2:00PM Water Cooler 10/14/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, if u cm rd ths, my Internet has continued flaky. –lambert UPDATE #1 I lost about an hour before I discovered that moving my desk had screwed up my signal. More soon. Sorry, Joe. UPDATE #2 Sadly, done for the day. I had to leave much too much on the cutting room floor; who knows, maybe tomorrow my internet connection will have recovered its mojo!

Bird Song of the Day

Sadly, there is no “ornithopterae herbertii” in the Macauley Library’s collection, so I cannot meet reader ambrit’s request. I substituted a falco sparverius paulus.


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, including the Northeast. 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…


College: “Off-campus “super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at Monmouth University” [CBS]. “Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a ‘social gathering.'” • Which is ridiculous, since now we cannot add to our store of types of locations or social settings to avoid! College administrators are just the worst.


“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. October 13: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. 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.

“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…).

“2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Election Project].

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

“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.”

NEW “All the deadlines, rules, and voting hours to know when casting your ballot in the 2020 presidential election” [Business Insider]. “Here are 12 interactive graphics, charts, and maps Insider created to answer your most common questions about voting in 2020.”


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) (oil and gas royalties; 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!

MI: “The hunt for Michigan’s lost Democrats: Can Biden lure them back?” [NBC]. “Richfield Township [is] a community about 20 minutes from downtown Flint where the city and the suburbs give way to small farms, modest houses on large lots and industrial warehouses spaced along a three-lane state highway. Most of the residents — 94 percent — are white. The median household income is $59,000.The township, home to generations of autoworkers and others who commute to jobs in Flint or the Detroit suburbs, has the Genesee County precinct that recorded the largest decline in Democratic votes from 2012 to 2016 — a drop of 420. That precinct — where voters mark ballots at the local firehouse — went for Obama in 2012 and then Trump in 2016, casting 950 votes for him and 701 for Clinton…. Two years ago, a majority of Richfield voters supported Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in her successful run for governor. They also elected Kennedy and backed a Democratic member of Congress and a Democratic state senator. But on a drive around the area last week, it was clear that support for Trump remains strong. Many residents don’t just have Trump lawn signs. They have Trump billboards — massive signs about 6 feet across that can be seen from a block away. Others have Trump flags or banners.”

MN: “Minnesota health officials connect COVID-19 cases to Trump, Biden campaign events” [The Hill]. “Sixteen cases have been tied to a Bemidji outdoor airport rally the president hosted Sept. 18, according to state health officials. Of these, four were reported by protesters at the event, according to state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann. Ehresmann added that not all of the cases were necessarily contracted at the event. Officials said three more cases involved people who attended a Sept. 30 Duluth Trump rally, as well as another three tied to attendees of a Sept. 24 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport event where Vice President Pence appeared. At least one person attended both of those events, and cases tied to the Duluth event were part of the same household, according to Ehresmann. The state also traced two cases to attendees of Biden campaign events, including one from a Sept. 16 Duluth event.”

NE: “Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November” [The Hill]. “Observers say Nebraska’s 2nd district, which is home to the Omaha and Council Bluffs metropolitan area, as well suburban parts of Sarpy County, reflect the national trend of suburban voters moving away from the Republican Party…. Additionally, the area is home to a number of large corporations, tech startups and the University of Nebraska Omaha.”

TX: “Appeals court allows Abbott to close multiple ballot drop-off sites” [Statesman]. “A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, all appointed by President Donald Trump, rejected arguments from civil and voting rights groups that claimed Abbott’s order suppressed voting rights by making it harder to cast a ballot, particularly for elderly and disabled voters who are the most likely to use mail-in balloting. In reality, the judges said, Abbott expanded voting options by suspending a state law that allows mail-in ballots to be hand delivered only on Election Day — a July 27 order that Abbott merely refined on Oct. 1 by closing multiple ballot drop-off sites in Travis and three other large counties, the panel said. ‘That effectively gives voters 40 extra days to hand-deliver a marked mail-in ballot to an early voting clerk. And the voter still has the traditional option she has always had for casting a mail-in ballot: mailing it,’ Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel. Critics noted that the closed locations were in counties that are strongly Democratic or trending that way — Travis, El Paso and, in the Houston area, Harris and Fort Bend.”

WI: “What Wisconsin Democrats Learned from 2016” [The New Yorker]. Never, ever trust the national Democrats? Apparently not: “I asked [Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party]how Democrats intend to avoid a nail-biter this time. ‘Organizing,’ he said. ‘In 2016, you’d go into an office and no one would be there. Someone behind a table would tell you to pick up a clipboard and bring it back when you’re done.’ The next year, Martha Laning, Wikler’s predecessor, began building a statewide organizing effort that would operate year-round rather than emerge near the end of a campaign cycle. ‘You hire organizers to recruit local leaders to build neighborhood teams. They’re volunteer team leaders, they recruit volunteers. Those teams are responsible for organizing their neighborhoods,’ Wikler said, likening them to old-school ward captains. In 2018, Democrats swept the elections for statewide offices for the first time since 1982.” • Precinct captains will make dcblogger happy. That said, Democrats being Democrats, they probably won’t roll out the strategy anywhere else, will dismantle it in Wisconsin, and will promite Wikler to run some kinda horrid NGO in the Beltway. And so it goes.

* * *

Biden (D)(1):

That’s what we’re afraid of. Another such recovery and we are undone.

Trump (D)(1): Interesting use of the word “like”:

Hate sells. Trump has made so many people so much money.

Trump (R)(2): “The Pandemic Is Hurting Trump in Rural America” [Jacobin]. “To win reelection, Donald Trump is relying on the continued support of rural Americans, 62 percent of whom voted for him in 2016 compared to 34 percent for Hillary Clinton. But while rural Americans do continue to favor Trump, this time it’s by a much smaller margin. Among the roughly 60 million people who live in rural areas of the United States, Trump boasts only a thirteen-point lead over Joe Biden. It can’t have helped Trump that rural America has struggled mightily with health care access throughout the coronavirus pandemic, a failure that more than a few rural voters are likely to lay at Trump’s feet. A new report measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on rural America shows just how bad the situation is.”

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“How to Make Sense of the Polls” (interview) [Sean Trende, The New Yorker]. Oy:

How confident are you that pollsters have fixed the problems we saw in 2016, especially in the Midwest?

I’m still concerned. If you look at 2018, the polling in the Midwest [swing states] wasn’t that great. We were supposed to have a Democratic governor in Ohio [swing state]. There was supposed to be a Democratic governor in Iowa [swing state]. There was supposed to be a Democratic senator from Indiana. The Democratic senators in Ohio [swing state] and Michigan [swing state] both underperformed the polls.

