2:00PM Water Cooler 11/19/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, the server has been a little wobbly today. Hopefully all is well now. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is back online!


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

Case count by United States region:

Test positivity by region:

Positivity seems to have plateaued in the Midwest. Not sure why the giant drop in the South (green); presumably a data issue.

Hospitalization by region:

Hospitalization seems to have plateaued in the South.

Case fatality rate by region:

I added the death counts, and yes, deaths are rising as the case count rises; we’ll need to watch for that two-week lag.


“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

Election Legitimacy

MI: “Trump campaign drops remaining lawsuit in Michigan” [Politico]. “The Trump campaign withdrew its last remaining federal lawsuit in Michigan Thursday, falsely claiming that local election officials had declined to certify the Detroit-area’s vote tabulation even though they voted unanimously to do so Tuesday night.” • If you read the entire article, that “falsely claiming” is pretty lazily written.

2020 Democrats in Disarray

I believe that Robbie Mook ran the House operations this time, good job:

But who deprograms the deprogrammers?

The replies are quite something. Given the authoritarian followership of Democrats who immediately swung to Biden after the Party Leader endorsed him, even in states were he did not only did not campaign, but had no presence whatever, authoritarian views are not surprising.

Utter inability to self-reflect:

Biden Transition

“Biden Insists Lack Of Cooperation From Trump Administration Won’t Interfere With 4 Years Of Total Political Inaction” [The Onion]. • The Onion lays down a marker….

“Biden’s COVID challenge: Defeat the virus while lifting up all Americans” [Baltimore Sun]. I could have filed this under Class Warfare: “Mr. Biden’s approach to addressing the pandemic is crucial. The temptation will be to put the burdens on ordinary Americans, including some of our nation’s most economically marginalized communities. The stay-at-home orders this spring likely blunted the epidemic in many places across the U.S. However, the ability to stay home is something that is only feasible for some. Many Americans kept society afloat by continuing to deliver goods, support infrastructure and sustain essential services such as grocery stores, farms, home-care medical services and pharmacies. These jobs that required people to show up to work in a pandemic often are twinned with regular close physical contact, enhancing risk of COVID-19. And those filling these jobs, as University of Chicago labor economists Simon Mongey and Alex Weinberg have noted, are less likely to be white, to have a college degree or to have employer provided health care. And they are more likely to be in the bottom half of the income distribution scale. They are also less likely to have had stable jobs, more likely to have been unemployed in the last year and less likely to be employed full-time. Moreover, this economic precarity often also intersects with crowded living environments, where people are less likely to have at least one room per person available in a household, which makes effective quarantine or isolation challenging, should someone in the household be exposed or fall sick. The pandemic relief bills this spring had little in the way of sustained direct support for ordinary Americans.” • If that had been important to Pelosi and the Democrat leadership, they would have included it when they had real leverage. Instead, they concocted the HEROES Act, a messaging bill. Well done, all.

“Will Biden Name a Deficit Hawk to Head OMB?” [Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect]. “Yesterday, I reported that Bruce Reed, one of Biden’s top campaign advisers and his most conservative, has not yet been named to a White House job. As I wrote, he is an extreme deficit hawk. I’ve since learned that Reed is being promoted to head the powerful Office of Management and Budget (OMB). That would be a match made in hell, given the need for extensive deficit spending…. There is a second very senior inner-circle Biden adviser not yet named to a job—Jeff Zients. And like Reed, Zients represents the conservative wing of the Biden crowd. Zients is also a contender for OMB. He’s not quite as much of a deficit hawk as Reed, but even closer to Wall Street. Pick your poison.”

“Biden national security briefing included two board members of a massive defense contractor” [Popular.info]. “President-elect Biden will take office in 62 days. On Tuesday, the transition announced that Biden and Vice President-elect Harris participated in a “Briefing with National Security Experts.”… Who was invited? The intimate gathering of 13 people included two board members from Raytheon Technologies (Raytheon), the world’s second-largest defense contractor…. The Biden-Harris Transition Team released an ethics plan that governs the work of the transition. According to the plan, “Transition team members may not participate in any particular Transition matter that they know may directly conflict with a financial interest of the member, an immediate family member, partner, client or other individual or organization with which the member has or has had a business relationship within the past 12 months.” In this case, Work and Austin have both a personal and professional financial interest in the future of U.S. national security policy…. The Biden-Harris transition did not respond to a request for comment.” • We wanted normalcy, and we’re going to get it!

