2:00PM Water Cooler 10/9/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, brunch ran a little late. More soon! –lambert UPDATE And then my mailer, as it does, decided not to send me my research, after behaving nicely for some days. Aaargh! UPDATE All done, sadly leaving far too much on the cutting room floor….

Bird Song of the Day

Such tiny little sounds! They ought to sound more like F-16s. Or Stukas.


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

Here are the United States regions:

Unmistakable rise in all regions now. Ugh. Super-ugh.

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

Looks like Texas has its data under control, Wisconsin continues steady rise…

Here are the larger European countries and the EU as a whole, with the United States for comparison:

That’s… concerning, and suggests that more than a change in leadership will be required to get the United States out of the woods.



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

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

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

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. October 8: NE-2 moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic. I would say the election is no longer static.

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

The election countdown:

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE https://twitter.com/rmd1023/status/1312710174583533570?s=11

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The Debates

“The medical facts about Mike Pence’s debate red eye” [The Hill]. • Remember Terry Schiavo? it’s good to know that armchair diagnosis from video evidence is bipartisan!

Trump’s Case of Covid

Swing States

House moves, mostly swing:

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

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

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

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FL: “Florida’s unemployment jumps as layoffs pick up again” [Sun-Sentinel]. “New unemployment claims among Floridians surged to 40,200 for the week ended Oct. 3 as airlines and other businesses tied to tourism laid off or furloughed more workers and the COVID-19 pandemic kept weighing heavily on hiring decisions…. A key problem facing hotel and restaurant owners and managements is an inability to project when visitors will return in force to Florida, particularly for the forthcoming tourism season. The Canadian border remains closed through Nov. 21, upsetting the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of visitors who annually visit Sun Belt states.” • No Canadians? Short Speedos…

FL: “Dolphins sticking with 13K fans despite state OK for full capacity” [Pro Football Talk]. “A spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Andy Slater of FoxSports640 that the Dolphins have a green light to open their stadium to full capacity. The Dolphins will be sticking with a 13,000-person limit for their October 25 home game against the Chargers. Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said the team feels that’s the right number “with positivity rates” where they currently are in the area. ‘We’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines and put everyone’s safety first and monitor things as we go,’ Garfinkel said.”

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UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Who’s Whispering in Joe Biden’s Ear About Climate Policy?” [Bloomberg]. “The plan was knitted together in consultation with representatives from various diverse corners of the economic, political, and climate advocacy worlds. While every part of this coalition is invested in the Democratic candidate’s vision, some want to see the country move more quickly toward renewables, while others think it’s more important to conserve and create jobs, and still others are more concerned with political feasibility than anything else. Even if the former vice president wins the presidency, the plan will still require a dedicated team to execute.” • Players, from the subheads: The Union Bosses, The Obama Holdovers, The Bernie Sanders Coalition, The Clean Energy Barons, and The Cone of Silence (Biden’s staff). I like “The Cone of Silence.” But no bankers? No finance? Really?

Trump (R)(1):

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The Organs of State Security (1):

The Organs of State Security (2):

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“‘Staggering numbers’: Early voting is breaking records in 2020, fueled by a big mail-ballot lead for Democrats” [USA Today]. “More than 5.6 million people have voted early in the presidential election, vastly exceeding the pace of 2016 as Democrats amass a commanding lead in returned mail ballots. In the 2016 election, about 75,000 people had voted early one month from the election, across significantly fewer states that started early voting and reported their numbers, according to the United States Elections Project.” • Even if early voting/vote-by-mail “works in Oregon,” this is still an enormous load placed on an extremely creaky infrastructure. And there are plenty of lawyers out there–

“Political parties, outside groups pour resources into preelection legal fights” [MarketPlace]. “This year, an increasing share [of campaign money] is going to lawyers as political parties, candidates and outside groups all focused on the preelection legal fights all over the country over voter access, absentee and mail-in ballot rules and other changes to voting procedures related to the pandemic. According to the Standford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, there are more than 300 of these cases in 44 states. ‘There are enormous stakes [ka-ching] about the future of the country,’ said Carl Tobias, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Richmond, ;and especially in the next four years, [with questions of] who would be president, who would be in the Senate and have the Senate majority. And so both parties are pouring enormous resources into these elections, and especially in the states that are the battlegrounds.’ The Republican National Committee said it’s spending at least $20 million for election-related legal challenges around voter access nationwide.” • Presumably, some of these cases will be consolidated on their way to the Supreme Court…

TN: “Tennessee Voices, Episode 97: Marquita Bradshaw, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate” (video) [Tennessean]. I rarely feature videos without a transcript, but Bradshaw’s story is so encouraging to me: “[Bradshaw] has never held public elected office before…. Bradshaw talked about being a single mom, living on working-class wages, experiencing job loss and filing bankruptcy because of medical debt. She said her campaign focuses on working people, labor rights and environmental justice. She was an early signatory to the Green New Deal and said while she encounters some Tennesseans who do not believe climate change exists, she engages them by talking about pollution and other environmental hazards. Recently, she parachuted out of a plane and explained that her skydiving was a symbolic ‘leap of faith’ to represent her grassroots Senate campaign.” • Dammit. Is stonesy a word? (I was taught, long ago, that ballsy was sexist, but tha stones could represent ovaries, so “stones” was OK.) What if the parachute failed!


“Barr tells Republicans Durham report won’t be ready by election” [Axios]. “Barr is communicating that Durham is taking his investigation extremely seriously and is focused on winning prosecutions. According to one of the sources briefed on the conversations Barr said Durham is working in a deliberate and calculated fashion, and they need to be patient. The general sense of the talks, the source says, is that Durham is not preoccupied with completing his probe by a certain deadline for political purposes. • Should have gotten rolling earlier. The Republican narrative on this is worse than Banghazi, and that’s saying something. (The administration should have used a parallel architecture, as with Operation Warp Speed. Pehaps Trump trusted Barr. The more fool he.)

“Trump, Barr at odds over slow pace of Durham investigation” [Associated Press]. From yesterday: “[M]uch of the uptick in tensions between Trump and Barr centers on the Justice Department’s handling of the Durham probe. A senior administration official said Trump feels like he’s given Barr wide latitude to advance the investigation, including declassifying documents related to Russia. In the absence of blockbuster findings, Trump is now moving to make documents public himself with his new acting head of intelligence.” • But without a narrative, or a press willing to construct one, the documents are useless, except to historians.

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton Says She Was Right All Along” [Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic]. “What she’s hoping for over the next four years: Biden wins and gets rid of Trump, Vice President Kamala Harris helps reset some of the American political expectations for women, and Mark Zuckerberg—whom she compared to the sorcerer’s apprentice, losing control of his creation in a way that has done grave damage around the world—ends up facing new restrictions. She’s also hoping that she can step back from politics a bit more.” • Oh.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“House Democrats to unveil bill to create commission on ‘presidential capacity'” [The Hill]. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will unveil a bill on Friday with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a constitutional law expert, that would create a commission to determine whether a president is fit for office amid concerns over President Trump becoming sick with COVID-19. Pelosi’s office announced Thursday that she and Raskin will formally introduce the bill at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday morning, hours after she hinted to reporters that ‘we’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment.'” • I have not seen the bill. However, I have found Raskin’s bill, H.R. 1987. Readers may be able to find weasel wording in it, but I did not. However, it’s interesting as a change in the Constitutional Order, for two reasons. First, the role of the parties:

In other words, these two members, at least, could not be Independents, or members of the Green Party (or any other party) [Added: without caucusing as Democrats or Republicans. See discussion following Katiebird’s comment here.]

Second, the role of professionals:

Credentialled, naturally:

(I’m not sure why a jury model of ordinary citizens, perhaps selected by sortition, wouldn’t work here. To put this another way, the logic of this bill leads to the abolition of jury trials altogether in favor of expert testimony.)

So, in determining “Presidential Capacity,” the two parties are enshrined in a constutional role. Likewise, credentialed professionals are enshrined in a Constitutional role. That seems very on-brand for liberal Democrats to me (and also open to challenge in the courts).

“How to Beat the Nazis in 2020” [The Atlantic]. “The argument against Golden Dawn, summed up by Thanasis Kampagiannis, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the case, was that the group was “a criminal conspiracy which emanates from the leadership of the organization.”…. The investigation’s impact on Golden Dawn is clear. It had openly sought to undermine democracy, yet it was largely using the tools of democracy that it was defeated—through the justice system, and at the ballot box. The party is financially broken, and in recent months has been forced to close dozens of offices across Greece. At least partly as a result, its electoral support has more than halved since it first entered Parliament, with Golden Dawn failing to meet the 3 percent support threshold required to win seats in 2019 legislative elections.”

“Americans are more worried about their sons than their daughters” [Brookings Institution]. “But Americans are in general more worried about the prospects for boys than for girls, and for their own sons more than their own daughters, according to new data from the American Family Survey. Conservatives and men are most concerned about boys in general – but liberals are most worried about their own sons. These views may be influencing political trends, and in particular the growing partisanship gap between men and women.” • The charts:

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.