Florida was off a little, too, right?

Florida [swing state] was very off.

Oy, oy, oy. Of course, for the paranoid and cynical — or for those who believe that Thomas Frank’s “airtight consensus” that Trump must be defeated extends to most players in the political class, and all those who ride the Acela — the old joke comes to mind: The system isn’t broken. It’s fixed. I mean, maybe in 2018, the polls weren’t “off” at all. They were just push polls that failed. I hate to think this way. I really do. Fortunately, by 2021 I’ll be able to forget all this and go back to having brunch.

Vote-by-mail, an anecdote:

Presuming that the pollbooks are accurate (and electronic pollbooks aren’t hacked), the only problem here is wasted postage. Nevertheless…

Riots and Protests


The account does not seem to be tendentious..

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Thousands of Mathematicians Join Boycott Against Police Collaboration” [Shadowproof]. “Over 2,000 mathematicians have signed a letter agreeing to boycott all collaboration with police, and insisting their colleagues do the same. They are organizing a wide base of mathematicians in the hopes of cutting off police technologies at their source. The letter’s authors cite ‘deep concerns over the use of machine learning, AI, and facial recognition technologies to justify and perpetuate oppression.’ Predictive policing is one key area where some mathematicians and scientists have enabled the racist algorithms now animating broken-windows policing, which tell cops to treat specific areas as “hotspots” for potential crime. Activists have long criticized the bias inherent in these practices. Algorithms trained on data produced by racist policing will reproduce that prejudice to ‘predict’ where crime will be committed and who is potentially criminal. ‘The data does not speak for itself, it’s not neutral,’ explains Brendan McQuade, author of Pacifying the Homeland: Intelligence Fusion and Mass Supervision. Police data is ‘dirty data,’ because it does not represent crime, but policing and arrests. ‘So what are its predictions going to find? That police should deploy their resources in the same place police have traditionally deployed their resources.'”

“Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president” [Nature]. • Now that Nature is in the political arena, I’m going to be dismayed and disappointed if — like Biden — they oppose #MedicareForAll. (I feel about this the same way I imagine Taibbi feels about the disappearance — slow degradation and then strangulation, rather — of the newsroom. Deep sadness and anger.) Then there is the fate of Lavoisier to consider.

“State Department to Call on American Think Tanks to Disclose Foreign Funding” [National Review]. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday will push American think tanks to disclose their foreign donors, signifying a crack down on the significant growth of foreign funding to the organizations in recent years, according to a new report. While disclosure is not legally required, the Department will ask think tanks to ‘disclose prominently on their websites’ funding they receive from foreign sources, according to a statement Pompeo is slated to make on Tuesday, first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. ‘To protect the integrity of civil society institutions, the Department requests henceforth that think tanks and other foreign policy organizations that wish to engage with the Department disclose prominently on their websites funding they receive from foreign governments, including state-owned or state-operated subsidiary entities,’ Pompeo will say in a statement. Reports in recent years have shown how foreign funding has influenced a number of think tanks including the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Brookings Institute. Foreign governments and state-controlled enterprises have used their financial pull at the organizations to win positive news coverage and to reduce critical narratives.” • Not to mention Neera Tanden’s Center for American Progress, funded by the UAE, among others.

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.

Inflation: “September 2020 Producer Price Final Demand Year-over-Year Growth Now Slightly In Expansion” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year inflation pressures remain soft as this index is barely in expansion… The PPI represents inflation pressure (or lack thereof) that migrates into consumer price.”

* * *

Tech: “Save Money, Save the Environment and Help Local Restaurants. There’s an App for That.” [Wall Street Journal]. “I ate some odd meals last week: a turkey wrap for breakfast one day, cheddar cheese and chocolate cake for dinner the next. On a few occasions, I didn’t exactly know what the heck I was eating. But it was for a good cause. Not only was I saving the planet by reducing food waste—a cause I care about a little—I was eating cheap, a cause I care about a lot. I was using Too Good to Go, an app-based service just launched in New York City that lets you buy leftover prepared food from grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries that would otherwise hit the trash at the end of the day. The app lists the day’s options, which can be filtered by location, cuisine and pickup time. Customers reserve, pay in advance and then retrieve their order from the provider. Most options cost $3.99 or $4.99—a third of the menu price. Too Good to Go takes a $1.39 cut.” • That’s quite a cut. So how’s the economy doing?

Tech: “Mini apps could reinvent the way you use your iPhone. China led the way” [CNN]. “Instead of downloading an app, you can pull up just one part of it, saving valuable space on your phone. In China, that has long been the norm. Last month, the iPhone maker debuted “App Clips” as part of its latest operating system update. The new iOS 14, which has already rolled out on many current Apple devices, will almost certainly be featured on a slate of new phones the company is revealing Tuesday. The feature lets people launch just part of an app to complete quick, on-the-go tasks, such as ordering takeout from a restaurant or renting a bike. That means instead of downloading an entirely new app, users can launch a snippet by scanning a QR code, or by tapping a link shared via text or the Safari web browser. For some, the concept may sound familiar: In China, the ubiquitous app WeChat has offered something similar for years.” • So, this is another leftovers link?

Tech: “Yesterday’s corporate network design isn’t working for working from home” [Ars Technica]. “We’re 10 months into 2020, and businesses are still making adjustments to the new realities of large-scale telework (which, if you’re not in the IT biz, is just a fancy term for “working from not in the office”). In the Before Times, telework was an interesting idea that tech companies were just starting to seriously flirt with as a normal way of doing business—whereas now, most businesses large or small have a hefty fraction of their workforce staying home to work. Unfortunately, making such a sweeping change to office workflow doesn’t just disrupt policies and expectations—it requires important changes to the technical infrastructure as well… The most obvious problem that businesses have faced—and are continuing to face—with a greatly multiplied number of remote workers is the size of the company’s Internet connection. If you need a quarter—or half, or three quarters—of your workforce to remote in to work every day, you need enough bandwidth to accommodate them…. This changes dramatically once you have a substantial fraction of the workplace working remotely. Now, the office itself—and its domain, file, and application servers—are “the cloud” from the perspective of your workforce, and while their home Internet connections still make sense—10:1 biased toward download—the office is badly out of whack.”

Tech: “Google is Killing Unlimited Drive Storage for Non-Enterprise Users” [PetaPixel]. “According to the company’s list of plans, which you can view here, there is a limit of 2 TB for individual Business Standard users and 5 TB per person on its new Business Plus plan. To get more, you will have to go to the Enterprise level which Google says requires you to work directly with a Google sales representative (this appears to actually be the case), but Google does promise they can offer as much storage “as you need” in this category. That doesn’t explicitly say unlimited, but should realistically operate as such for now…. It seems that if you rely on Google for storage, you should start budgeting for a price hike in the near future as well as prepare for a transition to Workplace.” • A live salesperson? For a $20 a month service? Really?