“The New Ruling Coalition: Opposition to Afghanistan Withdrawal Shows Its Key Factions” [Glenn Greenwald]. “What are the real power centers in the U.S., the ones most responsible for its worst acts and greatest dangers? There are many places where that answer resides. One can find it right now in the ongoing effort to denounce the Trump White House for attempting to remove troops from Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting and shooting and bombing in a war now about to enter its 20th year. Take a look at who is demanding that those troops remain, and there you will find the real axis of power — all of its component parts — in the United States.” Remember the Russian bounties scam? More: “[T]hus did this union of pro-war Democrats, Cheney-led neocons, the intelligence community and their chosen mainstream media outlets succeed in providing the perfectly crafted tool at the most opportune moment to justify blocking an end to America’s longest war. That is precisely the same coalition that drowned U.S. politics for more than three years in the sustained, monomaniacal disinformation campaign about Putin’s takeover of the U.S. As Trump again signals that he intends in the lame-duck session to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, this same united coalition is working desperately to block it.” •


“Will There Ever Be Specifics in Political Journalism or Reverse Cletus Safaris?” [Mike the Mad Biologist]. “[W}hile coastal news outlets will send out reporters to Trumpist strongholds, the converse doesn’t seem to happen. Part of the reason is economic–these outlets might not have the money to do that. But it needs to happen as it’s pretty clear that people living in Trump strongholds also have no understanding of what motivates other people (though it’s not clear at all if they care to know). Remember how Portland and D.C. were supposedly on fire night after night? This is important, because faced with a resounding defeat, conservatives also need to start the ‘healing’ work, and they won’t be able to do that without understanding Democratic areas.” • To be fair, I don’t consume a lot of conservative media, and I had to constantly remind myself that Portland wasn’t on fire (and that the protests were confined to a small area). I also had to remind myself always to insist on a wide-angle or aerial shot for crowd sizes. So there’s a lot of “supposedly” going along on all sides. This whole piece is well worth a read, especially this quote from Froomkin: “Journalists need to stop buying transparently bogus explanations for why people support Trump and figure out what’s really going on. As I’ve written before, this requires a different – actually, more empathetic, and certainly more time-consuming – kind of interviewing style. It means taking a more sociological approach, asking about formative moments, about cultural background and value systems, about education, and, perhaps most importantly, about media diets. It means diving deep into the ‘comforting simplicity of tribe,’ as the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan put it.” • As long as the sociologist can practice self-reflection….

A country divided:

Note the vote counts. (Bay Village 2018 population: 15,295; East Cleveland, 17,109.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why the Left Should Ally With Small Business” [The Nation]. “Reuther’s support for small business was not some strange anomaly in left-wing politics. For much of the 20th century, labor was allied with small business in the fight for a fair economy. For decades starting in the 1930s, the Democratic Party counted small businesses as a core constituency, alongside organized workers, and made their welfare a central concern of its policy agenda. This fact surprises many today because it’s a history long ago abandoned. The shift came in the 1970s, when Democrats embraced the ascendancy of big corporations, reasoning that these large entities were more easily unionized and could deliver more for consumers. In turn, liberals began to see small businesses as not worth fighting for. They were, at best, irrelevant to the left’s vision and, at worst, an obstacle to it. Around the same time, conservatives realized that they could lay claim to small-business politics and recast it to propel an agenda that served the economic elite: cutting taxes, weakening democratic institutions, and dismantling labor and environmental protections. The dark irony of this platform was that it swelled the market share of big business at the expense of small. But the right’s small-business rhetoric was so successful that many on the left believed it, and it reinforced their idea of small business as inherently regressive, antithetical to worker interests, and opposed to Democratic values.”

* * *

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.

Manufacturing: “November 2020 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Declined” [Econintersect]. “The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey declined but remains well into expansion…. Overall, this report was about the same as last month’s report as key elements were mixed. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive than the others recently.”

