2:00PM Water Cooler 8/28/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this is a travel day for me, but I’m going to try being a little bit smarter, and post section by section until I hit the WiFi dead zone. After that, talk amongst yourselves! –lambert UPDATE Looks like I made it through….


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Here again is the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin:

I left out positivity, becaue the chart becomes unreadable if I include it. Interesting spike in Missouri; I wonder if it’s a reporting problem at the state level, since they seem to be cropping up all over.

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AZ: “Wastewater helps find positive COVID-19 cases at UA dorm” [KOLD]. ” Wastewater samples from the Likins dorm on the University of Arizona campus came back positive for COVID-19, according to university president, Dr. Robert Robbins. Dr. Robbins said they tested the water again, and all five samples came back positive. He said they performed roughly 311 COVID-19 tests on students and staff in the Likins dorm, and found two positive cases. Dr. Robbins said those individuals are now in isolation, and they are conducting contact tracing. He said wastewater collected from the other dorms showed no traces of COVID-19. The Director of the University of Arizona West Center, Dr. Ian Pepper and his team are sampling sewage from dorms to determine if someone is positive for COVID-19, even if they are not showing symptoms. Dr. Pepper said tracing sewage water can be one of the first methods to detect a resurgence of the virus. Dr. Pepper said the method is accurate, and it can pick up a single positive case in a group of 10,000.” • Good news!

CA: “Most nursing home inspectors still haven’t been tested for the coronavirus, despite Newsom pledge” [Los Angeles Times]. “A month after Gov. Gavin Newsom promised an aggressive program to test nursing home inspectors for the deadly coronavirus, at least 60% still have not been tested, state health officials acknowledged…. The testing program itself has been sharply criticized by some inspectors, who say it’s an informal and disorganized process with little supervision or clear protocols: They’re sent for do-it-yourself drive-through testing at Rite Aid. They are not required to quarantine during the long waits for the results. And some inspectors say they haven’t shared the results with the department because they don’t know how to.”

CA: “L.A. County sues church for violating COVID-19 orders with indoor worship services” [Los Angeles Times]. “In the weeks since, the county has instructed the church to cease indoor services. But the church has ignored such demands. On Sunday, [Pastor John MacArthur] welcomed worshipers to ‘the Grace Community Church peaceful protest.’ ‘The county took this action reluctantly, after working with the church for several weeks in hopes of gaining voluntary compliance with the Health Officer Orders, which allow for religious services to be held outdoors in order to slow the spread of a deadly and highly contagious virus,’ the county said in a statement. MacArthur thinks the state’s current order is a violation of people’s 1st Amendment rights.” • Not sure how spreading a plague is “peaceful.” Science, after all, provides evidence of things not seen.

HI: “Oahu to shut down for two weeks, ‘reset’ pandemic response amid rise in Hawaii COVID-19 cases” [NBC]. “Four weeks ago, Hawaii reported a total of 1,688 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and was reporting an average of 45 new cases a day, according to an NBC News analysis. Since then, the total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 6,700, and public health officials are now reporting around 200 new cases a day. During this time, the death toll has also nearly doubled, jumping from 26 to 49, the figures show…. the next two weeks, Hawaii public health workers will ratchet up testing on Oahu, the state’s most populous island, and in the state’s biggest city, Honolulu, and they will hire 250 to 500 contact tracers. They have also booked an entire hotel Friday ‘with hundreds of rooms’ where people who test positive or have been in contact with people who’ve tested positive will be quarantined away from their families and friends, [Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell] said.” •

IN: “Notre Dame hires more security after students placed in quarantine violate rules” [South Bend Tribune]. “The University of Notre Dame has added security personnel to its COVID-19 quarantine sites after some students violated safety protocols and left the off-campus apartments and hotels…. Brown said the university has contracted with Monterrey Security and VSS Security Services to provide a total of eight staff members to monitor the facilities around the clock.” • Didn’t Australia have, er, problems with this arrangement? More: “Also, starting Thursday, troopers from the Indiana State Police Alliance, which offers security services, will patrol the properties nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., in marked police vehicles” • “Properties” plural? More: “Notre Dame has not released the locations where students are being kept, citing privacy concerns, and is not revealing how many students are in quarantine and isolation. ‘That is not a number that we will be providing publicly,’ [University spokesman Dennis] Brown said.” • Oh.

MA: “Woodson press conference: Simply ‘unattainable for us to offer on-campus housing'” [Technician]. “‘It has simply become unattainable for us to offer on-campus housing to such a large number of undergraduates,’ [NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said]. ‘We currently have 6,500 on campus, and it is clear that we are not going to be able to meet the required social distancing guidelines and be able to keep our students safe and healthy on campus.’… Students who are currently in quarantine and/or isolation on campus cannot leave unless they are cleared by Student Health Services, Woodson said. … As of Aug. 26, there are 900 students in quarantine and/or isolation on and off campus.” • 900 / 6500 = 13.8%. Eesh.

NM: “UNM students stuck with campus leases” [Albuquerque Journal]. “By July, Ortega’s scheduled classes moved completely online and the pandemic began causing financial issues for her family. To lessen the financial burden, Ortega transferred to a community college in Santa Fe for the fall semester. ‘So when I had contacted (Lobo Village) and told them the situation that I wasn’t going to attend UNM any more, that I have to go back home, they told me that (Lobo Village) didn’t have a cancellation policy at the time,’ Ortega said. ‘We understand that we did sign a contract. A contract is a contract, but you’d think that with everything going on they would help students out.”… Students like Ortega, meanwhile, who are looking for ways to cut costs, are running into obstacles with companies such as American Campus Communities (ACC), ‘the nation’s largest developer, owner and manager’ of student housing, holding students to their leases.”

TX: “Universities Are Playing Fast and Loose With Students’ Health” [KXAN]. “Hailey Shari Scott, a cheerleader at the University of Texas, said she lived at Skyloft in West campus, and is still being asked to pay rent, despite moving home to Hutto for the spring semester of her sophomore year. Scott said she didn’t want to put herself at risk of getting the virus. ‘[The leasing manager] told me, unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do,’ said Scott. ‘I can try to sublet it for $350, but I’m like no one is going to want to live in the apartment with what’s going on.” Scott said her parents are now faced with paying $1100 a month for her empty apartment until the lease ends in July.'”


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. (Last change August 10.) Despite the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains the same: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!


Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Is The Nominee, But The Democratic Party Belongs To Barack Obama” [HuffPo]. “Obama’s story of America matters because it was the only point in this four-day convention in which anyone offered a plausible positive rationale for people to get out and vote. Every other voice raised for Biden relied on the prospective cataclysm Trump will wreak if Democrats do not vote him from power. Vote or die, the choice is yours. Obama alluded to the same potential destruction but gave his listeners a political tradition from which to rise, a historical cause to embrace, and a set of animating ideas. The election is a fight for democracy itself and for the idea of America that Obama, deep in his bones, knows to be True. It is not politicians who make history, Obama insists, but protesters and peoples demanding change… Personal charisma alone has not sustained Obama as the most popular Democrat in the country for more than a decade. The way Obama talks about the country is the way most Democrats think about America, and the way most Democrats — even lapsed Democrats — want to think about it…. If the American left hopes to see the transformative action necessary for averting another authoritarian slide, it will have to mold its ideas about sweeping change to a narrative that resembles what Obama presented on Wednesday night. Right or wrong, it’s what Democrats want to hear. And there is no way forward for democracy outside the world’s oldest political party.” • Maybe I should put on my yellow waders for this one..

Biden (D)(2): “Biden is already forming a government. Here’s what his Cabinet could look like.” [Politico]. “Interviews with more than a dozen Democrats familiar with his transition process describe an effort by his campaign to assemble a center-left amalgamation of personnel designed to prioritize speed over ideology in responding to the coronavirus and the resulting economic ruin. Think Susan Rice, but also Elizabeth Warren. Pete Buttigieg, but also Karen Bass. ‘I think those [ideological] distinctions are going to be a little hard to draw in this administration,” said Matt Bennett, whose center-left group Third Way, like others, is developing lists of candidates to propose to Biden’s advisers for sub-Cabinet and other roles. One Democratic strategist familiar with Biden’s work to form a government said, ‘Does it mean that the chief of staff won’t be [longtime Biden advisers] Ron Klain or Steve Ricchetti or something? No, but it does mean you’re going to see some unusual suspects in the government, I think.’ Among those advising Biden on the transition are centrist-minded establishment figures such as Tony Blinken, the former deputy national security adviser in the Obama-Biden White House, and Lawrence Summers….” • Well, I hope Larry helped Jill pick out the drapes, is all I can say.