The Bezzle: “UPDATED Coronavirus tracker: IBM Watson launching blockchain ‘health pass’ to return to public spaces” [Fierce Healthcare]. • Blockchain? Readers, have I misfiled you?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Neutral (previous close: 59 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 14 at 12:39pm.

The Biosphere

“Flies lead the way to a greener future” [Financial Times]. “For millions of years the humble fly has unwittingly held the secret to two of the modern world’s most pressing problems: how to produce less waste and more protein. With astonishing efficiency, flies convert organic waste into fast-growing, protein-rich larvae, which are happily gobbled up by chickens, fish and pigs. Humans are finally catching up with the trend and are pouring money into the construction of vast insect farms to industrialise this age-old natural process and sell the output to farmers.  This shift towards more sustainable sources of protein and growing investment in several other sectors, such as plant-based meats, robotics, and nanotechnology, has been hailed as the second agricultural revolution. With luck, it can play a vital part in helping to feed the additional 1bn people who will live on the planet by 2030 and combat catastrophic climate change.” • This actually sounds like good news. Better fly farms than plagues of locusts!

“Near-real-time monitoring of global CO2 emissions reveals the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” [Nature]. “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting human activities, and in turn energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Here we present daily estimates of country-level CO2 emissions for different sectors based on near-real-time activity data. The key result is an abrupt 8.8% decrease in global CO2 emissions (−1551 Mt CO2) in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The magnitude of this decrease is larger than during previous economic downturns or World War II. The timing of emissions decreases corresponds to lockdown measures in each country. By July 1st, the pandemic’s effects on global emissions diminished as lockdown restrictions relaxed and some economic activities restarted, especially in China and several European countries, but substantial differences persist between countries, with continuing emission declines in the U.S. where coronavirus cases are still increasing substantially.” • [Musical interlude…]

“Observed Ocean Bottom Temperature Variability at Four Sites in the Northwestern Argentine Basin: Evidence of Decadal Deep/Abyssal Warming Amidst Hourly to Interannual Variability During 2009–2019” [Geophysical Research Letters]. “Quantifying global temperature changes requires observations of the full atmosphere‐ocean system; however, long‐term, continuous observations of temperature deep within the ocean are exceedingly rare. This study presents several decade‐long records of hourly temperature measurements from moored sensors 1 m above the seafloor in the northwestern Argentine Basin within the western South Atlantic Ocean. These sites, which range in depth from 1,360 to 4,757 m, show energetic temperature variations on daily to interannual time scales. The intensity of these variations is higher at the two shallower sites than is observed at the two deeper sites. In addition to the daily to interannual variations, long‐term warming trends are also detected over the period 2009–2019 at all four sites.” From the Guardian summary: “‘If you think about how large the deep ocean is, it’s an enormous amount of heat,’ said Christopher Meinen, an oceanographer at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and lead author of the study.” • “Abyssal warming” sounds like something out of Lovecraft…

Health Care

“‘Patient zero displayed no symptoms:’ Hamilton’s SpinCo superspreader outbreak reaches 51 case” [Toronto Star]. “It is believed to be one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks at any fitness centre in Canada. More than 50 cases, all identified within a single week, all connected to a small, niche spinning studio in downtown Hamilton…. ‘This can happen at any gym,” [said Colin Furness, an infectious control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto] said. “This is not about how well the gym was run; this is about how COVID spreads. If you let people hangout together, without masks, sharing air, in the same space for a prolonged period of time … this was going to happen anyways.'” • Looks like another aerosol case. Here is a good thread on this case:

Now, I should say, although I stan for aerosols, I think the fomites have a role to play (that is, you should keep washing your hands and cleaning surfaces). After all, if somebody hawks a giant loogie of virus-laden mucus at you, that would seem to put you at risk! More concretely, there does seem to be a case for fecal transmission, as with original SARS, and in cases like bars, gyms, restaurants, and churches, where rest rooms are provisioned, it would behoove the paranoid epidemiologist to rule that pathway out. That said, I have seen good studies on aerosols. Amazingly, despite their paradigmatic dominance, I have seen none on fomite transmission (unless, I suppose, you consider children fomites; not unreasonable). If any readers can supply links, I’d be happy. Here is a link to the Montreal case–

“Karaoke bar blamed for spike in COVID-19 cases in Quebec City will remain closed until Sept. 10” [CBC]. “Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed on Tuesday that 12 more cases had been linked to Bar Kirouac, in the city’s Saint-Sauveur district….. ‘We’re talking about karaoke where people who think that, because they are friends who know each other well, they can let their guard down: take off the mask, pass the microphone, get close together to sing. This is all very nice, but we can’t do it anymore.’…. The first case connected to Bar Kirouac was reported to local public health authorities on Saturday morning. By Monday, 17 cases among clients and staff had been diagnosed. As of Tuesday evening, 31 cases have been linked to the bar.”

“Can New York Pass Single-Payer in 2021?” [Ross Barkan, New York Focus]. “n 2018, as State Senate Democrats across New York City and the surrounding suburbs stormed to victory, progressives were filled with great optimism. Long-stalled priorities in Albany, like stronger tenant protections and laws safeguarding reproductive health, were likely to become law, with Republicans chased from power. Another holy grail loomed: single-payer healthcare for New York State. The Democrat-controlled Assembly had passed the New York Health Act several times, but the bill had no chance in a chamber controlled by Republicans. Many of the winning Democrats, including moderates on Long Island, had pledged support for the legislation during their campaigns. But the 2019 legislative session, while full of progressive victories for the new Democratic majority, did not include passage of the New York Health Act, let alone a floor vote. Some of the moderates who backed the legislation during their campaigns refused to co-sponsor it once in office. Governor Andrew Cuomo, by far the state’s most powerful figure, continued to dismiss the idea of a statewide single-payer system, claiming support for a federal program would be less likely under a Donald Trump presidency.” • I have come to believe that “the Saskatchewan Strategy” is wrong; only the currency issuer can establish single payer; at the state level, it will be gutted by “how you gonna pay for it” reactionaries at the first downturn — and they’ll have a point!

