2:00PM Water Cooler 10/12/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Sounds more like a rubber bicycle horn to me, not a trumpet. But I am not a birder!


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 are the United States regions:

Unmistakable rise in all regions now. Ugh. Super-ugh.Gonna be interesting to see what happens if the virus is really cranking in November or December, and the FDA says a vaccine is ready…

Here are the Swing States as I conceive them (see below):

Unmistakable rise everywhere…

Here are Southeast Asia and East Asia, with the United States for comparison:

Which ruling elite did better by its people?



“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. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. I would say the election is no longer static.

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

The election countdown:

Here is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

NEW “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

UPDATE California Ballots Mailed and Returned Tracker” [Political Data]. • California only, sadly.

UPDATE “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project]. With handy map:

I marked the Swing States. Look at Florida!

UDPATE “State Fact Sheets” [Georgetown Universitty]. “[F]act sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.”


Swing States

Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College and selected ballot initiatives in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

There are a lot of people playing Electoral College games. Here’s one:

Lots of paths to victory for Biden, there.

* * *

Here are two swing state populations whose past behavior as been well understood, but whose behavior may change due to Covid.

Nursing homes: “Pandemic Erects Barriers for Prized Bloc of Voters in Nursing Homes, Senior Facilities” [KHN]. “ccording to AARP, 71% of Americans 65 and older voted in the 2016 presidential election, compared with 46% of people 18-29… Many seniors who need help to get or fill out their ballots may be stymied by shifting rules about family visits…. Facilities that used to host voting precincts likely won’t do so this year because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19…. In years past, civic groups such as the League of Women Voters would stop by to give presentations on what’s on the ballot. Candidates for local office would hit nursing homes to make pitches. “In the context of a pandemic, we just can’t do it this year,” said Michelle Bishop, voter access and engagement manager with the National Disability Rights Network. Before the pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living facilities also often served as polling places. Residents could easily access voting booths, often set up in a lobby or community room. That was especially important because nursing homes are likely to be accessible to people with mobility problems, Bishop said.” • As it turns out, swing states are also high in nursing home residents:

Seniors are upset with Trump’s handling of Covid, especially in nursing homes. But the Covid-driven senior vote may be smaller than we think. For example, this exchange:

Students: Here are the swing states with high out-of-state student populations. Chart from KFF:

Presumably, student voters are more likely to vote for Biden than Trump. But if they aren’t in their swing state colleges because of the virus, and are back home, Biden’s swing state student vote may again me small than we think.

CO: “High-Stakes Race in Colorado Could Help Flip the Senate” [Courthouse News Service]. “A Democrat, two-term mayor of Denver and two-term governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper ended a run for the White House last year in time to pivot for a shot at Gardner’s Senate seat. With a background in geology, brewing and business, Hickenlooper was recruited to run for Senate last year by 314 Action, a pro-science political action committee based in Washington.” • Everybody thinks Biden an Harris being pro-fracking is all about PA, but being anti-fracking could make trouble for Hickenlooper, too.

GA: “Explainer: How Georgia could leave voters guessing until January about U.S. Senate control” [Reuters]. “Two Senate seats in [Georgia] are up for grabs at the same time, and if no candidate wins 50% of the vote, state law forces a run-off election on Jan. 5 – two days after the rest of Congress is sworn in. Some 10 Senate races are rated competitive this year, giving Democrats a chance of erasing Republicans’ 53-47 majority. That could lead to a bitter post-Nov. 3 political fight in the largely Republican state with a growing Democratic electorate.” • And this is before we get to the voting machines–

GA: Ugly, very ugly:

UPDATE MI: “One Suburban County Controls the Michigan House of Representatives” [Elections Daily]. “[T]he House elections will be the most important non-federal elections in Michigan taking place this year. Republicans hold a 58-51 majority in the House, with one vacant, Safe Democratic seat. This means Democrats will need to net four seats to gain a clear majority. There’s a clear path toward this goal, and it will rely heavily on suburban seats. They will be defending one highly competitive seat while contesting five. Of these five seats, three are in one heavily suburban county. This county is of course Oakland County, just north of Detroit. Oakland County has been a bright spot for Democrats in recent years, remaining static as the state has shifted rightward. At the same time though, it is very difficult to gauge politically, due to several competing forces occurring there. The county has minority filled areas, diversifying areas, heavily white liberal suburbs, and heavily white conservative exurbs. The county voted narrowly against George Bush twice but has since moved to the left. Hillary Clinton won Oakland County by 8.1 points, while Governor Gretchen Whitmer won it by 16.9 points. Recent polling has shown that Joe Biden will win the county by impressive margins. If this holds true, and Democratic support carries downballot, this would be very good for Democrats’ hopes of flipping the State House.”

UPDATE MN: “Republicans Aim to Flip Minnesota Blue-Dog Democrat’s House Seat” [Bloomberg]. “So far, [Representative Collin Peterson’s] social and fiscal conservatism has helped him fend off Republican challengers as his largely rural district in Minnesota has gone deep red. Trump swept the district by 31 points four years ago, making this the most Republican House district in America still represented by a Democrat. Will enough Trump voters split their tickets this time around and send Peterson back to Washington? Republicans are betting no. They see 2020 as their moment to flip the seat.”

WI: “In Wisconsin, Trump’s economic edge is blunted by COVID” [Los Angeles Times]. “Both here and nationwide, the economy has bounced back some from the devastation of the spring. In Wisconsin, unemployment surged to more than 13% in April, but it has steadily fallen over the summer to 6%, roughly double what it was for most of Trump’s presidency.”

WI: “List maintenance or voter suppression: How the practice of maintaining voter lists became polarized” [Wisconsin Examiner]. “That left-right divide raises the temperature on any effort to maintain the voter rolls, but even without the polarization, the process can be imperfect and can have real harms when people are wrongly removed. When mistakes are made in the maintenance of voter lists, that harm disproportionately touches two groups that are likely to sit out a few elections and to frequently move — Black and brown communities and young people, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice.”