Biden (D)(3): “Untangling Joe Biden’s Web of Healthcare Donors May Explain His Refusal to Budge on Medicare For Amid Deadly Pandemic” [Status Coup]. Surely not. From May, still germane: “A review of Biden’s top donors with major financial skin in the healthcare industry, and directly working in the healthcare industry, sheds light on his lack of movement toward bold universal healthcare proposals amid the pandemic. Hedge fund titan Jim Simons, who heads Renaissance Technologies, poured in $3 million in March to pro-Biden Super Pac Unite the Country as the political and media establishment rallied around Biden against Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary…. Simons’ big-money support for Biden comes as his hedge fund recently increased its investments in three big healthcare stocks like big pharma giant Merck & Co. … Another healthcare heavyweight supporting Biden’s campaign and Super PACs is Joe Kiani, the chairman and CEO of medical technology company Masimo. Kiani has donated over $1 million to Biden’s campaign and Super PAC, according to Revolving Door Project. … Kiani’s medical technology company has spread the love to Biden. In addition to Kiani’s donations and bundling, board chairman Craig Reynolds donated $27,800 to Biden’s campaign and Super PAC, according to Revolving Door Project. Other Masimo employees have donated a combined $88,600, according to FEC campaign finance data…. Blackstone, Wall Street’s private equity Goliath, has significant investments in the private healthcare industry, owning everything from healthcare staffing to billing companies. Blackstone is supporting Biden; executives John McCormick, who handles the hedge fund unit, and Verdun Perry, global head of strategic partners donated, donated $52,800 each to Biden’s campaign and Super PAC. Other Blackstone employees donated a combined $118,383 to Biden’s campaign, according to FEC data. According to CNBC, Blackstone’s support for Biden comes as Blackstone Executive Vice Chairman Hamilton “Tony” James’ name has been tossed out as a potential Biden campaign adviser—or even a position in a potential Biden administration.” • And on and on and on and on….

Biden (D)(4): “Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris’s husband, takes a leave of absence from his law firm.” [New York Times]. “Before joining DLA Piper, Mr. Emhoff had been a partner in Los Angeles for the firm Venable, where he represented an eclectic list of clients ranging from Merck and Walmart to financial entities and entertainment companies.” • Yes, that Merck.

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MA: “Super PACs Coordinating to Support Richie Neal” [The American Prospect]. “Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) has had a strategy for beating back a challenge in next Tuesday’s Democratic primary from Holyoke mayor Alex Morse. It begins with dollars and ends with cents. Neal’s campaign has spent $4.3 million this cycle as of the middle of August, and still had $2.7 million left for the stretch run, nearly ten times as much as Morse, who has spent around $1 million. Much of that money—nearly $2 million—has come from corporate political action committees, though Neal’s lawyers want you to know that is in no way equivalent to funding from corporations. But that apparently wasn’t enough to make Neal comfortable with his political standing. He is also getting support from over $1.5 million in independent expenditure campaigns. The American Hospital Association PAC is running close to $500,000 worth of television ads. And two other super PACs, Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), which has spent money defending several incumbents from insurgent primary challengers this cycle, and American Working Families (AWF), have dropped over $1 million combined.” • Seems legit.

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“Starbucks unveils plan to support partner and customer voter engagement” [Starbucks]. “In a letter to partners, Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson shared how the company is taking steps to promote equity, justice and community resiliency. As part of this effort, the company unveiled its plan to support partners in their journey to register to vote and ensure their voices are heard. Johnson noted that no partner (employee) will have to choose between working their shift or voting on or before Election Day.” • Gawd, “their journey.” Although I love to see performativity worming it’s way into the very typrography, as in the lower case “ceo.” That said, if the Democrat party really cared about voter registration, it would be a core party function, not an opportunity for corporate branding.

“‘Swipe carefully’: Democratic campaign staffers warned of possible ‘sting’ on dating apps” [CNN]. • Democrats just now figuring out that somebody could do to them what they tried to do to Morse.

“QAnon Is the Future of the Republican Party” [The Nation]. • Gawd knows I don’t want to defend QAnon, or tangle with its yarn diagrams. But is QAnon really more crazed — and dangerous! — than, say, mainstream macro, handmaiden of austerity? Or RussiaGate, another yarn diagram used by national security goons to gin up war fever against Russia? “Everybody has their own special delusion,” as Catullus wrote.

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.

Personal Income: “July 2020 Real Personal Income Declined, Real Expenditures Improved” [Econintersect]. “The data continues to be affected by the pandemic. Expenditures grew as the economy began to open and most had the stimulus check to spend. The note from the BEA says it all: ‘The July estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19. Federal economic recovery payments continued but were at a lower level than in June, and government ‘stay-at-home’ orders lifted in some areas of the country. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.’

Employment Situation: “U.S. Labor Department changes jobless claims data methodology after economic shock” [Reuters]. “The U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday it was changing the methodology used to address seasonal fluctuations in its weekly unemployment claims data, which economists complained was less reliable because of the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19…. The coronavirus crisis has caused an unprecedented decline in economic activity, with nearly 7 million people filing new claims for unemployment benefits at one point. The Labor Department said in the presence of a large shift in the claims series, the multiplicative seasonal adjustment factors could result in systematic over-or under-adjustment of the data. ‘In such cases, additive seasonal adjustment factors are preferred since they tend to more accurately track seasonal fluctuations in the series and have smaller revisions,’ it said.”

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Tech: “Unprotected quantum ‘puters may hit 4ms brick wall, thanks to background radiation slashing qubit lifespans” [The Register]. “Non-shielded quantum computers may only be able to run for a few milliseconds before background radiation completely destabilizes the systems, according to lab experiments described in a paper published in Nature on Wednesday. .. [E]xperimenters at MIT say about four milliseconds is going to be the absolute limit for today’s technology – when not sufficiently radiation shielded – due to cosmic rays and emissions from radioactive materials all around us affecting the computers’ qubits. Specifically, the radiation will cause the qubits to lose coherence…. [Antti Vepsäläinen, first author of the Nature study and a postdoctoral associate at MIT] recommended protecting the devices in layers of lead shielding or rad-hardening the circuits themselves.” • So, go long lead? Apparently, the top use of lead is in lead-acid batteries. Being American, I would have thought bullets, but no!

Tech: “13 things you need to know about the News Media Bargaining Code” [Google Australia]. My VPN decided I was in Australia, so I got a link to this post on the main Google search page. “If we want to keep our algorithms fair for everyone, we would have to stop making any changes in Australia. This would leave Australians with a dramatically worse Search and YouTube experience.” • No, it wouldn’t. If Google rolled back its algo changes for Search to, say, five years ago, Search would no longer be crapified. As for YouTube, the experience there has always been awful, unless you know what you’re looking for (and don’t get sucked into some yarn diagramming rabbit hole, which the algorithm encourages). Google is full of it, unsurprisingly.

Manufacturing: “Boeing finds flaws in fuselage of some Dreamliners; eight aircraft affected” [Reuters]. “Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Friday that some airlines operating its 787 Dreamliners have removed eight jets from service after the planemaker identified two distinct manufacturing issues in the fuselage section…. Aircraft for United Airlines (UAL.O), Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and Air Canada (AC.TO) are impacted by the impromptu grounding, aviation publication Air Current, which first reported the news, said here.” • Reuters — carefully? — doesn’t explain the scope or nature of the problem. I remember, back when the 787’s batteries were mysteriously catching fire, snaking about Boeing’s “union-busting plastic plane.” Now, I’d kinda hate to be right…. From the Air Current, which I cannot copy and must retype, but is worth a read: “Two manufacturing issues compromised an area of the structure in the rear of the 787 that is unable to withstand the maximum stress that would be experienced by the aircraft in service adnd could fail.” Oh. So for this aircraft, Boeing shitcanned whatever was going to replace the 737….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 76 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 28 at 12:31pm. Two days of Extreme Greed so far.

The Biosphere

“In Phoenix, rising temperatures day and night kill more people each year” [USA Today]. “So far in 2020, the Maricopa County Health Department has confirmed 30 heat-related deaths. The agency is investigating an additional 243. The death toll rises in a way that would drive dramatic headlines if tied to a single weather event. Hurricane landfalls typically claim far fewer lives. Instead, heat deaths happen one at a time, over the growing number of weeks and months each year when the weather turns dangerous. They are tied not to a single event but to an ongoing one, the rising temperatures that affect all seasons. Over the past 30 years, heat has accounted for more fatalities on average than any other weather-related disaster in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service. And while heat deaths may be more acute in the desert city of Phoenix, the warming climate that helps drive them is not likely to leave any major American city unscathed.” • Too bad our housing stock isn’t built for passive cooling (as in this Australian example). Oh well.