Guillotine Watch


Class Warfare

Idpol power surge (“Amy Coney Barrett apologizes after a Democratic senator called her out for using the ‘offensive and outdated’ term ‘sexual preference’ to refer to LGBTQ people“):

If “dictionary-fluid” isn’t a word, it certainly ought to be. I do understand that Websters is descriptive, not prescriptive. But I don’t expect Websters content to be driven by a vocabulary controversy more appropriate for an ephemeral listicle in Teen Vogue (and I love Teen Vogue). I also expect Websters editorial standards to exhibit some consistency. Take latinx — please! (Usage examples: “Community members celebrated at the Latinx Pride Parade”, “As a first-generation Latinx, I struggled to reconcile my cultural and gender identities.”). From Pew: “However, for the population it is meant to describe, only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx, and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves…..For example, 12% of respondents who had heard of Latinx express disagreement or dislike of the term. Some described the term as an ‘anglicism’ of the Spanish language, while others say the term is ‘not representative of the larger Latino community.'” First, at 3% usage for self-description, should latinx be in Websters at all? Second, why are the “voices” of 12% of the Hispanic population being suppressed? One begins to suspect that Websters is, in fact, quite prescriptive. Get offa my lawn!

“Inequality in America: Far Beyond Extreme” [Counterpunch]. “Of America’s inflation- and population-adjusted increase in wealth between 2006 and 2018, over 87 percent went to the top 10 percent. Over 60 percent went to the top 1 percent. The top .01 percent, a baseball-park-sized group of just 32,669 Americans, grabbed over 23 percent of the country’s increase in wealth. And nearly 10 percent of that increase went to the 400 wealthiest Americans. The 290 million or so unlucky souls who make up the so-called bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, saw just 13 percent of the nation’s wealth gains between 2006 and 2018, not much over half of what went to the top .01 percent. Our bottom 50 percent actually lost wealth over that 2006-2018 period.” • Thanks, Obama!

“Calls to Tax the Rich Abound. But What Exactly Does that Mean?” [The City]. “New numbers provided to THE CITY by the city Independent Budget Office show the number of ultra-rich New Yorkers on a rise pre-pandemic. The IBO counted 4,412 filers who earned $5 million plus in 2018 — up from 3,528 two years earlier…. In 2018, about 30,000 city income tax filers were in the elite club earning $1 million or more. In 2016, the last year for which details on taxes paid are available, the 25,000 earners at that level accounted for nearly $3.7 billion in city income taxes collected, or nearly 40% of the total… Some state lawmakers are hoping to add more brackets to income tax collection so those who earn more than $5 million pay increasingly more in taxes above that level… For the hundred-odd individuals whose income exceeds $100 million, the tax rate would rise to 11.85% [Under the proposal spearheaded by State Sen. Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) and co-sponsored by 21 other members mostly from the city].” • Pretty mild, compared to the Eisenhower era.

News of the Wired


Those small businesses look like they’re going to be there forever, don’t they?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JB):

JB writes from Banks, Oregon: “Love all the green :)” NC readers coming up big on trees and trails lately!

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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. ProNewerDeal

    Has there been any update on COVID longhaul symptoms?

    1 What percentage of officially tested & diagnosed cases experience with longhaul symptoms?

    2 What estimated percentage of actual cases (including asymptomatic) experience longhaul symptoms?

    3 What is the incidence by age cohort? I vaguely recall a prior study showed only minor reduction by age cohort, & even the 18-25 range was sizeable, & not much lower than the 65+ cohort. Of course this is a stark contrast to the death rate, in varies extremely rising by age cohort.

    4 What is the subdivision of longhaul COVID symptoms? Can it be subdivided by potentially work disability-causing symptoms like extreme fatigue vs. less severe not work-threatening symptoms like anosmia?

    5 Any data on duration of longhaul symptoms? Have any longhaul patients recovered to pre-infected status, & if so after how many months? Is it possible to estimate what portion of longhaul COVID patients will suffer lifelong symptoms?

    6 Any estimate on premature death due to longhaul effects, such as damage to organs? For instance, could a 40 year old who experienced heart damage, might be predicted to die at 65 instead of at 75 before their COVID infection?

    1. LawnDart


      Give it time, and there will be plenty of data to work with.

      Or come back to this page in a few hours and you can hear about what the crystal balls say or don’t say.

  2. ambrit

    Nice Kestrel chorus there.
    Thanks for trying. We all know that crypto-birdsongery is a much maligned and resource deprived field.
    Alas, I now realize that I was performing the ethically questionable practice of giving you an assignment. Please accept my apology.
    (I’ll put my money where my mouth is and send you a few bucks. [I have established a modus vivendi with PayPal. though I know I should not do so. *sighs piteously*])

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Oh, heck, that didn’t even occur to me, although you’re right, of course, Frankly, if I get a species name, the search is easy, and it’s easier than using my own imagination (though I’ve discovered there are a surprising number of birds I remember, or am curious to hear).

      Adding… Atriedes… Hawk…. Paul….

        1. polecat

          Those Shield Walls can be rather tricky …

          Let’s just hope the raptors don’t resort to using atomics.

    2. Randy

      Well, while you are at it you should send Cornell Lab some money too.
      They deserve some donations.
      A very good place to park a couple of bucks.

  3. rl

    (“Amy Coney Barrett apologizes after a Democratic senator called her out for using the ‘offensive and outdated’ term ‘sexual preference’ to refer to LGBTQ people“):

    … This, when w0ke heterosexuals never cease to harass gay men and lesbians about how our “genital preferences” are transphobic.

    I suppose it is sex(ual), rather than preference, which the Dems mean is “outdated.” Or perhaps—and this seems more likely—even they aren’t sure, anymore, what they actually mean when they say things (if they mean to mean anything at all … which is not beyond doubt).

    I am simply in awe. What a magnificently stupid age we live in.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The “sexual identity/preference” shibboleth is something of a relic in today’s fast moving Woke world. It was an effective marketing tool over the past few decades to assert that one was born homosexual rather than choosing to become one as fundamentalists liked to claim. It’s no surprise that the idea of one’s sexual identity being determined at birth might run afoul of more up-to-date, trans-driven theory with its completely subjective concept of who we are (the ultimate triumph of the ego!).

      It is funny how liberation and oppression seem caught in yin/yang cycle.

    2. savedbyirony

      Lesbians, yes. Are gay men being harassed where they attempt to congregate and cruise, as well? Well before covid lesbian coffee houses, bars, bookshops, festivals, etc. were seriously suffering and/or put out of business by heterosexual trans people (mostly biologically males) and their allies pestering, bullying and more the lesbians patronizing them.

      1. a different chris

        >by heterosexual trans people…pestering, bullying and more…

        Not doubting you, but… why? Do these people have nothing better to do with their time, and why with idle time on their hands does the thought come to them, of all people, “hey let’s go down to that coffee house and hassle the patrons…”

        1. rl

          Validation, of course.

