2:00PM Water Cooler 10/19/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

For a change of pace, here’s a bird flapping (in this case, a vulture. Only two weeks ’til the election…).


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. Including Texas, which alas seems to have straightened out its data problem, in the past few days.


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. October 16: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely 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.

“Where’s My Ballot?” [Alex Padilla]. “Tracking your vote-by-mail ballot—when it is mailed, received, and counted—has never been easier. The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where’s My Ballot? lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.” • Ballottrax. Shoulda gone long….

“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.”

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!

AZ: “Confessions of the Secret Suburban Trump Moms: Arizona” [The Spectator]. “Both of my children showed an interest in acting and singing at a very young age, so we got involved in our very popular local theater. When I say involved, I mean very involved. I volunteered countless hours for the kids’ program and spent five years on the board of directors. The theater I tell you, was an unabashed bubble of pure elite liberalism. I dared not reveal my true views for fear that my kids would be shunned at a community, non-profit theater. This is certainly not the way it should be at a community space, but it was. I think some of the members may have suspected I was not truly one of ‘theirs’ because I never would comment in compliance with ‘orange man bad’ conversations and I did not ‘like’ any of their political Facebook posts. I was careful not to like political posts of any kind, so I could just fall back on the idea that I did not engage in politics publicly. It never ceased to amaze me that at public board meetings, board members would just openly declare Trump the most evil and stupidest man alive, as if there couldn’t possibly be any person in earshot that may have believed something different than them. I believe they sincerely did not think anyone could possibly not see things the way they did. Or maybe, they just didn’t care. It was a bubble after all.” • Nevertheless, her district won’t be going for Trump, so…

FL: “Florida Could Seal Trump’s Fate on Election Night” [Bloomberg]. “In 2016, Trump carried Florida by crushing Hillary Clinton among voters ages 65 and older, who, exit polls showed, supported him by a 17-point margin. But seniors are a group that’s moved away from Trump during his presidency, and even more so with the onset of Covid-19. Early returns in senior-heavy Florida suggest they may vote in historic numbers. That would seem to be bad news for Trump, whose support among seniors in a recent Quinnipiac University poll has cratered…. A senior surge in Florida that mirrors Quinnipiac’s support level for Biden would probably mean that the nightmare scenario of a drawn-out, contested election won’t happen and Trump’s fate could be apparent on election night. Unlike some other states that don’t start counting mail-in ballots until polls close, Florida counts them as they come in. That means the “red mirage” and “blue shift” that Democrats fear—a scenario where in-person votes put Trump in the lead on election night, but a late surge of mail-in ballots then gives Biden the edge, leading to a protracted legal battle—is unlikely if Biden’s lead in Florida is decisive and the state can be called on Nov. 3.”

UPDATE FL “Post Investigation: These Florida voting machines ripe for Russian hackers, experts say” [Palm Beach Post]. “Bad actors working for the likes of Russia and other nation-states are lurking on the internet, waiting for their chance to infiltrate the American voting system. Florida may be ripe for the picking, computer scientists say, because numerous counties rely on voting machines that are drawing fire for their vulnerability to a cyberattack. These computer scientists, along with election integrity groups familiar with the model that Palm Beach and 48 other counties use, say there are potentially numerous ways for a foreign entity to alter results. They say that state election officials have accepted wholesale the spin from the manufacturer that these machines — which voters at polling places feed ballots into after marking candidates of their choice — are secure.” • Note this is about tabulators, not ballot marking devices. I do get a litle tired of the constant yammering about “foreign entities” when it’s blindingly obvious that domestic actors — say, the ones that purchased the machines — could do some hacking on their own.

UPDATE GA “Georgia Continues to Tempt Fate This Election Season” [OSET Institute]. “Georgia regulations already require keeping emergency paper ballots on hand as well as configuring polling place scanners to accept both machine-printed ballots and emergency ballots. The regulations mention a bare minimum amount equal to 10 percent of all registered voters. However, this is simply insufficient to cover three hours of voting on Election Day. The lines we saw this week during early voting in Georgia confirm what was already known: November’s elections are likely to see historic turnout. Backup ballots are necessary, not only in response to machine failures, but also for provisional voting — when voters find themselves in the wrong polling place, or when they’ve requested an absentee ballot but wish to vote in person and a poll manager isn’t available to help. To cover all these scenarios, Georgia election officials should supply Election Day polling places with enough pre-printed ballots — and provisional ballot envelopes — for 40 percent of registered voters.”

TX: “2020 General Election Early Voting Analysis” (PDF) [Ryan Data and Research]. • Many charts and tables. This one caught my eye:

Looks like early voting is a roaring success among the over-70s — I assume those are Covid voters — and not so much for other age groups. This may be Texas only; certainly the images of lines I’ve seen have a good age distribution.

OH: “In 2016, Trump won these Rust Belt counties on the economy. In 2020, he might lose them over coronavirus” [Reuters]. “Tanya Wojciak, a lifelong Republican and suburban mom from northeast Ohio, is the kind of battleground state voter President Donald Trump can’t afford to lose – but already has…. Wojciak, 39, said Trump’s spotty use of masks and repeated attempts to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus – even after being hospitalized for it himself – is “not presidential at all.” She said she regrets voting for him four years ago. A hand-painted Biden sign now graces her front lawn in Cortland. Some 340 miles (547 km) east, in Bangor, Pennsylvania, Leo Bongiorno says he, too, is voting for Biden after sitting out the 2016 contest. Customers at Bongiorno’s brewery and eatery, Bangor Trust Brewing, remained scarce even after Pennsylvania began to ease its bar-and-restaurant restrictions in June.”

TX: “Foreign Hackers Cripple Texas County’s Email System, Raising Election Security Concerns” [ProPublica]. “Last week, voters and election administrators who emailed Leanne Jackson, the clerk of rural Hamilton County in central Texas, received bureaucratic-looking replies. “Re: official precinct results,” one subject line read. The text supplied passwords for an attached file. But Jackson didn’t send the messages. Instead, they came from Sri Lankan and Congolese email addresses, and they cleverly hid malicious software inside a Microsoft Word attachment.” • Obviously Russians in disguise. More: “ProPublica obtained five malware samples from Hamilton County and identified them as Emotet. The security firm Proofpoint, which examined the samples at our request, traced them to two weeklong Emotet campaigns in mid-September likely involving millions of malicious email attachments.” • So nothing to do with the election at all?

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Biden would revamp fraying intel community” [Politico]. “Intelligence has become a political weapon under Trump, the Democratic nominee’s advisers say.” • Oh.

Biden (D)(2): “K Street Buzzes Over Possible Shift to Biden After Trump Era” [Bloomberg]. “All across the nation’s capital, companies and trade associations are laying plans for a potential Biden administration. They are strategizing on how to defend clients from an expected resurgence of regulation and marry their priorities with Biden’s expected focus on stimulating the economy, expanding health care and overhauling corporate taxes. It’s a massive undertaking that much of K Street began early in the year and which has swelled along with Biden’s polling lead over President Donald Trump and signs that Democrats could also gain control of the Senate. Not since 2008, when President George W. Bush was leaving the White House, have lobbyists planned for the possibility of so sweeping a change in Washington’s corridors of power.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(3):


Buttigieg (D)(1): “Watch: Pete Buttigieg nails another Fox News interview — right when it matters most” [Alternet]. • CIA? State? 2024 Vice President? The possibilities are limitless!

Trump (R)(1): “Column: What explains Trump’s unwavering supporters? Call it a death wish” [Los Angeles Times]. “In March, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton published the book “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” which analyzed the loss of white males aged 45-54 in the U.S. to suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism. The phenomenon is especially pronounced in such red states as Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia. Case and Deaton point to loss of community as the chief risk factor. Deepening the tragedy is that the deaths of these men are not ennobled as sacrifices for their country, or a higher good. Into this narrative void has come a creed promulgated by Fox News and its imitators that itself could justify taking the next pill or drink.” • I think Case and Deaton scrupulously avoid shaming. And must liberal Democrats always psychologize everything?

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “The Memo: Trump’s second-term chances fade” [The Hill]. “Barring a cataclysmic ‘October surprise,’ Trump’s only obvious chance to change the shape of the race will come in the final presidential debate, set for Thursday evening in Nashville, Tenn. The number of Americans voting early is also surging, leaving Trump even less room to maneuver. As of Friday, more than 20 million people had cast their ballots. Trump loyalists and nervous Democrats are united on one point: that the president cannot be counted out, especially in light of his shock win in 2016, when state-level polls were badly wrong. But there are key differences this time around — not least that Biden has led the race from the start and Trump has never come particularly close to erasing that gap.” • As the Trillbillies say, in 2015-2016 Trump was a one-man hit machine. No longer. In fact, I’m not even sure what the Trump campaign is about. The economy is off, there’s no (colorable) vaccine, and the Durtham Report is a dry hole. Nothing that could have helped Trump is happening, and he’s out of runway (unless Biden turns out to be a “goddamned robot,” and starts leaking grey fluid on national television).