* * *

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “What Would Biden’s Foreign Policy Look Like? Just Look at His Supporters” [John Kiriakou, Consortium News]. “Earlier this month, a group of Republican former senators and congressmen endorsed Biden for president, saying that he was better equipped that Trump to run the country. At around the same time, a large group of intelligence and foreign policy professionals, most of whom had worked for Republican presidents, also endorsed the former vice president. That sounds pretty impressive. But let’s look at what it really means. It means that they believe Biden will continue an interventionist, neoliberal, pro-war foreign policy….. If you think things will change in foreign policy under a President Biden, think again. It’ll be the same old expansionist, militarist policy that we had under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. So go into the voting booth with your eyes open.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely” [Politico]. “[I]f there is a winner declared on Nov. 3, it will almost certainly be bad news for the president. While vote counting could be delayed in many states due to a glut of mail ballots, Biden is challenging Trump in several fast-counting, Republican-leaning swing states the president carried four years ago. Election administrators in those states, especially Florida and North Carolina, are confident they should have most of the vote counted on election night. Meanwhile, the most important states that tipped the Electoral College to Trump in 2016 — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — allow, at best, extremely limited pre-processing of mail ballots. That means it could take days to actually declare a winner in those states…. If Biden can net Florida on election night — no sure thing regardless of timing — Democrats could secure the other 15 electoral votes in three ways: winning North Carolina, Ohio or the combination of Arizona and Iowa.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(3):

No wonder Biden’s slogan makes no sense in English.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders endorses more than 150 down-ballot Democrats” [The Hill]. “The endorsed candidates are running for an array of positions, including state representative, state senator, county attorney, city council, sheriff and more. The candidates are running in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.”

Trump (R)(1): Election theft–

* * *

UPDATE “Gallup editor says independents less interested in 2020 election than past races” [The Hill]. “[Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis] told Hill.TV’s ‘Rising’ that Gallup found 64 of independents said they have given a lot of thought about the upcoming election, compared to 83 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats. At this point in the election cycle in 2008, 77 percent of independents said they had given a lot of thought about the race.”

“Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio See Court Rulings Over Mail Ballots” [Wall Street Journal]. “Courts in several key states issued weekend rulings that could affect how votes are cast and counted for next month’s election, including mixed outcomes on the hotly contested issue of drop boxes for mail ballots. In one closely watched case, the Trump campaign and Republicans were on the losing end of a Pennsylvania ruling that rejected their challenge to state voting rules on drop boxes, ballot signatures and poll watchers. In Texas, a federal judge lifted newly imposed limits on drop-box locations, though an appeals court quickly put the ruling on pause for now. A different federal appeals court permitted Ohio to enforce similar limits. All three cases could see additional legal wrangling.”

“Trump campaign ready to unleash thousands of poll watchers on Election Day” [Politico]. With the lifting of a decades-old consent decree, the Republican National Committee is now free to engage in poll watching. To that end, the campaign has established what it says is a 50,000-plus army of volunteer observers across an array of battleground states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where operations are already underway. Poll watchers monitor everything from voting machines to the processing of ballots to checking voter identification. They are not permitted to interact directly with voters but, depending on local regulations, they can relay problems to local election officials or campaign higher-ups. The Trump deployment is the culmination of mon

ths of detailed planning, aggressive volunteer recruitment, and reconnaissance trips to key states. President Donald Trump has been personally briefed on the program, which is overseen by nearly two dozen full time staffers…. For months, Biden’s campaign has been assembling its own program that includes a poll-watching operation and a heavy stable of attorneys. Advisers say it numbers thousands of people, though they wouldn’t be more specific. In one recent recruitment effort, more than 400 Boston-based attorneys and supporters convened a conference call to discuss fanning out to Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Maine. They agreed to monitor polling sites, staff voter assistance hotlines or be ready to go to court at a moment’s notice.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

How was brunch?

UPDATE Fun with idpol:

“Advice for the People’s Party” [Alice Marshall]. This is interesting: “We need to reach out to the homeless. It is a myth that homeless people do not vote, most don’t, but some do. We need to reach out to them and also have a special voter registration drive. We need to help them obtain IDs (which often involves helping them obtain their birth certificate). So we need to set up a special fundraising drive for this. Due to covid, fires, and hurricanes the number of homeless people is going to soar. Once people become homeless they cease to exist politically from the point of view of the kleptocracy. If we can persuade them to vote we can shift the entire country.”

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.

There are no statistics of note today.

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 12 at 1:02pm.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on inflation. “Money printing is putting upward pressure on commodity prices.” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.)

The Biosphere

“Sweltering heat, power outages greet Louisiana evacuees returning from Hurricane Delta” [Reuters]. “Delta knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses, but electricity had been restored by Sunday to about half those customers, Edwards told a news conference. The power outages appeared to be a factor in the pace of evacuees returning home…. Insured losses from Delta were projected to run to $2 billion, while Laura’s losses were estimated at around $10 billion, including over $2 billion to offshore energy production facilities, said Steve Bennett, chief product officer for the Demex Group, a technology company.”

Health Care

“An analysis of three Covid-19 outbreaks: how they happened and how they can be avoided” [El Pais]. “A crowded restaurant to celebrate the Chinese New Year; 100 workers infected inside a 19-story building; a group of devout Buddhists travelling by bus for a religious ceremony. These were the scenarios for three outbreaks of Covid-19 that have been carefully documented by the authorities. What happened in each one? What were the risk factors? What lessons can be learned, now that we are trying to get back to normal and return to restaurants, offices and other shared spaces?” • Readers will be familiar with these incidents, but this is a really good overview with good diagrams.

The Swiss Cheese Model:

There are some missing parts; glasses help, for example, and ventilation matters too. But that’s just a matter of adding a two more slices of cheese, no? The fundamental metaphor remains strong.

Class Warfare

“The radical mysticism of identitarian reductionism” [Carl Beijer]. “It is hard to overstate how historically and ideologically bizarre — how breathtaking in its counterintuition and metaphysical ambition — this doctrine of identitarian reductionism actually is. This is not just the usual identitarian claim that there are causal forces in our politics that cannot, ultimately, be traced back to the material economy. This is a second declaration: that somehow, the material economy is not also playing a role in our politics. At all. The fear, misery, and bitterness of poverty; the anxiety over one’s precarious standing in the so-called middle class; the insular luxury and jealous ambition of wealth; the concentration of wealth, the evaporation of jobs, and so on — none of this, evidently, plays any role whatsoever in the emergence of demographic tribalism, in interpersonal attitudes, in voting behavior, and so on. This is obviously not the socialist position, but it is not even an ordinary capitalist position.” • Fun stuff, well worth a read.

Holy cow, the tactics:

News of the Wired


“KaTeX: The fastest math typesetting library for the web” [Katex]. “KaTeX renders its math synchronously and doesn’t need to reflow the page. KaTeX’s layout is based on Donald Knuth’s TeX, the gold standard for math typesetting.” • If you’ve ever done mathematical typsetting, this is really, really cool.

