episode of the Cooler also has a complaint about an under-the-radar Trump ad “that falsely claims Biden is in cognitive decline and not up to being president” (emphasis added).

        Reply
  16. Krystyn Podgajski

    Economic anecdote today. I was talking to a friend who owns a bicycle shop. He said so many people bought bikes at the beginning of the epidemic but now he cannot even get them from suppliers. It’s mostly the things like the shifters and gears and tires they cannot source. And if people come in to buy new parts he has none to sell.

    So his business could be good if he had something to sell.

    Sounds like some bad supply chain issues.

    Reply
    1. JWP

      Same across Portland “bike town,USA.” All bike shops, even the chain stores are almost sold out with backlogs on getting new ones. The one nearest my house literally is making them to order as parts come in, in the absence of stock on the floor, because it is easier to get the parts than the assembled bike. Electric bikes have been selling especially well. Great news to see people move to biking when public transportation is in question. Curious if this problem exists in places in Europe with vastly higher biking rates.

      Reply
    2. D. Fuller

      I’ve been noticing shortages of some items up here in Walmart for about three months now. There seems to be no lack of apparel, however. Electronics and other items? Bare shelves. Talked to a Walmart employee and he said they are having problems receiving certain merchandise to keep their shelves stocked.

      Trade war coupled with the effects of Cv-19 on supply chains and purchasing habits.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        it’s the same in our hardware store, feed store and propane/pipe/irrigation/pump place.
        I just got the lumber i ordered 3 months ago.
        (cabin we were already invested in building for eldest/visitors/farm hands)
        this town has run out of all the Mexican beer…as well as the Keystone Light(ugh)…which are daily mainstays for everyone who labors, be they fencers or carpenters or roofers or ditch diggers or ranch hands.
        in normal times, one avoids all the stores at 7am(beer thirty), because all those guys are loading up for the day.
        storekeepers tell me that it’s not just specialty items(like my 2 20 foot 2x 12’s), but strange, small and/or common things that one wouldn’t expect to have difficulty obtaining.
        all of the gas pumps have run out more often than normal, too, since march.
        doesn’t bode well…i guess offshoring production and JIT global supply chains weren’t such a hot idea after all.
        we’re loading up on propane next month in anticipation.
        and i’m spending the pre-dawn cutting up the firewood we liberated from the side of the highway(edging up to 100, today…up to 110 by tuesday…first the Sahel invaded, now Arizona)
        …and I’m still lobbying mom(who has $) to go on and get a seed order for next year…I foresee panic buying and shortages.

        Reply
        1. Mr. House

          Haven’t noticed any beer shortages. Plenty of yuengling, can’t seem to keep rice on the shelves and certain brands of bottled water. Weekly grocery bill has gone up by at least 20 bucks.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            In addition to small but noticeable price hikes, I have also noticed some basics being downsized in the package without an accompanying price drop. A stealth price hike, per unit of measure.

            Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      There have been shortages of bikes, especially electric bikes, in Europe since April. Shops were just cleaned out of bikes during lockdown, lots of people buying new ones or buying parts to get the old bikes in their garages running again. I’m sure there are supply issues in China, Vietnam and Taiwan (the three main sources), but its overwhelmingly a demand issue. Because most bike sales are in the Spring, the main companies essentially have their next years ranges designed and under order from the manufacturers in the Fall, so its almost impossible for them to ramp up construction for an anomalous year like this.

      That said, I’ve heard that a number of sectors are anticipating major problems in a couple of months as supply chains buckle under the stress. A guy I know who owns a mid sized furniture store here in Ireland says he has been told its a minimum of 6 weeks to get delivery for furniture which would once have been delivered in a week, and the times are stretching. Its partially a backlog from the main manufacturers following shut down, partly supplies of materials from China drying up.

      Reply
    4. Sub-Boreal

      This is widespread.

      I’ve been dealing with the same family-owned bike shop for > 20 years in the town where I live in the interior of British Columbia. I was recently in to get a repair done, and while I waited I got to chatting with the owner. He said that although they’ve been very busy, they can’t resupply their stock, and even had suppliers unilaterally cancelling orders on them. He wasn’t sure how long he’d be able to stay open into the fall. He said that this has never happened before in the 47 years that he’d been in the business.