Wholesale Sales: “August 2020 Headline Wholesale Sales and Inventories Remain In Contraction Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say wholesale sales were up month-over-month with inventory levels remaining very elevated. Our analysis shows improvement in the rate of growth for the rolling averages…. Our view is that this data set shows lower growth rate last month – but there was little further recovery from the pandemic-induced recession this month.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 03 October 2020 – September Volumes Down Only 1% Year-over-Year” [Econintersect]. “Week 40 of 2020 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Container exports from China are now recovering, container exports from the U.S. declined and remains deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline.”

Leading Indicators: “02 October 2020 ECRI’s WLI Marginally Improved” [Econintersect]. “ECRI’s WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward marginally improved but remains in expansion….. In theory, this index is now indicating that in the second or third quarter of 2021 the economy should be in expansion year-over-year.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 9 at 1:33pm.

The Biosphere

“Responsible minerals sourcing for renewable energy” (PDF) [EarthWorks]. From 2019, still germane. “The transition towards a renewable energy and transport system requires a complex mix of metals – such as copper, cobalt, nickel, rare earths, lithium and silver – many of which have only previously been mined in small amounts. Under a 100% renewable energy scenario demand for these metals could rise dramatically, and require new sources of primary and recycled metals. Recycling and responsible sourcing are fundamental to improving the sustainability of the renewable energy transition.”

“The Numbers Behind Exxon’s Support for a Carbon Tax” [Bloomberg]. “Katie Jordan, a doctoral student in engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, has run the numbers on the $40-per-ton CO₂ tax supported by Exxon. It almost doesn’t matter if the tax grows at 5% per year or not—coal is so carbon-intensive that it’s gone by 2030. While natural gas is also projected to decrease, it still accounts for 30% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, down from around 50% without a $40 CO₂ tax. A Rhodium Group analysis shows similar results for a $15 per ton tax, rising at between $10 and $15 per year. The upshot for Exxon: Even a $40 CO₂ tax is barely noticeable for its oil business. It would translate to around 35 cents per gallon of gasoline at the pump. People will still drive.”

“Pumping Up Cold Water From Deep Within the Ocean to Halt Coral Bleaching” [SciTech Daily]. “The risk of severe coral bleaching—a condition in which corals lose their symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae—is five times more frequent today than it was forty years ago…. A new study led by Yvonne Sawall, assistant scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), is showing potential for the use of artificial upwelling (AU)—or the application of cooler, deep water—as a way to mitigate the thermal stress on corals…. Upwelling is a natural oceanographic process in which winds push surfaces waters away from a region, such as a coastline, allowing the uplift of deep, cold waters to the surface. These waters are typically rich in nutrients and form the basis of productive marine ecosystems which, in turn, support many of the world’s most important commercial fisheries. AU is a geoengineering method that uses pumps to bring deep-ocean water to the surface. Originally designed to fertilize surface waters to increase fish stocks or carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration, AU may also be used to cool surface waters during heat waves, if the depth and intensity of AU is chosen wisely.” • On coral reefs, see NC here, here, here, and here.

Health Care

Why we need to keep using the patient made term ‘Long Covid'” [British Medical Journal]. “‘Long Covid’ was first used by Elisa Perego as a Twitter hashtag in May to describe her own experience of a multiphasic, cyclical condition that differed in time course and symptomatology from the bi-phasic pathway discussed in early scientific papers, which focused on hospitalized patients…. ‘Long Covid’ has clearly struck a chord. However, it’s not the only term being used to describe persistent symptoms: we’ve also seen post-acute covid-19, postcovid syndrome, and chronic covid-19. As patients and professionals, we see ‘Long Covid’ as better able to navigate the socio-political, as well as clinical and public health challenges, posed by the pandemic in the coming months, for a number of reasons.” • I’ve heard “long hauilers” too, also popular in origin.

“Taxpayers are subsidizing 80 percent of Regeneron’s COVID-19 treatment’s R&D costs” [Knowledge Ecology International]. “Regeneron Pharmaceutical recently applied for Emergency Use Authorization of its investigational COVID-19 treatment, REGN-COV2, after Donald Trump said that it cured him of COVID-19, suggesting that Regeneron expects to cash in on the treatment. Taxpayers, however, are funding 80 percent of the costs of developing REGN-COV2…. Regeneron should open license the IP rights, data, know-how, and cell lines necessary to manufacture the COVID-19 treatment to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), a global framework for the voluntary licensing of rights in COVID-19 medical technologies.” • So they should. My first impulse is to say that avoiding ruin is more important than goo goo process that we can always fix later. Then again, do we then introduce additional risks of ruin? Taleb’s tools are sharp. But they cut the clumsy!

“Even as the Economy Grew, More Children Lost Health Insurance” [New York Times]. “The share of children with health coverage in the United States fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data, after decades of increases. The decline occurred during a period of economic growth — before the coronavirus pandemic caused broad job losses that might have cost many more Americans their health insurance. A report Friday by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that the ranks of uninsured children grew the most in Texas and Florida, and that Latino children were disproportionately affected. Nationally, the number of children without health insurance rose by 320,000 last year alone, to a total of nearly 4.4 million children, the report found.” • Commentary:

Obviously, what we need is a means-tested program targeted at Latino children, with complex eligibility requirements.


“Uncle Sam Is Looking for Recruits—Over Twitch” [Wired]. ” The National Guard, Army, and Air Force all have their own Twitch channels, where they stream video games and talk with the public. It hasn’t been going well. After gamers first learned of the Pentagon’s push into the gaming space, they spammed chat rooms with messages about US military atrocities. When the Army and Navy banned gamer and progressive activist Jordan Uhl for asking about recruiting and war crimes on Twitch, he threatened a First Amendment lawsuit. Both branches then stopped banning people from their streams…. he US military needs recruits, and it has to meet people where they live. Increasingly, those potential recruits live online in places like Twitch. The American military as a whole is facing a recruitment crisis. The US Army has struggled to meet its recruiting goals since 2018, and only met its 2019 goal after cutting expectations and assigning 700 more recruiters. In part, that’s because the Pentagon’s needs are changing. ‘The US military no longer primarily recruits individuals from the most disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds,’ reads recent research in The Journal of Strategic Studies. ‘Technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel.’ More simply put: The military needs highly skilled and technically savvy youth, but it’s having trouble finding them.” • Gonna have to amp up RussiaGate even more to sign up the PMCs… Or make the economy a lot worse…

Our Famously Free Press

“After the QAnon Ban, Who’s Next?” [Matt Taibbi]. “Q ban pulls the curtain back on one of the more bizarre developments of the Trump era, the seeming about-face of the old-school liberals who were once the country’s most faithful protectors of speech rights… Bring up bans of QAnon or figures like Alex Jones (or even the suppression or removal of left-wing outlets like the World Socialist Web Site, teleSUR, or the Palestinian Information Centre) and you’re likely to hear that the First Amendment rights of companies like Facebook and Google are paramount. We’re frequently reminded there is no constitutional issue when private firms decide they don’t want to profit off the circulation of hateful, dangerous, and possibly libelous conspiracy theories. That argument is easy to understand, but it misses the complex new reality of speech in the Internet era. It is true that the First Amendment only regulates government bans. However, what do we a call a situation when the overwhelming majority of news content is distributed across a handful of tech platforms, and those platforms are — openly — partners with the federal government, and law enforcement in particular? In my mind, this argument became complicated in 2017, when the Senate Intelligence Committee dragged Facebook, Twitter, and Google to the Hill and essentially ordered them to come up with a ‘mission statement’ explaining how they would prevent the ‘fomenting of discord.'” • “Fomenting discord” originates from Twitter’s Sean Edgett and Facebook’s Colin Stretch, but is reinforced by Senator Maizie Hirono at 02:00:34. I dunno. Surely the organs of state security won’t use their authority arbitrarily….

Class Warfare

“How a Scrappy Group of Tech Workers Formed One of the Only Unions in the Industry” [KQED]. “It’s not every day a worker in the tech sector will speak on the record, let alone two dozen of them. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple make workers sign nondisclosure agreements, and typically demand employees run all media requests through their human resources departments. On top of that, workers who do make public remarks have no union to protect them from being fired if the company is unhappy with what they say. I once had an eyewitness at a fire in San Francisco decline to give a comment because he worked at Apple. As the apartment building burned in front of us, he told me he’d be uncomfortable commenting unless his managers signed off on the statement. But the story is different at Kickstarter, where over 24 current and former employees have given lengthy interviews about their experiences working for the crowdfunding platform.” • This is really interesting, worth reading in full.