“Herbert Geddes’ “Life in Japan” Collection: Hand-Coloured Glass Transparencies of the Meiji-Era” (gallery) [The Public Domain Review]. “The luminous effect of such coloring on glass, such as in Geddes’ collection, are particularly stunning. The depth of field in some of the images, combined with the artists’ attentive shading and sense of tone, make it seem they could have been taken yesterday on color film.”

* * *
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Tertium Squid: “One gets to Utah’s Desolation Lake through this dimensional portal.” Gorgeous! (And every other dimensional portal I’ve seen has backlighting exactly like that.)

* * *

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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. L

    On the out of state college students that could roll both ways. Students who fail to vote because there are barriers to doing so at their colleges may instead vote at home. In many elections this particular bloc is often unreliable or faces challenges because of overlapping state requirements that either ban them from voting away, or require registration changes which do not always process, or limit them from voting on or near campus, thus mounting an effective ban. In the Bush-Kerry race a number of student voters were targeted with a specific scam that took information from a false medical Marijuana survey and used it to file fake registration forms which blocked them from voting at their university (their registration having been moved to places they did not live) and may even have exposed them to legal charges had they voted.

    Such a stunt will be more difficult to pull if they are off campus.

        1. newcatty

          AZ Slim, thanks for posting about Gabriella. She is awesome. Reminds me of the cool people who live in southern AZ. I want a sticker! So proud of an indigenous woman coming through the maze. She walks in beauty and bravery.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Of course, voting machines are useful to create lines, too. Truly, they have a multitude of uses!

      I have a very bad feeling about GA. Updating your database with no proper time to test it is no glitch.

      1. Glen

        It’s worth investigating the whole Georgia situation. The current governor first popped up on my “news radar” while he was in charge of elections in Georgia, and called to testify before Congress for IGNORING reports that the Georgia voter data base was totally open to hackers and corruption. It was pretty insane, there was very clear evidence that the rolls were “exposed” and this guy clearly did not give a flying [family blog] about any of it, and made that plain to the Congresscritters. Then he runs for governator, and wins. Now, it’s like the whole state gets new machines, etc.

        Glad I live in a state where voting by mail is no big deal.

      2. a different chris

        >I have a very bad feeling about GA

        ??? In 2016, Georgia voted for a R president. They have two R senators. They have mostly R representatives.

        In 2020, Georgia will vote for an R president. They will keep two R senators. They will continue to have mostly R representatives.

        Nothing will change, so not sure what are you feeling bad about? Nothing we can do about it, the only very outside possibility would be to maybe inflict neolib Dems on them giving Pelosi/Schumer yet more reason to never do anything. How does Jon Ossoff help anything?

        Stupid place to mess with the voting machines.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I have a bad feeling about Georgia because the system they are running is totally open to election theft by insiders. That’s a very bad thing, no matter which party wins. It’s even worse to make it a precedent.

  2. Darius

    The Democrats probably should accept that Georgia has been wired to predetermine the outcome against them in any statewide race unless they are willing to put major resources into reversing the situation. Which means that to take the Senate, they have win corresponding gains elsewhere. Not holding my breath on them addressing the Georgia situation, since, as Lambert says, they can’t even be bothered to make voter registration a priority.

    1. Carolinian

      Not holding my breath

      Having lived there I’d say GA is a lot more conservative than Dems like to think.

    2. edmondo

      The Dems will never win a senate seat in GA. The runoff provisions are there to make sure of it.

      And besides: When have you ever seen the Democrats work hard?

    3. rowlf

      This is rowlf reporting from the Southwest Piedmont section of Georgia.

      Part of the irony in Georgia is the voter purge legislation was passed by modern era Democrats. Another fun part of Georgia voting is the counties run the polls, so I can’t figure out if Atlanta voting problems are from the state or county inflicted.

  3. Clem

    “Advice for the People’s Party” [Alice Marshall]. This is interesting: “We need to reach out to the homeless.

    San Francisco is the nationwide model for this:
    “individuals without a permanent address can register to vote. All they need is a valid street corner to establish their voting precinct and a P.O. box to serve as their mailing address.”

    Homeless service agencies, provide the P.O. box and registration forms. The non-profits collect the marked ballots and transfer most? of them to the registrar of voters, through a legal process called “ballot harvesting.”This is how candidates who provide tax money to non-profit homeless service agencies often get elected.

    “the margin separating the two candidates stood at 373 voters, or 18 times fewer people than there are estimated to be homeless individuals in our city.”


    More on city outreach:

    1. mle durham

      Last month, I registered online to vote in my new home in North Carolina. I was struck by the form: if you don’t have a street address, there’s a handy map where you can enter street names, thus identifying what bridge you regularly sleep under,

  4. cocomaan

    Am I the only person that is getting tired of people complaining about being thrown off of twitter/censored on twitter? Twitter is a garbage heap of discourse, it’s curated by algorithm to amplify the voices of the most awful commentators possible.

    Imagine if NC purposely screened its comments section for the worst trolls and you’d have twitter.

    It’s ugly, it’s manipulated, and its used by the worst people in the universe. Maybe we can just all agree to stop using it.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’d rather hang out at Naked Capitalism. We’re critical thinkers and we also have a marvelous sense of humor. Take that, Tweety-bird!

      1. cocomaan

        But wouldn’t you rather scream at someone using your keyboard? You can create an account for free and be miserable!

    2. shinola

      Yes, the signal-to-noise ratio on twitter is atrocious – that’s why I don’t tweet.

      If I understand correctly, NC comments are “moderated”. Is there a difference between moderated & screened?

      1. rowlf

        As someone on the Always Moderate list, I would say moderated. I’ve seen a few folks show up and either flame out or get shot down for obvious reasons. I’ll also say the moderation appears appropriate and fair to keep the signal good.

        Good judgement on NC’s part.

      2. BobW

        Up to the moderator. NC seem to be just fine, someone has to filter trolls, etc. Of course, we can’t see what didn’t make it, but I’m inclined to think there is no viewpoint filtering. On the advice of saucer aliens I do not push the Stop Continental Drift Society here, though.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the signal-to-noise ratio on twitter is atrocious

        To make Twitter work, you have to curate your feed properly. I turn off the algo so my Tweets come in more or less chronological order. (Twitter tries to get me to turn it back on periodically, but I don’t.) I try to subscribe to smaller but good accounts, assuming anything from the big ones that is good will reach me. I’m quick to block obvious bad faith accounts. I also have no investment at all in building a following, so if my account gets cancelled I just set up another one.

        Twitter has a lot of nice little neighborhoods. It’s not entirely a cess-pit. Of course, if I’d ever been dogpiled, I might feel differently.