          It’s gratifying to “pass.” And “invalidating” not to “pass.”

          Why do narcissists do the strange things they do, make the wild demands they make?

          1. savedbyirony

            Yes, i agree validation for some, but those wanting to pass are not the worst or really the problem accept when wanting to pass encompasses pressuring, etc. lesbians to have sex with them to aid in that passing. At least they see value in the experiences of actual females.

            It’s the ones who hate females, especially socially nonconforming females, and see no legit experiences of being “women” other than their own gender stereotyping performative ones.They want to completely silence the recognition and prevent the public and shared opportunities of those experiences for females. They are not in lesbian spaces to pass; they are there to prevent.

            Narcissism still is the key ingredient imho of both types, though. And to make clear, not all transgender people act in these ways. And we are not even addressing here transsexuals.

      2. rl

        Increasingly, yes. But you are right to point out that lesbians have been under the heat for longer and their protests dismissed—when not suppressed—by just about everyone under the sun.

        For gay men, this has especially been underway in the digital realm (both serious dating and casual hookup apps, community news and social media, etc.) since ~2015, but taken off in the bars, orgs, etc. since maybe 2017. See here: https:// archive (dot) md (slash) gEYyF — please forgive the formatting to survive NC’s excellent spam filters.

        “Trans gay men” tend to be college-aged (whereas “trans lesbians” vary widely in this respect), and they are female; i.e. most are young and profoundly immature even for their age, many are physically small(er) and than the objects of their desires (they want to be “feminine gay men,” not befriend them), and—as I do not doubt you are well aware—male and female patterns of violence do trend differently. Based on what I’ve encounteed and what I hear from lesbian loved ones, these differences do very much govern homosexuals’ experiences with trans-IDing heterosexuals of the other sex.

        Most of these young women seem to draw a sexual or near-sexual thrill from calling themselves “f—” in casual conversation (I have asked and received explanations), and many are addicted to sadomasochistic pornography in which gay men are the victims of various kinds of violence (usually, though not always, by heterosexual men; but “conversion porn” is also popular in the Tumblr blogosphere). Almost all are avid readers of online “slash” (male/male) fanfiction (which is overwhelmingly written by heterosexual women, and always has been).

        Physical harrassment (vs., for example, online stalking, reputation-smearing, etc.) used to be rare, but was becoming more common pre-COVID.

        Not to be entirely flippant, but it all feels a bit too Invasion of the Body Snatchers for me!

        (Apologies if this response is a bit loosely threaded. I am multitasking poorly today.)

        1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          It makes you a ‘TERF’ (punishable by being cancelled) to even think these thoughts. This is one of the weirdest angles of the gender wars of the time from around 2010-18. A Canadian writer (coming firmly out of the anti-war left) named William Ray wrote about how once gay marriage was legal, the folks in the big Non-profits that had led that fight needed to keep their gravy train rolling so they pivoted into trans-rights immediately and the big foundation bucks kept coming in.
          Billy Ray has been entirely locked out or any and all social media outlets because of a piece he wrote in Quillette addressing this phenomena as well as the ‘gender-confusion’ ideas of Peggy McKintosh and Judith Butler. I am pretty sure that had it been published in Jacobin, he’d be just as cancelled. Hats off to trans people who are open and in the public mix but you can’t force potential partners to love you. If you could, arranged marriages would never have gone away.

        2. savedbyirony

          No apologies needed and thank you for your thoughtful and helpful reply. I do not want to hijack this thread but since you seem quite knowledgeable on these topics, do you know if “feminine” gay men are as pressured to “transition” as much as butch women are (and not even just young butches)? By “transition” here for lesbians i mean (as you probably realize) at minimum to take testosterone.

          1. rl

            A good answer would be a (very) long answer. This is an attempt at a brief(ish) one.

            From what I do know (which is not enough; departments ostensibly dedicated to the scholarly study of “gender and sexuality” are, as a general rule, not the least bit interested in processing the history that they are today committed to rewriting), I’m inclined to say that coercing homosexual men, especially “feminine” homosexual men, into “transitioning” is the oldest solution to the heterosexual identity crisis that homosexuality as such apparently has the power to provoke (to wit: “defense of Marriage …” “defense of The Family …” etc.).

            From the circumstances in which the Roman soldiers Sts. Sergius and Bacchus were martyred (that they were “involved” is impossible to confirm one way or the other; but they were dragged out of bed, dressed in women’s clothing, and marched around the city prior to their execution*), to the modern surgical interventions pioneered (and incorporated into psychiatric protocol) in Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, etc., to recent reporting on homophobic parents’ interest in the UK’s Tavistock “gender clinic” —one could but would rather not go on …

            Point is, I’m pretty sure that “transition” (or the epochally comparable equivalent) has served as a talisman against the perils of sexual ambiguity for quite a long time. I would even posit that the notion of “transition” has its origin in these same ritualistic practices that serve(d) to make the (usually “passive”—the “active” has almost always been regarded differently, not necessarily more positively) homosexual male “safe.”

            This ^ can also help clarify why some “feminine” gay boys, especially those growing up in highly gender-conservative contexts (whether the immediate household or the broader culture; I’ve seen both, and the statistical research confirms the trend) undergo phases, usually in early adolescence, where they think: “life would be simpler if I were a girl who did fit in, instead of a boy who doesn’t …” or (as the New Age movement peddled for a while in the 90s and 2000s) “maybe I’m actually just a ‘girl soul’ in the wrong body …”

            Alienation begets vulnerability. From what I’ve read, young lesbians today are experiencing the same thing in huge numbers (and, like you say, are being pressured to “accept” those feelings and anxieties as a sign that they are actually … not girls to begin with!).

            So to finally answer your question directly: Yes, they are being pressured to “transition.” But this pressure could almost be called “traditional,” to be perfectly honest, and most any gay boy who reads about his predecessors is going to see through it pretty quickly. The problem, then, is that books are removed from print, universities offer courses in “queer theory” rather than “gay and lesbian history,” etc. etc. etc.

            *As an aside: This would probably be a good place to begin if one wanted to seriously inquire into the origins of “drag” as an otherwise inexplicable side of gay culture (which historically prizes masculinity, not the imitation or appropriation of femininity). Obviously, this side is the one that won favor from capitalism because drag is, quite deliberately, all about spectacle.

            1. Janie

              Thank you for taking the time to address these issues. I’m going to reread this thread after coffee in the morning.

      3. km

        I would have figured it had something to do with the heterosexual male fascination for All Things Lesbian.

          1. km

            The vast array of “lesbian porn” marketed to heterosexual men suggests something other than a threat.