“Why bats matter” [Bats.org]. “Bats play an important role in many environments around the world. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. In the UK, some bats are ‘indicator species’, because changes to these bat populations can indicate changes in aspects of biodiversity. Bats might suffer when there are problems with insect populations (because our bats feed on insects) or when habitats are destroyed or poorly managed (for example, some bats only live in large woodlands).” • Useful information. Just don’t go in their caves!

Another art bot but I love Bonnard:

Color en masse, exemplified in this painting, is the design principle of a “grandmother’s garden,” and so Bonnard appeals to my personal aesthetic.

Health Care

“A Woman May Have Been Cured of H.I.V. Without Medical Treatment” [New York Times]. “A woman who was infected with H.I.V. in 1992 may be the first person cured of the virus without a risky bone-marrow transplant or even medications, researchers reported on Wednesday. In an additional 63 people in their study who controlled the infection without drugs, H.I.V. apparently was sequestered in the body in such a way that it could not reproduce, the scientists also reported. The finding suggested that these people may have achieved a ‘functional cure.’… intensive scrutiny of the participants in this study showed that viral genes may be marooned in certain ‘blocked and locked’ regions of the genome, where reproduction cannot occur, said Dr. Xu Yu, the study’s senior author and a researcher at the Ragon Institute in Boston. The participants in the research were so-called elite controllers, the 1 percent of people with H.I.V. who can keep the virus in check without antiretroviral drugs.” • Here is the original article in Nature. I was speculating wildly that the “blocked and locked” regions of the genome were so-called “junk DNA,” so we would have finally found a use for it, but from my translation of the Nature article, no. Oh well!

“When It Comes to Covid-19, Most of Us Have Risk Exactly Backward” [New York Times]. “Too many view protective measures as all or nothing: Either we do everything, or we might as well do none. That’s wrong. Instead, we need to see that all our behavior adds up. Each decision we make to reduce risk helps. Each time we wear a mask, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we socialize outside instead of inside, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we stay six feet away instead of sitting closer together, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we wash our hands, eat apart and don’t spend time in large gatherings of people, we’re adding to the pile. If the pile gets big enough, we as a society can keep this thing in check. But rather than focus on the cumulative benefits of individual actions, our attention too often rests on the few who refuse to act safely. We rage online over a couple of people who throw a fit about wearing a mask in a store. We spend far less time being grateful that so many Americans do wear them.” • This makes sense both psychologically (constantly shaming people puts my head in a bad space) and in terms of a dose/response relation (the “pile” metaphor). But I’m not enough of a risk maven to know if Taleb would approve of the approach to risk the author recommends.

Oh, gawd, we’ve got a new term:

“Vaccine hesitancy.” As readers know, I’m not anti-vax. But in the current context, I think it would be very helpful if the first to be for Covid were every member of the Senate, every member of the House, the President, and every political appointee in the Executive branch. That’s not very many doses, after all, and every single one of ’em has “access” to the best possible health care, so no problemo, right?

“Hospitals charge a lot more when Wall Street owns them” [Axios]. “Hospitals owned by private equity firms rake in almost 30% more income than hospitals that aren’t, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine…. Hospitals recorded a sicker overall patient population after they were acquired, which could suggest that they’re upcoding in search of higher reimbursements, the study’s authors wrote.” • Come on, man. (On medical coding and upcoding, see NC here, here, and here.)


“Ronald Reagan sends you to do war crimes in the latest Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailer” [The Verge]. “[W]hen discussion of the legality of the mission arises, that’s when we get into murky territory. ‘Every mission we go on is illegal,’ protests fan-favorite Black Ops character Frank Woods, who says a lot of innocent people will perish if they don’t stop Perseus. Thankfully, this is when the president shows up to give the final word. ‘We’re talking about preventing an attack on the free men and women of the world. Give Mr. Adler whatever he wants,’ says Reagan upon entering the room and commenting that it was him, in fact, that approved the Black Ops crew’s prior missions. ‘Gentleman, you’ve been given a great task: protecting our very way of life from a great evil. There is no higher duty, there is no higher honor, and while few people will know of your struggles, rest assured the entire free world will benefit. I know you won’t fail us.’ It’s a good thing Reagan is here to reassure us, the players, that what we’re doing is in fact Good, or else Call of Duty fans everywhere might get the wrong impression about America’s role in geopolitical conflicts around the globe. Can’t have that happening!” • Creeps.

Groves of Academe

“Universities Are Playing Fast and Loose With Students’ Health” [The Nation]. “Let’s not unthinkingly embrace the conventional wisdom, or swallow the university-dispensed Kool-Aid, which defaults to student blaming…. I know, from my reporting and work on reproductive and sexual health, that asking people to change their behavior is the hardest thing to do—even when the correct thing to do has been clear for decades. Right now, scientists and public health practitioners are still debating the growing evidence that the virus may be spread by even the tiniest floating drops spewed when we talk or cough. I also know that young people can be inveterate risk takers…. Universities are deluding themselves about campus outbreaks in the making—their making. They should take a page from the world of sexual health, where the language and understanding has shifted subtly but significantly from “safe sex” to “safer sex” and the recognition that no sex is 100 percent risk-free—condoms, backup methods, and compassionate partners notwithstanding. There is no safety in residential education at this juncture.” • Those administrators don’t pay themselves, ya know. Worth reading in full.

“With Schools Closed, PBS Doubles Down on Offering Digital Content” [Morning Consult]. “While subscription streaming services have proven beneficial for legacy media companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, PBS has sought to emphasize its free educational material by expanding its digital offerings. Jonathan Barzilay, PBS’ chief operating officer, said the company worked quickly to pivot to meet the educational needs of children, both over the air and online, after schools across the country were shut down in March.” • Hopefully no sleazu funding arrangements….

“The Best Way to Help Schools Reopen” [Politico]. “The unfolding complexity of school reopening reflects a simple truth: Our state and local public health infrastructure is woefully inadequate to meet the moment. While significant evidence affirms that children being physically present in school is the most optimal learning and developmental environment, there is a groundswell of legitimate apprehension from school staff, parents and students that going to school means walking into an unsafe environment. This sentiment has led 35 of the nation’s 50 largest school districts to begin the fall semester remotely, unsure how, or when, they can reopen for in-person instruction.” • Like all our other infrastructure.

Class Warfare

“What Populism Is and Is Not” [The Nation]. Review of Thomas Frank’s The People, No. “[The People, No] is a book that gets—in fact, obsesses over—what ‘populism’ is and is not, historically and in the present. Populism has a long and impressive history in American politics, a record of achieving real, tangible improvements in the lives of working people, including progressive income taxes, the eight-hour workweek, direct election of senators, and the abandonment of the gold standard. Frank identifies a pattern of elites (or anti-populists) who have perceived popular movements—early 20th century Progressives, labor activists, the civil rights movement—as threats to their own power and have responded by belittling those groups that have not met with their approval. This is the fundamental premise for Frank: that true populism represents the economic interests of the working class and, as such, is reliably detested and rejected by the upper classes (hence the titular No). … Anti-elitism, though, does not a populist make… To elites, though, anything arraigned against them is ‘populist.’ Anyone who thinks Larry Summers is a fraud and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is a bunch of self-gratifying bullshit must be of the same ideological cloth. Frank characterizes, correctly, the current state of American politics not as elites versus the masses but as two parties (superficially liberal and conservative) that represent warring factions among the elites.” • Measured, worth reading.

“Cam girls are now working inside warehouse studio ‘pods'” [New York Post]. “COVID-safe co-working spaces have arrived. Adult webcam company CamSoda has launched pop-up studios for ‘cam girls’ so they can have a workspace where they won’t have to worry about bothering housemates or family with their potentially loud and erotic work. A test run for the concept was recently opened in Medellin, Colombia, where lockdown orders are still in place. CamSoda took advantage of the hard-hit real estate market and converted one of the city’s many empty warehouses into studios featuring individual sanitized pods. Models submit to a temperature check before entry, and pods feature a laptop, bed or couch, and webcam. They are cleaned after each use. ‘Quarantining for the last few months has been unbelievably hard on all of us. And for a lot of our models, it’s been especially difficult to find a place to cam,’ said Daryn Parker, vice president of CamSoda, in a press release. Camming has been one of the select few professions to be able to continue and thrive during the coronavirus pandemic by nature of being prime for remote work, making it among the only forms of adult entertainment able to safely produce new material since March. But for cam girls who don’t live alone, quarantining has posed a unique challenge to work-life balance…. Following its success in Colombia, CamSoda is preparing to launch cam co-working pods in the US, starting with states hard-hit by COVID-19, including Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.” • Go long social distancing….