      1. ambrit

        Not many get through is how I perceive it.
        I can readily see there being “varieties” of Troll.
        On some other comment sections I look into from time to time, there are some obvious troll ‘types.’ Such as the “You won’t believe how much money you’ll save with this product!” type of purely commercial troll. Then there is Hasbara, which is a subject unto itself. It is basically political trolling.
        So, a mixed bag of “avoidance systems” looks to be the optimal configuration.
        NC does a bang up job weeding out trolls with a limited budget. That so many “official” sites do such a poor job of weeding trolls out of their comments sections while having vastly larger budgets available tells us something important about those sites themselves.

    3. farragut

      I’m not ready to write-off Twitter just yet. I use it primarily for financial and economic news, as well as geopolitical news from local sources who give a more accurate, more nuanced view of events, than say, the MSM. Most of the accounts I follow are not prone to gratuitous outrage or insane hot takes; thus, my experience is relatively positive. But, it’s definitely a case study for caveat lector!

      1. Clem

        The problem with the Twits is that you have to have read the twit to understand followups posted in non twit places like N.C.

        Rather than facilitating communication, Twitter hobbles and cheapens it.

        1. Odysseus


          Someday, someone would write a user interface for Twitter. The ThreadReaderApp folks started a useful project. I don’t understand how anyone keeps their eyes from bleeding reading a raw Twitter feed.

    4. Krystyn Podgajski

      Twitter and Facebook were the death of blogs and I miss them. It’s much easier to compartmentalize my ideas with blogs than it is on Twitter where I get a constant stream of say someone’s personal life about what they ate for dinner intermingled with some political thought.

      I’m on Twitter but I really only follow news accounts and not individual people because if that.

      1. rowlf

        I always like the postings I get in Facebook from Buddhist monks in the US on where they went for brunch. Hoodathought.

        (My Facebook feed is bizarre, from a friend who is a Nation Of Islam member, the monks, deceased monks that still post, and friends that watch Fox News all the time. Good Times.)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Twitter and Facebook were the death of blogs and I miss them

        The blogosphere was much better at originating political ideas than Twitter, and much better at making smaller voices heard (at least in the beginning).

        I don’t think the blogosphere is dead, since I keep running into great blogs that are still posting. What Twitter and Facebook destroyed was the ecosystem through which all these blogs linked to each other. Silicon Valley gets in the middle again!

    5. dcblogger

      Twitter is crucial to quickly spreading word of police brutality and similar atrocities. It could be vital to spreading word of voter suppression on election day, which is why censoring Brad is so very serious. This was not a case of opinion, this was a case of reporting abuse of power. NC and Twitter do different jobs and we need both.

      1. notabanker

        You gotta read the post. https://bradblog.com/?p=13591

        The guy is reporting on GA voters being forced to use uncertified software, after a Judge has ruled against them using other e-machines, and twitter is forcing him to delete his tweet.

        The writing is on the proverbial wall. We don’t need twitter, they do.
        So, Twitter wins this round. Journalism, evidence and Election Integrity lose.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine what it would be like for the Russians and the Chinese? Obviously the intelligence services for each country would have a political unit set up to follow the current US election which means following the news feeds, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They would be a nexus of thoughts, analyses, news breaks etc. so that they could give their respective governments a daily report on the status of how the election is going, who the people involved are, and who the likely winners are. I don’t know about the Chinese counterpart but if I were the Russians, I would ban vodka as stress relief from the Russian unit.

      1. rowlf

        All that would probably be a step up from be assigned to monitoring and analyzing the Clintons. I always wondered if the analysts had skin conditions from having to take six or so showers a day while doing their jobs.

  5. nvl

    Regarding the Class Warfare section this afternoon: A documentary was made of the Ludlow Massacre,
    see, for a trailer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSUU3128ZWM

    The leader was a man from Crete. The participants had been in the Balkan Wars. My recollection is that they gained control over a four state area (yes!) until the National Guard was called in; subsequently avast graveyard, in which Greek and Mexican were buried side by side, was dug. Last scene, I think.

    1. fwe'zy

      Thanks for this. The owners are willing to /kill/ workers in the name of profits. It’s only ever been well past niceties.

  6. Carolinian

    Re Biden’s foreign policy–here’s predicting he will back off on Iran but otherwise it will be one long “Putindidit.” Trump has gone along with the Russia sanctions etc, but I can’t recall an incident where he personally said that Putin personally did [insert outrage here]. It’s probably all that deep hypnosis he got during the Moscow Miss Universe contest.

    Of course Biden, from the way he likes to talk, is a half cocked pistol so who knows?

    And on the Senate race the Graham/Harrison debate was cancelled after Harrison accused Lindsey of possibly being infected and wouldn’t appear unless he took a covid test. They did individual tv interviews instead. Harrison raised $57 million last quarter. Somebody really wants to get rid of Lindsey.

    1. edmondo

      Gee, $57 million in three months to support a no name bid for senate in the Obesity Belt? Nancy won that war huh? those corporate donations are a lot more generous than those $27 from the unwashed. And Bernie thought he was going to take over THIS party?

    2. neo-realist

      Re Iran, Biden said he was interested in going back to the Nuclear Deal, although he wants tougher restrictions on ballistic missiles.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The IranGov would probably not place too much importance on finely nuanced distinctions between the “Trump Administration” and the “Biden Administration”, if there is one. The IranGov would probably place more importance on the empirically discovered fact that Agreements come and go as Administrations come and go. The fact that incoming Trump would not honor the outgoing Obama’s agreement raises the hypothesis that the AmeriGov is “agreement non-capable” on this issue as on so many others, and that re-agreeing to a JCPOA Mark Biden only to have it rescinded by a Trump 2.0 would make the whole excercise a waste of time and space.

        So the IranGov will not bother sending anyone to negotiate on Biden’s offer to negotiate a “better” JCPOA.

        If a Biden Administration ( if there is one) decides to unilaterally declare America’s re-adherence to the JCPOA even if the IranGov does not re-adhere to all of its experimentally-suspended duties under it . . . . and if a Biden Administration makes that re-adherence durable over the whole lifetime of the Biden Administration ( if there is one), and then IF the NEXT Administration continues that re-adherence whether it is reciprocated by the IranGov or not; THEN the IranGov may possibly decide to re-adhere to all the suspended-for-its-part terms and then see whether there is some reason to negotiate some “what-comes-next” at some far future time.

  7. Adams

    Hickenlooper is not “anti-fracking” He has a “nuanced” position on fossil fuels. Not for nothing is his Colorado nickname “Frackenlooper.” Biden and Harris are clearly not anti-fracking, and Hick will fall in line. Also against MFA and most of the rest of the progressive agenda. Either way his lead is solid and he will beat Gardner. Another Democratic “nothing will change” candidate to support the agenda of the mainstream, clueless Dem party.