            For that matter, I am yet to meet a dude who gave any indication of being threatened by lesbianism. Gay men, sure, but lesbians were more an object of fascination.

            1. savedbyirony

              How much experience have you had creating, promoting and/or attending lesbian social spaces? I can attest from personal experience doing all of the above that plenty of heterosexual males (or so they presented themselves to be) are everything from uncomfortable to out right threatened by such places, and can become quite aggressive towards them.

            2. savedbyirony

              I am guessing (or hoping) that you are not implying that anyone’s taste for porn portraying lesbian sex, especially if it is made for heterosexual males in particular! ( or just a curiosity over lesbian sex in general) denotes a fascination or even awareness for ALL THINGS lesbian.

            3. ambrit

              I’ll just toss out the observation that I have made before from when I worked in the French Quarter. Straight men had a table basically ‘reserved’ for them in the back of a lesbian watering hole down on Decatur Street. The rule was, “look but don’t touch.” That table was a haven for straight men wanting a quiet drink without being ‘cruised’ by any of the quite “assertive” chickenhawks of the Quarter before going home. The place knew all the ‘regular’ ‘irregulars’ and kept them out. As a result, I got to see some, what to a straight man were otherwise mysterious occurrences. The worst bar fight I ever saw happened in that place. I learned not to physically underestimate a woman there.
              I’ll also observe that any man who says that lesbians can’t be threatening to a “real” man hasn’t paid much attention to said females. It’s a myth. Human personalities are pretty much standard across all the gender lines, cul de sacs, and transition boundaries.

            4. fajensen

              I have noticed that some men becomes quite viscious when a lesbian is found to be not in the least interested in “trying them out”.

              Especially here in Sweden. In My Opinion, there seem to exists a rich vein of of supressed “old-style masculinity”, which comes out when people get drunk and regress to their 15-year old personalites. This is an unsettling experience to see!

              One can make a good guess on who is of a different sexuality by observing who is *not* going to the corporate christmas lunch or the boozy parts of the conferences. They simply don’t feel safe there, so they don’t go!

              As a group leader, I soon realised that I had to arrange alternative (less boozy, more controlled environment) events to be able to include everyone from my team in the “team building” activity. That this was necessary In Sweden was a surprise for me.

    3. clarky90

      It is called “gaslighting”. Everything we do, say or think, has magikally become; “wrong, hate, hate speech…… ” (Please everybody, descend into hysterical, universal loathing and fear, for the sake of establishing, “paradise on earth”)

      Witness this unfolding of The 2020 Dark/Grey Age. A “New”, joyless world, of endless protocols; …..devoid of fun and humor….. Serious..

      No Laughinggggggg!!! Or else!

      And stop wiggling around! Sit still, and pay attention!!! Whispering is NOT, EVER, allowed…….

      Administering the proscribed punishment will hurt the sensitive feelings of the Boss, MORE that it will hurt you! ….

      (An aside……Fear Not)

  4. jo6pac

    “More soon. Sorry, Joe.”

    Whatever I’ll go take my nap now. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. Newbie

    Good on Pompeo for getting half way there. Now require think tanks to disclose their domestic funding

    1. km

      Does that include Israeli or Israeli-adjacent funding (e.g. S. Adelson), or will that foreign source of funding be off-limits?

  6. dcblogger

    I have come to believe that “the Saskatchewan Strategy” is wrong; only the currency issuer can establish single payer; at the state level, it will be gutted by “how you gonna pay for it” reactionaries at the first downturn — and they’ll have a point!

    passing state and even local single payer has this advantage, it tells members of congress and senate that the locals REALLY want this and there will be consequences for failure to support single payer. I am a great believer in checker board progress, victories where you can when you can. If it passes in NY both Schumer and Gillibrand will take note.

  7. Lark

    Preference discourse is a problem because it’s very clear that conservative Christians are about one sentence away from saying, “Well, *prefer* something else or face legal penalties”. Sometimes queer people have used “sexual preference” reflexively or as a way to sound non-confrontational* but in general that’s now how we talk about it. No one says, “when I was fourteen I realized that I had a preference for dating boys rather than girls, just like I have a preference for ice cream over cake and horror movies over science fiction”. No one says, “I’m gay – I prefer men, but just like with preferring ice cream to cake, I can be happy in a straight relationship if it’s more convenient and makes things easy for others”.

    Preference discourse is a really bad discourse right now, not for identity reasons but because it’s pretty obvious that the Supreme Court is going to have a really good try at taking away gay people’s rights. Obergefell wasn’t some kind of radical liberation for all gay people everywhere, but overturning it will be a social marker that gay people are not in fact equal – and it won’t be the last attack on us.

    The GOP likes to say that being gay is a “preference” because they can cast demanding a “preference” as childish and selfish. And of course in their view the only people who should get to gratify all their preferences are the very wealthy – everyone else should be under the boot heel of rich right-wing Christians and therefore only the very rich should be permitted to be gay, and that discreetly.

    *Or because there’s a more sophisticated view, to wit that at the population level sexuality is actually pretty fluid and that a lot of things are, to a degree, a “preference” contoured by society – that is, “being gay” is more about “doing gay things” than about your secret heart of hearts, and more people are apt to do gay things when being gay is visible and normal than when it’s secret and punished.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Adding, as opposed to Stonewall, ActUp, mass “coming out of the closet”… I mean, changing dictionary entries in near-real time? This is where we’re at? Come the [family blog] on.

    1. Massinissa

      You know, maybe ‘preference’ IS a problematic term. But maybe we should have a public discussion over whether its problematic before the media simply declare it problematic when they were fine with mainstream democrats saying it two years ago?

      I too find Barret absolutely detestable. But attacking her over the fact that she said ‘sexual preference’, which until literally just now was considered politically acceptable by both parties? That strikes me as a little much. Maybe the term is indeed problematic, as I said, but it can’t be something that’s ok for Dems to say but not ok for their opponents to say. It just seems overly opportunistic.

      1. Tim

        It isn’t often you notice the goal post being moved in real time. Very eyebrow raising.

        Back in the old days it would take some strong consensus and time. Remember “don’t ask don’t tell” was offensive/controversial the first time to allow that “circumstance” in the military, and controversial/offensive the second time many years later for being too restrictive on that allowance.

        So much social progress in the last 30 years, but only going backwards on distribution of earnings and wealth.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Wokeness and performative posturing are SOCIAL PROGRESS? Gasalighting was kind of progressive before Edison and Westinghouse Electrified the place and we hav all these marvelous labor-saving and titillating devices to keep us from seeing (despite all the new, improved illumination) that the mass of us are being flayed and butchered so the elite and their remoras can “flourish.”