News of the Wired

“What Ancient Sculptures Reveal About Universal Facial Expressions” [Smithsonian]. “Researchers have long debated whether humans use universal facial expressions to display emotion. Now, a study of ancient Mesoamerican sculptures offers a new take on the age-old question, suggesting that expressions of emotions such as pain, happiness and sadness transcend both time and culture. (It’s worth noting, however, that several experts not involved in the research have raised questions regarding the findings, per Bruce Bower of Science News.)…. The results—published earlier this month in the journal Science Advances—’provide support for the universality of at least five kinds of facial expression: those associated with pain, anger, determination/strain, elation, and sadness,’ according to the paper. Interestingly, these five universal emotions don’t match up with the seven more commonly identified basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, surprise, happiness, sadness and contempt.” • Readers may wish to comment on the methodology. For myself, I’d be happy if disgust, fear, and contempt weren’t universal. Especially given the state of our politics.

“Three Ways to Hack a Printed Circuit Board” [IEEE Spectrum]. “In order to understand how a circuit board can be hacked, it’s worth reviewing how they are made. Printed circuit boards typically contain thousands of components. (They are also known as printed wiring boards, or PWBs, before they are populated with components.) The purpose of the PCB is, of course, to provide the structural support to hold the components in place and to provide the wiring needed to connect signals and power to the components…..PCB designers start by creating two electronic documents, a schematic and a layout… Once the schematic and layout have been checked, the layout is converted to a set of files….. Next, “pick and place” machines put surface-mount components where they belong on the board, and the PCBs pass through an oven that melts all the solder at once…..Attacks can be made at every one of these design steps. In the first type of attack, extra components are added to the schematic. This attack is arguably the hardest to detect because the schematic is usually regarded as the most accurate reflection of the designer’s intent and thus carries the weight of authority.” • Excellent technical writing, and fascinating material.

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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.


  1. km

    Re: CoD: BO. I also strongly suspect that the entire point of the Narcos series was to provide a post-hoc rationale for the crimes of the United States government in Latin America.

    I was so enraged that I could not watch.

    1. Librarian Guy

      +++. I agree, & I stopped watching after 2-3 episodes without having processed the politics like you did, just because the over-the-top violence, especially against women, disgusted me. I did notice the DEA agents were portrayed as not corrupt, which I wasn’t buying, though.

      In his excellent book Television: A Biography, David Thomson notes that going back to Miami Vice in the 80s-90s, US crime dramas copied Scarface, portraying Latinx people as “more violent” than whites, but also as well-dressed.

  2. Mikel

    Re: UT student
    “Scott said her parents are now faced with paying $1100 a month for her empty apartment until the lease ends in July.’”

    Of course, it could be cheaper than dealing with hospital bills.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The tuition and the leases were the reasons why these colleges opened. It has been obvious all summer that all they wanted was the money first and the leases signed. Otherwise they would have had a year of competition at *gasp* market rates. Which in a college town with no college students = zilch.

      The students are the victims in this relationship.

    2. Arizona Slim

      What if the students, en masse, just said this to their landlords:

      “So, sue me!”

      It’s one thing for the $1,100 a month landlord to shame Ms. Scott and her family. If she and her fellow students formed a tenants union, different story.

      1. periol

        To be honest, they don’t even necessarily need a tenants union for students. I’ve walked away from leases before. In order to sue you, they have to find you to serve you. Much harder with out-of-state students. If they sue you, they still have to figure out how to collect from you after the fact. Can’t get blood from a stone. The landlords I walked out on didn’t sue. Granted, I was paid up, just dumping the lease mid-term. Also granted, these weren’t corporations.

        It’s the people with money who have to worry about getting sued. If you already have a bad credit history and no money, losing a lawsuit like this is just another bad mark on your already bad credit.

        1. cocomaan

          This is exactly my thought: imagine the entire apartment building walking on their leases at once. There’s no possible way they can follow up on everyone. Safety in numbers, unlike with covid.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          The local government and judges will squash any attempt at the students unionizing. They know who pays their salaries.

          You would have better success if all the cosigning parents go said screw, publicly, to the college and the state legislature.

      2. Billy

        Miz Scott, Copy this verbatim:

        “Fine, I will advertise for five or more homeless people to pay me a small rent to occupy the room and make full use the facilities to create the payments that I will then forward to your leasing office. Are you sure you can’t make an exception to your no termination policy?”

        1. periol

          Chances are real high that’s specifically excluded as a possibility in the lease. We’re talking college housing run by a corporation here.

          1. ambrit

            Yep. Most larger apartment complexes around here have strict occupancy limits. One of my son’s friends back then had to move to another apartment complex because the one he was in would not allow his girlfriend to move in with him.

    3. Synoia

      If the accommodation is unsafe (infectious environment), the lease was broken by the landlord.

      The landlord has to prove the premises is “safe.”

      One case in the building and a common HVAC system would be some degree of proof.

      1. Billy

        I like it!

        “Dear Leasing Company,

        “In light of the changing national health emergency, before I move in, I will need proof by a licensed HVAC engineer, and an epidemiologist M.D., that these premises have been tested and are covid safe. I await your documentation before beginning my lease payments.”

    4. XXYY

      Also, it’s money you were going to spend “anyway” for a year of education, so you could just regard it as a sunk cost if you can manage to get your head in the right place to see it that way.

      My son is in the same situation and I am trying to be philosophical about it. Of course, it would be nice to be able to split the difference with the landlord or something. Paying them the full rate for an empty, unused unit does not seem quite fair, either.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > Science, after all, provides evidence of things not seen.

    It buuurrrrns!

    Alas, religious leaders like MacArthur have been setting their understanding of NT “faith” into opposition with the OT call to “wisdom” for a long, long time. I had been expecting a slow-motion recognition, in the context of the climate crisis, that certain flavors of christianity (among which are the more popular ones in US at the moment) have been functioning as a kind of public health menace. The pandemic has greatly shortened the time horizon for this recognition, I think.

    Not that I’m happy to have foreseen this. Perhaps the people will repent before they perish.

    1. John k

      It’s always about the money. If you pray at home the church gets nothing. Social distancing in the parking lot means fewer people accommodated, and disastrous when it rains.
      So pack em into a cozy church… saw one women go in, asked if she’s not afraid of Covid, she said god womb allow the virus to spread in her church. Well, maybe not in hers…

  4. Grant

    “Matt Bennett, whose center-left group Third Way”

    In what universe is Third Way “center-left”? Center of what? It is a right wing corporate front group, but they post rainbow flags and BLM virtue signals. They push for the privatization of the postal service, but they will let you know that a woman of color should be the one to do it. Same inequitable, undemocratic system, but diversity among the exploiters. Reminds me of what happened when British colonialism started to break down. Work to maintain the same exploitive system, find people in the colonies to replace the white faces. Have them crush their people. Third Way isn’t on the left any more than a libertarian that smokes bud and supports legalization is on the “left”.

    1. Tvc15

      The same propaganda filled universe where one corrupt narcissist right wing president calls the other corrupt narcissist center right presidential candidate a radical left wing socialist…I know it was a rhetorical question, but couldn’t resist.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Man, that is so bad that. So the assault on American education has spilled into the reading list for Marine officers. It must be the same for the Army as well. Why, for god’s sake, would you want to have anything by Max Boot on a required reading list? If an officer went to war and only read that reading list, he would be so unprepared for the reality that it will get a lot of good people killed. I wonder if good Marine officers have their own secret reading list which they pass around?

  5. Pavel

    Bravo! What a brilliant proposal

    “Vaccine hesitancy.” As readers know, I’m not anti-vax. But in the current context, I think it would be very helpful if the first to be for Covid were every member of the Senate, every member of the House, the President, and every political appointee in the Executive branch. That’s not very many doses, after all, and every single one of ’em has “access” to the best possible health care, so no problemo, right?

    In a similar vein (already proposed years ago, of course), why not force that cohort only to use Obamacare?

    Note: It seems Putin (who had already contracted Covid) had his daughter be the first recipient of the Russian vaccine. Apparently Catherine the Great had done something similar with the smallpox vaccine.

    Note Deux: Anyone else here old enough to remember when a UK agriculture minister had his child eat a burger to “prove” how safe the UK beef was? (During the mad cow disease epidemic — John Gummer?)

    1. albrt

      The DC elite can get as many fake vaccines and drink as many fake glasses of Flint water as they want. I will not be getting any vaccine based on approval or production by any US institution because they are all 100% corrupt and untrustworthy.

      I might get a vaccine if it is approved and produced by an institution in the semi-civilized world (such as the EU or Korea) and the chain of custody from there to here can be documented.