* * *

NE: “Trump’s suburban collapse costs him in Nebraska” [Politico]. “In the 2nd District, which includes largely Democratic Omaha and its largely Republican suburbs, the president is running 6 or 7 percentage points behind Joe Biden, according to public and private polling. It’s a case study of his collapse in the suburbs, an example of how the president’s alienation of a traditional Republican constituency is proving costly to his reelection campaign — and how his increasingly desperate last-minute appeals to suburbanites are going unheeded. ‘If you look at the struggle that Trump has going on in the suburbs, it’s just super consistent,’ said Ryan Horn, a Republican media strategist based in Omaha. ‘What you see in Nebraska 2 you’ll see in Dallas, Texas, you’ll see in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll see in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you’ll see in Orange County, California … It’s super, super consistent.” • Perhaps — horrid thought — Schumer was right, just not in 2016: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.” Although to be fair, it took Trump and a pandemic to make Schumer right (for some definition of right; there were probably other paths to a Democrat victory that didn’t depend on The Great Assimilation™.

MA: “Senate Campaign Improperly Spent $1.5M: Joe Kennedy III” [NBC Boston]. “The campaign dipped into the general election funds beginning in August, as incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey closed the polling gap and out-fundraised Kennedy, the [Boston Globe] reported… The Kennedy campaign said two senior officials believed the rules allowed them to spend the general election money if it was paid back with additional contributions after the primary. The campaign argued it had no reason to willingly violate the rules, because Kennedy’s personal wealth meant he could have contributed the money if necessary.” • Dynastic wealth as virtue signaling is something new.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition” (PDF) [Transition Integrity Project]. Love the name. “Never eat at a place called Mom’s“. This is the exercise where liberal Democrats and Bush Republicans gamed out the election results. It’s worth a read. This caught my eye:

During the exercises, Team Biden and Democratic elected officials took the following steps:

  • Organizing 1,000 “influencers” to denounce efforts to steal the election.
  • Organizing all living presidents to stand with Biden and denounce Trump administration efforts to subvert the democratic process.
  • Recruiting moderate Republican Governors such as Baker (MA) and Hogan (MD) to form an “Election Protection” Coalition.
  • Working with local Democratic elected officials to call on the Adjutant General of the National Guard, along with representatives from the technology sector, to monitor vote counting.
  • Organizing a bipartisan “National Day for Restoration of Democracy” and a “National Day of Unity,” both including faith leaders.
  • Attempting a capital strike and a work stoppage as part of an overall effort to push corporate leaders to insist that all ballots to be counted.

Considering these simply as a list of techniques drawn from the liberal Democrat hive mind, it’s interesting to speculate how many of them would have been used against Sanders, had he won TX in addition to CA. And how many would be used during, or after, the general. The last bullet for example?

And then there’s this:

TIP’s scenario exercises underscored a basic truth: an incumbent running for re-election can use the powers of the presidency to great advantage, particularly if traditional norms are viewed as unimportant and the incumbent is willing to take the risk that a court will eventually rule his actions to be unlawful. The exercise identified the following presidential powers as most likely to be misused to manipulate electoral outcomes or disrupt the transition: the President’s ability to federalize the national guard or invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy active duty military domestically; his ability to launch investigations into opponents; and his ability to use Department of Justice and/or the intelligence agencies to cast doubt on election results or discredit his opponents. The President and key members of his administration can also reference classified documents without releasing them, manipulate classified information, or selectively release classified documents for political purposes, fueling manufactured rumors. Participants noted that additional presidential powers subject to misuse include the ability to the freeze assets of individuals and groups the president determines to be a threat, and his ability to restrict internet communications in the name of national security.

Maybe a little projection going on, in some of the items?

UPDATE “Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big” [The Hill]. “Biden has pledged to unite the country, restore comity in Washington and work with Republicans if he is elected president, but the uproar over Feinstein’s brief hug with Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday is a sign that many on the left will have little patience working with Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) next year.” • But if Michelle hugs George Bush because he gave her candy? No problemo.

Trump (R)(2): “From Trump to eternity: The fate of the political arts in the modern world” [Club Troppo]. “My analysis does suggest the possible healing qualities of injecting into our political system political deliberation that is had at small scale, is not principally ‘scaled’ via politicians’ media performance. There are no shortcuts back to the world where this was done in most local areas, but the institution of the jury provides us with a way of ‘scaling’ local deliberation. After all, a jury of twelve ordinary people siding with one side or other in a court case is a local, small scale deliberative body which gains its legitimacy from its proxying for ‘the people’. I’ve argued elsewhere that populating our political system with such mechanisms could powerfully heal it. The ancient mechanism of selection by lot also disrupts the traditional means by which external goods might come to dominate internal goods. Jurors will continue to be virtuous or not, but a juror is unlikely to have their head turned from doing the best job they can by the external goods of money, power (including career) or fame.” • Worth reading in full.

Using power for good:

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.

* * *

The Bezzle: “GM’s Cruise Unit Allowed to Test Robotaxis in San Francisco” [Bloomberg]. “General Motors Co.’s Cruise LLC unit will be allowed to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in San Francisco without a safety driver, joining Amazon.com Inc.-backed Zoox Inc. and a handful of other self-driving startups…. Cruise will be allowed to conduct both daytime and nighttime tests on certain public roads with speed limits no greater than 30 miles per hour and only in fair-weather conditions.” • So, inputs optimized.

The Bezzle: “AirbnBaller” [Scott Galloway]. Maybe I’ll have to move AirBnB from “The Bezzle.” We shall see. “I believe this time next year, Airbnb will be the most valuable hospitality firm in the world and one of the world’s 10 strongest brands. (Note: rankings of “the world’s best brands” are a desperate yelp for relevance from ad agencies begging clients to buy more media and cling to the nineties, the Brand Era.) The SF platform will likely be worth more than the three largest hotel firms, combined. Why?…. Outside of luxury, which is not relevant/affordable to 90% of travelers, there isn’t a truly global brand, until now. Google searches reflect that Airbnb has eclipsed the equity of century-old brands, in one decade, across markets big and small. While competitors may have equity in a specific market, no brand sits on the iron throne across all markets as Airbnb does…. So, how to value the gangster of all private gangsters? What is the benchmark and the corresponding multiple? It’s clearly not a hotel business, but not a SaaS firm either. However, Airbnb is a tech firm and highly “disruptive.” The firm has a greater share of employees with an engineering background than Amazon or Uber.” • Won’t one super-spreader event blow away a lot of that equity? (NOTE: This may be dependent on fomites, i.e. surface cleaning.)

Tech: “Thousands of infected IoT devices used in for-profit anonymity service” [Ars Technica]. “Some 9,000 devices—mostly running Android, but also the Linux and Darwin operating Systems—have been corralled into the Interplanetary Storm, the name given to a botnet whose chief purpose is creating a for-profit proxy service, likely for anonymous Internet use…. Thursday’s report is a good reminder why it’s important to always change default passwords when setting up Internet-of-things devices and—when possible—to also disable remote administrative access. The cost of not doing so may not only be lost bandwidth and increased power consumption, but also criminal content that might be traced back to your network.”

Tech: “Microsoft just force restarted my Windows PC again to install more unwanted apps” [The Verge]. “I stepped away from my computer for dinner, halfway through writing a story for The Verge. When I got back, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Windows 10 had restarted my computer without permission yet again — to install yet another forced OS update onto my solid state drive… Microsoft doesn’t respect your ownership of your own PC, the latest example of Microsoft installing anything it likes in a Windows update up to and including bloatware, and the latest example of Microsoft caring more about the bottom line than whether a few people might lose their work when Windows suddenly shuts down their PC.” • MacOS doesns’t do this at all. iOS would if it could bring itself to, but currently it contents itself with constant nudging.

Concentration: “Google Is Making Google Meet A Calendar Default For Workspace Starting Today” [Forbes]. “Google is pushing its Zoom competitor, Google Meet, on as default in Google Calendar invites November 16th, but notifying Google Workspace IT Admins (formerly G Suite IT admins) that they can make this feature live now.” • The defaults are are like Mackender’s World Island: Who rules the defaults command the world.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 62 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 19 at 11:46am. Mr. Market in his happy space.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on earthquakes. “The lack of major quakes has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.) This Index doesn’t seem to be reflecting the election at all. I’d expect “Beast Government” to be popping, but no!

The Biosphere

“The IMF Has a Blueprint for Helping the Climate Without Hurting Economic Growth” [Bloomberg]. “In its new report, the IMF takes a different tack, arguing that there is no trade-off between [cutting emissions and growth]. It also goes further than a lot of climate economists by factoring in the so-called ‘co-benefits’ from cutting emissions — the often neglected side effects, such as fewer deaths from air pollution, and reduced traffic.The IMF’s climate chapter models a package of policy measures that it says would enable the world to get to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. In addition to a carbon price starting at a modest $6 to $10 per ton, the package includes 80% subsidies for renewable energy production, a swathe of green public investments, compensation for households, and a supportive fiscal approach — that is, being prepared to load up on debt for the next decade. The IMF points out, reasonably enough, that we seem to be in a low-for-long interest rate environment.” • Maybe. I’m dubious that consumption does not need to be addressed.

Does anyone do this?

I have never had a problem with squirrels. I wonder if sheet mulch has the same effect? It sounds fun, though.