Employment Situation: “14 November 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Continue To Improve” [Econintersect]. “Econintersect watches the year-over-year change in the 4-week moving average. There is always some seasonality that migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons help remove some seasonality. The four-week rolling average of initial claims is 240 % higher than one year ago (versus the 250 % higher last week).”

* * *

Trade: “Trade protectionism has gone out of style. A surge in new trade restrictions that began in 2017 has waned over the course of 2020… as governments eased some of the barriers they put up early in the coronavirus pandemic. The World Trade Organization says in a report on the Group of 20 leading economies that governments are taking fewer trade actions than they had been and that most recent measures were intended to free the movement of goods across borders” [Wall Street Journal]. “That’s a shift from the protectionist fervor that gripped global trade in recent years, including the tariffs that have marked the U.S.-China trade war. Other trade barriers were erected in the early days of the pandemic by countries seeking to protect local supply chains for food and medical goods. Many of those restrictions have fallen as countries have focused on containing the pandemic.

Shipping: “World’s biggest shipper remains wary of COVID-19 pandemic” [Channel News Asia]. “‘However we remain well aware of the high level of uncertainty the pandemic and associated lock downs continue to pose in the coming quarters,’ [Maersk] said. AP Moller-Maersk is based in Copenhagen, operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 80,000 people.”

Retail: “Target’s plan to use its stores effectively as e-commerce fulfillment centers is paying off. The retailer’s comparable sales rose 24.3% in the past quarter… and nearly half the growth came from a 155% jump in digital sales from the same quarter a year ago” [Wall Street Journal]. “Target says more than 95% of those digital orders were fulfilled at stores, a culmination of a concerted plan to have its sprawling sales sites double as distribution points. That added up to a complicated mix of services, including store pickup points for online shoppers, use of the Shipt same-day delivery operation and training store employees to back the fulfillment services. The accelerating pace of e-commerce adoption during the pandemic is getting more attention from retailers.”

Retail: “The world’s largest retailer believes shopping has changed forever: Morning Brief” [Yahoo Finance!]. “[Walmart’s Q3 report] outlined how resilient consumers have remained through the fall and also why pandemic-related changes to shopping habits are likely to stick around…. A big part of this new behavior is the consolidation of trips, whether these are to Walmart stores or any other. Average ticket sizes at Walmart rose 24% in the quarter while the number of transactions fell 14%… And so the the rise of online and hybrid orders is serving as a boost to the company’s top line and creates the impetus for a further investment in keeping these sorts of behaviors in place. McMillon says the company is convinced many of these new shopping habits will last past the pandemic. But it’s also in the company’s interest to make this habit as attractive as possible for customers.”

The Bezzle: “Some Fracking Sand Was ‘Revolutionary,’ or Maybe It Was Just Sand” [Bloomberg]. “One by one, four employees of Fairmount Santrol were ushered into a cramped hotel conference room in Stafford, Texas, where they took turns explaining to their bosses why they thought the company was committing fraud. Some of the proprietary sand it was selling, they said, wasn’t so special.” • It’s not often sand executives get to run a scam!

Tech: “As Antitrust Pressure Mounts, Google to Pull Back Benefit to News Sites That Adopted Its Preferred MobileTechnology” [The Markup]. “Four years after offering special placement in a “top stories carousel” in search results to entice publishers to use a format it created for mobile pages, called AMP, Google announced last week that it will end that preferential treatment in the spring. ‘We will prioritize pages with great page experience, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, as we rank the results,’ Google said in a blog post.” • Good. AMP was a grotesque attempt to optimize HTML in Google’s favor.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 63 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 19 at 11:49am.

The Biosphere

“Legendary Arecibo telescope will close forever — scientists are reeling” [Nature]. “One of astronomy’s most renowned telescopes — the 305-metre-wide radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico — is permanently closing. Engineers cannot find a safe way to repair it after two cables supporting the structure suddenly and catastrophically broke, one in August and one in early November. It is the end of one of the most iconic and scientifically productive telescopes in the history of astronomy — and scientists are mourning its loss. The Arecibo telescope, which was built in 1963, was the world’s largest radio telescope for decades and has historical and modern importance in astronomy. It was the site from which astronomers sent an interstellar radio message in 1974, in case any extraterrestrials might hear it, and where the first known extrasolar planet was discovered, in 1992. It has also done pioneering work in detecting near-Earth asteroids, observing the puzzling celestial blasts known as fast radio bursts, and studying many other phenomena. All of those lines of investigation are now shut down for good, although limited science continues at some smaller facilities at the Arecibo site.” • Very sad!