      1. Pavel

        Excellent policy IMHO. Even before COVID the FDA has been shown many times to be basically in the pockets of BigPharma (and this did not start with Trump).

      2. Procopius

        It seems to me you will have supply-chain problems with that. I think Customs and Border Patrol and the USPS between them will be pretty effective at preventing you from getting any other than the approved “made in U.S.A.” very expensive vaccine. Of course, if you’re a frequent world traveler, especially one who goes regularly to Korea, India, and China, that won’t be a problem.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You would always wonder if any release of a vaccine would be done the way that Microsoft does it. By labeling their beta version as version 1.0 and have their users become unwitting beta testers of their programs. Anything labelled Microsoft Version 1.0 became notorious because of this so I hope the same is not true of any vaccine that Big Pharma came out with.

      On a side note, I have always been willing to try a Hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin & zinc regime if this pandemic really got loose but apparently in Australia the drug companies have made it that if a doctor prescribes Hydroxychloroquine, that they can be criminal charged for dispensing a dangerous drug that in a review a few short years ago was found never to have killed anyone? Very instructive that.

    3. Oji

      Boston smallpox epidemic of 1721 saw a doctor similarly test inoculation on his own child. Other local doctors opposed him due to the source of the original info on inoculation as a possibility, a local slave under the ownership of one Cotton Mather (!)– who believed his slave’s stories of inoculation when he saw the scars, and read of a similar account in a medical journal, which he read out of personal interest.

      Cool story, BTW, also involves James Franklin, and younger brother/apprentice Ben, as young local printers who make hay out of the controversy.

      1. Jeff W

        The doctor was Zabdiel Boylston who personally inoculated 287 people of whom, he recorded, only 2% had died, as compared to the mortality rate of 14.8% of the naturally occurring disease that year, 1721. (Less than two months after Boylston inoculated his own son, Scottish surgeon Charles Maitland got a royal license that allowed him to test inoculation on six prisoners from Newgate Prison in London. The six prisoners, all to be pardoned in return for their participation in the trial, would survive and and those exposed to smallpox—including one of the pardoned female convicts who was paid to sleep in the same bed as a ten-year-old boy with smallpox for six weeks—would later prove to be immune.)

        James Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s older brother, founded The New-England Courant that same year and, while James claimed to be neutral, “his newspaper gave the anti-inoculation forces a forum for their protests.” Benjamin Franklin became a lifelong advocate of inoculation and regretted that he had not inoculated one of his sons—because the boy suffered, Franklin said, “from a Flux,” i.e., protracted diarrhea—who died of smallpox at the age of 4 in 1736. While Franklin advocated inoculation, he would not live to see vaccination, dying in 1790. Edward Jenner introduced vaccination eight years later, in 1798.

    4. ronnie mitchell

      According to Putin it was his daughter’s decision because she is eighteen years old and she wanted to do it.

  6. ProNewerDeal

    What is currently known about clothing & COVID?

    I have been washing my jeans & dry-fit style T-shirt even if going inside a grocery store for 10 mins. I have been using a dedicated pair of shoes strictly for these shopping tasks.

    Is this still necessary or overkill? Option 2 would be storing the jeans & shirt in a closet upon that is never otherwise used upon returning home, if they didn’t otherwise need to be washed (eg used for 10 mins).

    1. RMO

      I’m still keeping a dedicated outfit for shopping etc. I strip in the garage when I return and shower immediately, then change into an inside outfit. Fortunately we have a shower right next to the door that connects the garage to the living areas of the house. Necessary? Maybe not but it doesn’t hurt. Still also using mask and gloves for shopping of course.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Overkill, in spades. The virus is not likely to last long on clothes, nor are you likely to pick it up if you don’t touch anything except with your gloved hands (gloves not even necessary if you absolutely don’t touch your face–which goes even if you wear gloves–so long as you use hand sanitizer after all contact with grocery cart etc. is done, before touching the steering wheel etc. in your car).

      It’s about what you breathe in. If after removing your clothes you wash your hands that is plenty good. I don’t even make a distinction between home and public clothes anymore, though I am very conservative and basically don’t touch anything where I go (only to drugstore and grocery and it’s not like I need to sit down there anyway). Also, after removing the mask it is good to wash your face as well as your hands.

      There have been several articles linked here about how surface transmission or fomites are not nearly as important as airborne transmission. It drives me nuts that still the primary guidance is all about distance, masks, and washing hands, when none of that will make a bit of difference if you spend an hour in a poorly ventilated public space in close quarters with other people, as in a restaurant.

      The masks available to us mitigate breathing in the virus but do not prevent it, and obviously madly scrubbing every surface in sight does nothing at all.

      1. urblintz

        And there is this to be considered as well: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-antibacterial-products-may-do-more-harm-than-good/

        “Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria, Levy notes. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.

        When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > here have been several articles linked here about how surface transmission or fomites are not nearly as important as airborne transmission. It drives me nuts that still the primary guidance is all about distance, masks, and washing hands, when none of that will make a bit of difference if you spend an hour in a poorly ventilated public space in close quarters with other people, as in a restaurant.

        I stan for aerosols, as readers know, and I believe science backs me up (even if WHO and CDC are still committed to the droplet paradigm (yes, the Kuhn reference is deliberate). Still, I have not changed my personal practice much (and have very much included Povidine iodine (which we linked to at NC, but I am too lazy to find the link. The study:

        In late 2019, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), appeared in Wuhan, China. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current outbreak of COVID-19 to be a public health emergency of international concern. There is no treatment for COVID-19 infection besides preventive measures recommended by the WHO. Povidone-iodine (PVP-I) is an antiseptic that has primarily been used for the prevention or management of wound infections for over 150 years. Its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties and its safety have been well-documented. This article reviews the studies that have assessed the antiviral efficacy of PVP-I and its potential use as a prophylactic on the oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal mucosa of healthcare workers, COVID-19 patients, and the community as an additional measure to help abate the pandemic.

        (I find the throat spray more convenient than gargling, and when I find a nasal spray I will certainly use it. Povidine also confirms my priors, in that I strongly believe in looking to the past for lessons about what is cheap and effective, as for example it turns out that the weird Victorian and turn-of-the-century American practice of keeping the windows open is sensible given a dose-response relation; the moving air coming in from the outdoors prevents the virus from concentrating.)

        However, I have not abandoned my practice of showering whenever I come back from running errands or being in public (and scrubbing, too; friction is good). I still am careful to touch ATM buttons with a knuckle. I wash refrigerated food items because we know the virus survives in that environment. And so forth. I also hang all bath towels out in the sun to dry.

        Even though fomites are not the primary mode, as “the science” once thought, still, those aerosols have to land somewhere. (Imagine the surfaces in a smokers’ hotel room, for example). And the risk of not including measures for fomite in my practice is ruin, so Taleb would tell me to go ahead and do it.

        I go on at tedious length! Also, masking, naturally. I wear two: A fashion-forward one on the outside, covering a medical mask.

    3. anon y'mouse

      perhaps hang them in full sunlight for awhile, and outside period for a full day. sunlight degrades fabrics, but perhaps slightly less so than washing each time would, and then you won’t be “wasting” water for a 10 minute trip.

      everything i found says that the virus *may* survive on clothing for 24 hours, comparable to cardboard. and that those handheld uv disinfection devices are crud.

      methinks i need an “airing” cupboard.

    4. Romancing The Loan

      In my opinion overkill, for the same reasons ChiGal mentioned – aerosols not fomites seem to be the vector. I don’t even change clothes anymore when I return from outside (though I do wash my hands) but I wear a full-face respirator (with a regular cloth mask tied over the exhale vent) when I have to go inside any confined space that isn’t my own home.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > aerosols not fomites seem to be the vector

        I think it’s premature to conclude that aerosols are the vector, even though I believe they are the most important one.* Since the risk of being wrong on fomites is ruin, it makes sense to take precautions. And hanging clothing and towels (and bedding?) out in the sun, if you can, is a pleasant custom in any case!

        NOTE * For example, I cannot recall a study that positively ruled them out.

  7. clarky90

    “Researchers have long debated whether humans use universal facial expressions to display emotion……”

    Now that we are moving towards the universal wearing of masks, inside and outside, facial expressions are becoming of less relevance. Our facial expressions are becoming private (internal), rather than public signaling.

    Soak up the smiles of friends and strangers, while they are still apparent.

    (Me) “When I was a young……..the smiles that I experienced, but that was long ago. Before the masks….”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Soak up the smiles of friends and strangers, while they are still apparent.

      I understand your argument, but it is still possible to smile with your eyes. Query: Is there an emotion that cannot be expressed with the eyes?