    1. Off The Street

      Such low pay and preferred (read, required) qualifications wasn’t unusual in small college towns.

      For example:
      Spouse 1 in some grad program.
      Spouse 2 wants extra cash to supplement S1’s meager TA stipend, and/or be a server, and/or taxi driver, too.
      S2 typically had that Masters, plus 5-10 years of experience.
      S2 was one of a handful of the 100+ resumes that got reviewed, and the rest got round-filed.

      That very situation was repeated any number of times according to former colleagues, and contributed to relocation decisions, including my own.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Obama 2008: “we must have a higher Federal minimum wage!”
      Federal minimum wage in 2009 (when Dems controlled the presidency, the House, and the Senate):
      2010: $7.25
      2011: $7.25
      2012: $7.25
      2013: $7.25
      2014: $7.25
      2015: $7.25
      2016: $7.25

      I know: let’s give them another shot at it! 9th time a charm and all

      1. John k

        Just part of the hope for change thingy… you weren’t thinking he was serious?
        Actually, I did.

      2. JTMcPhee

        I don’t understand numbers and finance, but I do know that $7.25 in 2009 bought measurably more food, shelter and even “access to medical care” than $7.25 in 2020. What was the Grand Bargain bullcrap that Obama came up with to diminish Social (in)Security benefits? Oh yeah, the “Chained Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers.” http://seniorsleague.org/assets/How-The-Chained-CPI-Would-Affect-Social-Security-Benefits.pdf So old folks and disabled people on Social Security would have to learn to “substitute” the food and other goods in their shopping cart, every year a little less money in their SS checks, so they would have to start eating cat food instead of the cheapest tuna fish and only fill half their prescriptions and stuff like that.

        How much did that estate on MArtha’s Vineyard cost you, again, oh Barack?

        Its a small and mean club, and you and I ain’t in it…

  8. Darius

    Probably should have commented in the Black Lives Matter post this morning, but, since this is the latest post, here it is. I came across the Wikipedia article on Problem-Oriented Policing, which it describes as, “a policing strategy that involves the identification and analysis of specific crime and disorder problems, in order to develop effective response strategies.” This could be a way to frame a more productive discussion of defunding the police.

    Herman Goldstein, who first formulated POP “called to replace what he termed the reactive, incident-driven ‘standard model of policing’. This approach requires police to be proactive in identifying underlying problems which can be targeted to reduce crime and disorder at their roots. Goldstein’s view emphasized a paradigm shift in criminal law, but also in civil statutes and the use of municipal and community resources.” There also is a Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.

    A couple years ago, I saw a news story on TV about a small California town that had adopted such strategies in the 1970s or 1980s. Their cops don’t carry guns routinely, and even changed their uniforms to be less confrontational. As I recall, they still were wearing uniforms that seemed influenced by 1970s leisure suits. Apparently, the incidents of shootings by police went way down, but crime also went down. Some cops quit because they couldn’t cope with what they saw as a less masculine approach to policing. But the chief and town leaders swore by it. Alas, I forgot the name of the town and I am unable to track down any mentions of it. Does anyone else recall seeing it?

    The 2010 film The Elephant in the Living Room features a former public safety officer from Oakwood, Ohio, named Tim Harrison. According to Harrison, Oakwood combined their police and fire departments into one public safety force. They also didn’t carry guns routinely, as I recall. Harrison became an exotic animal rescuer.

    Anyway, I would be curious about other’s thoughts about problem-oriented policing.

    1. LawnDart

      Too much money to be made in NOT solving the… …”problems.”

      Let the liberal pipe-dreams go: “reforms” will never become standard practice.

      With that, some test programs might save a few lives, and a few are better than none.

    1. BobW

      “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” was an album almost everyone I knew had back in the day. Wore the grooves out of that one.

    1. Fwe'zy

      Whoa, check out this excerpt from a 2019 interview (reminded me of Pelosi to Blitzer “We represent them. We do. We are the ones fighting to get them money. Have you given them any money? We have.”) :

      The genius thing that these people understand, that maybe prior generations of plutocrats didn’t, is you don’t fight public pressure for people-friendly change by shooting mine workers and busting unions in the light of day. They do that secretly. But what you actually do is you fight back by claiming to be one of those people. You claim to be a revolutionary yourself. You claim to be fighting for the people yourself. And your relatively modest do-gooding provides your credibility that pays for itself many, many times over.


  9. Stillfeelinthebern

    That B. Wikler article is pure BS. There are no in person activities at all in Wisconsin by DPW. There are no precinct captains.

    Our organizer is out of state. Everything is virtual and all they want anyone to do is phone calls. We just did a huge local effort involving people to send thousands of slate postcards and they were reluctant to let us use the texting platform to recruit volunteers. Every time I want to use the texting platform, it’s a battle. They ignore us “grassroots” people. If you aren’t going to do what they want, they won’t help you, you have to beg. In March, I worked my way up the chain to get approval to text people about getting absentee ballots for the April election. It was ridiculous. They should have been offering to us. Nope.

    Ben is very good at promoting Ben and raising money. County parties are the core place to organize. They will tell a completely different story than what you hear from the top. Political theater.

    David Bowen, the person Ben ran against. He’s in the streets protesting in Milwaukee.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That B. Wikler article is pure BS. There are no in person activities at all in Wisconsin by DPW. There are no precinct captains.

      Oy. I wouldn’t have expected The New Yorker to make a story up out of whole cloth. Can Wisconsin residents comment? (I did notice that Wikler came in after the person who originally set up the precinct captain system left.

  10. dcblogger

    Precinct captains will make dcblogger happy.
    dcblogger is delighted. one of Biden’s biggest advantages is that across the states across the Great Lakes have Democratic governors and the electoral machinery is in Democratic hands. The gauntlet of voter suppression has been greatly reduced. Greg Palast demonstrated that Clinton lost the Great Lakes thru voter suppression.

    1. LawnDart

      Clinton lost because Clinton is an a**hole.

      The union chiefs were screaming “Vote Clinton!” but the worker bees said “F**k that!” And the chiefs knew that was coming, but did what they were told anyway (support Clinton, against their constituencies wishes).

      The worker bees know that “their” leadership, or mis-leadership, is owned by the DNC: this is like Viagra for the wildcats.

      Worker bees need to clean house.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Oh? She didn’t lose the Great Lakes states because of her public and notorious support for Free Trade Treason Agreements? Including the ghost of NAFTA?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Clinton lost the Great Lakes thru voter suppression

      That’s not what the story says, though: “‘In 2016, you’d go into an office and no one would be there. Someone behind a table would tell you to pick up a clipboard and bring it back when you’re done.”