Health Care

“CDC recommends Americans to avoid traveling for Thanksgiving” [The Hill]. “‘As we’re seeing exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,’ Dr. Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, said in a press call with reporters Thursday. Thanksgiving should be spent with only people living in your households, Walke said. Updated CDC guidance released Thursday also clarifies the definition of ‘household’ to mean people who have been living in the same home for at least 14 days before celebrations. The update was particularly aimed at college students who typically return home from campus for the holidays, but risk bringing an infection with them this year.” • I wonder how many college administrators shut their campuses down..

“A covid-fighting tool is buried in your phone. Turn it on.” [WaPo]. “Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: ‘You have likely been exposed.’ The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you!… The alerts use software built by Apple and Google into iPhones and Android devices to detect when people (or the phones they’re holding) get into close contact with each other. That might sound like a privacy invasion, but they figured out how to track encounters between people in a way that’s anonymous — and doesn’t store your location — by using the Bluetooth wireless technology in phones…. I’m usually the first person to caution that we shouldn’t trust corporations or the government with our sensitive personal data. But after investigating the data flowing out of these state-sponsored apps and services, I haven’t found much danger in having them on my phone. Here’s why: These systems don’t log your phone’s location. Instead, they use the clever Bluetooth system that helps phones remember whom you were near without knowing where you were.”

“Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection” [The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Carla)]. From the body of the article: “Vitamin D-deficient COVID-19 patients had a greater prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, raised serum ferritin and troponin levels, as well as a longer length of hospital stay than those with serum 25OHD levels ≥20 ng/mL.” n = 216.

“Vitamin D and COVID-19 infection and mortality in UK Biobank” [European Journal of Nutrition]. Conclusions: “Our findings do not support a potential link between 25(OH)D concentrations and risk of severe COVID-19 infection and mortality. Randomised trials are needed to prove a beneficial role for vitamin D in the prevention of severe COVID-19 reactions or death.”

Guillotine Watch

“Lawsuit: Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19” [Iowa Capital Dispatch]. • Dear Lord:

The lawsuit was recently amended and includes a number of new allegations against the company and plant officials. Among them:

  • In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there “shook [him] to the core,” plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19.
  • John Casey, an upper-level manager at the plant, is alleged to have explicitly directed supervisors to ignore symptoms of COVID-19, telling them to show up to work even if they were exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Casey reportedly referred to COVID-19 as the “glorified flu” and told workers not to worry about it because “it’s not a big deal” and “everyone is going to get it.” On one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying, “We all have symptoms — you have a job to do.” After one employee vomited on the production line, managers reportedly allowed the man to continue working and then return to work the next day.
  • In late March or early April, as the pandemic spread across Iowa, managers at the Waterloo plant reportedly began avoiding the plant floor for fear of contracting the virus. As a result, they increasingly delegated managerial authority and responsibilities to low-level supervisors who had no management training or experience. The supervisors did not require truck drivers and subcontractors to have their temperatures checked before entering the plant.
  • In March and April, plant supervisors falsely denied the existence of any confirmed cases or positive tests for COVID-19 within the plant, and allegedly told workers they had a responsibility to keep working to ensure Americans didn’t go hungry as the result of a shutdown.
  • Tyson paid out $500 “thank you bonuses” to employees who turned up for every scheduled shift for three months — a policy decision that allegedly incentivized sick workers to continue reporting for work..
  • Tyson executives allegedly lobbied Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for COVID-19 liability protections that would shield the company from lawsuits, and successfully lobbied the governor to declare that only the state government, not local governments, had the authority to close businesses in response to the pandemic.

The Sherriff’s reaction. Hoo boy. Oh, and “working to ensure Americans didn’t go hungry”? “[T]he company increased its exports to China by 600% during the first quarter of 2020.”