  8. McDee

    Re Obama’s speech: “Maybe I should put on my yellow waders for this.” I was thinking more along the lines of hip boots and a shovel.

    1. RMO

      I was thinking the speech has more in common with the giant sewage tank with money floating among the feces that you see at the end of “The Magic Christian”

      1. urblintz

        “If you want it, here it is, come and get it…
        but ya better hurry cause it’s going fast…
        some people say that there must be a catch
        would you walk away from
        a fool and his money…”

  9. ProNewerDeal

    I recall during the 0bama ACA legislation process (2009?) the Orange Satan Markos Moulitsas & other Corporate Dems were bashing MedicareForAll advocates for being “purists”, “wanting a pony”, etc.

    IMHO this is backwards. Corporate Dems like 0bama/Biden/Clintons & there tools like Moulitsas are the Purist Pony types. Biden is so greedy that he won’t earnestly pledge 1 major Progressive/Social Democratic type policy that has majoritarian support among US Voters, supermajority support among D voters, & proven effective from other nations. Imagine if Biden supported MedicareForAll, while telling financial services funders he remains their tool pro-Bailouts, & telling Military Industrial Complex donors he will not cut military budget, etc. Hell even cannabis legalization while remaining a Corporate Puppet on other issues would likely be enough to ensure Biden’s victory.

    The Duopoly is so unresponsive to voter policy preferences since the Reagan/neoliberal era, that even earnestly advocating & implementing 1 major policy would generate many more voters. The bar is super low.

    But no. The Biden types are so Purist & Greedy that they will not grant even 1 major policy proposal, even at the risk of losing the election, likely with verbally guaranteed no-work bribes/jobs from their donors in the event of losing the election, eg a losing Cognitively Impaired Joe Biden giving a $400K 1 hour speech to Goldman Sachs in 2021, etc.

    Yet if Biden loses, watch the Corporate D types blame it on “Bernie Bros” & Russia. Corporate Ds are a Cult of Personal Irresponsibility.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      I am in the category of those who feel they no longer have a dog in the fight and watched none of the D convention. I don’t much like Bill Maher, but I was flipping channels and caught a very interesting segment on his most recent show with Tom Franks and Reverend Barber discussing the convention and everything that is wrong with what the Ds are doing. However, Barber made a really compelling case for getting involved nonetheless on a local, grass-roots level, citing how they flipped the governorship of Kentucky to a progressive who actually followed through on his campaign promises.

      Lately Michael Moore has done a couple of his Rumble podcasts along the same lines. One with Briahna Joy Gray is very good, both talking about the need to stay engaged despite our discouragement, although if you listen to it there is a significant divergence in their approach to holding Biden accountable. I am afraid Moore is engaging in some pretty wishful thinking as he tries to GOTV against Trump.

      Anyway, worth considering what there might be left for types like us to do besides gripe amongst ourselves (not meant as a disparagement, it’s all I have managed so far)…

      1. John k

        Yeah, me too. Wife goes lesser evil, tired of my gripes, not that she disagrees with the points, but orange guy so terrible… and doesn’t believe war with Venezuela if Biden elected…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t much like Bill Maher, but I was flipping channels and caught a very interesting segment on his most recent show with Tom Franks and Reverend Barber discussing the convention

        I keep waiting for the entire show, or at least segments of a decent length, to show up on YouTube. Can somebody alert me when that happens? Thank you!

      3. Stillfeelinthebern

        Thanks for this comment and review of podcasts, interviews. I am so depressed with the Biden campaign’s lack of action in Wisconsin, so I didn’t watch any of the Dem convention and I haven’t been listening to anything political, except for Useful Idiots. Katie and Matt always make me happy, I just love their conversations. That said, I was looking through podcasts to download for a week of vacation and all of those you mentioned caught my eye. Rev Barber is one of the most thoughtful leaders in this country right now doing great work.

  10. pjay

    “QAnon Is the Future of the Republican Party” [The Nation].

    “… is QAnon really more crazed — and dangerous! — than, say, mainstream macro, handmaiden of austerity? Or RussiaGate, another yarn diagram used by national security goons to gin up war fever against Russia?”

    QAnon is designed to stir up mainly powerless people for political sheep-herding. A few of the more unstable followers might become the next Kyle Rittenhouse, or more likely his “militia” buddies.

    Russiagate is designed to stir up the PMC, some of whom have considerable power and influence, for political sheep-herding. A few of its more unstable followers – or perhaps its instigators – might start WWIII.

    So, no. It is *not* more crazed. All you liberal “experts” in right-wing “conspiracy theory” who are trying to warn us and save us — please turn your attention to where it might do a lot more good.

  11. Grant

    Third Way is “center-left”? Neat. I have a friend who is a far right/libertarian type. He smokes bud, wants to legalize it. I guess he is then center left. Yes, Third Way is a corporate front group and is right wing on most issues, but it does post rainbow flags and BLM virtue signals. I guess explaining what they are in the center of isn’t needed.

    1. jsn

      Virtue signaling is center left.

      Not insulting workers is radical left.

      Anyone who actually cares about workers is a communist.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I’m always suspicious of the characterizations of think thanks when they’re quoted in any Establishment publication. Right-wing stuff is all too often “centrist” and neoliberal think tanks are generally considered “liberal” or “center-left”. (Like, Tanden’s outfit.)

      This is all part of the long con.

      1. De. John Carpenter

        When the establishment tries to describe anything on the left-right political spectrum, I take what they say and move it a few notches to the right. I usually end up pretty close to the truth.

    3. Daryl

      > He smokes bud, wants to legalize it. I guess he is then center left.

      Sounds like your friend is a radical leftist compared to the DNC then!

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    but it does post rainbow flags and BLM virtue signals

    Only after the fact. The Third Way did nothing to advance anyone’s rights.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Rainbow flags and BLM pop-ups are free (relatively) to MegaCorp. It’s when one threatens the money that shit gets real.

      1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

        In my view we’ve tipped over firmly into “freedom of religion” territory. I seem to recall that being pretty important in the formation of the idea of a place called “America”. I don’t appreciate being told how I must think, threading a needle down an ever-shrinking spiral of supposedly “Goodthink” orthodoxy. Where all other forms of thought are bad and wrong.

        “Woke” is a cult, pure and simple. Maybe a “sect” is a better term. I try to look at the cult members with pity: their minds have been hijacked. But I also think it is profoundly threatening to our freedoms. Once you take away the individual’s freedom to think for him or herself there’s not much left.

        1. jsn

          It is depressing.

          As appalling as Trump is, like with Hillary once again our Democrats have found a way to lose to this buffoon.

          Buffoon, ***hole, poltroon, dunderhead > nothing. Something beats nothing and all the Republicans that just boarded the D train are exactly the nothing Trump beat in the primary 4 years ago. The Ds really don’t want to govern, they’ve figured out how to run a rentier politics and are perfectly happy there.

  13. Billy

    “they told me that (Lobo Village) didn’t have a cancellation policy at the time,’

    I advise the kid to write back to them:

    “Fine, I will advertise for five homeless people to pay me a small rent to occupy the room and use the facilities to make the payments that I will then forward to you. Are you sure you can’t make an exception to your policy?”

  14. Polar Donkey

    A friend teaches at a high school in Mississippi. Just completed second week open. 4 teachers have covid. Numerous students out “quarantined”. That school had 40% of kids do online. Other schools in district had as little as 10% do online. Not sure how well social distancing works with 90% of students in building. No idea how much longer that school system will stay open. May try to get through next week then shutdown after labor day.

    1. Late Introvert

      Go Iowa! Former IBM exec who heads the U of I is scolding them darn students for being so irresponsible, but he has all of their checks now doesn’t he?

      Gov. Trumpette Reynolds has more blood on her hands. Announced recently that all school cases will be confidential, just like they covered up the nursing homes and slaughter houses.

  15. Tomonthebeach

    Two links today to The Nation articles complement one another. The first is Burmila’s review of Thomas Frank’s latest book on populism. Burmila points out that Trumpopulism and “real” populism both thrive on anti-elitism. He then points out that Liberals scold the working class for their ignorance thereby alienating the people they claim to represent.

    The second article is the QAnon article by Heer in which he reminds us of QAnon candidate Greene’s assertion: “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.” Indeed, QAnon is the emerging GOP tool that paints Democrats as evil elites – evil because they are pedophiles (a diagnosis Qs tortuously conflate with abortionists). Lock-er-up worked in 2016. Why would it not work in 2020?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Nevertheless (bearing in mind that anti-elitism and populism are often conflated, as IIRC Thomas Frank points out) a depiction of global elites as blood-drinking pedophiles has a certain je ne sais quoi … Especially when we remember major pedo scandals in the Catholic Church, the BBC, the Boy Scouts, and the United States House of Representatives (Hastert).