Health Care

Google butchers aerosol transmission:

Even if we accept a classification system where there is a continuum of droplets, some of which are ballistic, and some of which (“aerosols”) float, Google omits the latter alternative. (My search was “how is covid spreading in the united states”.)

Here, however, is a case of fomite transmission!

Seems like an outlier to me, but fomite transmission it is!

“Multi-organ impairment in low-risk individuals with long COVID” (PDF; preprint) [medRxiv]. “In a young, low-risk population with ongoing symptoms, almost 70% of individuals have impairment in one or more organs four months after initial symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are implications not only for burden of long COVID but also public health approaches which have assumed low risk in young people with no omorbidities.” • The cynical, or realistic, will note the funding at lines 71-73.

“STAT-Harris Poll: The share of Americans interested in getting Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible is dropping [STAT]. “Overall, 58% of the U.S. public said they would get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine was available when asked earlier this month, down considerably from 69% who said the same thing in mid-August. That change suggests growing concern that the regulatory approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine has been politicized by the Trump administration in the run-up to the presidential election…. Drill down further, and the new data show a striking disparity by race. The poll found that 59% of white Americans indicated they would get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is ready, a decline from 70% in mid-August. Only 43% of Black individuals said they would pursue a vaccine as soon as it was available, a sharp drop from 65% in mid-August.” • Good job? (It’s not clear to me that once having unsold people on vaccines, you can resell them. In other words, I’m not sure a change in administration will solve the problem.) And speaking of Tuskegee

“The Captive Lab Rat: Human Medical Experimentation in the Carceral State” [Boston College Law Review]. “Our current approach to human medical experimentation disregards informed consent and privacy, allowing the pharmaceutical and medical industries to play an outsized role in shaping clinical research. The confusing amalgam of laws, rules and codes loosely governing such research almost entirely fail to regulate or prevent patient mistreatment and abuse. Acquiring a true understanding of our system of mass incarceration requires us to unearth the hidden contours of our current experiments on the poor, the disabled, and the confined, and calls for a wholesale revision of the flawed legal and medical regime overseeing human medical experimentation.”

Groves of Academe

This are the people in charge of anti-Covid strategy at our universities:

Discussion here at the UCLA Faculty Association. They mention Hamid’s document was from 2014, but the same policy was in effect as late as 2017.

Guillotine Watch

“Rolls-Royce Tones Down $332,500 Ghost in Latest Bid for Relevance” [Bloomberg] (September 30). “Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are notoriously demanding consumers. After all, they pay exorbitant amounts for products and services rendered. … It’s a lavish and indulgent, but simultaneously detoxifying, place to be…. ‘Our customers want a thinking space,’ [Chief Executive Officer Torsten Mueller-Otvos] says. He means that along with wanting clean air, they don’t want a ton of buttons, crazy stitching, boisterous colored leathers, and color combos as I’ve seen lately in a lot of Aston Martins and Maseratis. They want the interior to be a zone conducive to both psychic and emotional serenity.” • I’ll bet. But there’s a plot twist–

“Rolls-Royce’s New Car Was So Quiet at First, It Nauseated Drivers” [Bloomberg]. “(October 16). “In the new, second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost, early test audiences during its five years of development reported that the car felt so quiet it was disorienting. “Bordering on nausea,” reports the car’s lead engineer, Jon Simms. … [Rolls-Royce engineers] tuned the rear seat frames and components in the trunk to a vibrate at a specific low frequency, as musicians might tune instruments to a particular pitch. They recalibrated the 563-horsepower engine to downplay its rumbly noise, and avoided aggressive drive modes such as track or sport, which would rev it louder. They rearranged the four layers of sound insulation inside the doors to help pad out dead pockets of air. They even eased up on the heavily padded headliner…. I experienced the resulting whisper while test-driving the Ghost last month. The instant the doors closed with a feather-light thud, it felt as if I had stepped into a spa. As I drove through the rolling Texas hills, I felt a deep sense of stillness and purity, even inside a speeding machine powered by fossil fuels.” • I don’t doubt it. I was nauseated myself!

Class Warfare

“Amazon Launches Payday Advances for Its Most Precarious Warehouse Workers” [Vice]. “Amazon has launched a payday advance program, called Anytime Pay, for its most precariously employed warehouse workers to “access up to 50% percent of the money [they’ve] earned instantly.” While it’s no secret that many Amazon warehouse workers live paycheck to paycheck, most Americans do, the implication of this new offering, which has been framed as a perk, is grim. The program codifies what many Amazon workers have been saying about their dangerous, low-paying jobs: warehouse workers need an option like this because they’re not earning enough to make it to payday…. But they are some caveats to Amazon’s new payday advance option. Warehouse workers who opt into this program, by signing up for a pay card with the software company Wisely, will have to pay fees at out-of-network ATMs to take out cash, and may be subject to other fines. In other words, workers will likely get a little less of their paycheck by using this card.” • Oh, come on:

“Shadows On The Grass” [Spotted Toad]. “There’s a cliché of recent years that the language of progressivism privileges those with the privileges to master it; true enough, but the main people it privileges is those who don’t have anything to hurt their heads- no kids, lives, families, responsibilities to return to from the world of the political. As people have fewer private obligations, not only does a language that represents social relations in solely abstract terms become more appealing to them, but their capacity to adopt this language increases because the costs are less real. The intersectional ideology of progressivism favors whose ties to past, family, identity do not interfere with the favored narratives being sold at any one time. Thus those – transracial, transgender, transclass, etc- who have deliberately severed their self-continuity often appear its fastest adherents. This is perhaps also why the language of the currently dominant ideology tends simultaneously towards revolutionary insurrection and a defense of institutional power: the people most isolated and atomized will be both eager for institutional validation while also happy to burn everything else down.” •¨Worth a read….

News of the Wired

Hat tip to alert reader lyman alpha blob for the Wicked Good Band:

This resonates with me because I bought a new wooden desk chair with insufficient back support. Oddly, I’ve always been most comfortable on benches with no back support at all, so I don’t why this chair did what it did to me, which took a week of salves and a heating pad to undo. (Also, Maine is full of not-really-that-old men whose bodies have been wrecked in the woods or the mills, one source of our opioid problem. So the band is great, but also Maine does have a bit of a mean streak….)

Another artbot. Like Basquiat, Warhol’s work grows stronger and stronger as we advance into the 21st Century:

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

TH writes: “This is another flower (Lavender? — I didn’t think to smell it) in the gardens that front the Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California.” I think it’s lavender!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Matthew G. Saroff

    I think that we need to understand something important from the 2000 election.

    When Florida went back into play, the coverage started to reflect this until NBC, and MSNBC, and the reat of the GE family declared Bush the winner.

    They did so because Jack Welch, CEO of GE, ordered them to declare Bush the winner.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From TV coverage of Bush v. Gore is a scary reminder of what can go wrong on election night LA Times:

      The initial erroneous election call led to conspiracy theories. The Fox News analyst who called the race first, John Ellis, was a first cousin of Bush. While Ellis was a respected political expert previously employed by NBC News, his presence at a network decision desk, where statisticians and political scientists crunch poll numbers, votes and historical data to project winners, appeared to be a conflict of interest.

      “What was someone related to Bush doing in any position of responsibility to call an election?” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

      There was also a rumor that Jack Welch, chairman of then NBC parent General Electric and a longtime Republican backer, was urging his network’s news division to call the race for Bush.

      So, better evidence needed for your claim on Welch. Personally, I think John Ellis would have been enough.

  2. Samuel Conner

    I’ll try the “pointy stick” squirrel deterrent in 2021.

    This Spring I had a succession of squirrels digging transplanted seedlings out of medium sized “move-up” pots whose growing medium had been fortified with an organic fertilizer. I was using Espoma “Garden Tone”, some batches of which I have noticed can smell a bit chocolaty. Not knowing what else to do, I resorted to live-capture traps and relocation of the impudent beasts.

    I like the idea of a “hedgehog defense” and will try that, but will also probably not use savory-smelling amendments.

    1. steve

      My squirrels will dig up and inspect most anything just planted, especially bulbs. Usually they will leave them alone when replanted. I use hardware cloth laid on the ground, formed around the top of the pot or tented above seedlings. I’ve tried the stick approach with seemingly random results. Chipmunks are always digging in my pots if I don’t cover them, so with mature ornamentals I just put up with the mess though a chunky gravel mulch will keep them out. Funny thing about the chipmunks, they seem to always dig the same spot in the pots and besides making a mess and creating a slight hole they don’t really disturb things. Unless we are talking about plastic, they are slowly eating my lawn mower.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Yup. I just planted some squirrel food aka crocus bulbs. Covered the ground above with chili powder and cayenne to keep them away. Then it rained, washed away my preventative measures, and the squirrels started digging them up almost immediately. They don’t seem to have discovered all of them just yet so we’ll see if anything comes up in the spring.

        I swear their preferred menu changes from year to year. Couple years ago they were ripping off my bean pods and dragging them up into a tree as fast as they could. This year they didn’t touch them. I guess someone’s else’s garden offered better fare.

        1. nippersdad

          In the winter our squirrels love to drag the bird suet cages off into the brush, and then you don’t find them until the next year when you are mulching.