      Reply
    5. Phil in KC

      Try buying a fishing reel. Rods, plentiful, but spincast reels, especially the cheap Zebcos, are hard to find. Went to a Dick’s Sporting goods and the entire fishing tackle department was closed. Trip to one Walmart was fruitless, found one last reel at the second Walmart.

      Scarcity of reels inspired me to clean up and refurbish some 50-year old reels that had belonged to my father-in-law. So that was a silver lining.

      Weight lifting equipment is also hard to find.

      Reply
    6. curlydan

      I’ve been looking on Craigslist for mountain bikes for a few months since I need a bike with front suspension to support my kid’s recent mountain biking obsession. The prices for bikes even on Craigslist are just crazy. It’s a seller’s market in the bike industry.

      Reply
  17. Ranger Rick

    Re: “America abandoned the elderly to die”

    If you’re looking for some soul-searching, think real hard about what the message you’re sending is when you trot your parents off to the old folks’ home — “die out of sight please, I’ve already written off getting anything out of the inheritance.” It’s a sad fact of modern life that people do not have the time, space or resources to take care of the elderly or infirm; once they’ve dropped out of the workforce, society at large no longer seems to concern itself with their issues. Elder abuse, especially at care facilities like the ones that experienced the most fatalities over the past few months, was on the rise even before the virus came through.

    Reply
    1. BobW

      Once I went to my sister’s house to find her crying on the couch, while my father lay on the living room floor, watching tv, head on a pillow, seemingly as happy as a clam. He had fallen down and she was unable to pick him up. Maybe in previous years there would have been a larger household.

      Reply
      1. Bill Carson

        The father of a friend lived in a nursing home in Texas. The friend hasn’t been able to see her dad since the lockdown took effect. Last week he came down with COVID, was transferred to the hospital, then shortly thereafter to hospice, where he died.

        The cruelest thing about this virus (or the response to it) has been the isolation of the elderly and infirm, and people dying all alone. My friend wasn’t even allowed to visit her father in hospice!!

        Reply
        1. herman_sampson

          Mother had been in nursing home for about four years, with dementia and physical fragility. Sister saw her almost every day ( I about one or two times a week) until lockdown here in Indiana. Mother not really understanding the restrictions and worsening with less stimulation. Sister resolved to take her home on 27 May, Mother dies at her home 2 June. She was 94. Supposedly, and I have no reason to doubt it, nursing home had no cases of COVID, but it did hasten her demise a bit, but made her last months more uncomfortable than necessary.

          Reply
    2. periol

      Sometimes I think people forget that actions have consequences. A significant percentage of the population was shoved out the door at 18, if not earlier, by their parents. Similarly, a “sign” of the crisis in America for young people since 2008 has been the number of folks moving back in with their parents. Moving back in with the rents is something American society considers to be “failure”.

      So, to me, it’s not surprising when those same children, raised under that narrative, then abandon their parents to a nursing home.

      In my family, we actually face the opposite problem. My grandfather sadly passed away last year at a ripe old age, and my grandmother is still trucking. She has 5 kids; all of them would be happy to take her in. But she refuses to leave the town where she and grandpa spent the last 50 years, and all her kids are scattered around the country. So she’s in a care home, and her kids fly in one at a time to check on her. Or did, before the rona hit.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >and all her kids are scattered around the country.

        That’s what The Chicago School of Econ told them they were supposed to do.

        And even if they didn’t think that was right, you have to feed yourself so well scattered everybody is now.

        Working out great, of course.

        Reply
      2. Rod Foley

        i think you are very insightful on this and that it is not the sign of a healthy culture.

        addressing this issue, imo, would address some of our other plagues also.

        Reply
  18. Another Scott

    I’m not sure how many people have been following sports stories, but one topic that has exploded over the past month is renaming teams, changing mascots and removing statues. Now, FedEx is trying to disassociate itself from one.

    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/07/10/fedex-will-take-name-off-washington-stadium-unless-team-name-is-changed/

    Will the company stop its anti-union status? Classify its drivers as employees rather than independent contractors? Stop pushing privatization of the Post Office? Of course not. Would these policies help minorities more than changing the name of a sports team? That is a question that is completely inappropriate to ask and will likely be excluded from any public discussion of the issue.

    Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      The Black Lives Matter firehose of corporate and municipal endorsements assures that it can’t go anywhere but HR fads, whatever else it could be, while performative liberals keep shearing the sheep for their owners as usual. I’m reminded of the first Earth Day, where a million people emerged like cicadas on Fifth Avenue to wave printed signs boasting overnight virtues. That was 50 years ago, and our principal progress since then is the notional carbon pay-to-play- and-pollute market in options and futures for traders to hustle science writers and other suckers with. Corporate endorsements are the kiss of death–don’t ask any Democrat, just look at one.

      Reply
    2. Keith

      What does that have to due with the current BLM Fad running across the corporate world? Change the ‘Skins name and all will be right with the world. /s

      Reply
  19. Arizona Slim

    Looking for something to do tomorrow? Well, try this:

    https://peoplesparty.org/july-11-action/

    Quoting from the web page: On Saturday, July 11 we will hold honking car parades and march to the homes of our members of Congress to deliver our emergency pandemic demands. We will rally outside their homes and share stories of how the pandemic and systemic racism have affected our lives. We will call them outside to commit to the #PeoplesStimulus.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      My union, which quite honestly has been decimated by the corona virus as it has shut down pretty much all the work, was urging members to support the HEROES act. I understand that despite my opinion that long term it will be deadly. The members need the pitiful crumbs the general public would see from it.

      I wish I thought honking horns outside the homes of our so-called Representatives would lead to real support and stimulus in the face of the Depression we are well in. I really do.

      But hell, we’ll probably be lucky to see a payroll tax cut in a time of record unemployment.(snark on multiple levels)

      Reply
  20. polecat

    A shirt sure can except stains

    It’s beating them out against the rocks that matter most ..
    .. to which begs a Very important the question : Of the two, which is worse on the fabric of American Life – Pumice .. or mudstone?

    *I’d go for granodiorite. Tough, Strong, Durable. But, from the political precipice many of the plebs find themselves on, there is none to be had.

    Reply
  21. Bugs Bunny

    I had to come down here and say that it’s even more ridiculous to think that you can conceive concrete regulatory changes based on the “teachings” of Marcel Proust as from Foucault. This is where we are. These people are nuts. And both Proust and Foucault would say the same, but in really interesting ways, I’m sure.

    Reply
  22. Pat

    Not a theory but a thought regarding N.Y.’s rate of death being so much higher. There have been reports of there being different forms of the virus, including some theories that it mutates. If this is true, is it possible that N.Y. had a deadlier version, which coupled with less information about treatment AND stupid decisions regarding patient allocation led to greater mortality of victims?

    Is there any good information about the forms of Covid 19 infection by locale?

    Reply
  23. John

    We just had a young girl here, didn’t feel well went and got a COVID test just before the fourth. Then while waiting for test results went out and spent the holiday partying with friends in a large group on the lake. Now a bunch of people have it. There has to be some kind of civil liability for this kind of reckless disregard. How can we get the kids to take their actions seriously? We are in a pretty stupid situation because not enough people Are acting responsibly or Empathetically to others.

    Reply
  24. Pelham

    Re cancel culture possibly endangering Dem chances: No kidding. I hearken back to a debate held in Canada a couple of years ago in which Michelle Goldberg and Michael Eric Dyson defended what was then known as PC culture and UK comedian Stephen Frye and Jordan Peterson took the opposite side. It seemed indecisive to me until the final statements in which Frye simply asked about PCism (paraphrase), “How’s it working?”

    Of course, the obvious answer was that it wasn’t working. The very existence of the debate was testimony to that. PC culture wasn’t about educating and persuading people to be polite and considerate. Years of rising hackles and bitterness were and continue to be the result.