      It would be nice to have some serious reporting done not on the voters who got sucked into the yarn diagrams, but on who, exactly, Q is. Or what. If the movement is that serious a threat to yadda yadda yadda, you would expect that to be done, so it’s a curious lacuna amidst the chorus of other voices crying “Wolf!”

  16. WobblyTelomeres

    Go long lead? Maybe, but lead has high bremsstrahlung, requiring additional layers of lower Z materials (lots of water works, btw). Perhaps, a graded-Z solution?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Think of the break of a fresh rack of balls on a billiard table.

        Now, imagine the cue ball to be a carbon atom traveling at near light speed (a cosmic ray). Imagine the racked balls to be a lead atom. When they collide, pieces go everywhere. The more pieces in the rack, the more pieces go flying off. Because of conservation of energy, the energy of the cosmic ray is distributed across all of the pieces. Some of those pieces are radiation (photons). As the pieces have, seperately, lower energy than the cosmic ray, this is termed braking radiation, or bremsstralung.

        The key is to have layers of shielding, with denser materials like lead or tantalum on the outside (higher Z, or atomic number) with successively less dense materials towards the inside (lower-Z) such as aluminum or polypropylene. This is graded-Z. The layers can take the form of a blanket of foils, as with the Swift Burst Array Telescope [BAT] Observatory, or as a built up laminate, similar in some respects to a multilayer circuit board, or even something as simple as a water filled steel box.

        Hope this helps.

        1. HotFlash

          My dear Wobbly, thank you for this. It is as lucid an explanation as I have ever had of a phenomenon that I barely understand. But somehow, I have the feeling that this information will be useful to me in the no-too-distant future. Or maybe not. OTOH, I have learned a lot this summer about pruning tomatoes for maximum yield.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Well, now these universities are really a con. Depending on major, wise students will investigate distance learning programs from LSU and Excelsior College. I earned my bachelors at the latter, and it’s a legitimate accredited institution, and is inexpensive, as are LSU correspondence courses.

    If you’re going to have attend remotely anyway, why not do so with a college or university that’s been doing it well for a long time now, for less?

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my neighbor-friends did her general education requirements at our local community college. She also started her interior design curriculum there. She finished that curriculum through North Arizona University Online. She can’t recommend it enough.

      Link: https://nau.edu/online/

      Oh, I might add that she was working full time while living at home with her parents. Not a hardship at all. She enjoyed being with Mom and Dad, and that closeness added a lot to her college years.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, I did my first two years at a community college, and it was both cheaper, had smaller class sizes at the time, and excellent instruction. That CC has grown substantially since then in campus size, so I have no idea if this is any longer the case, but it was at the time.

      2. sleepy

        I taught for years at the local community college. High school students could take courses there beginning in the summer before their junior year in HS. The beauty of it was that the local school district paid for it.

        I had one student who received her AA degree a week before she received her high school diploma. And it didn’t cost her a nickel. She arrived at the University of Iowa at age 18 with 60 college hours.

      3. Procopius

        Community colleges, like public libraries, are one of the underappreciated treasures our ancestors created for us.

  18. pricklyone

    IEEE Spectrum:
    ““In order to understand how a circuit board can be hacked, it’s worth reviewing how they are made.”
    This is familiar ground to hobby electronics buffs, let alone professionals.
    How in the world could anyone who reads this publication not know, already?
    Middle schoolers regularly produce Gerbers and have them made. I have done it.
    > Anyone who has access to your design files could corrupt them, and any one who is making those PCB’s could alter them.
    And anyone you allow into your garage can cut your brake lines!
    Simple solution. Move it all back in-house.
    All this, of course, is dependent on some very shaky premises about who, and how, could make alterations of this sort, and still provide a product which functions. The design steps of creating schematics, laying out boards, and producing Gerbers are typically done by the same set of people,the design engineering team. The PCB manufacturer has no need to see your schematics, only the layout files.This really means that for someone to “hack” your board, they have to reverse engineer it from the Gerber files, which describe only the physical attributes of the design, not the functioning of the circuitry. This is somewhat akin to the blind men describing the elephant. Not that it couldn’t be done, but that it is a daunting task, and by whom, exactly? Governments? None of the “examples” of these hacks is actually an example of any such activity.

    Stop outsourcing your primary business functions to the lowest bidder, and problem disappears, right?

  19. Jason Boxman

    I love how these group names (and names for acts of Congress) are utter nonsense. I need to create a group called “Kittens for Peace in the American Century” and then setup a GoFundMe for Henry Kissinger or something.


  20. Arielle

    Re: Bats. The unloved but necessary pollinator. In my area, there are a lot of caves in which bats hibernate, thus called “hibernaculum.” Do not enter these caves, as per Lambert, but also because you may introduce a deadly pathogen into their environment that their populations are just recovering from, called “white nose syndrome,” caused by a people-introduced fungus. So, it’s not what they can do to us, it’s what we can do to them!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > you may introduce a deadly pathogen into their environment that their populations are just recovering from, called “white nose syndrome,” caused by a people-introduced fungus.

      Excellent point, thank you!

  21. zagonostra

    >Joe Biden Is The Nominee, But The Democratic Party Belongs To Barack Obama [HuffPo].

    The utter banality of this article is truly astounding. The author wants to tell me I have no F&^%ing Choice? I have choices, I can abstain, vote 3’d party, write in a candidate, or if I am in a nasty mood and want to punish the DNC for rigging 2016 and the skulduggery in 2020 primaries, I’ll vote Trump, especially because he is the less effective evil.

    I don’t have to eat that S*&^ sandwich and you can’t make me…Tommy will not eat his peas.

    There is no real choice in this presidential election. Trump is a racist authoritarian whose incompetence has enabled the deaths of 173,000 Americans and all but destroyed the American economy. So far as our votes are concerned, it doesn’t really matter whether Biden is a nice guy with no ideas or a lousy friend with brilliant white papers…

    If the American left hopes to see the transformative action necessary for averting another authoritarian slide, it will have to mold its ideas about sweeping change to a narrative that resembles what Obama presented on Wednesday night. Right or wrong, it’s what Democrats want to hear. And there is no way forward for democracy outside the world’s oldest political party.

    1. Pat

      I always take exception for laying all the deaths on Trump. Only because I live in NY. Cuomo was the poster boy for responsible leadership in the crisis. He did everything that was supposed to be done according to the people making these announcements. And yet…

      Our response was hideous, the Trump administration was the most recent in a long line of leadership weakening or outright destroying our emergency response ability. Of underfunding agencies tasked with insuring American health and safety. We would have been up a flooding creek without a paddle regardless of who was in charge.

      But god forbid we admit that any of us noticed that HRC or Biden would have been stumbling in the dark just as much as Trump, that their vaunted plan was inadequate.

      They are right that we don’t have a choice. At least not one worthy of anyone’s vote. Neither the Republican or the Democratic candidate can cope with the mess that decades of neoliberal and neoconservative bull pucky have created. By design.

    2. dcrane

      Re: options. Since these days the Democrats look to be just another Republican Party, except one that includes obsessive identity politics and cancel culture, I might just vote the GOP in as the better party.

      Especially because some of the issues on which the Dems used to appear superior no longer hold me. E.g.,
      – Global warming. Democrats posture on this but never push policies that would address the issue with the seriousness their rhetoric calls for. Instead they’re taking opposition to fossil fuel subsidies out of their platform.
      – Abortion. We’re losing the battle anyway. With or without Roe, we’re turning into a country with liberal states that allow abortion, middle ground states that substantially restrict it, and rural states that make it difficult to obtain.

      1. Procopius

        … except one that includes obsessive identity politics and cancel culture, …

        Means testing. Don’t forget means testing.

  22. pricklyone

    Just got this on voicemail, in slightly Asian accent:
    “Hungerford, press five. If this is not the household, please, press three.[Long pause…] Sorry, you did not reveal yourself to be human. Goodbye.”

    What’s it all about, Alfie?

    1. pricklyone

      The system is sophisticated enough to listen for multi-toned key press responses, but doesn’t listen for the single frequency “beep” denoting an answering voicemail system? (And hang up on such beep instead of trying to get a keypress response?)
      At least it didn’t blurt out someone’s test results to the wrong party, as the system at my Dr. office has shown it will do…
      voicetechnology dot nyet

  23. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

    In my view we’ve tipped over firmly into “freedom of religion” territory. I seem to recall that being pretty important in the formation of the idea of a place called “America”. I don’t appreciate being told how I must think, threading a needle down an ever-shrinking spiral of supposedly “Goodthink” orthodoxy. Where all other forms of thought are bad and wrong.