Class Warfare

“Ideology and Race in American History” [Barbara J. Fields]. From 1982, still germane: “One of the more far-reaching is that that favorite question of American social scientists — whether race or class ‘variables’ better explain “American reality” — is a false one. Class and race are concepts of a different order; they do not occupy the same analytical space, and thus cannot constitute explanatory alternatives to each other. At its core, class refers to a material circumstance: the inequality of human beings from the standpoint of social power. Even the rather diffuse definitions of applied social science — occupation, income, status — reflect this circumstance, though dimly. The more rigorous Marxian definition involving social relations of production reflects it directly. Of course, the objective core of class is always mediated by ideology, which is the refraction of objective reality in human consciousness. No historical account of class is complete or satisfying that omits the ideological mediations…. Race, on the other hand, is a purely ideological notion. Once ideology is stripped away, nothing remains except an abstraction which, while meaningful to a statistician, could scarcely have inspired all the mischief that race has caused during its malevolent historical career. The material circumstance upon which the concept purports to rest — the biological inequality of human beings — is spurious: there is only one human species, and the most dramatic differences of appearance can be wiped out in one act of miscegenation. The very diversity and arbitrariness of the physical rules governing racial classification prove that the physical emblems which symbolize race are not the foundation upon which race arises as a category of social thought.” • Identity politics is based on a category error? Who knew….

“Decomposing the Black-White Wealth Gap in the United States, 1989-2013” (PDF) [Kevin Carney (Master’s thesis supervised by Thomas Piketty]. “Figure 6 motivates this analysis. It shows that across all periods of the [Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)], the wealth of bottom 75 percent of White individuals evolves almost in parallel to the wealth of the entire Black population. If we exclude White individuals at the top, average Black and White wealth look quite similar, both in levels and in growth rates. Table 6 decomposes the dynamics of wealth for Black and White individuals, excluding the top quartile of the White wealth distribution.. [W]e see that the determinants of Black and White wealth accumulation are much more similar when the top quartile of Whites is excluded. In fact, in the aggregate over the entire period covered by the SCF, all three components of wealth accumulation are virtually identical between the Black sample and the restricted sample of the White population. This suggests that the dierential growth rates of Black and White wealth is driven by very wealth White people at the top.”

Obviously, this analysis shoud inform the Reparations debate.

The Third World, except with car culture:

That will change soon enough….

News of the Wired


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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 (JS):

JS writes: “Same tree a few minutes apart. Taken on my phone. I am not a photographer and I used no filters or tricks and I did no editing. This was what I saw.”

* * *

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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. Wukchumni

    Rudy’s on a train of thought to nowhere, halfway down the line
    He don’t want to get there, but he needs time
    In theory he’s sophisticated, and well-educated
    After all the hours he wasted, still he needs time
    He needs time
    He needs time for lying
    He needs time
    For someone just to see him
    He ain’t had much court time
    For no reason or rhyme
    And the whole world’s above him
    Well it’s not as though he’s fat
    No there’s more to this than that
    See, he tries to play it cool
    Came off looking like a fool

    Rudy thought that all good things comes to those that wait
    But recently he could see that it may come but too late, too late, too late

    All through your life, all through the years
    Nobody liked him, nobody cared
    So dim the light, dark are your fears
    Try as I might, I can’t hold back the tears
    How can you live without lying, it’s not fair?
    Someone said give but I just didn’t dare
    I didn’t dare, I didn’t dare
    What good advice are you waiting to hear?
    Hearing’s alright for them that’s all there
    Hearing’s alright
    You’d better gain control now
    You’d better show ’em all now
    You’d better make or break now
    You’d better give and take now
    You’ll have to push and shove now
    You’ll have to find some hope now
    You’d better gain control now

    Now he’s just come out the courtroom
    Numb of all the pain,
    Sad but in a while he’ll soon be
    Back on his train of thought


    1. zagonostra

      A great album and a great album title, one that captures what happened in passing the CARES act…The Crime of the Century.

    2. farragut

      Excellent. Saw these guys in concert in 1978. This was, by far, the best song they played that night. Crime of the Century is a wonderful album, to boot.