“The Politics of Pretension” [Washington Monthly]. “In his new book, the Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel focuses on a third factor [driving the 2016 populist revolt]: elite smugness and self-dealing.” Note that of smugness and self-dealing, only the second is economic hence verifiable. More: “Sandel focuses primarily on the left. For three decades, he writes, leading Democrats—including Bill Clinton (Yale Law ’73), Hillary Clinton (Yale Law ’73), and Barack Obama (Harvard Law ’91)—embodied personally, and touted rhetorically, a brand of meritocracy hopelessly oblivious to what he calls the ‘tyranny of merit'”… But Sandel is right to probe the dark things that can come from embracing meritocracy. Liberals have been overemphasizing their credentials and the economic success of their cosmopolitan metropolises. In doing so, they’ve forgotten that these markers are not good indicators of worth. The ability to obtain post-secondary degrees, particularly from elite institutions, is at least as much a reflection of one’s class and race as it is of one’s deservedness. The wealth and success of more liberal places has as much to do with an unequal system that allows existing wealth to concentrate as it does with the merit of those cities. Most progressives (especially those conscious of race) know this. But at the same time, they are willing to accept meritocratic trappings—like college degrees—as accurate predictors of worth, enabling the rise of snobbery among the progressive professional class. It allows them to justify self-dealing policies that benefit themselves. It’s therefore no surprise that right-wing populism is on the rise.” • Another word for “self-dealing” would be… “class consciousness”?

“‘Great Polarization’ May Be Next for World’s Rich, UBS Says” [Bloomberg]. “The huge boost to the fortunes of technology and health-care billionaires during the coronavirus pandemic may be the beginning of a more permanent trend. The Covid-19 shock could act as a catalyst to spur increased opportunities for those who offer digital or other tech solutions, while the wealth of those in older industries may in turn suffer, UBS Group AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers said Wednesday in a report. ‘Those that are the innovators and the disruptors, the architects of creative destruction in the economy, are still increasing their wealth,’ the 2020 Billionaires Insights report found. ‘The net wealth of billionaires in entertainment, financial services, materials and real estate sectors lagged the rest of the universe.'” • That’s a damn shame.

“Slowdown in jobs added means we could be years away from a full recovery” [Economic Policy Institute]. “At the current slowing rate of job growth and expected continued drag from austerity as federal policymakers fail to act, weakness in the labor market is expected to drag on for years and those workers will be left out in the cold well before they are able to get back on their feet.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired

“Harvard University says men should ejaculate 21 times a month to reduce risk of prostate cancer” [Independent]. • It’s good to have goals!

If you have a request for a map, this is the account for you:

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

JU write: “Masked dragon spotted on Franklin Lakes trail.” I love found objects like this. Who put the dragon there? Why? How long has it been there? Will whoever put it there come back and replace it? And so forth.

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About Lambert Strether

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


        1. rtah100

          I have a story about this song.

          In the summer of the my first year of A-levels, I went on a trip organised by my school for prospective Cambridge entrants. The Flatlands are a long drive in a minibus from the rolling hills of Devon (5h-6h) so it was a two night away trip. Half of us stayed in Jesus(*), which has vast grounds and a long standing tradition of filling them with contemporary sculpture (in one of the main courts, there is very tempting statue of a horse which is particularly valuable and the penalty for riding it is rustication). Anyway, teenagers being teenagers, we came well supplied with underage alcohol and got slaughtered on vodka orange listening to Nirvana played on a walkman in a metal bin as a poor man’s speaker.

          A riotous session of strip poker and too many cigarettes later, we went for a late night wander. It was the long vac so there was nobody else in College, it was dead quiet and, in the depths of the grounds, unlit and spooky. We giggled and wobbled across the lawns from sculpture to sculpture ever deeper into the trees and shrubbery, until some Stonehenge thing. Suddenly, lying spun out on the grass, “All I want is Money song” blared into the darkness! WTF? On recovering our equilibrium, we realised we were standing in a circle of motion-sensitive singing parking meters….

          It’s one of those flashbulb memories that will never leave me.

          (*) the other half of the group stayed in Emmanuel, where, as luck would have it, our minibus parked in its dowdiest courtyard, over the road and behind the bus station and – as I only learnt later – connected by a tunnel to a main site of great beauty, with ponds and a swimming pool. On the basis of the car park, I had applied elsewhere. :-)

  1. Lambert Strether Post author

    Hopefully, there’s enough here to keep Joe awake until I can feel in the blanks. I think the “Commission on ‘Presidential Capacity'” is pretty interesting, but I’m not sure I’ve been sufficiently paranoid….

    1. Katiebird

      Can members of the Green Party or Independents caucus with Democrats or Republicans (Sanders does, right?) …. it sounds as long as they caucus with one of the parties, they can participate. Once there are enough members who are NOT Dems or Repubs, they can redo the law???? Maybe?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        You are correct. I muffed the point I was trying to make (though I don’t see why who they caucus with should matter).

        Every so often I take a hack at a post on the institutional nature of the Democrat Party, and one thing I found hard to find — readers can help here — was Democrats and Republicans actually in legislation (as opposed to circumlocutions like “two parties”). Yet here they are, in what looks a lot to me like a change in the Constitutional Order (though granted the authority for the statute is there in the 25th Amendment. Since when are political parties of the same status as Federal Agencies, say?

        For example, it’s not so easy to define what sort of legal entity the Democrat Party really is. Remember this case?

        I’m prepared to be argued out of feeling queasy about this. But I am queasy.

        1. YvonneBB

          “It’s a big party and you ‘ain’t in its leadership”
          although your votes and your money are expected.

          “Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear.”


          1. ambrit

            The above sounds like a call for Revolution. (Of which I approve.)
            Never forget that Revolutions take all sorts of shapes and constituencies. We are suffering today under the maladministrative effects of a long, slow, counter-revolution in America carried out by the Reactionary Elites.

          2. Noone from Nowheresville

            It’s not just the owners. Look at how the cog(s) at AIG impacted The Machine from this morning’s Burning Justice post. A lot more cogs than owners or the super wealthy of the 0.001%. A lot more places like AIG out there even within government itself.

        2. Katiebird

          > Democrats and Republicans actually in legislation

          I hate that too. Which is why I mentioned that as soon as there are some number of NON Democrats/Republicans this bill would HAVE to be redone.

          As it is, non party members can’t really function in either the House or Senate without caucusing in one party or the other because of the informal Committee (and other power hierarchy traditions.

          Is there a way to change that? …. We can’t even get a decent Presidential candidate nominated much less change the entire character of The Capitol. (So frustrating)

          1. freebird

            You probably already know this, but every 2 years the Congress re-authorizes its own rules as it starts the new session. They could start from scratch on any of those January occasions. They could ditch committees, seniority, the rules of order, all kinds of arcane crap. They could actually go back to one-rep-one-vote, limit reps to 3 sponsored bills per session, limit bill length to 3 pages. Obama coulda got rid of the 2/3 rule. They don’t. Because they like their little power games. The ones that don’t are clueless and think ‘it’s always been this way, it can never change’.

            This could change if you had a critical mass of progressives that could be as stubborn as the Tea Party was in throwing their little weight around. And if you had a deep battle plan concocted by minds as devious as Carville. And if at the same time you had an independent media growing rapidly, and lawyers suing the parties for undermining government and elections, and prosecuting bribers. As Flo used to say ‘whin donkeys flah’.

            1. Katiebird

              Excellent summary! I like seeing the details spelled out.

              > battle plan concocted by minds as devious as Carville

              I used to know people like that. And I think they made a difference (back in the 1970s and early 80s) But it takes relentless focus and they moved on to family issues and having a personal life. And I moved away and drawn into a non political world.

              But there did used to be Democrats (not just Carville) who were pretty fearless. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

              1. freebird

                Good to hear there were people trying back then. And who knows. There is a small crop of new progressives coming in right now, perhaps they are brave and sharp enough to get organized.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Or follow the long tradition of selling out. Gotta say AOC is looking pretty squishy, starting with that Mama Bear observation and her failure to make a peep and then just going along with a bunch of Pelosi-Schumer shitty bills and “aye” votes on McConnell’s looting and abusing. The Squad’s recent fundraising pitches look indistinguishable from those generated by the Neoliberal CorpoDems — maybe it’s a set of filters in ActBlue’s programming?

                  Always remember the story line in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” is just another one of those fables told to the rabble to keep them believing….

                  1. neo-realist

                    Gotta elect those progressives first and see if there is a trend similar to AOC. Pressure them if they don’t follow through. The ones that are taking money from the likes of Goldman Sachs are the ones to worry about. Still to early to draw a conclusion on the “new wave”.

          2. LifelongLib

            “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…”

            Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution.

            Doesn’t look like there’s a way to get third parties recognized other than electing enough of them…

      2. deplorado

        >>”So, in determining “Presidential Capacity,” the two parties are enshrined in a constutional role. Likewise, credentialed professionals are enshrined in a Constitutional role. That seems very on-brand to me (and also open to challenge in the courts).”

        The two parties written in a constitutional role reminds me of the constitutions of the USSR and its bloc countries which had in writing their respective communist parties as the only ones permitted. I believe in the USSR one it was article 19 (don’t quote me on that).