  11. RMO

    RE: M.S. Satoshi: Anyone want to make a guess on the timescale? By that I mean how many months before it all falls apart and Panama has to deal with removing a sinking, rusting derelict that’s leaking heavy bunker oil into the bay?

    It’s going to be really embarrassing if they don’t even manage as long a run as L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientologists did with their three old tubs in the 70s. Of course he ran his group on authoritarian lines and attracted followers looking to be told what to do whereas these clowns are trying to fill a ship with techno-libertarian-cryptocurrency-enthusiasts…

    From what I can find out they aren’t scheduled to even take possession of the ship until November. They seem to be up to date into-the-future though as the relevant Wikipedia page reads in places as if it were written in 2022 and is looking back at a successful history already.

  12. Daryl

    Swung by the early voting place in deep red Texas twice. Lines out the door — have never seen that before. Not many masks that I could see either. I left — gonna try again next week.

  13. jo6pac

    I’m deeply sadden by this news my friends are going throw me out their club because I let them down on the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ front.

    You have 15 missed messages to renew your Democratic Membership.

    This is your FINAL NOTICE before tonight’s FEC Deadline.

    Starr Nail


    After 15 messages to renew your Democratic Membership, we were CONVINCED our grassroots supporters would meet the moment…

    …but that hasn’t happened.

    Not that I was ever going to be allowed into their club;-)

        1. ChrisPacific

          After 15 messages to inform you of the benefits of our line of penis enlargement pills, we were CONVINCED you would meet the moment…

          …but that hasn’t happened. What’s that all about? You think it’s EASY setting up a bot net and configuring it to send all those messages, constantly dealing with the threat of being blocked by your ISP? How about you show a little consideration for others?

          1. jo6pac

            I know that wasn’t very thoughtful of me but I did cry for moment does that count?

            I few sorry for all the code they had to pay for and now some consults child will have to go public school;-)

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > After 15 messages to inform you of the benefits of our line of penis enlargement pills, we were CONVINCED you would meet the moment

            After 15 messages to inform you of the benefits of our line of penis enlargement pills, we were CONVINCED you would meet the moment rise to the occasion

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you were in a mischievous mood you could do the following:

      1: make a xerox copy of that bill-dunning style e-note ( I assume it was email or something)
      2: write your own message somewhere on the xeroxed copy to the effect that you were so deeply moved
      by it that you had to send something.
      3: tape 2 copper cents ( “pennies”) to the appropriate part of the page.
      4: Address an envelope to the appropriate land mail address, put the note with your commentary and
      your two cents, and send it to them that way.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Starr Nail”? Really?

      I believe this is mail from Mothership Strategies, absolutely the ugliest house in the business on the Democrat side, with (just like the Republican direct mail shops) the model of preying on elders.

  14. km

    in re: ACB: Don’t you people know that it’s only bad when someone we don’t like does it?

    Leon Panetta could say anything he wants on national TV, up to and including the n-word and any other racial and sexual epithet you can think of, and goodthink liberals would twist themselves into the most adorable rhetorical knots trying to excuse him, because our side.

    Let someone that the chattering classes don’t approve of commit the slightest sin against the ever-evolving norms of political correctness, now or at any time in the past, and there is now a prima facie case that he is a Bad Person to be cast into Outer Darkness. The example from The Politician of a candidate forced to make a groveling apology for dressing up as an Indian for Halloween when he was six years old comes prominently to mind.

  15. Cuibono

    Thanks for the Nighthawks link!
    so reminds me of Minneapolis in the 70s even though that is apparently vancouver

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Could be any Maine city of a certain size — Bangor or Lewiston, maybe.

      I’m wondering if the parking lot in the background is already signaling demolition of the core, along with deindustrialization…

  16. edmondo

    “Save Money, Save the Environment and Help Local Restaurants.
    Too Good to Go, an app-based service just launched in New York City that lets you buy leftover prepared food from grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries that would otherwise hit the trash at the end of the day.

    FYI: When I volunteered at the food bank, these types of meals were highly prized since many of our clients had minimal cooking skills or faulty equipment. Kinda sad to see that someone is getting first crack at them.

    1. RMO

      They’re taking about a 30% cut of the retail price for listing the items on their app and taking payment on behalf of the store/restaurant/bakery etc. That’s pretty steep.

      Their terms of service page doesn’t seem to have anything regarding restrictions on what the restaurant or store can do. I suspect there must be something about the items being listed on the app not being available for purchase in any other way though. I would be tempted to experiment by finding something I wanted on the app and then going to the place and asking if they would sell it directly to me thus cutting Too Good To Go out of the loop entirely to our mutual benefit.

  17. The Rev Kev

    A data point here. As I type this there is a report from a Trump event in Iowa (I think) on the morning news. Behind the reporter talking at this event is the music playing the theme from the “Titanic” I kid you not. Even the Aussie news presenter asked him about that choice of music.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    Survivalist author Kurt Saxon wrote about a particular instance of the use of flies and maggots for growing survival chicken. Here is the link.


    I have wondered where the Nitrogen comes from when a pound of fruit “turns into” a pound of fruit flies.
    That much nitrogen could not have come from the fruit. Are fruit-decay organisms fixing sky-Nitrogen? Do the fruit fly maggots themselves harbor Nitrogen-fixing microbes within their own guts? Either way, the maggots are not getting their Nitrogen from the fruit itself.

    If you had an orchard and used the fruit to grow maggots to feed to chickens along with the rotted fruit residue, developed to peak flavor for the chickens’ delight and joy, how much chicken or eggs could you grow with the average orchard using such a fruit fly system?

    1. a different chris

      I’m sorry that’s a good question but all I kept coming up with was “”How much wood would (your) woodchuck chuck if (your) woodchuck could chuck wood?”

      Making the answer “He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.”

      I am again, so sorry. It’s getting kindof late, I guess.

  19. Briny

    Re: “Thousands of Mathematicians Join Boycott Against Police Collaboration”
    I’ve been doing machine learning and AI for the last forty-six years and your models are only as good as your data, which any fool (practitioner) should know. The mystery to me is what took them so long to come to this conclusion? More than a bit of malpractice, methinks.

  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a random piece of good news.


    Maybe this woman will be convicted. Maybe not.

    Either way, it is know “what” she did, even if the System has not rendered a verdict on the “legality” of it or not.

    Hopefully she is rendered unemployable for life and has to live out the rest of her days sleeping under
    Bill Clinton’s ” Bridget to the Twenty First Century”.

    1. Yves Smith

      Wow, I didn’t realize she actually rang 9/11 but that makes sense. I thought a cop had happened to come by as opposed to come in response to a call.

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