    Also, re getting out the homeless vote. Let’s appeal to them with Biden’s “nothing will change” agenda. How about actually doing something for the homeless other than rousting out their camps and trashing their belongings. E.g., like the rest of the underclass, give them something to vote for. Na gon’appen.

    1. edmondo

      We have the same here in AZ. Mark Kelly was a registered republican until 2018. I would bet that Hickenlooper and Kelly have identical voting records in two years. Add in Bullock in MT and whatever Republican wins the KS senate seat and you have a solid subgroup who guarantee nada will happen (until 2022 when the Dems get massacred again.)

      These people were handpicked by Chuckie Schumer for a reason.

      1. newcatty

        AZ … home on the range for Blue Dogs. To be fair, some exceptions for sure. Kelly is advantaged that he is running against an awful repug Trump camper in the election. He also is, well you know, a former astronaut! He talks a reasoned and calm rhetoric. Well, think you nailed it what his voting record will be in the years to come.

        1. edmondo

          How can you vote against a guy whose most controversial stand is that he will “always do what’s best for Arizona”?

          Oh. And “unlike some of my colleagues, I will NEVER vote to take away your private health insurance.” What else do you need to know?

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Chuck always wants to keep the powder dry… That way his wall street friends have nothing to fear. No new regulations, taxes, spending that they do not like.

    2. Rock Hard

      I’ve lived in Colorado for over 20 years. Hick is nowhere close to anti-fracking, he was governor when CO had a huge explosion in fracking wells, did a lot to encourage it, and the ultra-liberal Boulder crowd really dislikes Hick for that very reason.
      That said, I’m convinced that Hick is going to screw this up. His only skill seems to be begging for money. I get four emails a day (I went through my trash and counted), each one proclaiming terrible news on the fundraising front. He’s not promoting any positions, he’s not trying to sell himself or expose Cory Gardner, he’s just begging for more money. Yet where is he spending it? I get a couple pieces of direct mail every week trashing Hick, my kid is seeing anti-Hick propaganda while she watches her gaming videos on YouTube… I haven’t seen a single bit of advertising from Hick. The House candidates trying to flip seats in CO (Diane Mitsch Busch and Jillian Freedland) seem to be actually running a campaign on the ground.
      Hick is the Dem party writ small – the CO Senate primary had a number of candidates who were all sidelined early for The Favored Party Candidate. The primary came down to Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the CO House, and Hick, Romanoff playing Bernie to Hick’s Biden. Fracking isn’t Hickenlooper’s biggest problem, it’s that he’s devoid of any policy other than not being a Republican.
      If Hickenlooper can’t beat Gardner in 2020, the entire Dem party leadership should resign.

    3. Lex

      Frackenlooper to his friends perhaps. Frackenpooper for those who had hoped the candidate would be Andrew Romanoff, or really anyone but The Hick. The Hick had a lot more money in his war chest.

  8. doug

    Those UMW labor organizers were more devious than the employers. That was a smart plan, well executed, which got good results for the union.
    For the scabs, not so much…
    Maybe one day, we will get back to figuring out how to enhance workers lives by whatever means available.

    1. chuck roast

      Sounds like a template for organizing Amazon warehouses.

      Oh, I just typed the “A” word and and an “A” icon was immediately inserted at front of my bookmarks page…swine is really not an adequate description for these people.

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    Lambert Strether,

    A few threads ago, when you said that ” access to health care” should “pin” our bullshit detector, did you really mean “pin”? Or did you really mean “ping”?

    1. farragut

      “Give me a ping Vasili, one ping only please.”

      Funny you should mention this. When I read Lambert’s comment, I mentally replaced ‘pin’ with ‘peg’, as in the needle in our analog gauge for our BS detector should be pegged as far as it could go. But, in hindsight, ‘ping’ also works as a useful metaphor.

      1. shtove

        Perhaps an example of Douglas Hofstadter’s word blending, illustrating what struggles our minds go through moment to moment while trying to express our thoughts – his pick of the funnies was from his dean, planning to recruit some academic star: “we’ll pull no stops unturned to get him.”

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is not being the reply coming from directly Lambert himself, so I am to be assuming I suppose that we are being intended to guess about as to whether is intended the word “pin” or whether actually is being “ping” the word being meant here.

      So I will being decided that “ping” is the word I will choosing for this space.

  10. John Anthony La Pietra

    As I wrote last Friday at 4:11pm in a belated comment on Thursday’s Water Cooler, if either of Michigan’s two statewide ballot proposals is going to be a hot button, it’s probably not going to be Proposal 2 on banning warrantless searches of electronic devices. All sorts of people are for that one, and nobody’s opposed.

    Proposal 1 on shifting how money in two state funds may or may not be spent might be warming up a little. Lots of grassroots green folks are starting to share with each other and friends why they don’t agree with the Big Green Group$ who support the proposal — as do major utility corporation DTE and the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. (Two of the group$ had made six-figure contributions to the YES campaign as of the July 20 reports; next report due in next Friday.)

    BallotPedia has a pretty good discussion of this situation — except for still not showing MOGA as a Proposal 1 supporter. So let me repeat here a link to their endorsement post.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      hmmm .. . . if bad people support these changes, they may be bad changes. I may vote “no” just on precautionary principles.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        You’re welcome, and thank you!

        (FYI / FWIW: This morning I got interviewed by Detroit public radio for a report scheduled for next week. Those in the area might get a first-ear lesson on why I make a better legislator — or staffer — than a candidate.)

  11. DJG

    Herbert Geddes “Life in Japan.” The photos are remarkable, especially for the use of color by the Japanese. I find Japanese use of tones of color remarkable.

    Whoever wrote the captions doesn’t seem to know much, especially if I, an amateur, can add more.

    –The three women in the room with the table of food have to be geisha. The shamisen is associated with geisha singers and dancers. The women wear wigs associated with geisha. The colors and contrasts of colors in their clothing are stylish–and one woman in particular wears her color back, a geisha gesture. (Eroticism about the nape of the neck.)
    –The four women in the lattice are prostitutes, likely associated with what would have been left of the “forbidden” quarters like Yoshiwara. Prostitutes were displayed behind lattices–there are many photos of this kind.
    –The red “gateways” are torii, which likely lead to a shrine. The animals are foxes, associated with the divinity Inari, and foxes still have their reputation for being shapeshifters.

    Japanese experts? What have I missed?

    1. rtah100

      Pretty sure the generic “mountain” is Mt Fuji (second slide of it gets a label).