    1. Jeff W

      Unfortunately, for about the first half hour or more, Mike Gravel was a bit too far from the mic. (Listening with headphones helps.) Henry Williams and Henry Magowan (unfortunately, David Oks is missing), the “Gravel teens,” now in their 20s, are enormously impressive—at one point the live stream loses Katie Halper, the host, and Henry Williams proceeds like a pro without missing a beat. They obviously adore Mike Gravel and vice-versa.

    2. richard

      I heard him speak the other day during a People’s Party national call. He’s written a book that he says gives a blueprint for passing lawmaking power to people directly, within the constitution. I didn’t really get that part; i’d have to read the book i guess!
      He also made it clear, for about the 1000th time on my end, that he constitution was NOT A PEOPLES’ DOCUMENT. lol
      much love to mike gravel.

  2. jo6pac

    The pictures are Great and the bird song came up but nothing else. I say the server hates us out here in the woods;-)

    When the page reload on my comment then everything came up. I guess it just hate me;-)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m gonna go ahead and get all cassandra in a coal mine for a minute:
        in the waning days of LATOC(“life after the oil crash”, a forum of some repute, a distributed think tank. the quality of the commentariat here at NC has always reminded me of it.)
        …we covered the post katrina mess…with people on the ground, and a blinding variety of experts in all manner of disciplines…and then the deepwater horizon disaster…also with people on-scene, and with a variety of experts, including a guy who had a patent for one of the underwater rovers(said they weren’t able to do some of the things MSM said they were doing).
        in both cases, we were way ahead of the curve, and ran the propaganda wall right over, leaving it a smoking ruin.
        it was during these 2 times that we started having site problems. the handful of volunteer tech guys that kept the thing running all said that there was skulduggery afoot…”deep state stuff” in today’s parlance.
        ended up moving it around to different hosts/servers/whatever…to no avail…malicious code and all kinds of tech stuff that i never understood…all indicating to these guys(whom i had “known” for years by this time) that the Powers wanted us gone.
        the consensus was that we had embarrassed them.
        at the very end, the site owner, who had always been sort of flaky, but sincere and courageous when it came to speaking his truth…suddenly freaked out and deleted the site…..retired to some backwater to sell aromatherapy and vitamins.
        consensus among the rest of us…who regrouped on facebook and several other sites….was that he’d been shown the equivalent of the “other zapruder film”.
        I’m still in contact with several of the folks i befriended there, almost 10+(?) years later. wife, even, is friends with them on FB.

        good luck with fixing it…we’re all pulling for you.

        1. Yves Smith

          I am quite sure this is not that. It’s some weird problem between WordPress and Cloudflare.

          The reason is we admins are having the worst problems, and those pages don’t face the Web.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            good to hear!
            that experience left a mark, you might say…pre- snowden, we didn’t know what the capabilities were.
            of course, i envision most of this stuff as involving hamsters and wheels.

            1. Yves Smith

              We are using the commercial version of Cloudflare, not the free type. And we have no choice. They have the best anti-spambot/anti DDoS defenses. We’d be very vulnerable to attack without it.

  3. APC95

    A note: Mook did run the House Majority PAC, but the redistricting is controlled by state legislatures, so these two things are only tangentially related. I’m not defending Mook, who screws up everything he touches including some winnable House races this year. But I think others are to blame for the fact that Republicans will again control redistricting.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mook is representative of a class of people who have failed upward and continued to Hoover up cash. Its not dissimilar from Hillary taking state party money and running ads on MSNBC. And these “strategerists” always drop the ball on basic stuff whether its house and senate races, state parties, or in Mook’s case the electoral college.

      Anyone giving money to these people is a mark.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its important to name these people and make them pariahs, or you wind up with the honorable mayor rahm emmanuel.

        1. APC95

          I agree Mook should be a pariah, was just making a very narrow point. He wasn’t in charge of the campaign to win state legislatures, but I’m sure a bunch of Mook types were.

          1. edmondo

            The most amazing statistic I saw was that out of 31 compettitive House races, Robbie managed to lose 31 of them. The law of averages suggest he should get one win just by accident.

            Here’s a man who lost an unloseable campaign for president and followed up by almost losing the House. The guy has DNC chairman written alll over him.

  4. Kurtismayfield

    Re: College Admin’s sending the students home.