        That was justified with those parties being the “vanguard of the proletariat”. How is writing Democrat and Repub parties into a law of constitutional setup justified? With their being what — the vanguard of the billionairiat?

          1. JTMcPhee

            The military’s strings are stealth fibers attached to the limbs of the Electeds. Just because they are not visible in this latest step down the road to the fate of Rome does not mean they are not present and very effective. Bernie Sanders favors the F-35 for “reasons.”

            Nothing is ever what it seems, never has been.

    2. Glen

      You are NOT being sufficiently paranoid.

      With the neoliberals and neocons now firmly in control of the Democratic party, and looking for potential supermajority, they are going to swoop in and try to crush the voters ability to elect who they want. Call it the Patriot Act amendment to further crush Democracy.

      1. anon in so cal


        Speaking of corrupt NeoCons and NeoLiberals in the Democratic party….

        Nancy Pelosi’s husband’s whatever just bought a large # of shares in CrowdStrike…..

        “Democrats’ national leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her husband, Paul Pelosi, are endorsing the publicly traded firm in a different way. Recent financial disclosure filings show the couple have invested up to $1 million in CrowdStrike Holdings. The Pelosis purchased the stock at a share price of $129.25 on Sept. 3. At the time of this article’s publication, the price has risen to $142.97.”

        (CrowdStrike as in Russiagate as in email server….)


          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Please ignore the fact that one of the founders of CrowdStrike is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and there are FBI spooks on board-

            Please ignore the fact that CrowdStrike ignited RussiaGate. Remember those DNC servers CrowdStrike — already a DNC vendor — did a “forensic analysis” on after the “Russian Hacking”? The servers the FBI never saw?

            If I were the suspicions type, I’d think the Pelosi fam’s investment was a payoff. I’d also wonder how many other payoffs were made using this technique.

            Is CrowdStrike a penny stock?

            1. ambrit

              Is the US Government a ‘bucket shop?’
              “I am shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling going on in the Halls of Congress!”

            2. Procopius

              If I were the suspicions type, I’d think the Pelosi fam’s investment was a payoff.

              If you think it through (or perhaps I just don’t know about how it’s done), if they buy the stock on an exchange, the money goes to the (many?) people selling the stock. Although, now that I think further, if only a few people hold the stock then it would be feasible to arrange a sale plus instantaneous purchase that would amount to a two-party face to face sale. Is there a way for the public to find out how much daily activity there is in that stock? I’m really a little surprised to find them being so complacent about showing their connection.

  2. zagonostra

    “But without a narrative, or a press willing to construct one, the documents are useless, except to historians.”

    No, quite the contrary my friend. There are hordes of rabid Trump supporters and folks of the Alex Jones ilk, they number in the millions and will take whatever scraps of intelligence (pun intended) that they are handed to prove that the Dems have been behind the scenes plotting a coup. And you always have to remember the broken clock who tells time accurately twice a day – unless it’s digital of course and then it’s a Tom Perez limited edition clock.

    1. L

      Agreed, any report, however broad, could be shot full of holes. That is what happened with the Senate’s report on Burisma which landed with a wet schlump. At this point the ambiguity and awareness of the report is netting all the benefit they could possibly get and at this point only Trump, or his most wild-eyed followers actually believe Obama will be sent to the hoosegow.

      1. Gc54

        The critical point is to find the perps and at least keep them out of future administrations even if they dodge prosecution because of the imminent memory hole.

        Otherwise the system condones unambiguous sedition at a very high level in supposedly apolitical security services.

      1. ambrit

        “Courtesy phone? Marcus Licinius Crassus declines to patronize anything with the connotation of “free” appended thereunto.”
        If one supports the concept of human history “rhyming” across the centuries, then, this being our Roman Oligarchy phase, who will be our Julius Caesar?

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Could be Biden. With Pelosi playing Brutus.

          ETA: Wait. It’s supposed to be a friend so I guess that mean Sanders. But who will be our Augustus / Octavian? Marc Antony? the other guy who’s name escapes me. Civil War next?

          1. ambrit

            Alas and alack, the execrable Harris, being Biden’s Veep would fill the role of political heir to the “Original Autocrat.” Octavian/Augustus was Caesar’s political heir and ended up “on top” after a tangled Civil War phase. For today, what would be the analogue of an ancient style Civil War; DC Swamp infighting with a side dish of Supreme Court shenanigans?

            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              If Biden is Caesar, then I think Harris will serve better as a Marc Anthony. More of blunt blade. The immediate after-math “heir,” not the one who eventually gains power after the Triumvirate / Civil War.

              It could be that Trump is our Pompey and we have to dispose of him first before moving on to the Ides of March.

              Perhaps Augustus comes from the joining of the Trump (Ivanka’s) & Clinton (Chelsea’s) family lines down the road?

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > Biden is Caesar

                Biden is not Caesar. Caesar was a brilliant politician and an accomplished, victorious general (and ghosted or not, wrote excellent books, albeit to burnish his image, and also crafted legislation). See Mike Duncan’s History of Rome for the infigting: The episodes from the birth of Caesar to the death of Augustus are the best of the series, IMNSHO.

                We may indeed be in Late Roman Republic territory, where a change in the Constitutional order is produced by violence, but the cast of characters doesn’t necessarily nap.

                1. Noone from Nowheresville

                  Ahhh, you caught me. I don’t really think that our politicians can be equated directly to the Roman Empire players. We’d have to see where the real power combinations were these days to do the equivalent. (US or global?) I was only going for the shiv fun factor.

                  And still on more of a Vorlons v. Shadows track.

                  Well that and I had to throw in the Bene Gesserit longer-term breeding program there at the end. Unfortunately no honor and no House Atreides to be seen.

        2. Bruno

          Our Gaius Julius Caesar was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, his Marcus Antonius (who like Saul of Tarsus, “held the cloaks” of the assassins) was Lyndon Baines Johnson, but all of the succeeding candidates for the role of Caesar Octavianus (or Agrippa!) were clownish failures.

          1. ambrit

            Hmmm… I have argued with some who view Eisenhower as America’s original Caesar. (When some counter with Washington as the best candidate for American Caesar, I rebut with the observation that Washington was more properly America’s Cincinnatus.) Kennedy was his Octavian while Nixon was our Tiberius. Right now, we have reached the Galba phase?
            All this goes to show that human nature has remained the same over the millennia.
            An aside: Which may explain the basic plot structure of Brian Herbert’s Dune books. In those books, humanity evolves out of the adolescent phase of development.

              1. Synoia

                Mark Anthony, Julius and Augustus Caesar ,and Cassius were competent

                It’s it’s clear Trump is Nero.

                Feckless and without any skills or honor.

            1. Wukchumni

              Bush the younger was definitely this emperor:

              Commodus 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was Roman emperor jointly with his father Marcus Aurelius from 176 until his father’s death in 180, and solely until 192. His reign is commonly considered to mark the end of the golden period in the history of the Roman Empire known as the Pax Romana.

              In the view of Dio Cassius, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust”

          2. Martin Cohen

            I have long felt that LBJ should not have stepped down. He would have been much better than what followed.

            1. Procopius

              I imagine he was tired. I think of the narrator of Candlemass Road:

              And lying there, and not able to read more than a little for the infirmity of mine eyes that are worn with looking on the world’s wickedness four score years, …

              I feel very ambiguous about LBJ, but he certainly was a man who knew what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

  3. YvonneBB

    But Americans are in general more worried about the prospects for boys than for girls,

    Obama signs onto women registering for Selective Service

    Say it ain’t so Joe! He was your president and it’s only fair for gender equity that some of our daughters may come back from the forever wars you voted for with stumps and faces blown off. Capture? At least with president Harris they will be able to abort their Taliban, ISIS and Boko Harem rape-camp babies, if they get rescued in time.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yeesh. I remember when that place was a Nabisco plant. And the company kept wanting to shut it down.

    1. ambrit

      Wonderful! Someone is having fun!
      (Is raking up all those deciduous leaves as much work as raking up Southern Pine needles is for us here in the NADS?)

      1. ambrit

        When I was small, none of our dogs had leashes. Pets are similar to children, indeed, I note that pets often take the “place” of children when children are absent. “Free range” is optimal for the development of both.
        Some might fault me for ignoring the demonstrable effects of urban environments on the ‘choices’ available to either species of small mammal. However, in defense of my contention, we have the perennial question of how much do we follow the dictates of ‘Nature’ and how much do we follow the constraints of ‘Urban Nurture?’
        I do not presume to have a definitive answer to that conundrum. Best to let our philosophy of life guide us.