    “Woke” is a cult, pure and simple. Maybe a “sect” is a better term. I try to look at the cult members with pity: their minds have been hijacked. But I also think it is profoundly threatening to our freedoms. Once you take away the individual’s freedom to think for him or herself there’s not much left.

  24. timotheus

    “Vaccine hesitancy”

    It will be fascinating to see how the anti-vax world, which intersects with Trumpism to some extent, responds to a vaccine promoted by the Chosen One. OTOH, if he is pushed into the opposition, it will be a natural evolution for him to denounce any vaccine that emerges under the incoming Dems via giant rallies, interviews on weird YouTube channels, and maybe a new slogan for the t-shirt/cap combo. Imagine QAnon merging with the anti-vax crowd boosted by a Trump facing legal troubles.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > denounce any vaccine

      It will also be natural for liberal Democrats to dogpile any vaccine produced under the Warp Speed program, because Trump. How they will square that with their love of Big Pharma and all its works I don’t know, but I’m sure they’ll find a way! (Perhaps the losers will fund attacks on the winner(s)…)

  25. occasional anonymous

    The story of the Call of Duty franchise is a tragic one, in a way. It started as kind of spin-off of the Medal of Honor franchise, started by several former MoH developers who went off and founded their own studio. At first the main distinguishing feature between the two was that you didn’t play just an American in WW2 in Call of Duty, but also got to play British and Russian soldiers.

    An example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYWb7GfGn_A

    Now I think you could definitely criticize the Russian campaigns in these early games of honing too closely to Enemy at the Gates-style stereotypes of the Eastern Front, but the Russians were not at all vilified.

    Even when later games (ones not set in WW2) had Russia as an enemy there was usually some attempt at a justification (you’re only fighting a sub-faction of ‘bad Russians’, or a third party is secretly manipulating the Russians and the West into fighting each other).

    But the two most recent games have dropped all pretense and straight up vilify Russia. What started as a series with a certain spirit of internationalism has degraded into pure Pentagon propaganda.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wasn’t it Call of Duty that came out with a middle east campaign (actually Iraq) and as was normal, that you could play the Americas or their attackers. But so many people got upset about a game where Americans were being attacked by players that CoD had to yank that feature out f their games?

      1. Deschain

        No that was actually a later Medal of Honor (made after the original MoH folks had moved to CoD), and it was Afghanistan.

        CoD this year is actually much worse than what Lambert’s article suggests:


        None of which really matters anyway as right now CoD is all about the battle Royale mode Warzone. Single player campaigns are so 2010.

        Meanwhile the original MoH/CoD folks are now at EA and making some cool stuff like Titanfall and Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Now I think you could definitely criticize the Russian campaigns in these early games of honing too closely to Enemy at the Gates-style stereotypes of the Eastern Front, but the Russians were not at all vilified.

      That was the whole point. The entire game was a copy of media stereotypes and locations.. they took locations from Enemy at the Gates and Band of Brothers directly.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Ronald Reagan sends you to do war crimes in the latest Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailer”

    I have never understood this obsession with all things Reagan by Republicans. It was not that many years ago that Republicans wanted to boot one President’s image off a coin so that Reagan’s image could be used instead. The name of the proposed President to be booted? George Washington. But then again, if Reagan was still alive I am sure that Michelle Obama would pass him the occasional jelly bean.

    1. John k

      Reagan was far too left to win nearly any rep primary today. Raised taxes multiple times! Was a supporter of women’s right to choose! Never started a war! Well, not including the Nicaragua affair…
      He’s far to the left of Obama and Biden, and most of the dem party. Did i mention he raised taxes? Multiple times?
      And Nixon was further left.

      1. Big Tap

        What about Grenada in 1983? I admit it wasn’t much of a war but you had to get rid of the Cuban commies or so we were told

        1. The Rev Kev

          One of the things I liked about that misbegotten campaign was the fact that more medals were awarded than actual soldiers that took part in it. And that is why so many generals you see have so much ‘salad’ on their uniforms.

      2. urblintz

        Reagan did a lot of damage and I am no fan…. but his one important accomplishment was important indeed: nuclear detente with Russia, which he accomplished alone, with Gorbachev, and against the advice of ALL his cabinet.

        Obama, on the other hand is a complete fraud and accomplished nothing of importance.

  27. Calypso Facto

    Tech: “Unprotected quantum ‘puters may hit 4ms brick wall, thanks to background radiation slashing qubit lifespans”

    Thanks for a good laugh. This is a game ender for quantum computing ‘as a service’, ie cloud-based. In 2014 I did performance testing in an unnamed standard cloud provider for a very well-known Korean hardware manufacturer running a large streaming music service on consumer-grade spinning disks (aka, ancient crap) and we were pulling sub 2ms response times from the application (you test response times from each stage, so application to load balancer, load balancer to client, etc, because you cannot know for sure how the network outside of your control will perform). That was six years ago, on the crappiest of crappy hardware. We were very happy because the manufacturer was going to axe the contract if we couldn’t keep it under 5ms response times. Quantum computing’s entire supposed value add is ludicrously fast processing speeds but near as I can tell there isn’t a standardized programming language for it AND it can’t serve fast enough without ridiculous shielding (is that going to fit in the server rack or the enclosure itself?).

    1. hunkerdown

      A DRAM cell can’t store a bit for more than 4ms, so, uh, I guess technological society is closed.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      There are several advanced labs that study how to protect very sensitive electronics from cosmic radiation, something directly related to placing advanced telescopes and other equipment in space. And now it seems, terribly important to quantum computing.

      Put “graded-z radiation shielding” into your favorite search engine to learn more. If nothing else, one could put a quantum computer in a swimming pool (i.e. a 4 foot water jacket) and connect it with a single strand of fiber optic cable.

      Also, that there isn’t a “standardized programming language”? Really? Just shuck the whole thing because Grace Hopper hasn’t arrived yet?

      1. Calypso Facto

        What is the use case for quantum computing, though? For each major computing leap (like desktops -> mobile or local processing -> cloud services) there will be a commensurate leap/change in hardware on both the consumer and provider/enterprise side. I see maybe a little bit of a use case on the provider side, for the truly massive data stores owned by streaming media providers. It can take a long time to traverse a lot of data if you’re querying against it and need to build indices on the fly, for example. I don’t see anything on the consumer side. We don’t have fleets of self-driving cars. AI to consume these resources is not ready for prime time. The Internet of Sh** has yet to take over.

        A change like this doesn’t just mean new physical computers, it means programmers to write those applications, and without a language or even standards around writing for q-bits how can the ecosystem be built? I realize this has not stopped the research, but if they have spent decades and who knows how much R&D resources only to find out this late that it doesn’t perform as well as crappy spinning disks without a lot of shielding, I don’t see the justification for continuing the dump money into the development.

        The next big leap involving hardware is probably going to be switching to smaller/cheaper microprocessors, like ARM’s, and using them to create custom-use hardware, like massive storage boxes. I think all the (Big 5) clouds now are backing research into virtualization and hyperscale architectures on that, and almost nobody is working on quantum computing. They don’t have to redesign their data centers for the shift to ARM-based architectures; I have no idea how insurance would deal with a water feature in a data center.

        1. Jos Oskam

          Water features have been in data centers since time eternal. How do you think these IBM mainframes were cooled? There’s a running joke that when competitors wanted to enter the mainframe space, they started with the requirement that their equipment had to have IBM-compatible water pipe connectivity (also known as plumbing).

          And no, I do not know if quantum computing is the next big thing, but I do think that the traditional von Neumann architecture is running out of steam by now. It’s starting to hold us back, and a real quantum leap (pun intended) in hardware architecture is needed to get to the next level.

  28. VietnamVet

    It is too late now, but all the unmasked sitting next to each other at Donald Trump’s White House acceptance speech should have been included in the phase III vaccine trial first. Denial runs real deep to think that there wouldn’t be virus transmission even if outdoors. Also, the White House denies Herman Cain contacted COVID-10 at the Tulsa rally.

    Basically at its core the ruling ideology believes that markets encompass everything. The sole purpose of for-profit healthcare is to make money. But controlling the coronavirus pandemic requires a functional government and spending lots of money on testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected. Since neither political party supports restoration of the public health service, the pandemic will not be controlled unless there is a vaccine next year. Perhaps a treatment will come later if the vaccines fail. However, the NBA and summer camps show that daily antigen testing, bubbles, contract tracing and isolation work now. But there is complete avoidance of bringing the public health program to schools and the workplace across the nation even though it would control the pandemic and end the economic depression. It goes against the billionaires’ core value of putting money over human lives.

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