      The “open air shop” is really a shop with its front open. Looks just like hundreds on Philosophers Path in Kyoto.

      The craftsmen and their ateliers are all so dignified and, if you see their survivors, so unchanged.

    2. wol

      For Japanese color I recommend Sanzo Wada’s Dictionary of Color Combinations, a remarkable small book. I bought one years ago from Best Made which I think is out of business.

      1. chuck roast

        Similarly I have an old photograph by Wallace Nutting that came out of my aunt’s estate. Nutting took landscape photographs in New England around the turn of the last century. They were B&W of course. He hired women to apply colors to them and they were sold widely. He also published “Furniture Treasury” which after 100 years remains a go-to reference on American furniture.

    3. Cuibono

      is some ways these photos are much more real to me of the Japan i remember of the 20th C. than so many modern ones

    1. LibrarianGuy

      Thank you for that link– so Biden really can’t motivate ANYONE!! (The PMC will pull a lever coz they’re just glad it wasn’t Bernie)

      Jimmy Dore has a dark piece out today about a legit poll showing that 56% of voters feel they are “better off” today than 4 years ago!!! I think that Trump may still pull it off, he is the anti–/ disrupter when everyone knows the system is $hite . . . And the key word is VOTERs, many people won’t bother coz they know both major parties are devoted to screwing them.

      Harris and Biden are a nothingburger, just “not Trump”. (Full disclosure– I live in California and will NOT vote for either Pres. candidate of the duopoly). I hope the Dems are happy, Joe “beat the Socialist” and now they can lose like ’16, & lickspittle for four more years of the Orange white nationalist.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe Arizona Slim spread it on local media that the Biden-Harris meeting was actually going to be held on the opposite end of town? :)

    1. edmondo

      He’s not even going to be the worst of the choices.

      And why did Liz Warren run if she wasn’t going to be rewarded?

      1. bob

        I think she stayed in the race longer than she should have because she was holding out for a better offer. Then, she was told her offer was nothing now, seeing as how she wasn’t pulling many people.

        Even saying Cuomo “isn’t the worst” is too much praise for him.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Warren is a former Republican, and outside of her interests, she’s usually banal at best which reflects her former GOP status. She stopped being a Republican when she started paying attention? If we take her at her word, I think it says a great deal.

          I would guess she largely ran because she expected it to be easy, surrounding herself with bootlickers and likely unironically listening to MSNBC, and that she would simply become the left standard bearer and take on Sanders’ supporters because she’s 5 years younger. I don’t think she put much thought into how she would build support, what her strengths and weaknesses were, where people are, and so forth. How does she address sitting on the sidelines in 2016 when she polled well in Massachusetts among the group least likely to vote Sanders but most likely to swing with her. People noticed this. Looking at the break for Biden among sectors, we have to address sexism in the Democratic Party. Its jarring when you consider that Biden is basically worse than Hillary. Instead she probably just heard Bernie Bros are sexist, she can show them or rescue the poor women who are trying to impress boys.

          If she thought she could ever off something, she never built anything worth offering. She might have stayed in in hopes of building something. She really had no plan except being a woman and taking Sanders voters because, just because. She worked hard, and I think this kept her in. She just never really thought about the process or path to victory. Harris on the other hand knew she could get embarrassed in California or drop out. She dropped out.

          1. bob

            It was a safe bet for her to stay once she was in it. Worst case she ends up as senior senator from MA

            Self preservation above all. she wont leave her job without at least a 10% bump. Completely Banal. I gave her way too much credit for too long. One dimensional chess- hers.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > why did Liz Warren run if she wasn’t going to be rewarded?

        Because she has terrible political judgment. Also, nobody likes a betrayer, not even those who benefit from the betrayal.

        1. edmondo

          Just to show her how he repays his friends, Biden should offer her the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

            1. edmondo

              And young Joe Kennedy is sitting around bored with nothing to do until the Massachusetts primary in 2022. Maybe he had the right idea but the wrong senator.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Cuomo said this morning that he’s not interested.


      Most interesting tidbit in this article is that he’s apparently fundraising for a fourth term as governor. There have been discussions on NC about his presumed presidential aspirations, including comments about a plan to substitute him at the head of the D ticket should Biden be declared mentally unfit. I argued that we should believe him for now that he doesn’t want to be president but watch what he does in 2022; that if he didn’t run for a fourth term as governor, then I would take that as an indication he’s planning to run for president in 2024. If the fundraising isn’t just a diversionary tactic — which would be totally in character for the Rat King — then it looks like he’s made a choice.

      I tend to roll my eyeballs at political opinion that strays into psychoanalysis (ad nauseam, in the case of Trump) but nonetheless have noted commentary that Cuomo’s presidential ambitions, which are taken as a given, stem from a need to outdo his father. Well, Mario Cuomo failed to win a fourth term, so if the son does have a Freudian daddy complex, winning a fourth term would be an achievement his father tried but failed to attain, whereas the father considered running for president but at the last minute declined to throw his hat in the ring. Going strictly on pop psychology, serving a fourth term would be the better Oedipal gratification. My two psychological cents, and worth every penny!

      1. bob

        He’s got NYS wrapped up tighter than his father could ever even begin to claim. Top to bottom: It’s his. I don’t see that changing. But I’ve said all along the only way we’ll get rid of him is to send him to DC.

        Cuomo 2020 — It’s never too late!

        1. Brunches with Cats

          “Those rumors, those are only from people who want to get me out of New York.” Ha, so it was YOU who started it, Bob? ;-)

          That New York is “his” is, I believe, the best argument for why he won’t run for president. It’s not like he’s a big fish in a little pond who dreams of the ocean. He’s already swam with the Big Fish and survived by becoming one of the the biggest a$$holes sharks in the sea.

          The idea that anyone would want to be president just to feed an outsized ego is ludicrous, even in the case of Trump. There has to be a payoff. For Cuomo, it would be negative payoff: He’d have no control over the inevitable renewed investigations into corruption in his administration. Besides that, he has said he wants to start dating again. The universe of potential matches has to be small enough as it is, without the added liability of being in a major political campaign under the glare of the media 24/7.

          Of course, I could be all wrong. 1,482 days is a LOOOOoooooong time in politics.

          1. bob

            “Besides that, he has said he wants to start dating again.”

            How could he become an even bigger link in the incestuous aristocracy that is in charge? Maybe jump into the Guilfioil/pelosi/newsome bed on the west coast?

            I’ve got to quit giving them ideas….

            1. edmondo

              Perhaps he could marry Gretchen Whittmer and they can merge the Kingdom of New York and the Kingdom of Michigan. And the serfs will rejoice as our modern day Ferdinand and Isabella reign in the new Blue Kingdom.