        1. Alfred

          When I was a child, most of our pets were also kept off-leash. One of the dogs was killed by a rattesnake; another was poisoned by a crazy neighbor-lady. Later we moved, but not because of that incident. In the new neighborhood, one of the cats, a yellow one, at the age of about six months, was shot in our driveway by a teenager who lived a few houses away. Thus did I learn about cruelty. I learned about how nature takes its course, ironically, not from the misfortunes of the pets outside but from the tropical fish kept ‘safely’ indoors in an aquarium, when one day one of my cichlids ate the front half of my newt. (My bad for not knowing enough, at 13, about how cichlids feed. I had thought them all to be vegetarians, and considered the newt to be nothing but novelty.)

          1. Pat

            I might have gotten that humans are twisted and cruel from your life. My fish lesson was safety is elusive And technology untrustworthy.

            We came home from a weekend trip to find that the aquarium heater had malfunctioned and we had overcooked expensive And unappetizing seafood soup. Apparently a pessimist even as a child, I brought my mother up short when she said it was a shame it didn’t happen when we were home. I pointed out we wouldn’t have noticed until there was steam, and certainly not then if it happened while we slept. But I was also the one who was sentimental and insisted we buried the fish rather than flush…

  4. ambrit

    Re. the skydiving Tennessee candidate; A great fleer at fate that. Usually, we counsel politicos not to go up in small aircraft. However, for her to jump out of a perfectly good working airplane in flight!
    Considering the appropriateness of this gesture, why not throw big company CEOs out of similar aircraft in flight, but with them wearing real Golden Parachutes. “Enjoy it while the ride lasts!”
    (I know, I know, guillotines are cheaper in the long run. But, the Symbolism!)

      1. ambrit

        I was thinking along the line of doing this exercise in “clawback” over some particular uninhabited valley “out West.” I rather like the secondary symbolism of the ‘fated’ CEOs ending up in the dreaded Golden Gulch.
        Also, gold can be flattened out incredibly thin, as in having the material of the parachutes made out of gold foil. Perhaps a few incredibly lucky CEOs will safely float down. Sort of like “Trial by Combat” for the PMC class.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s all good until the lines of credit on the golden parachute get tangled up after jumping out and you crater.

      1. ambrit

        Pilots perform useful functions. We’ll let them have ‘real’ fabric parachutes for the odd unforeseeable event of a traditional “small aircraft crash” associated with a “famous” person being onboard. (Such being, of course, a staple of “eliminationist” politics.)

  5. kareninca

    My church is going to start holding outdoor services (in addition to our current zoom services), and I’ve agreed to be a host. I’m wondering how to set this up. The county limit is 60 people, however even in ordinary times we would have no more than 35 people attend. I’m sure we’ll have far fewer in this situation.

    We’ll all wear masks the whole time, and stay at least six feet apart. Our sect does not have a laity – that is, everyone is a minister – which means that as a practical matter there is no sermon. Although our tradition does not include singing hymns, some of our members do sing hymns, but they most definitely won’t be singing now. We’ll have an attendance log for contact tracing.

    I’m thinking several groups of five. There is talk of an umbrella for the sun afflicted (we have some attenders who have had skin cancer). Our back yard is a redwood grove, so that will also provide shade. I’m not thrilled with the idea of an umbrella since it reduces air flow.

    So how does that sound?

    Also, how does it compare in risk with my present volunteer activity of selling used books to support the local libraries? I’m doing appointment-only small sales. Twice a week, I let eight people (masked) into a several very large, well-ventilated rooms, and they are there with me for an hour and a half. Of course we keep apart, and we have a symptom check list and a contact tracing log. The most popular categories at these pandemic sales are literature, poetry, art, computers, science, education (for home schooling), kids’ books, history and science fiction. No one wants cookbooks or literary criticism, even for free.

    These sales are meant to support the local libraries. But our libraries don’t lack money. My aim is to get books to book dealers so they can sell them online. I’ve been told that the selection of used books online has become terrible and that prices are much higher, because due to the pandemic book dealers can’t get inventory from sources like us. Last week I sold 600 books to one dealer. I also want local people to have books now. And we give our surplus books – about ten thousand a month – to other nonprofits, some of which ship all over the world, including to Africa and South America. We have to be a financially going concern to keep that up.

    I’m thinking my volunteer book selling is more dangerous than my upcoming church attendance. Both of course comply with county restrictions.

    1. grayslady

      RE church service: In the northern hemisphere prevailing winds are from the west. I would keep that in mind regarding seating arrangements. It is much more difficult to hear properly when outdoors, so people speak more loudly, even if they aren’t singing. Make sure to have plenty of hand sanitizer, paper towels and a large wastebasket available. Parishioners who have had skin cancer issues are likely to wear hats, long sleeves and sun screen anyway; I wouldn’t worry about them unless your temperatures are beastly hot.

      1. kareninca

        That is an interesting point about the winds. I guess I assumed that being outside, with UV and winds and distancing and masks at all times, that any virus would be whisked away, but perhaps the wind could be a foe. And that is a good point about people speaking more loudly outdoors.

      1. Wukchumni

        “I’ll have a double-double Jesus style with grilled onions, fries and a benediction, have a blessed day.”

      2. kareninca

        Hmm. We do already have zoom worship, but I guess in-car worship would be a little better. People want to see one another (but only safely). We have some members who are in very bad psychological shape due to isolation; some are having panic attacks and some are very depressed, especially the ones who live alone and haven’t seen anyone in months except a few masked store clerks. We wouldn’t be able to hear one another from our cars; attenders sometimes speak and we want to hear one another. Still, I’ll keep that in mind, since in-car worship is better than just zoom. If there are more cases around here we may try something like that.

        1. Stillfeelinthebern

          Just a suggestion that has worked in my community.

          Our fellowship has arranged smaller meetings at a local park for those who need human contact. It’s far easier than trying to do a service and the human contact part happened after the service anyway during the coffee hour.

          1. kareninca

            That is pretty close to what we’ll do. Our sect doesn’t have services in the usual sense, so there is not a lot of that to arrange. And our back yard is like a park.

            Truly informal get togethers wouldn’t do the trick, since there is a category of people who are shy and who will only come out for something that sounds to them spiritually obligatory; not for something described to them as sociability. Also there are people who are so scared of covid that they will only come out for something that is structured, even if something less structured could actually be even safer. The most psychologically desperate people seem to fall into those two groups, from what I’m seeing.

    2. Darius

      I think you have got the bases covered. This actually isn’t that hard. Avoid crowds, especially indoors. Wear masks, especially indoors. Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. The harder part is fellowship hour. You can’t have self-serve anything. Probably best to avoid any food or beverage, which is what makes a fellowship hour a fellowship hour.

      Good luck. I admire what you are doing.

      1. kareninca

        Thank you. We won’t be having food, alas. I really miss making silly retro 1950s cakes for snack time after worship.

  6. grayslady

    Having set up a modest hummingbird buffet on my deck for the past few summers, I am quite familiar with the “voices” of hummingbirds (they are definitely not songbirds). I’ve been given a dressing down by the summer regulars when out watering flowers and am too close to their feeders–no need for a common vocabulary to know what sentiments they are conveying. The fall migratory hummers are the most charming. They are very curious, fly right up in front of you and then start talking to you. No idea what they are saying, but it’s all very civilized as long as you don’t make any sudden movements to frighten them. Still have a few stragglers coming through so have kept fresh food in the feeders and continued fertilizer for their favorite salvia.

  7. watt4Bob

    Re Qanon;

    Tip of the hat to commentor Ten Bears over at Ian Welsh;

    “QAnon is trailer park Scientology”

  8. John

    Krystal and Saagar were certainly sufficiently paranoid about Nancy Antoinette’s new meritocratic idea. A nice little committee with degrees from Harvard and Yale and we are set. But wait, isn’t that SCOTUS? We have it already. What is she thinking?

  9. Noone from Nowheresville

    (The administration should have used a parallel architecture, as with Operation Warp Speed. Pehaps Trump trusted Barr. The more fool he.)

    Perhaps. But if proven out “enough” after the election and Biden were to win said election, might this be grounds for another Impeachment show or even resignation after the initial chaos has subsided?

    1. Gc54

      Dream on. I bet a fair fraction of a Harris/biden cabinet will be comprised of probable seditionists or their proteges.

  10. Laughingsong

    “How a Scrappy Group of Tech Workers Formed One of the Only Unions in the Industry”

    AFAIK unions have been the exception in computer tech but “back in the day”, some data center “operators” (as we were known back then) were unionized – the ones I knew about were Boeing, United Airlines, and Xerox Data Centers.

    “ ‘Those that are the innovators and the disruptors, the architects of creative destruction in the economy, are still increasing their wealth‘ “

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggghhhh! The buzzwordiness! It buuuurrrrns!

  11. ambrit

    Bloomberg says that “…the net worth of [certain billionaires] lagged…”
    Bloody Hell! How much does one person need to live a decent life? We here in the NADS would be happy with a million to live on.
    “So let us stop talkin’ falsely now,” we need to replace the word ‘wealth’ with the word ‘power’ in such discussions, “..the hour’s getting late!”
    The excerpt quoted was also chock full of neo-liberal weasel words like: opportunities, tech solutions, innovators, disruptors, and the ever popular creative destruction.
    I understand that Bloomberg’s main purpose is to cheerlead for the business sector but, man oh man, this was over the top.