          We now have lots of suet cages…until January, anyway. I am going to have to start nailing them to the posts. They are greedy little things.

    2. nippersdad

      While we have plenty of squirrels, the critters that bother me the most are armadillos. They can find newly planted anythings anywhere.

      I don’t think the pointy stick approach is going to work with those guys. What we need is a steel cage with Ginsu knives sticking out of it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > While we have plenty of squirrels, the critters that bother me the most are armadillos

        Readers? Armadillo solutions? I did a Google search for armadillo including “extension service,” and the general consensus seems to be live trapping or shooting. This caught my eye from the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service:

        The most common damage complaints against armadillos are from the extensive digging they do while searching for food. Armadillos feed primarily on invertebrates that live in the upper layers of the soil.* Using its long nose and forefeet, a single individual may dig dozens of shallow holes 2–6 cm wide and up to 15 cm deep each night (Figure 2). Because armadillos prefer to dig in moist soil, their activity is concentrated in well-kept lawns and gardens—exactly where people are most sensitive to such destructive activity!

        Ha ha! Some people want to abolish lawns entirely! I haven’t seen this anywhere, but I wonder if making the soil surface such that armadillos don’t want to dig there — sheet mulch? — would work. (Maybe not; sheet mulch brings worms, which armadillos find tasty. Hmm.)

        NOTE * So they are also somewhat beneficial

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Squirrels are also digging in garden beds in order to bury nuts. I wonder whether a whole ” bedload” of little sticks like this would put that bed off-limits to squirrels looking for soft well-worked soil to bury nuts int.

      I notice in spring that chipmunks can often smell and dig up planted seeds, like corn seed and buckwheat seed. When planting buckwheat I have learned to leave a little pile of buckwheat off to the side to keep the chipmunks busy with.

    4. polecat

      I utilize (short of physically harming) such pointy ends ( bamboo, various pruning, utility/garden wire..) to discourage the neighborhood cats from sh!thing in my newly seeded veg beds! Gurrr!

    5. jaaaaayceeeee

      I buy thousand packs of bamboo shishkabob sticks, to spike my flower/veggie beds and pots, which are relatively richer and softer (attractive).

      Squirrels fed to madness (each nut must be buried), abandoned cats who still want that feeling they got when someone had a litterbox for them to scatter, rats, curious animals passing thorugh, and the neighbor’s puppy who likes to be naughty to get attention – they can all be somewhat deterred by a well spiked flower bed or pot. If a squirrel starts in a new area, where I have never before had to set spikes, sometimes he will be deterred from returning again and again to that spot.

      I don’t like to use bits of broken branches/sticks, for 2 reasons:

      1. If I am sprouting plants, I often keep the soil moist, and sometimes a stick will kick off or increase any mold.

      2. Unlike found sticks, using the longest bamboo shishkabob sticks you can find (buy in bulk), eventually pays off in saved time. The uniform size makes stabbing a bunch in a special pot or bed eventually become an exercise that you do quickly, half consciously, and with only half an eye on what you are doing.

      I keep a bunch by my watering hose. I confess that I leave some flower beds free of spikes, since I feel bad for squirrels trying to dig hard clay soil in the dry season!

      Good luck all! The best solution is to have acres and acres of rich woodland alongside your garden.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Do you stick the bamboo skewers into the soil pointy-end down-into-the-soil? Or blunt end down-into-the-soil, leaving the sharp end sticking up?

        1. jaaaaayceeeee

          I always stick the bamboo shishkabob sticks in pointy end down, so as not to impale a curious critter, and because it is easier to get it down further. I still get the odd supersmart, curious dog who pulls them out with his teeth. And the feral cats sometimes walk slowly and majestically, slaloming the stakes before squashing a tender plant and then kicking hard enough so it flies.

          I think I got mad enough once to jab the cut end in, which made a spike, but it didn’t make a difference and I felt gratuitously cruel. I have seen squirrels dig between two stakes only a couple of inches apart, and a dog delight in puling them out when I got a batch of bamboo cooking chopsticks (big), because he could get better purchase on the stake.

          But bamboo stakes (if you can get them really, really cheap) seem to be worth it for bringing down the percentage of veggies and flowers that get destroyed.

  3. diptherio

    You know what Linux systems don’t do? Force updates. You know what else they don’t do? Constantly nudge you. Just sayin’.

    1. Carolinian

      Yay Linux. Of course Microsoft will tell you they are doing it for your own good because their hacker friendly software is constantly needing updates.

      Sounds like one should put the Win computer into hibernate when getting up to go to the bathroom. Might also want to disconnect the internet modem. If all else fails unplug the thing.

      1. Martin Oline

        I pull out that wireless transmitter all the time when I don’t want to be bothered. One day it will break.

        1. RMO

          You know the other thing Linux doesn’t do (for me so far anyways)? Install and run. Tried four variants, none of which seemed able to boot and install on my ASUS laptop when I decided to give Linux a try after the hard drive failed. Ended up reinstalling Windows 10 just to get it up and running again. And yes, so far it’s pulled the update/restart prank on me four times without permission. At least it’s always happened in the dead of the night and I haven’t caught it installing new applications, bloatware or changing my privacy settings (for what little they’re worth on 10).

          That laptop recently took a tumble down some stairs so now the screen is being held together by pacing tape along the edges. I have a replacement ready to go so once it is in service I may use the old one to see if I can actually get Linux working finally.

          1. Grumpy Engineer

            You may need to disable “Secure Boot” in the BIOS to get Linux to boot. I’ve had to do that a lot with SystemRescue (formerly called SystemRescueCD) when troubleshooting laptops for people. The BIOS-fiddling requirements are even worse on Chromebooks.

            1. shtove

              Yes, I had to get past Secure Boot for my father’s Lenovo. Linux Mint Cinnamon is a breeze to instal. Sounds like OP hasn’t quite figured it out when there’s very little to figure out.

            2. RMO

              “You may need to disable “Secure Boot” in the BIOS to get Linux to boot.”

              That’s one of the many things I tried to do in order to make it work. One possibility that I couldn’t try had to do with changing the BIOS/UEFI settings with Windows up and running. At the time I couldn’t do that because the original hard drive had died and been replaced with a new one. By the time I had fiddled around with Linux variants and finally reinstalled Windows again I was out of patience. Now that I’m setting up a new laptop I may have another try with Linux on the old one as experimenting won’t leave me without a running computer.

          2. diptherio

            Manufacturers have been trying to make it more difficult, but there are usually ways (and not overly techy) to make it work (See Grumpy Engineer’s comment above). I’ve put it on at least half a dozen machines for myself and others and have never had a problem (granted, none of them have been new enough to come with Win 10).

            1. Oh

              I’m running Ubuntu 18.04 on my desktop with dual boot of Win10 (ugh!). It works well since I leave it running with Ubuntu and occasionally reboot with Win 10 and turn it off when I’m done to prevent Windoze from updating my machine. Pulling the internet connection will prevent the update only until the next time you plug it in. And those updates take forever.
              Linux informs me that updates for the OS or app s/w is available and it’s up to me to download.

        1. Synoia

          Buy a Raspberry PI 4, , it has dual monitor support, is reasonably fast., and runs Raspbian, a Debian derivative.

          You will need a few SD Cards.

          Cost? About $100.

      2. Gary

        Can’t you turn off automatic updates in Windows? I don’t use Windows 10 in a home environment but I am sure you can probably control this. You might need to do a policy change or something nerdy like that.

      3. Procopius

        Back in the ’80s there was a nerd ingroup joke about a coding contest between Satan and Jesus. Jesus ended up winning, because “Jesus saves.” Just sayin’.

        I’m using Win 7 until it stops working, because there are a couple of games I’m addicted to that still won’t run on WINE or in a virtual machine. I don’t enjoy them as much as I used to, so maybe I’ll switch to Linux before I die. I like Ubuntu, but not Mint. I could learn to live with Fedora.

    2. Charlie

      One computer at a time. Left the world of Microsoft and Dell with purchase of Linux system. No going back. Dell killed an old monitor I had connected to the old Windows 10 system I replaced. Said they didn’t support that model, so, even though it works, I can’t use it on that computer. They do stuff to mess up your printer also. Gotta buy that new cartridge when you could probably go months, if not years, with the old one.

      1. polecat

        Some day, and it may be soon … I may feel compelled to smash my ‘device’ .. thus ending a unloved affair with turn-of-the-century electronic/ digital f#ch u ware!

        I can’t possibly be the only one to be at this stage of e-revolt. Maybe, the only way to kill zuckborg, @jacksh!t etc al .. is to • simply • not • play • their • game!

        Me thinks periodicals will reappear, by popular demand! … be they above, or underground …

  4. JTMcPhee

    Re “Using power for good:” I thought maybe that was some kind of message to our imperial leaders, instead it’s what maybe is a very “Un-woke” set of stereotypical images…

    I’m imagining the reaction from the non-male part of the woke populace to the same video with a woman doing the strip…

    I know, I know, “Can’t you just accept it for what it is? Query, what exactly is it? 2,000 calories…

      1. Rageon

        Reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror called Fifteen Million Merits. Part of the synopsis from IMDB:
        In this alternate, future reality, Bing and thousands of others must ride exercise bikes for hours a day to earn “merits”, credits that can be used to purchase basic necessities as well as novelty items. They are surrounded by televisions playing mindless entertainment all day long, including TV shows that mock the odd overweight citizen who cannot work, a lot of pornography…and a talent show similar to the real-world Got Talent franchise.