            2. Brunches with Cats

              You mean the “Guilfoyle/Pelosi/Newsom/Trump bed?” Guilfoyle might be right up his alley and, ICYMI, moved to a home in the Hamptons last year, so he wouldn’t even have to go all the way to the West Coast. He might not have to work too hard to steal her from her current flame, either, given her history of swinging on both sides of the aisle. Bottom line, though, is that she probably has too much baggage, even for a guy who’s no stranger to ziti:

    3. Peppeniello

      “…his ziti eating friends…” So, Italians are still fair game for gratuitous ethnic insults. Yeah, I was overdue for a reminder.

      1. bob

        It wasn’t gratuitous. It was what his friends called cash payments. Bribes. There’s a link to it. Ziti is in the name of the link, the title of the story and as an important part of the story.

        It’s an important part of the conspiracy charge. They all knew exactly what it meant when someone wanted ‘ziti’. They didn’t mean dinner. No one ever approached anyone with a bowl of pasta.

        1. Peppeniello

          You’re right and I’m sorry for pointing the finger at you: your mention of the original insult wasn’t gratuitous, even if the original is.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > They all knew exactly what it meant when someone wanted ‘ziti’. They didn’t mean dinner. No one ever approached anyone with a bowl of pasta.

          Hmm. Mimosas?

      2. Late Introvert

        So then, Andre Cuomo does not have friends who eat ziti?

        Doubtless every one a brunch eater, is that any better?

    1. KevinD

      Has the Lord Advocate ever been on twitter? Makes me think not.
      I guess a couple shots of Glen Alba and who cares?

      1. ambrit

        My cynical guess is that this an opening salvo of a political “ethnic cleansing” program by the Powers in Scotland.

    2. shtove

      I wonder if there’s legal trouble afoot for unassailable liberal darling Nicola Sturgeon – seems a strange affair, and she may find the process ineluctable.

  12. Jr

    “It is hard to overstate how historically and ideologically bizarre — how breathtaking in its counterintuition and metaphysical ambition — this doctrine of identitarian reductionism actually is.”

    Yes, yes, and yes. Sweet, sweet honey. The author points out that this idiocy protects the interests of entrenched power by denigrating attempts at class/material analysis. In doing so, it takes epistemic and probably ontological leaps that land it squarely up it’s own caboose. I believe this confusion is intentional.

    I think IDpol was designed to be caustic to every other system of thought, from the logical to the political to the linguistic, even to the mathematical. It is not based on any philosophical footing, none exists, but it attempts to dismiss the need for rules at all with it’s onanism over subjectivity, “lived experience”.

    Which is a rule set. Which dismisses it along with everything else. Which is why you have rules: some kind of starting points to avoid such squawking, drooling intellectual horrors from flopping out of the circle before being sent back to Hell with trembling hands.

    It builds no bridges or edifices. It isolates and ossifies. It’s also easy, it’s a goopy pile of prismatic baby food where every notion has equal validity. So none have any.

    It’s not comparative. It’s compartmentative. It is progressive in the sense of a Stage 4 brain tumor.

    1. CoryP

      “Goopy pile of prismatic baby food”

      That’s a great phrase, incorporating many of my feelings on the topic. Also a trippy mental image.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      We really need to use its own language against its own practitioners. Only the vampire’s tools can dismantle the vampire’s castle.

      And we should be thinking in terms of public humiliation, embarassment, discreditation and self-discreditation, and the creation of traps and mines for Social Justice Safe Space Warriors to fall into and step on.

      And we need ideas on how to do this. Maybe any everyone should suggest ideas because who knows whose ideas might be good in a field of combat this new?

      Here’s an idea which occurred to me recently after I was informed that since ” you don’t look like me and therefor you can’t understand what people who look like me know”. This is an example of Black Privilege, and ways should be found to legitimately call out its practitioners for their Black Privilege. It will have to be refined and re-re-re-engineered as well as tested tested tested for maximum destructive potential and effect.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > you don’t look like me

        Maybe we should go beyond masks and go full burka, for both sexes. (Rather like the orchestra that auditioned players behind a screen, so bias would not enter — and quite rightly).

        1. fwe'zy

          No, I think it’s just right that we are all in the open: so these responses can reveal themselves as well.

      2. jr


        Here’s another angle for throwing their “ideas” back into their faces: if all knowledge is based upon lived experience, in other words utterly subjective, then why do I have to listen to the Wokel at all? By their own formulations, their claims to knowledge are utterly subjective and I cannot understand them. Nor can they understand mine, one would assume one could assume. (Although one can never be sure with Wokism, the rules are….fluid.)

        So I can ignore, at their own insistence, their claims because they aren’t my lived experience. That’s their little epistemic pocket universe and I’m over here in mine. I can’t ever confirm anything they say, even shared experiences, because there is always a wall between us. So when the Wokel starts to bray, just say “Sorry, can’t understand where you’re coming from!”, walk away, and have a milkshake of your choice because you have done all you can.

        Or, from the other side of the Fun House mirror, ask them how it is that we are speaking if we don’t have some kind of commonality? Language demands innumerable commonalities. We must have some shared knowledge if we are to use words, no?

        Now, I’m sure there is plenty of bubble tea spluttering at the silliness of these notions. Many are saying “Hey, I don’t believe that none sense!”. Well,Dorothy, those are just some of the pungi stakes awaiting you when you fall down into the mental tiger pit that is IDpol. Your “thought leaders” are a pack of opportunists and mediocrities who would lose a refereed debate to a particularly robust succulent. I wish to heaven one of them would dare break the surface on NC. In my personal vision of that Apocalypse, I descend upon Robin D’Angelo or some other terminally teased hairball surrogate in a whirling, roaring pillar of purifying flames, screams of “But intersectionality!” and “Triggered!” vaporizing in the rush of my righteous fury…

  13. anon in so cal

    >Build Back Better

    That was the Clinton Foundation motto for Haiti…..did not work out that well for the Haitians but very well for CF members and donors….



    This University of Maryland virologist thinks he contracted Covid19 while masked and standing in line to enter a grocery store (from an infected person upwind). Only skimmed this but how does he know he didn’t contract it while inside the grocery store?



    All the antidotes are great but today’s is especially amazing.


    Yesterday, Yellow-rumped Warblers reappeared; they’ve migrated back south from spending the summer in Canada. One of them headed straight to a nectar feeder.