    1. Fritzi

      They do say that only the net worth of those concentrating on “creative” destruction is going to grow the way a billionaire’s net worth is supposed to grow in the post covid economy.

      I guess that is the all out capitalism cannibalizing it’ s own substance phase.

      Not that that hasn’t long been Happening, but Bloomberg seems to admit that it will be the only game left soon enough.

  12. Grant

    ““Hillary Clinton Says She Was Right All Along” [Edward-Isaac Dovere, The Atlantic]. “What she’s hoping for over the next four years: Biden wins and gets rid of Trump, Vice President Kamala Harris helps reset some of the American political expectations for women, and Mark Zuckerberg—whom she compared to the sorcerer’s apprentice, losing control of his creation in a way that has done grave damage around the world—ends up facing new restrictions. She’s also hoping that she can step back from politics a bit more.”

    First off, I hope she steps away forever. Beyond that, Harris will climb within a horrible system but won’t change that system. Given that the system is inequitable, undemocratic and corrupt, that would benefit Harris but will leave women generally in a worse position, because most women are working women and things will continue to get progressively worse for working class, poor and middle class people in the absence of structural changes. To the extent that there is structural sexism, it will remain because they won’t change much of anything. What it will demonstrate is that women too can climb up this rotten system if they also could care less about those left out of the benefits of the economy, sell themselves to the highest bidder and also watch as the country and environment collapses and do as little as possible. Her rising up and not, say, Kshama Sawant, will send the wrong message to women looking to get into politics. Harris was set to get trounced in her own state for good reason. To think that she will be a strong favorite in 2024 is just depressing. Think of all of the propaganda we will be subject to, and all of the undemocratic rigging of the primary process that will be needed to make it happen. Biden and Harris winning is nothing short of disastrous, which is why I think Bernie has been rightfully critiqued for not going after Biden. He let a lot of people down that supported him and put trust in him, and he threw that away for his friend, a friend who can’t stop attacking him in public in order to get votes from a pool of voters far smaller than the ones he is continuously dismissing. At the same time, what did people like AOC expect when they offered their support so early without forcing him to earn anything? I mean, he has run a zombie campaign, is corrupt, offers nothing on policy and has done little more than kick the left (i.e., working people) in the teeth since he got the nomination. This was obvious from the beginning when they pledged support to Biden.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter


      I would add one thing that it is starting to look like Hillary was right about. Hillary/Podesta’s “Pied Piper” strategy looks like it might have been correct after all…when the candidate the Dems run is anyone other than Hillary Clinton. Not that I think if Harris/Biden do win the Hillbots will engage in any self-reflection at this point.

      I guess I would also add the obvious that what or whom does she think is stopping her from stepping back from politics? Many have begged her to do exactly this.

      1. ambrit

        I’m thinking that a “New and Improved” and recapitalized Clinton Foundation would do the trick. Perhaps, seeing how the internal Democrat Party Clinton clique versus Obama clique power struggle has worked out so far, Hillary has determined to exact a ‘price’ for her ‘silence.’ Note that she does think big.
        Also to worry about; will HRH HRC get another Cabinet post in a Biden Administration?

        1. Gc54

          HRC seems to be a competent “queen of chaos”. What branch would we benefit the most from her “leadership?” DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA? All 4?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > recapitalized Clinton Foundation would do the trick.

          Clinton Foundation revenues collapsed when Hillary lost. Gee, it’s almost like there was a market and then there suddenly wasn’t…

          1. ambrit

            The Hillary futures market had a ‘correction.’ I’d say that the recent Democrat Party infighting shows how tenacious Madame is. Follow the money.

      2. Pat

        Not sure if it still would have worked without Covid and the resulting chaos. Trump managed to stay close or ahead for a long time even with that.

        I’d be curious if HRC would poll as well as Biden is currently as I am not sure this is all about how hated she was. More likely that combined with need for change.

        1. Grant

          Given how close most of the swing states were, a COVID like event and the associated economic fallout would likely have made a difference. Just my take. But, it speaks to how utterly empty Biden and Clinton are. Them winning or losing has a lot more to do with the alternative than them, since they are a big pile of nothing. Biden would be getting beat if he was running against a “normal” Republican (because he is one in the other party) and in “normal” times. He has a horrible record, is corrupt, clearly not the same person he was even five years ago and offers nothing on policy. He hasn’t even really campaigned much.

          I find the delusions he and those around him have about trying to cement the Jennifer Rubin types in the Democratic Party to be a bit mind blowing. Just divorced from the reality quickly approaching. Maybe that can help to win an election here or there, but with him in power, things will continue to get worse and the Democrats will be facing someone like Trump in 2024. The idea that Biden gets power, does next to nothing and just hands it over to Harris and whoever else like her, and it will be a smooth ride is just divorced from reality. If things don’t change soon, society is going to come apart. Biden’s nomination is a disaster for society. Bernie let a lot of people down with him refusing to go at Biden.

          If the idea is to hand it to Harris after doing nothing and watching society collapse, then the amount of propaganda by the media and rigging by that rotten party will need to be off the charts, which is what I fully expect. Two party states share many of the problems, it seems, that one party states seem to struggle with, although there is far more ideological diversity in the Chinese Communist Party than the range of opinion between the two parties in this two-party state.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Not sure if it still would have worked without Covid and the resulting chaos. Trump managed to stay close or ahead for a long time even with that.

          Trump was cruising before Covid.

      3. John Wright

        Maybe HRC is haunted by the ghost of Richard Nixon, who failed to get elected president vs John Kennedy in 1960, but eventually was elected President, after a crushing defeat in California State politics.

        In the California Governor’s race in 1962, Nixon “lost to (Pat) Brown (Jerry Brown’s father) by more than five percentage points, and the defeat was widely believed to be the end of his political career. In an impromptu concession speech the morning after the election, Nixon blamed the media for favoring his opponent, saying, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

        The above quote is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon

        Then Nixon came back to win the Presidency in 1968.

        Former “Goldwater gal” HRC may identify with the disliked Richard Nixon and, consequently, be hoping for a second chance at the presidency or other political office.

        1. ambrit

          We lived in Pasadena when that election happened and my Dad remembered later watching that press conference live along with my mother. He remarked that he would never vote for Nixon because Nixon showed utter contempt for the people of California with that statement. He said something like; “No real politician ever throws a temper tantrum on live television.” I apply that concept to the politicos I see today and find almost all of them lacking.
          Perhaps that’s one reason why we presently decry the behaviour of Bernard Sanders now. He is acting like a professional politician, not the Messiah we had hoped for. It’s still cold comfort.

    2. neo-realist

      Thanks to Bernie, there are a lot more lefties running in down ticket races and succeeding, e.g., Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Pramila Jayapal, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Marie Newman – All endorsed by Bernie. And more to follow, thanks to the present social, economic and political conditions.

      Winning the democratic Presidential nomination was going to be tough for a progressive. Attacks coming on a variety of fronts–the DNC putting its thumb on the scales in the voting and the selection of people within the DNC, corporate media-center right and the hard right, with a zealous hatred of progressives, bad mouthing them 24/7, undercutting Sanders in the debates. Sanders probably felt that a progressive grass roots movement would find better soil to grow in a Biden administration than that of a Trump one that will pull out all the stops (police state/judicial appointments) to crush progressives and any kind of challenge to the corporate/MIC order.

      If things go well for progressives in growing the political brand, it will take a while to take hold. It arguably took conservatives from the point of Goldwater’s defeat till the end of the 70’s to be PTB kingmakers.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Sanders probably felt that a progressive grass roots movement would find better soil to grow in a Biden administration

        Since the Sanders family lost many members to the Holocaust, the appeal to fight fascism probably resonates with him. (For myself, I think (a) the lack of an organized militant tendency, if I have Paxson’s wording right, means we’re not there, (b) fascist thinking is everywhere, including the liberal Democrat thirst for “leadership”, and (c) the Obama administration didn’t “create the conditions for” fascism, a Biden administration surely will. On the bright side, the Never Trumpers jumping ship opens up space on the bridge for a Trump 2.0: Smart, competent, smoother. So it’s all good!

    3. km

      Bernie may believe that Biden is his friend, it may just be politeness or ass-kissing, I don’t know.

      I DO know that in his heart of hearts, Biden does NOT consider Bernie his “friend”.

      1. Pat

        Biden claims friendship when useful often. I personally think there are few people that Joe would help without some return guaranteed.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Good analysis. After reading that article, she hasn’t changed a bit since 2016. Not a damn bit. For her, it will always be 2016 and about her. If she had won in 2016, right now American troops would be fighting an insurgency war in Venezuela and the body bags would be flowing back in secrecy to some out of the way Air Force base.