        Decidedly dystopian as most Black Mirror episodes are…

    1. Lost in OR

      Un-woke” set of stereotypical images…

      Dang, that looked like good clean fun to me. It was fun to see them laughing harder as they pedalled harder. But, it seems, the Puritans have morphed into humorless thin-skinned they-thems. Please, condemn me to the unwoke. Go for it you wild women! Have some fun.

      But can you imagine… men, on blue bikes, raising the image of a female dancer? Whoo boy.

  5. Mark Gisleson

    Never been on Windows, but if you refuse to install an update on your iPad or iPhone, Apple will HOUND you ceaselessly, nagging you to click and update.

    Oddly, they seem to give [family blog] less about my desktop (which is why I do all my online reading from my desktop).

    1. Keith

      I forgot the device I had the issue with, but I could refuse any updates they sent me, and the device would refuse to go online until I did.

      Maybe Samsung?

  6. JTMcPhee

    And re the schadenfreude notion that a superspreader event in one of those AirBnB places might, via “liability” litigation, endanger the “brand’s” “valuation,” the cool part about having all that tax-deductible money to spend on bribing politicians is that you get the laws, rules and rulings that fit your business model and extinguish any “external” liabilities. A vain wish that those who loot will ever have to swallow a brunch of molten gold due to their destructive gluttony.

    Enough of us have also made it clear more than enough of us do not fear the Red Death, and are happy to go to AirBnB and similar places to hold big massless parties and keep the curves trending up up up…

  7. Judith

    Regarding Amazon payday advances: at least the Amazon workers are not (yet) required to shop at the company store or rent rooms in company-owned housing.

    I think the rich vultures are circling for every crumb/penny. And trying to encourage workers to pile on the debt.

    Recent ads from my credit cards include an offer of an extra 2500 bonus points if I spend $2500 between Nov 1 and Jan 15.

    And this: “Use Citi Flex Pay to split up large purchases into fixed monthly payments.”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did the workers at all the businesses which Amazon has exterminated make less per hour than Amazon workers make now? Or the same? Or more per hour?

      And what were the conditions of their work? More suffering per dollar than at Amazon? Less suffering per dollar? The same suffering per dollar?

      Has anyone tried to make this comparison?

      1. Glen

        Yes, compare Amazon to Sears & Roebuck, the Amazon of it’s day. There were small stores in very small towns providing a living to the owner, and there were sales people at the larger stores able to have one parent work, buy homes, send kids to colleges, AND HAVE A PENSION when they retired.

        I’m pretty sure they did not have to wear diapers to take dump on the go either.

        But that’s just one example, and somewhat out of date, Amazon really survived via AWS (the US Government is a big AWS client), and a government developed Internet which you, the tax payer, gave away. I suppose the same could be true of Sears, the US Postal service, and American highways.

  8. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    Alternet, of all places is pushing the soulless Mayo Pete? No way.

    clicks through

    Oh. It’s some Daily Kos stooge. That’s less concerning. Though it makes me wonder why they’re publishing it at all, unless they’re adding an Onion-like feature to their website. Troubling, at least a little bit.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I feel like Buttigieg has cultivated a couple of Sheldon Adelson sugar daddies who think Mayo Pete is a cool young kid who will get to the White House and give out prizes. He’s basically the Team Blue version of Marco Rufio, obviously he’s a Senator but his patronage network came from office holders. Pete probably has money men, but he doesn’t have a spot to actually run from. Being the mayor of a town in a country board of supervisors government and managing to create a crisis with the police chief is just going to go so far.

      1. christofay

        Something is pushing Buttigieg hard into the spotlight, the Log Cabin Republican who won a four year mayoral post but took a year long sabbatical to run for president. He just happened to be man-handled by the police union and this year we learn just how much the police unions not the mayors run things.

        He just looks and sounds like the Log Cabin Republican that neo-libs would not be embarrassed by taking him to their private golf clubs as my official gay friend.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Buttigieg is Marco Rufio. He brownnoses among a certain class and is simply an out of touch rich, white old guys idea of what a young person should be. He stands for the same mindless garbage “serious minded folks” always drone on about such as national service. At the same time, he is simply doing an Obama impersonation, but it comes off like an obvious Hollywood imitation of a better Hollywood production. If Obama is ET, Pete is this movie: Mac and Me!

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          What if we changed ” Log Cabin Republicans” to “Log Mansion Republicans” ? In honor of their Class Allegiance?

          Log Mansion Republicans.

          1. polecat

            How bout ‘Log Dugout Republicans’ ..?? Digging in .. as in a Tick!
            THAT’S how I see the likes of Buttigieg.

  9. km

    Turks and various Arabs are now a subspecies of white folks?

    Persians, I can see, but why are Pakistanis and Afghanis (most of which speak a Persianate language) “Asians” then?

    The whole thing reminds me of the absurd bureaucracy that developed as part of South African Apartheid.

      1. Sal

        During the Roman Empire, North Africa was white, until the comingling with the black slaves brought across the Sahara from black equitorial Africa.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is hazy memory, but I’m fairly certain many of these distinctions come from immigration policy distinctions in the late 19th and early 20th century. Ability to assimilate and so forth matters. Plenty of people just disappeared into the melting pot.

    2. DJG

      km: This is all a projection of U.S. racial hysteria and the mania for categorization by “race” on the rest of the world.

      In a place like Turkey, the U.S. racial categorization “white” doesn’t even exist. Nor would Arabs, who vary considerably, subscribe to the U.S. category of “white.” For that matter, nor do most of the people who live around the Mediterranean Sea.

      Indeed, it is exactly like the meticulous racial categorizations in apartheid, because apartness is what U.S. racial categories have always been about.

      Also, too, the business about Somalis being “white” has to do with good old U.S. blind ignorance of geography. You can imagine the conversation:

      “Hey, Somalia. Is that near Jordan? Is that the country next to Armenia?”

      “Hell if I know. I think it’s one of those islands near Turkey. Just put them down in the spreadsheet as white.”

    3. The Rev Kev

      Classifying people by colour can lead you down a rat’s maze. In Apartheid South Africa there were all sorts of classifications of colours but there was one people that threw a spanner in the works – the Japanese. By the 70s, whether because South Africa wanted Japanese investments or because of a respect of Japanese history, they were classified as white. So you would see a Japanese tourist with the obligatory cameras riding with the whites aboard a train much to the consternation of Boer boys.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I believe Arabs were always classified as White. And Sudan has long been officially an Arab State member of the Arab League. And Somalia is at least affiliated with the Arab League, so . . . an Arab League Affiliate, hence a White Affiliate, hence close enough to White for University Academic Intellectual work.

    5. David in Santa Cruz

      Additionally, people from Mauritania in West Africa and from Djibouti in East Africa appear “African” or “Black” in a Google image search and like most Somalis or Sudanese would self-identify as such in my experience. Rep. Ilhan Omar self-identifies as a Black person and would no doubt be shocked that the University of California would classify her as “white.”

      This is just ignorant and insensitive. Appallingly so from a supposed elite institution.

  10. Moshe Braner

    Re: “Helping the Climate Without Hurting Economic Growth”. This is the delusion of the age. What the climate chaos is telling us is that “the economy” is too big for the planet. Even if we could reconfigure the energy source to avert this limit (which I doubt can be done), we’d hit another limit.

  11. antidlc

    This should help you sleep well tonight.

    The Enemies Briefcase

    By Andrew Cockburn
    Secret powers and the presidency


    A few hours before the inauguration ceremony, the prospective president receives an elaborate and highly classified briefing on the means and procedures for blowing up the world with a nuclear attack, a rite of passage that a former official described as “a sobering moment.” Secret though it may be, we are at least aware that this introduction to apocalypse takes place. At some point in the first term, however, experts surmise that an even more secret briefing occurs, one that has never been publicly acknowledged. In it, the new president learns how to blow up the Constitution.

    The session introduces “presidential emergency action documents,” or PEADs, orders that authorize a broad range of mortal assaults on our civil liberties. In the words of a rare declassified official description, the documents outline how to “implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations”—by imposing martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing control of the internet, imposing censorship, and incarcerating so-called subversives, among other repressive measures. “We know about the nuclear briefcase that carries the launch codes,” Joel McCleary, a White House official in the Carter Administration, told me. “But over at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department there’s a list of all the so-called enemies of the state who would be rounded up in an emergency. I’ve heard it called the ‘enemies briefcase.’ ”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The session introduces “presidential emergency action documents,” or PEADs, orders that authorize a broad range of mortal assaults on our civil liberties. In the words of a rare declassified official description, the documents outline how to “implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations”

      I would say that the car was built on a bipartisan basis but Obama had eight years to modify it. And then somebody took the wheel that they never expected!

    2. rowlf

      Some other briefcases:

      I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go, but politics stay the same at all times. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration.

      Vladimir Putin’s interview with Le Figaro
      The interview was recorded on May 29 in Paris during the President’s visit to France.