    1. The Rev Kev

      With that “Build Back Better” plagiarism, that is just the latest in a whole career of stealing other people’s work by Biden. Jimmy Dore came out with a video showing clips of him doing this next to the original speeches that he stole from. I think too that he was busted for plagiarism in college too where he came near the end of his law school class-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEyqmIdvkKM (6:19 mins)

      I just checked and he was busted for plagiarism in law school. From Wikipedia-

      ‘During his first year at Syracuse, Biden was accused of plagiarizing five of fifteen pages of a law review article. He said it was inadvertent, and that he did not know the proper rules of citation. As a result, Biden failed the course and had to retake it.’ Once a thief, always…

      1. Darthbobber

        How does one make it through their undergrad years without learning the not all that complex rules of citation?

        1. JBird4049

          Simple. You do not.

          It is effectively impossible not know to cite your sources, forget about how, by one’s sophomore year. They make a strong effort to ensure that everyone knows about citations work.

          If you have any reasonable explanation beyond being a plagiarist, most teachers will try to be forgiving of a mistake. Usually. A few are very strict, but a poor citation is evidence of honesty. If you do not, a teacher will give you a course grade of F with additional possible consequences like a suspension by the administration. It is better to get a lower grade or just fail a course then have a record for plagiarism. What a stupid thing to do especially for something so public.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > With that “Build Back Better” plagiarism, that is just the latest in a whole career of stealing other people’s work

        I didn’t mean to accuse Biden of plagiarism*; if I had meant to say that, I wouldn’t have been shy about it.

        Rather, it seemed the phrase was floating about in the globalist hive mind, and I wondered what that meant. Anon in So Cal (above) found evidence that it originates with the Clinton Foundations’s “relief efforts” in Haiti, which is pretty horrid.

        NOTE * Biden has been convicted of plagiarism multiple times, for the record.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Build Back Better… That was the Clinton Foundation motto for Haiti

      Oh no. Just no. But it appears you’re right (here; here). What a wonderful prospect! At least if you’re a Clinton or Clinton-adjacent.

  14. JBird4049

    It looks like the California Republican Party is placing its own mail-in ballot collection boxes. I do not know just how to take this as, I think, that private collection boxes are technically legal, but I do not like it at all. It stinks somehow.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>I think, that private collection boxes are technically legal,

      Good thing I checked because I was wrong. There is a link to a memo from California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla on the website Law and Crime explaining why the boxes are illegal. Here is a link to the section of the state’s legal code quoted and cited by Secretary Padilla.

      This pile of poo regarding both Georgia and California (let’s not forget Democratic corrupt take down of Senator Bernie Sanders) of Al Franken’s book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I don’t need a bullshit detector, I need a bullshit raincoat.

      1. fresno dan

        October 12, 2020 at 8:49 pm

        we all need bullshit submarines.
        considering things, I recommend a submersible able to go 35,000 feet cause that’s how deep it is….

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      The boxes are obviously decoy trap “burn-boxes” for causing ballots to disappear. Hundreds of thousands of confused voters will drop their ballots into these Republican “memory-hole” fake drop boxes.
      Will the State of California move fast enough to find out who is doing this to make a difference?

      More to the point, will the California Democrats have enough people to find and destroy every one of these boxes and then keep destroying them within minutes of the Republicans putting them up all over again?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > More to the point, will the California Democrats have enough people to find and destroy every one of these boxes and then keep destroying them within minutes of the Republicans putting them up all over again?

        This is one of the things that an app would actually be good for. Passer-by photographs one, photo + coordinates from the phone’s GIS go up on the app’s map, good Samaritans look at the map, do the needful, and report it to the app.

        I don’t know how many of the boxes there really are, of course. Could be it’s just shit-stirring.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > private collection boxes

      The Republicans are characterizing drop boxes as another form of ballot harvesting, which they vociferously oppose (which is really not a good idea; whenever you put a third-party between a voter and their vote you’re adding risk). Here’s an example of ballot harvesting, ironically by a Republican.

      That said, the Republicans seem to have moved from, as it were, exploits — our voting system is entirely broken, so there are lot of opportunities for that — to outright sabotage. Same thing as sending in a ballot by mail and voting in person to prove a point, as Trump suggested in North Carolina.

  15. The Rev Kev

    How about a nice mug of schadenfreude for the end of the day. Amazon tried to muscle its way onto the gaming scene with a game called Crucible that it spent six years on and tens of millions of dollars. It was released free on Steam and quickly dropped out of sight. Amazon pulled it back again into beta but has now killed the whole thing –


    The Market Gods have spoken! All the financial powers of Amazon and 25c could not buy them a cup of coffee or a fan-base to keep this game viable.

    1. cnchal

      Heads will roll. Bezos is no doubt fuming his ass off.

      The contrast between how “Crucible” launched and how “Valorant” launched helps illustrate why the former failed while the latter has succeeded.

      When “Valorant” launched this year, it was available in a closed beta that you could access only by watching Twitch streamers play the game live; through a “drop” system tied to Twitch accounts, viewers would gain free access to the beta. This way, new “Valorant” players already had some idea of how to play the game, because they’d watched someone play it live.

      In the weeks leading up to and following the launch of “Crucible,” Amazon, which owns Twitch, didn’t use its own streaming service to promote the game. There were no major streamers playing the game and hyping it up, no trailers for it running as ads, and no drop system to gain early access. Similarly, on YouTube, ads for “Crucible” were nowhere to be seen.

      Anyhow, good ridance to moar shooter and killing video game garbage. There is already far too much of that trash out there.

  16. none

    The identitarian reductionism article by Carl Beijer criticized a straw version of wokeness but was interesting anyway. Adolph Reed wrote something along the same lines that I thought did a better job. I don’t know the url for it though, and a quick web search doesn’t find it.

  17. r. clayton

    but I’d like to see some more scientific proof. I can’t help thinking fresh air is more beneficial for health than wearing masks most of the time.

    Oh, this is so good. One sentence wields hard-edged skepticism, demanding more scientific proof (without, of course, stating what’s wrong with the previous scientific proof), and the next sentence lays out a ridiculous comparative analysis unjustified by anything other than inchoate thoughts.

    Plus, the reply is a model of a temperate and informative response, about as far away as you can get from my peevish little rant.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You are correct, but “fresh air” is important for two reasons: First, outside air should be brought indoors by ventilation systems, as Clive points out. Second, “fresh air,” to me, implies air in motion outside, which makes for safety because it dilutes the virus.

      True fact: Steam heating systems in the early 20th C were overspecified by current standards so people could leave their windows open for fresh air, after the experience of the Spanish flu.

      So while the comment itself is a bit foolish, nevertheless it embodies cultural practices that increase safety.

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