  13. Bruno

    “It is true that the First Amendment only regulates government bans.” (Taibbi) But is it true? Considering only the phrase “Congress shall make no law” this has indeed always been the “Law” as defined by that branch of government with no constitutional legislative power, the Judiciary (aka SCOTUS). But the 1st amendment could (should!) be read in the context of the whole Bill of Rights, which logically specifies (9th amendment) that it constitutes an *enumeration* of rights enjoyed by all the people (without prejudice to other rights–like that of women to control their own reproduction–not enumerated but retained by the people). Therefore de facto suppression of freedom of speech by state-chartered entities possessing an effective monopoly over the modern means of communication is arguably a violation of the Liberty prescribed in the Bill of Rights. This point, of course, is of purely academic interest.

    1. ambrit

      That’s a target rich environment there. So many opportunities for lascivious and concupiscent commentary.
      But I digress….

    2. hunkerdown

      Good thing you weren’t one of the unlucky souls from earlier this week’s WC getting stuck in an Internet-enabled chastity cage. Are they ever gonna wreck the curve!

  14. CuriosityConcern

    Hey Lambert(and the commetariat), do you all think the COVID urban exodus will have a measurable effect on the elections?

    1. clarky90.

      ‘Get Off My Lawn’ Demands Wisconsin Teacher Union Member as BLM Marchers Destroy His Lawn!


      “Replying to
      As the BLM crowd was marching through the neighborhoods of Wauwatosa, one man came out to tell people to get off of his property, telling them there are people who most likely support BLM. One guy drove on his yard with a motorcycle.”

    2. albrt

      Very hard to say. Here in Arizona we are seeing some California immigrants, but also many of our elderly winter visitors not showing up.

      My brother is a California immigrant. He told me he came here because he considers Arizona to be “free soil” based on his 2d amendment beliefs. So the decision to move out of democrat-land might not correlate all that positively with voting democrat in the new location.

      In prior years the lack of elderly winter visitors might have tipped the election leftward (if they were registered here) but this year the elderly folks are supposedly tipping toward Biden.

      By the way, if I were a young DA looking for a score, the place I would look for voter fraud would be retirees voting twice, in their state of origin and in Florida/Arizona. Can’t abide the locals threatening to raise school taxes on either of the homesteads.

      So who knows? Hope this helps.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > if I were a young DA looking for a score, the place I would look for voter fraud would be retirees voting twice, in their state of origin and in Florida/Arizona. Can’t abide the locals threatening to raise school taxes on either of the homesteads.

        Good argument!

  15. DJG

    The study from Brookings of how much people are worried about boys and girls.

    I am not sure what to make of the graphs or the Executive Summary, both of which veer toward nonsense. As one of the commenters points out, the plots are truncated, going only from 28 to 48 percent. So the differences seem bigger than they are.

    The Executive Summary, like all Executive Summaries, in this era of Executive Summaries, is deeply shallow. The summary highlights “challenges” for women and never gets around to dealing what might be a challenge for a boy in the current cultural, political, or economic climate. No one seems to have noticed that the decline in manufacturing, in arts and crafts, and in farming would have an impact on the positions that men would hold. Nor does the summary mention that changes in education–no shop classes, no training the trades, less art (hands-on work), and in many schools less physical education–have channeled many boys into the verbal + test-taking track when some of these kids would be hands-on, tactile, kinetic learners.

    And then there’s this seeming analysis: “Parents are asked about how well their son(s) and/or daughter(s) cope with setbacks, intended as a measure of resilience, “stick-with-it-ness,” or grit. ”

    Oh? Who knows what this means? Coping with setbacks may indicate patience or resourcefulness—or grace under pressure. Reliance doesn’t always have to do with setbacks–success is a stressor, too. Stick-to-it-iveness is great, but is that resilience or engagement?

    And “grit”? In this age of fights over masks in Trader Joe? Who needs “grit”?

    So the study seems to gauge parental anxiety in an anxious time. Given some of the differences noted in the attitudes of black parents, the study seems to be concerned mainly with white anxiety. Aha! Now I know what matters.

  16. Milton

    First walk in 10 days (due to high heat) around my neighborhood. Well Biden signs have sprouted like mushrooms, with one of the 2 Trump signs taken down. Man, Covid and a nasty debate demeanor has swung the yard contest clearly in Joe’s favor with the tally being: 8 Biden, 1 Trump

    1. hunkerdown

      I passed the nearest big Trump-Pence flag on the way to pick up my fortnightly pound* this morning, and I glimpsed a new addition on their lawn: a decently-preserved, shiny black sports car for sale, looked like a third-gen Camaro. It’s just one anecdote, and I did not have time to read off an asking price, but at the scale of a typical building contractor’s finances, it seems significant.

      * Coffee of course. Get your mind out of the cannabutter!

  17. Wukchumni

    Growing up with the Beatles (we’re about the same age) by the time I was a teenager there was heavy longing by me for them to get back together, and then one fateful day in NYC in December the music died putting paid to it never happening.

    I was dismayed at the time, but am happy it never occurred as the Fab Four epitomized the 60’s, and when time came to call it quits, game over. No sad spectacle of them playing in a Vegas casino with a 2 drink minimum.

    The individual parts of the band were never anything close to the combined effort of the lads, oh they had a few moments-but weak tea overall.

    I was en route to the Big Apple on a red-eye from LAX when John Lennon was assassinated by an evang, and the next day went to the Dakota where hundreds of fans were crying and singing Beatles songs, and it was just too much to take for a 19 year old, never before or since have I had such an overpowering sense of melancholy as that day, when the music became stuck in time.

    Will they be playing Beatles songs in 2222?

    I don’t see why not…

    1. ShamanicFallout

      I was 13 and a friend and I were listening to the radio that night (KISW in Seattle if anyone remembers) and the DJ Steve Slaton came on and told us that Lennon had been shot dead. We were beyond shocked. Still chokes me up a little. Even though they weren’t ‘our generation’, it didn’t matter- we all loved the Beatles. The first album my parents bought me was the Beatles Blue album 67-70 when it came out in ’73 and I wore it out.
      So will they be playing Beatles songs in 2222? Well, my 6 year old daughter loves them so as you say, why not? There were the Beatles, then there is everybody else.

      1. Wukchumni

        The morning after he was shot I was reading the NYT, and the bastards stuck the news on the lower fold of the front page, as if to add insult.

        I’m sure some story about inflation hitting 14.67% was of more importance…

    2. shtove

      Just watched A Hard Day’s Night for the first time – fresh as a daisy after fifty something years! And then there’s Wilfred Brambell with his horsey teeth and fish-hooked lip.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Small anecdote. I was at a bar in Greece in the early 80s when a crowd of English walked in. One of them said that the bar was not playing Beatles music so the whole group of them got up and walked out again. No argument.

      I have a collection of their music on CD so now I feel like playing them this weekend.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      My sense is to survive as a name, not just a song, the creator has to produce quality, consistency, diversity, and quantity. Many forgettable types simply fail in the last two categories despite good work. The Beatles were like a factory for great albums.

      The Stones may have been around they have hit all but consistancy, but Stones songs might survive whereas the Stones won’t. My answer is yes people will listen to “The Beatles” in 2222, not just random songs.

  18. km

    I think maybe this link came up in the morning’s haul. The article is long, but rewarding, and here is the Money Quote:

    “After Epstein’s arrest in 2019, a media narrative coalesced around the question of his strange place in the global elite: Epstein the master salesman, a man who had skillfully conned his way into the world’s most powerful circles, fooling everyone in the process. But after my travels through the book, after hearing more of the petty gossip and childish drama of the people who rule our world, I realized this was obviously incorrect. Built into the premise of Epstein the mastermind scammer is the notion that some kind of legitimate path to a legitimate global aristocracy exists. To call Epstein a grifter is to assume he circumvented some genuine meritocratic world order, where the “real” virtuosos dutifully climb the “real” ranks into the oligarchy, powered by nothing but their native talents.

    The truth is that the elite world that Epstein ascended into, the one I tapped into by way of the black book, is populated with hordes of loathsome, boring, untalented people living their bumbling, idiotic lives while just so happening to wield some share of the preposterous global bounty that he and the rest were after. For all the mystery surrounding Epstein’s fortune, its existence is hardly more inscrutable than the wealth of any of his other billionaire peers. He earned it the same way they all did, which is to say precisely not at all.”

    I know some of these people, and Boy Howdy, is it ever true.


    1. Carolinian

      That’s quite a link although ultimately rather boring. Other than breaking the law in repetitive and seemingly monotonous fashion he doesn’t seem to have done or thought anything interesting and his salons with famous scientists and intellectuals are described as little more than ego trips where he contributed nothing because he seemed to know nothing. Perhaps he really did kill himself lest people find out what a mediocrity he was.

    1. Pat

      She just scrubs the record if it happens. See changes in her book regarding Libya that happened between editions.

      1. Jr

        How about the hagiographical fantasy she had written for her where she left Bill years ago? I know someday I will hear someone say in a conversation “You know, she always wanted to leave him but Chelsea…” or some such jive.