      Vladimir Putin’s interview with Le Figaro May 31, 2017

      Syrian Presidet al-Assad view on the position of the US president as CEO.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done.

        And in one of those briefcases is a horse’s head the Steele Dossier…

        Putin understands our elites very well, as it is his job to do.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Given the reality of the political economy, in which the Presidency seems to be a Mashup of “The Truman Show” and “Wag The Dog,” it never ceases to amaze me that the sneaky Petes that actually produce and direct the show are able to get us mopes to expend the kind of dissipating energies on the Great Presidential Kayfabe Event.

      “Never to broke underestimating the stupidity of the American people,” or something. There’s a sucker born every minute or so, and of course the Owners will never give any sucker an even break.

      All the feedback loops and incentives point, to my mind, to our species riding, looking like Slim Pickens astride the H-bomb On its way to set off the Russian Doomsday Machine, up an asymptotic Curve of Everything with a hard limit to the function. Don’t know how that’s described more cogently in the lingo of mathematicians, but up it goes, accelerating, until the Big Bang when Murphy’s Law kicks in and the machinery slams to a halt. And nobody with any power to change the direction toward homeostasis would ever even think about shucking off all the trappings and titillations that go along with that power. Not even FDR, the patron saint of deluded mopes…

    4. Acacia

      There’s also the short briefing that includes a screening of the Zapruder film.

      After Kennedy’s head gets blown off and the lights come up, the lead guy with the briefcase turns to the POTUS-to-be and asks: “Any questions?”

    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      I’ve read a number of these stories, hoping to remain open-minded and understand what seems to motivate Trump supporters. These stories never help. If anything, they make Trump folks seem even less sympathetic and informed. One of the characteristics of a “confession” is honesty and reflection. That woman genuinely believes Trump did an “admirable” job with Cornavirus? Even in this tedious “confession” she’s lying to herself and ignoring reality.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yes isn’t second-guessing after the fact fun! Here, let me play too:

        January 31 2020 President Hilary refuses to halt travel from China because that would be “racist” and “not woke”.

        February 2020 New York state continues “master vector” policies under Cuomo.

        October 2020 the New York Times hails Hilary’s and Cuomo’s Covid response “a huge victory” that “dodged a bullet” after “many fewer than predicted” 500,000 deaths.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The inevitable Hillary myth helped her coverage as it was. Slumping over the finish line and the 2018 mid terms which would be different probably would change the coverage. The impeachment proceedings would be something else.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          There was a todo when Wolf Blitzer asked Pelosi a follow up question, but the msm will revert to their GOP ways as soon as Orange Man bad gone. They spent four years pretending Paul Ryan was intelligent. They’ll paint Biden as too extreme for Bernie Sanders by December.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I watched a section of that Blitzer-Pelosi Question WrestleFest. My own impression was that Pelosi was trying to explain in her own crippled-up way that the Republicans had snuck some poison land-mines and rattlesnakes-in-the-mailbox into the bill and she wanted them back out.

            And Blitzer kept melodramatically declaiming about ” the poor American people who need that 1.8 trillion NOW ( weep weep). As if he ever cared. As if he ever would.

  12. a different chris

    >for some definition of right; there were probably other paths to a Democrat victory that didn’t depend on The Great Assimilation

    But none of those would keep Schumer and Pelosi in power, now would they?

    We will just have been (re) taken over by Reagan Republicans if Nov 3 goes the way it looks like it’s going to go. The Rethugs just drifted right off the table.

    Does this mean an emergent party to the left? Hahaha yeah not if Mr and Ms Middle America can help it. It just means the blob of current R and D will essentially merge and split in the new middle. AOC and Josh Hawley can go pound salt together.

  13. antidlc

    From “Confessions of the Secret Suburban Trump Moms: Arizona”

    The theater I tell you, was an unabashed bubble of pure elite liberalism.

    Having spent the last 20 years ago actively involved in community theatre in my area, I can give my perspective.

    MBAs are often ridiculed on this site because of the havoc they have caused. I decided to use my MBA to help community theatres who often run on a shoestring budget. I decided to help create art.

    From my perspective in my corner of the woods, there is a very strong liberal bent in the community theatre community. I cannot for the life of me understand how people can be actively involved in theatre and support Republicans who have shown little, if any, appreciation for the arts. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

    I think it was Gore Vidal (sorry, I can’t find the quote), who explained why there are so many liberals in theatre: to be a good actor you have to have empathy. You have to be able to get inside someone else’s head to figure out why they act the way they do, what motivates a character, and what makes that character tick.

    I wouldn’t call it “pure elite liberalism”.

    1. antidlc

      Actually, iirc, the Gore Vidal statement referred to liberals in Hollywood, so he was referring to screen actors.

      The statement applies to live theatre actors as well.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Wasn’t Ronald Reagan the president of the Screen Actors Guild? A fella who ratted on fellow “empathic” actors, writers and such to the McCarthy monstrosity? Or do I disremember?

        …for some definition of “liberal.”

    2. Nakatomi Plaza

      Consider the source. I’m a teacher, but I wouldn’t consider what I do to be “liberal indoctrination and taxpayer theft,” or whatever Republicans call teaching these days. “Elite liberalism” is a meaningless phrase, like calling every Republican a fascist or a hick.

      Thanks for using your skills for the benefit of your local community.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Give credit where due: the Republicans (Koch minions and related swine) have done a great job at capturing the curricula and agendas of perhaps a significant majority of school districts, colleges/universities, and federal, state and local “education” agencies. What gets taught today may in some places have a “woke” sheen to the swamp. What is not taught at large scale, if it ever really was, is what people need to know of the real history and actual political economy of this empire if they are ever to have a real say in how things work. And the folks who move the levers and jerk on the reins will not allow the dissenting types and purveyors of real world information to rise above a vary quiet mouse squeak In the brouhaha of the Great Circus…

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > MBAs are often ridiculed on this site because of the havoc they have caused. I decided to use my MBA to help community theatres who often run on a shoestring budget. I decided to help create art.

      Thank you for assuming your human form :-)

    4. Michael Fiorillo

      It’s not the fact of liberal opinion that’s the issue, it’s the impermeable bubble most affluent liberals live in, which makes them unable to understand how people unlike them could even exist, let alone have differing opinions.

      I often/usually agree with these people’s politics; it’s their moral vanity that’s often so insufferable.

    1. Bryan Nicholson

      I assumed the su-spr event was a fundraiser, which I already avoid like (ahem) the plague.

  14. Michael Fiorillo

    Love that UC racial classification list, and that in a country where many people still don’t consider Southern Europeans full-fledged “Whites.”

    The billings for the Mandatory Racial Sensitivity Seminars generate themselves…

    1. DJG

      Fiorillo: Conversely, many of us who are Mediterrean types truly wouldn’t want to be mistaken for white Americans. I know that I don’t, and in the last few years, I have increasingly given up on white America and its whiny pretensions and insistence on deference. And you?

      This is the other side of “identity politics” that isn’t discussed much here among the commentariat: Stop foisting your identity on me. Also, too, don’t engage in the cazzata of putting pineapple on pizza–and telling me about it.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        I was just sayin’.

        When I was coming up, insecurity in the neighborhood about our standing in the racial pecking order ran pretty deep, and sometimes led to some very ugly behavior.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        To be fair to the good college administrators at UCLA, Maine is the whitest state in the nation. So that explains why so many Somalis ended up there! They felt most comfortable among their own people…..

    2. rowlf

      Where does a Spaniard fit in?

      What about mutts? Does percentage of race come into play?

      And just to be clear, I hate the whole classification thing. Way too broad for classifying people that don’t actually fit together unless you are trying to outlaw miscegenation, which only racists and anti-racists desire.

      1. flora

        Indeed. “A Spaniard”… well, I guess we’d have to trace the genetic lineage back to see how much Ottoman Empire turkman genetics came into this particular Spaniard’s ancestry. If a very large component was from the Otto Empire, up to 1/16th blood (heh), then we’d have to assume said person was of course an adherent of the return of the Caliphate and not interested in or capable of understanding and valuing either the Enlightenment principles or in democracy. Because obviously, right? /massive snark, of course.

        1. flora

          Interesting the rise in idPol coincides with reduced and falling concrete material benefits for the 90-95% of the population. Almost like “they” want us to turn on each other instead of looking to the higher levels of govt action for the source of the problem. Odd.

            1. fwe'zy

              Nice, thanks. I had to stop, though, after “the Union fought for the dignity of all labor.” Side-eye!

    3. ChrisPacific

      There are a number of different ways to define race, one of which is political. My Sri Lankan friend was told that Sri Lankan immigrants didn’t qualify as a minority in the US because there weren’t enough of them.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Post Investigation: These Florida voting machines ripe for Russian hackers, experts say

    So if a person were really worried about ‘Russians’ messing with the voting system, would that person normally broadcast exactly where the vulnerabilities lie over the intertubes no less, where anyone, including the very ‘Russians’ that person is worried about, could easily read all about it? I mean, come on man.