    So now cancel culture may have reached its PC pinnacle with its real purpose stripped down for all to see. It’s all about beating down anyone who doesn’t instantaneously buy into it wholesale. Toward what end, I’m not sure. But I’m thinking of joining the resistance — not to Trump but to cancellation.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      for maybe the year before i abandoned social media(because of this very thing), I’d argue incessantly with online dems about this.
      how do you expect to build the party, let alone excitement, this way?
      I’d warn them that this pc/woke bidness would leave us nothing but individuals alone in their Parties of One…making solidarity all but impossible(because no one else checks all of my boxes perfectly, i can ally with no one)
      when i realised that this was the whole point of the exercise, i deleted all my accounts.
      it’s the centerleft(sic) political arm of the neoliberal project of hyperindividualism and antisociety….end point is when we can’t even conceive of a “Union” or an “Interest Group” or even a “Club”.
      and i should note, in Texas, where i’ve been, at least, nobody knows what a union is….”thugs, right?”
      that knowledge isn’t taught, and all that’s left is the righty hatred of the idea, which seeps into even otherwise progressive people.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      I like how it was the comedian, rather than supposed intellectual Jordan Peterson, that was able to dismantle the argument more decisively…

      Reply
    3. a different chris

      > in which Frye simply asked about PCism (paraphrase), “How’s it working?”

      Yeah but… you can’t just not do the right thing (if you think it is right) because it is unpopular. “Working” may be fine for politicos in this late-age, disintegrating and likely unfixable Western world, but it’s nothing to hold your head up about.

      Ms. Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

      Reply
  25. jr

    Re: shortages/supply chain problems

    My coffee guy has apricot danish again, as I’ve reported here in the past they come and go. This guy sells a lot of pastry so he’s a decent metric of the neighborhood. You also have to consider he is one of only a few places left open. He’s probably buying 1/6th of the total pastry bought in the West Village. I realize this is far from a perfect study; I’ll scout out some other mini marts at some point.

    The apricot danish he does have are not the jelly filling but rather two canned apricot halves. I asked him why the different ones again and he said that’s all his supplier can get. They aren’t nearly as good as the jellied ones.

    Now, this guy sells the Boylan’s sodas as well, an NYC staple made in Brooklyn. He hasn’t had the cola or the root beer in a month plus. Again, can’t get it. Same with another spot around the corner. A few doors down from my guy is another quiki mart and they have the black cherry and the root beer, two other hard to find flavors. This place does a much lower volume of business than my guy does, things move much more slowly.

    So all this makes me wonder if these aren’t signs that stuff is being pulled from storage. A slow store that is working through it’s inventory of sodas that busier stores can’t get anymore makes sense. The bakery is using a kind of stand in product, one that industry wide requires more work to use and therefore is likely less popular than the jelly. Which means more of it in storage, which is now being dug into.

    I wonder what is holding these products up…

    Reply
    1. ShamanicFallout

      I’m in the wholesale food business, mainly to grocery via distribution, but also a lot of specialty markets and e-commerce as well. Not sure about this person’s supply situation but you also probably have to factor in large distributors will likely have commitments and contracts for serving large and powerful grocery. The big players will likely get product first, and then e-commerce (their own site and probably Amazon). This is easier for them and it keeps their big accounts happy. And if they are like us, the ordering is off the charts right now. The ‘smaller’ players are most inevitably last in line, unless they are working with more boutique distributors, but then they are probably not high up in the pecking order either.
      I just checked for Boylan’s online and, of course, you guessed it, it’s all over Amazon and in stock and shipping. Alas

      Reply
      1. jr

        Thanks, very interesting stuff. It seems that there is a shortage somewhere then, no, and the big fish get first dibs…if not a shortage then an obstacle…

        Reply
  26. Bill Carson

    Regarding the Colorado tourist economy, June was a fairly slow month. Usually you can tell when it is tourist season (summer) by the increased traffic and so many foreigners driving *slow*. But things have picked up markedly. Traffic up the mountain today was fairly backed up, even if it wasn’t quite as bad as usual.

    Yesterday our governor did a press conference yelling at people to “wear your damn masks!” He hasn’t mandated mask-wearing because he doesn’t feel a mandate does any good, and then people get used to being scofflaws. Our COVID numbers have been relatively small, but they are starting to creep up again, and I fear that the governor has been briefed that we’re going to see another spike soon.