        True story: A friend of a friend of a friend was a Secret Service agent on Hillary’s detail. She is a >cruel< and sadistic woman. Once a young female intern walked into her office and HRC took a dislike to her outfit. She loudly and harshly denigrated the young lady, laughing in her face. The terrified intern fled in tears.

        I got the impression the HRC's detail was less than coveted amongst the SS agents.

  19. ACF

    Interesting that you’ve been told ballsy is sexist. As an atypically high risk-taking woman of 50 (skydiving, traveling by myself around Europe and this country, lots of longer-to-explain-examples) I’ve always thought ballsy apt and not particularly male despite the obvious, because I thought (metaphorically, since ballsy is metaphoric in essence, and really, subconsciously, b/c I’m articulating it for the first time) that balls could be seen as the seat of testosterone in a man. And ballsy behavior is always testosterone-ish if not testosterone-fueled in a literal sense, b/c testosterone is associated with risk taking and aggression. What’s more, women can have substantial levels of testosterone, and some men don’t have all that much. So to me, ballsy isn’t inherently sexist, it’s just shorthand for testosterone-fueled, and ballsy has an ease and vividness that’s much better than saying testosterone-anything. It’s so literal to have to invoke a female body part and a male body part simultaneously, and what ovaries have to do with testosterone, I dunno.

    Maybe all this is my (fingers crossed) middle age showing more than anything else. But seriously, it never occurred to me that I shouldn’t call a woman ‘ballsy’ because ‘ballsy’ could only describe men because only men had balls. I mean, there are men I’ve thought were really bitchy, and that’s literally a female term…

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Funny, I’ve always associated ballsy with women. 1940s or 50s tough female movie characters.

      From dictionary.com

      [ bawl-zee ]
      adjective, balls·i·er, balls·i·est.Slang: Vulgar.
      boldly aggressive or courageous: a ballsy gal who isn’t afraid of anyone.

  20. JWP

    Map porn has a great reddit feed too. As a map junkie they have provided many afternoons of enjoyment.

  21. SlayTheSmaugs

    On the boys/girls worries study, I think it’s essentially meaningless, unless there’s good data on what the respondents thought “successful adult” meant, and whether they thought it meant the same thing for both genders.

    How about: Are you worried that boys/girls will grow up to be people who can pay their bills, treat others with kindness and respect, and spend their time in ways that generally make themselves happy?


    Are you worried that boys/girls will grow up to be people who own homes and have children and keep up with the Jones?

    Are you worried that boys/girls will grow up to actualize their self-conception to the maximum possible extent?

    Or: ????

    I really doubt that men/women/liberals/conservatives had the same internal definition for “successful adult” and I’ll bet that most of them had different conceptions of ‘success’ for both boys and girls, b/c of sexist preconceptions (sexist both ways)

  22. Wukchumni

    There’s a 125 year old apple tree on Mineral King road, and this year it had about 40 apples on it, and I drive by yesterday and no apples, which was kind of weird, and I come to find out that an NPS crew with an overhead saw-the kind used to make flat-tops out of citrus trees, sliced off the main leader-about 8 feet long, and there it was sitting on the ground, a tragedy.

    They probably had no idea it was there…

  23. John Anthony La Pietra

    (As I posted about an hour ago — with links — on yesterday’s Water Cooler . . . I’m running behind, sorry — so let me just include the crucial last link here.)

    Michigan Proposal 2, on banning warrantless searches of electronic devices, was sponsored by a Republican state senator — but it has support from the North Oakland [County] Democrats as well as my own Green Party of Michigan. Oh, and the Michigan ACLU too. And there is still apparently no organized opposition. I don’t think that one’s too controversial.

    There might be more chance of a hot button with Michigan Proposal 1, which would play some games with how two state funds (related to parks and wild lands) could be spent. It has backing from DYE Energy and several “Big Green” groups — but not the state Sierra Club. We Greens are opposing this one too, as are the North Oakland Dems (and the state Democrats’ Environmental Caucus, though as of this writing BallotPedia doesn’t list them as opponents).

    But what might turn this button hot is if this endorsement gets out. . . .

  24. fresno dan

    “Harvard University says men should ejaculate 21 times a month to reduce risk of prostate cancer” [Independent]. • It’s good to have goals!

    I thought it was a day. Well, that will really alleviate the carpal tunnel syndrome…

  25. Dave

    The hummingbird is saying: 3 – 5 – 3 – 4 – 3 – 4 – 4 – 5 – 4 – 6 – 4 – 6. What do you think it means?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What do you think it means?

      For real? (I didn’t count myself)

      Googling, I find that “3 – 5 – 3 – 4 – 3 – 4 – 4 – 5 – 4 – 6 – 4 – 6” = -45.

      So Trump loses. Modern day haruspication!

  26. anon in so cal

    >Anyone want to be in a vaccine trial for a Covid19 vaccine? Here’s your big opportunity if you’re in California
    and meet the qualifications.

    “The Lundquist Institute, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AstraZeneca, is conducting a research study on a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZenaca.”


    1. albrt

      Umm, no.

      Vaccines are aiming for 60% effectiveness. N-95 masks are far more effective than that and don’t have side effects.

  27. The Rev Kev

    Brennan: Imagine prospects for world peace, prosperity, & security if Joe Biden were President of the United States & Alexei Navalny the President of Russia. We’ll soon be halfway there.

    What if Brennan was a Beatles fan when he was a kid? Anyone that was radical enough to vote for a Communist party candidate as a student would probably like their music too. He may be old and ugly now but back in the 70s he might have been fresh-faced with long hair and a liking for dope. People change after all. For all we know the White Album might have pride of place in his home.

    1. albrt

      Poll: John Brennan’s most prized possession is his

      A. original release copy of the White Album
      B. autographed picture of Henry Kissinger
      C. collection of over 40,000 locks of hair from death squad victims including Che Guevara

  28. Person

    Scholar’s Stage on American political violence… thought some of you might appreciate this. On Sparks Before Prairie Fire

    This was unbelievable, a quote from abolitionist Cassius M. Clay on the precautions he took to guard his printing press:

    I selected for my office a brick building, and lined the outside doors with sheet-iron, to prevent it being burned. I purchased two brass 4-pounder cannon at Cincinnati, and placed them, loaded with shot and nails, on a table breast high; had folding doors secured with a chain, which which could open upon the mob and give play to my canon. I furnished my office with Mexican lances, and a limited number of guns. There were six or eight persons who stood ready to defend me. If defeated they were to escape by a trap door in the roof; and I had placed a keg of powder, with a match, which I would set off and blow up the office and all my invaders. This I should most certainly have done in case of the last extremity.

    Greer’s interpretation of the present situation:

    A young Zoomer just come of age is four generations removed from serious social violence. They never learned about leftist bombings, Texas border lynchings, Mormon extermination, or electoral street brawls, and have never experienced anything like them. Events like these have faded from our national memory. They faded so quickly because even in their own day such small atrocities seemed like a background hum to the larger national narrative. Familiarity with violence bred “a confidence that almost any kind of mess could be brought under control quickly enough” notes one historian of American violence, “and that if a few people died in the meantime, that was just the way of the world.”

    Americans of our day are not so familiar with this way of the world. This is a blessing. It may prove a curse.

    One response to our historical survey brings comfort. “Do not fear,” whisper the unworried. “We have suffered disruptions to our civil order before. We can bear a bit more of it now. The lesson of American history is that we can suffer great violence without descent into tyranny or civil war.”

    An American saying this in 1920 could be believed. But an American saying it in 2020?

    I am not so sure.

    Interesting times. I just watched the first recent examples of random violence visited upon residents (instead of protesters or business owners) in Wauwatosa, with the breaking of some apartment windows. But as an observer, even this appeared to be mostly theatrical and driven by provocateurs. Only during the few instances of mass looting/arson have events spilled over into a “shoot” rather than a “work”, to use the wrestling vernacular. But lately those have been contained, and the militias have been mostly absent from the scene. The Rittenhouse affair is the last time I saw anything that felt actually dangerous, and I’ve been watching a lot of riot coverage! Some of the NFAC marches were mildly concerning, but there was no notable reactionary element present to stir up a conflict. It seems that even the militant right isn’t eager to start a shooting war.

    I am still ambivalent about the outcome of November. One of our local “Patriot” groups appears to be planning a gathering soon, with their camo gear and their surplus military trucks flying Trump flags. But I still don’t feel any real sense of concern. It all seems like a show on some level, except for a few crazy outliers like the people arrested in the Whitmer conspiracy. In four more years things may be dangerous, but now? I just don’t feel it. Maybe Greer is right; maybe I’m in a bubble.

  29. eg

    Regarding the casual calumny that a dearth of “Snowbirds” ought to prompt the shorting of Speedos, it is my experience that the source of this sartorial predilection ought to be more specifically identified with those hailing from the “distinct society” of the Quebecois — along with a fondness for cigarettes, Pepsi and the May West …

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