  16. John A

    Re “Rolls-Royce’s New Car Was So Quiet at First, It Nauseated Drivers”

    Strange, one of the longest running & most successful Rolls-Royce ads, written by advertising legend, David Ogilvy had the headline “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”

    1. carl

      It’s the exact opposite of the (Bmw? Audi?) that the manufacturer installed a fake exhaust noise that comes out from the stereo speakers.

      1. shtove

        Or you could put a seven year old in the back seat and tell him to pretend he’s driving: “rrrrrrrrrr-rrrrrrrr-eeeeeeeeh-rrrrrrrrrr”

        1. hunkerdown

          The ruling class are children that we have been forbidden to discipline. The seven-year-old already in the back clearly needs to be made to keep up.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not sure I would feel comfortable in one. They use aluminium instead of steel for the frame? That is not a confidence builder that. But then they used 220 pounds of sound-absorbing materials? That could mean anything. That could be the same material that they used in the skin of Grenfell Tower for all we know. Silence is not always golden. Someone mentioned in comments a long time ago taking people out to a desert where there was literally no sound which starts to freak most people out. They may have to rethink this idea.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Wicked Good Band, Lambert. Not sure why, but not much of their really good stuff is not found on youtube. Luckily, I do have at least one and maybe two of their albums (on cassette!) so if this pandemic ever ends and we have another Maine meetup, I will gladly regale the crowd with more of the notorious WGB – if anyone can find a tape player. Your other option is to see them at the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival which I think is pretty much the only public appearance they make these days – they even made it this year as I just discovered, keeping their streak of 37 years alive.

    I’ll leave you with one of the good ones I did find on the interwebs – Katahdin Jeans.*

    *for those not familiar with Maine geography, Katahdin is Maine’s largest molehill, topping out at 5K’ or so. And f you don’t know what some of the other stuff is all about, like a skidder, well you’ll have to look that up yourself.

  18. dk

    “Looks like early voting is a roaring success among the over-70s — I assume those are Covid voters — and not so much for other age groups. This may be Texas only; certainly the images of lines I’ve seen have a good age distribution.”

    Interesting because here in mostly-Dem NM I’ve noticed that there is a large (and vocal and demonstrative) contingent of younger <30 Trump supporters. These will probably heed the president's admonitions against early and mail-in voting and vote on election day (if they vote at all). A similar pattern may be present in TX.

    These kids are understandably upset about the economy they're having to face in their entry years, and hate the restrictions and masking. The straightforward simplicity of the Q-LARP is also appealing to them, "p*do" has replaced "cu*k" as an insult of choice.

    Also, they're less likely to show up in polling overall. They're one of the edge-demographics that can drive divergences from pre-election polls, although this particular younger set is justly known for not showing up at all.

    Purely anecdotal fwiw.

    1. edmondo

      People over the age of 60 in TX are accorded automatic VBM ballots. Under 60 you need a medical/travel excuse to secure a mail-in ballot. The TX GOP knows who votes and who they vote for.

  19. Dr. John Carpenter

    So if the “Transition Integrity Project” wants to talk about strikes and work stoppage, someone better give Obama a heads up first.

  20. John k

    I’ve been thinking that Hillary had the advantage that half or more of the dems were wildly enthusiastic… ‘gotta have woman pres before I die’ etc…
    Many dems hate trump, and some others, too, but what group wants to see an old goofy white man that sniffs hair and hides in the basement pres before they die?
    So mail in voting helps bc it’s easy – wife and I did – but how many mess this up? Or want to go vote bc they always do, but then think on the day, forget it? And we’re not talking ny/ca but the swings.
    Plus maybe the laptop affair is getting attention after they tried to bury it… nothing like the promise of ‘salacious and drugs coming soon’ to hold attention, if it was just corruption, big yawn, that’s expected.

    1. edmondo

      what group wants to see an old goofy white man that sniffs hair and hides in the basement pres before they die?

      You underestimate the audience for theater of the absurd. Joe Biden is about to get a four year Broadway run (unless Kamala does an “All About Eve” to MarJoe Channing and it’s gonna be great. Folks will look back at the Biden Administration as comedy gold.

    2. chaco 52

      It seems appropriate to note that the certainty with which Never Trumpers proudly claim that the “King is Dead” parallels the certainty with which the “Hillary is a Lock” crowd crowed this time 4 years ago. As the above-noted chart supplied by Lambert shows regarding early voters, kids are again promising to stay home. Those who have listened to 4 years of Hillary/Brennan/Comey/Clapper Russia-gate hooey are, however, fully motivated to vote. The latest corporate/tech 1st Amendment debacle committed by FB and Twitter, clearly an attempt to cozy up to their new, Biden-led political masters in hopes of avoiding real change in their monopoly status, has not gone unnoticed by the average (non-meritocratic) voter. And do not forget, the more you say a candidate is a SURE THING the less a moderately motivated voter is likely to show up to the polls, e.g. Marsha Coakley losing a 44 pt. lead to Scott Brown in 90 days in 2010. The BIG anchor around Trump’s neck is his MISHANDLING OF THE COVID PANDEMIC( We’re All Gonna Die! Wear a mask you jerk!). ONLY- As the eviction issue comes to a head 2 weeks ahead of the election and suddenly people are wondering-Why did we shut down the economy when mostly people over 80 are in significant danger of death?- the real possibility of people changing their allegiance becomes real.As Main Street continues to reel. The idea that Biden will take Fla and NC is as likely as Biden (and Hillary) taking Texas. All Trump needs is Pennsylvania, because that brings him to 268. Take a look at Pa. A Democratic Governor who is loathed by the electorate(and his own AG) for his over-reaching C19 policies is now looking to re-instating a shutdown. Could this effect the voter’s decision? (Trump’s internals shows it a dead heat). Michigan is close but leaning Trump per his internals. Ohio? Give it Trump.Don’t forget, even if the Hunter tapes are judged to be garbage, voters are still reminded that if you’re connected you can have no standards ( he married, then cheated on his dead brother’s wife?) and be a complete drug addled bum and still get the brass ring. No small thing if the voter is on the fence and out of a job. Or still reeling from ’08.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It seems appropriate to note that the certainty with which Never Trumpers proudly claim that the “King is Dead” parallels the certainty with which the “Hillary is a Lock” crowd crowed this time 4 years ago.

        I don’t deny this, at all; election night could be a surprise for me. Since the bullshit is flying so thick and fast, even more than 2016, I’m really reluctant to do any prognostication. (That’s why I don’t quote polls; the pollsters, like the press, are openly political players at the tactical level. At least in 2016 there was some pretence.)

        However, I think it’s in the nature of bullshit that you can’t reverse engineer reality out of it. I remember being skeptical of Fukushima because there was enormous hysteria in the press couple with a lack of solid technical information*. (We didn’t have the Twitter then, so perhaps the technical people couldn’t get their message out.) Well, lo and behold, Fukushima really was a meldown. Multiple meltdowns.

        * Compare Deepwater Horizon where there was a camera at the wellhead.

        1. chaco52

          Please understand, I’m not pushing Trump, who I’ve detested since the ’80s when he became the poster boy for the phony Reagan Revolution. But too many of these close red state polls show Trump behind within the polling margin of error. And there is an acknowledged percentage of false , strategic claims of support for Biden by Trump supporters. The next debate could be determinative- BUT they’ve shut down Trump’s mic which means he will not make the mistake of bullying Biden this time {but only because he cannot). If you recall the Repub primary in 2016, every time Trump stepped in it, one of the other candidates bailed him out by saying something even dumber. The guy has a Golden Horseshoe jammed up his hind-quarter. The Hunter Biden bit is a perfect example. If the elites left it alone but for denying it and citing prior investigations, it would have died a quiet death. But over-anxious tech CEOs step in and the non-scandal takes on a new life. A bit of luck goes a long ways, and Trump has consistently shown his luck. The man does not require mainstream support, only support from the angry, previously disenfranchised voter who took it in the neck in ’08 and was knifed in the back when he lost his job last March. And all because of a Covid shutdown policy that clearly has not worked. God help us.

  21. km

    I note that the “Trump supporter death wish” article in the LA Times quotes Max Boot, our very own little Julius Streicher, as some kind of an authority.

  22. NotTimothyGeithner

    I would just like to note Jeffrey Toobin needed a court order and a paternity test to pay child support to the mother of his child with whom he was engaged in an extra marital affair. So you know he’s a stand up guy.

    1. fresno dan

      October 19, 2020 at 5:35 pm
      Perchance, your referring to:

      In the morning post I noted my unease with displaying myself…uh, showing my…face on skype.
      The thing problem is, although it is hard difficult to state, I am never quite sure when this camera is on, and I do occasionally (not more than once per day…OK, OK, not more than twice per day…you know, the number of times is irrelevant) view, entirely inadvertently, certain photographs on my computer, because internet, which causes certain physiological responses, and necessitates certain manual activities to keep the situation from getting out of hand control…
      So, having a camera turned on operating is like having a cocked gun, just ready to go off.

  23. edmondo

    unless Biden turns out to be a “goddamned robot,”

    If Biden were a robot, would that not explain the presence of Pete Buttigeig?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Serious money. And updating their guidance:

      L for Luft (air) was recently added to A for Abstand (distance), H for Hygiene and A for Alltagsmaske (mask) – the official government directives on how to live in corona times.