    My theory is that the virus is airborn and it is thriving now in states where air conditioning is ubiquitous. Well, there’s going to be more A/C use in Colorado over the next few weeks because it’s going to be so damn hot. (94 today in Colorado Springs!) But I digress…

    Reply
  27. VietnamVet

    As a misplaced Westerner, I’ve always considered the Confederate Statues and Fort naming’s as eyewash to salve the following generations of the horrors of being invaded and conquered. The Great Compromise was needed to avoid a guerrilla war like in Ukraine where the leftover remnants of the Austria-Hungary and Russian Empires are still in conflict with each other since the Western Empire ignited a Coup there in 2014. It wasn’t until training at Fort Lee that I was introduced to this peculiar region. To be honest, I avoid Hillbillies, Rednecks & Okies ever since. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    My take is that the rich and credentialed class after Vietnam War and Jimmy Carter’s malaise decided to seize power in order to exploit the American Middle Class and the world’s resources to get richer and add thousands more millionaires and billionaires by using divide and conquer identity politics. It worked great for them but not for those who are dying of despair from drugs and lost dreams. The result is two unqualified candidates for 2020 who are patently incapable of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the greatest depression and social unrest. The North American Empire (the USA) founded by the Mexican War of 1848 that now stretches from Alaska to Puerto Rico and from Hawaii to Maine will fall like the Western Empire just did, if the Constitution, Democracy, Equality and the Rule of Law are not restored soon and the pandemic conquered and income from jobs provided to those in need.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      I’m of the opinion that things will play out badly, because the anointed ones simply • do • not • care.
      I include virtually ALL of our supposed reps and senators in that group!

      Myopia reigns extreme!

      Reply
  28. Synoia

    Respokare® NIOSH N95 Respirator Mask

    Blocks NO2, O3, SO2 Taxic gases

    Virus are large when compared with these gas molecules. For this specific claim I’f d like to see the proof and the test method.

    It would be terribly difficult to filter these gases and not water vapor (Hydrogen bonded water molecules).

    Reply
  29. Milton

    U.S. now over 70k C-19 cases for the day as per the Worldometer’s site. I give it 2-3 weeks before our daily count surpasses China’s pandemic total (about 85k). Truly U-S-A, U-S-A!!!

    Reply
    1. periol

      Also officially top ten in both cases and deaths per capita. For a good long while we weren’t quite there. Took some real concerted effort from folks in all 50 states to pull this off. Don’t worry, we’re not done yet. If I know anything about America and Americans, we won’t stop until we’re #1 in every category that matters.

      Reply
  30. The Rev Kev

    The Trona Pinnacles look otherworldly so went looking for an explanation of them at Wikipedia. It says, in part-

    ‘During the Pleistocene, massive runoff spilled from the Sierra Nevada into a chain of inland seas. The system of interconnected lakes stretched from Mono Lake to Death Valley and included Searles Lake.

    Deep beneath Searles Lake, calcium-rich groundwater and alkaline lake water combined to grow tufa formations. Similar (modern) formations can be found today at Mono Lake to the north.

    Known as tufa pinnacles, these strange shapes formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago. The pinnacles did not all form at the same time. They are divided by age and elevation into three groups. The groups are dubbed the northern, middle, and southern groups because they formed during three ice ages.

    The northern group is the youngest at 11,000 to 25,000 years old. These are the best examples of what are known as tufa towers. The northern group also include shapes called tombstones, ridges and cones. The small middle group claims only 100 spires, but boasts the tallest “tower”, rising 140 feet (43 m). The southern group, includes 200 tufa formations aged 32,000 to 100,000 years old. ‘

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trona_Pinnacles

    Reply
  31. flora

    The SlateStarcodex blog was taken down by its writer after his real name was outed.

    He wrote a good essay about the difference between ‘conflict culture’ and ‘mistake culture’ in philosophy and approach to resolving public policy issues. Here’s a Reddit post that highlights some important bits in the essay, and seems especially relevant right now, imo, given the rise of cancel culture vs reasoned inquiry. Basically, they are two different outlooks talking past each other.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/7tcj73/opinion_slate_star_codex_conflict_vs_mistake/

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      snark/ CalGreek- An esoteric language similar to old Greek. It falls into two basic forms, Classical CalGreek and Dem-Otic CalGreek.

      Reply
  32. polecat

    I’m glad to reside on the northwestern edge of the continent. No AC needed. Fans only.
    As for next Winter .. well, we’ll see ..

    Reply

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