      Today I got a health alert stating North Carolina is trending in the wrong direction: remember your 3 Ws!!

      Yeah, No. Wait (distance), wash, and wear ain’t enough.

  24. deplorado

    Does anyone know what this is really about? I got this in email a couple days ago from Mozilla.

    Talk about Orwellian…. “Regrets”, “donate your data”.. hmm, I didnt know I owned my (YouTube) data to donate? “Standing” with us?.. Against what, for what?…

    What TH is going on with Mozilla?They also stopped file sharing with send a few months ago. That was a family life saver. No more.

    Is that really to help, or to lull into surrender with a (serpent-like) hissing whisper?

    [img: Black hole spiral that says … do you get weird YouTube recommendations? We want to know!]

    Have you ever had a YouTube Regret? A time when you went down a rabbit hole watching recommended YouTube videos that you later regretted? Last year, thousands of Mozilla supporters told us their YouTube rabbit hole stories as part of our campaign to pressure YouTube to fix this problem.

    Now, we’ve built a browser extension that gives you a way to report YouTube Regrets right when you experience them. By donating your YouTube data, you can help us uncover what kind of recommended videos people later regret watching, and notice if there are patterns popping up.

    This information will help Mozilla — along with fellow researchers, journalists, policymakers, and even engineers within YouTube — work towards building more trustworthy recommendation engines.

    Join our campaign by downloading RegretsReporter today.


    Thank you for standing with us.

    — Mozilla



    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘How to spot fake audio, video, and faces, from CNN.’

      Usually that starts by watching anything from CNN.

  25. YPG

    Shadows on the Grass

    What a great sum-up of the brinksmanship that takes place on the idealist (e.g. non-materialist) left. Whether the author intended it or not, what I saw was that much of that discourse is essentially a ponzi-scheme: a small number of people are able to wield substantial narrative power disperse it far and side, while the great mass of people who receive it just try to build a little fiefdom on Twitter or in their local DSA chapter. This is usually unsuccessful for the latter group. As this occurs, endless mutations of this narrative form and ever-growing incoherence.

    This piece along with the “American Gentry” essay posted a couple weeks back really put into focus a couple to the major stumbling blocks for a type of working-class coalition that could get results.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This piece along with the “American Gentry” essay posted a couple weeks back really put into focus a couple to the major stumbling blocks for a type of working-class coalition that could get results.

      Symbol manipulators….

    1. Daryl

      Would be interested in hearing from Arizona Slim about that.

      When I visited, Tucson did not seem like the kind of place where Trump would be well received. But I’m sure there are plenty of folks in Southern AZ who are all aboard.

  26. Carolinian

    Re further obits for the Trump campaign–MOA predicts that Trump will win based on his ground game and notable displays of public enthusiasm as Trump campaigns while Biden does not–presumably assuming it’s in the bag and a Rose Garden, er, basement strategy is best.

    And here TAC risks twitter banishment by saying that Biden Inc. was a thing long before any laptops were discovered.


    It is not inappropriate or insensitive for the American people to question how (time and time again) someone with Hunter Biden’s troublesome background became, at a moment’s notice, an expert in copyright enforcement, Ukrainian geopolitics, and other complex policy issues at precisely the same moment that his father began to oversee them in government.

    The media’s refusal to demand an answer before Election Day is journalistic malpractice, and the Democrat’s failure to have done so already is disqualifying in and of itself.

    That said hardly anyone in my neighborhood seems brave enough–or interested enough–to put up a Trump sign. So maybe it really is over.

    1. Carolinian

      Just to add, the response to the laptop story was almost knee jerk–Putin did it.


      In 1787, when he was our new nation’s minister in Paris, Jefferson wrote home to a friend that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” We are stuck with a government without newspapers now, given the ties our press has consolidated with political and bureaucratic power in the course of imposing the Russiagate ruse upon us.

      They only look like newspapers now. The liberal media are now bulletin boards for those they serve — the Democratic Party, the spooks, and all the interests these two represent. Do they think that, once Trump leaves office, they can cavalierly reclaim the credibility they have profligately squandered in the service of Russiagate?

      I see no chance of this. And here we have a silver lining: Russiagate will prove a key moment in the emergence of independent media (such as Consortium News) as important sources of accurate information and perspectives.

      Consortium News and Naked Capitalism. But of course what is also emerging is the effort to suppress independent voices.

      1. John k

        Like many things, this preceded trump. It would be wonderful if it ended with him, but little chance of that… they will conclude they won, though many have concluded they’re empty vessels of no account.

  27. flora

    re: “Rolls-Royce’s New Car Was So Quiet at First, It Nauseated Drivers” [Bloomberg]. “(October 16). “In the new, second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost, early test audiences during its five years of development reported that the car felt so quiet it was disorienting. “Bordering on nausea,” reports the car’s lead engineer, Jon Simms. … [Rolls-Royce engineers] tuned the rear seat frames and components in the trunk to a vibrate at a specific low frequency, as musicians might tune instruments to a particular pitch. They recalibrated the 563-horsepower engine to downplay its rumbly noise, and avoided aggressive drive modes such as track or sport, which would rev it louder.

    So.. the eyes do not experience what the inner ear experiences in a full body experience (imo) and therefore nausea.

    1. Carolinian

      Having had occasion to ride in a Rolls they are amazingly quiet, in part because of the half inch thick (more or less) windows.

  28. Mikel

    Microsoft just force restarted my Windows PC again to install more unwanted apps” [The Verge].

    SillyCon Valley is trying to force restart the world in their favor.
    Nobody was adopting that $@#% fast enough for them (because it really isn’t needed). So the world is thrown to chaos for progress fairy.

    Missing David Graeber!

  29. JBird4049

    “The Captive Lab Rat: Human Medical Experimentation in the Carceral State”

    I am so, so surprised. I’ve only been reading about human experimentation being done on American children, the poor, blacks, and mentally ill, and Hondurans/Nicaraguans during most of the 20th century before, during, and after the Nazis vast numbers of involuntary human experimentation. Then there was the use of American slaves in the development of gynecology.

    I guess the covert semi forced sterilization of women as if they were vermin in California state prisons that I keep running into every decade or so is normal? But then forced sterilization of the (often merely claimed to be) disabled was a thing in California into the 1960s That eugenics, including forced sterilizations of the convicted, the poor, and the mentally ill, perhaps better described as the day’s disposables, was legal in most of the United States before and after the Second World War is also such a shocker.

    I have been reading about such things ever since high school. Some of the medical literature from the 1970s and 80s that I read as well as documentaries and books all expressed horror and claimed that the (sometimes legal) practices would be/had been stopped and would not happen again. It was also implied to be rather rare. Yet, whenever I revisit the history, I find that the horror was greater than thought and that there are always some people who just can’t stop continuing the use of such cheap, readily available, and controllable guinea pigs.

    When my mood gets really dark I wondered if an American equivalent of the Nazi’s Aktion T4s ever happened? Probably not, but most of the horror I have spent unpleasant afternoons reading about have only been (somewhat) known by the efforts of writers, reporters, historians, government researchers, and others who have gotten a whiff and sometimes spent decades getting the information. Uncomfortable, inconvenient history often disappears unless determined people dig it up and print it. That’s why I know that in another decade, maybe two, there will be yet another true American horror story that has been found, or updated, to read during an afternoon with my cup of coffee.

    Maybe I should expand the horror section of my library to deal with the hundred and seventy odd years of (American) human experimentation, but I already have some prime nightmare fuel books on slavery, neoliberalism, ethnic cleansing and eugenics. If I already did not know about the centuries of efforts by Americans to not only fight for the welfare and rights of all Americans, but for everyone else as well, often at great costs, including death, I might go full Howard Zinn in my hatred and critique of American history.

  30. ChrisAtRU

    Trump (R) (2)

    Lambert – “Nothing that could have helped Trump is happening, and he’s out of runway (unless Biden turns out to be a ‘goddamned robot,’ and starts leaking grey fluid on national television).”

    This is 2020, Lambert. This … is 2020.

    1. ChrisAtRU


      Watching the Cowboys get their asses handed to them at home while realizing they will still top their division after the result has led me to this: we are obviously in the “NFC East” multiverse timeline.*

      * – With apologies to the non-US members of the commentariat who do not follow American football.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Thanks for this! I think I’ll get the book … ;-)

          Too distracted for hourly tweets on the hell-verse that is #Twitter.

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    So I am reading the “Trump supporters have death-wish” article and I run across this little item . . . .

    “Right after the election, I asked Trump supporters on Facebook why they voted for Trump, who seemed so dangerous. One responded, “Better nuclear winter than more letters in LGBTQ.” ”

    The reason I find that so interesting is because I voted for Trump precisely and exactly to aVOID the nuclear winter which I felt that a President Clinton had a far greater chance of bringing us. What with her personal hatred for Putin and her desire to create a “no fly zone” over Syria and so forth.

    I wonder what the StormTrumpers would make of my reasoning. For that matter, I wonder what the author of this article would make of my reasoning.

  32. Lambert Strether Post author

    > aVOID the nuclear winter which I felt that a President Clinton had a far greater chance of bringing us.

    Warmongering with nuclear powers. What could go wrong?

Comments are closed.