    Of course they are! WPI just announced they are shutting down the campus this weekend before the holiday. It’s a win/win.. the checks have already been cashed, and it saves them more money. Plus they get to look like “We care”. The rice bowls have been filled

    1. flora


      1.) Demand college reopen to in-person classes in late Aug.- early Sept. 2.) Midwestern and other states who’d gotten a handle on the c19 curve by mid August saw a big increase starting with colleges reopening. 3.) Send students home before Thanksgiving, calling an end to fall semesters early. And starting spring ’21 semester later than usual in January.

      Next, watch what happens to the areas the students return home to. Campuses as petri dishes.


  5. zagonostra

    >Thousands of cars lined up to collect food in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend, stretching as far as the eye can see.

    Mind boggling. The disconnect between those who have to que up for food and those who have Whole Foods delivered to their door couldn’t be starker. While new measures to control virus resurgence continue to punish the “essential workers,” Congress fiddles around with partisan squabbling, unable to provide income support like civilized countries.

    The utter failure of the ruling elites could not be more evident than that Twitter feed. A pox on both the Dems/Repubs and their donor class controllers.

    1. Carl

      Heard John Mackey, the guy who started Whole Foods on NPR the other day. Platinum plated asshole, talking about how unions are bad, how people who get sick, it’s their own fault, etc. OK, if you get lung cancer from smoking or are strung out on heroin, that was your educated choice to start using, but a kid with leukemia?

      1. Louis Fyne

        aside: at least 25% of lung cancer is caused by air pollution.

        saying from experience as a family member beat stage 4 lung cancer, having never smoked or drunk alcohol in her life

        1. tegnost

          my grandmother. They were geology nerds. We would visit them in toledo and go out to quarries and come home with a bucket full of brachiopods and a few trilobytes, and if you were lucky maybe even an echinoderm (starfish are actually modern day echinoderms). I suspected that it was all the rock dust from cutting and polishing but who really knows?

          1. Hepativore

            More and more evidence also points to the fact that many cancers are a result of random DNA mutations caused by errors during routine cellular division regardless of any sort of environmental conditions or hereditary predisposition.

            The fact that humans are living longer and not bring killed by things we now have cures or treatments for often means that cancer is one of the few things left to die from in people middle-aged or older.



          2. Phacops

            I’ll bet it was the Medusa Brint Road North quarry in Sylvania. During the weekends, hundreds of amateurs a day would collect that quarry. It was an amazing site, covering millions of years of earth’s history during the Devonian period. The trilobites there, because they could be tracked over time, were instrumental in the development of the theory of (evolutionary) punctuated equilibrium by Eldridge and Gould.

            Now, most quarries are closed to amateur collecting and it has become harder to get good specimens into the hands of students.

      2. Arizona Slim

        True story from the Arizona Slim file: When I was a twenty-something living in Pittsburgh, I worked in a food co-op. Both of the managers I worked under could best be described as platinum-plated assholes. (Big hat tip to Carl!)

        Any-hoo, the second manager left after I had taken another job. My former coworkers told me that he had moved on to some yuppie grocery store in North Carolina.

        Mr. Number Two went on to be one of the original executives in Whole Foods. Perfect place for him.

        1. flora

          Heh. It’s amazing how many of these platinum-plated a-holes working the hippy-ish “new age” grift, putting on the better-than-thou, more moral-than-thou act, remind me of the grifting “preachers” of a 150 years ago, as described by Dickens and other writers, or a 100 years ago in novels like “Elmer Gantry.”


        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Slim! I volunteered at the Tucson food bank back in the day, the boss was a guy named Nightwind, we called him RearWind

    2. richard

      j. dore had a great point about this line in reference to the CARES Act, and all the libs and even “progressives” (i want to bring back “pwog”, popularized years ago by the great Alex Cockburn) who feign cluelessness over the outrage. They don’t seem to make the connection between THAT LINE, and the failure of elites to help people. If your CARES Act was so unimpeachable, then please F*&^ING EXPLAIN THAT LINE!
      We need a new party 20 years ago.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Some have been working for 20 years to sustain and build just such a new party. (And some gave been at it for even longer.)

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    The only thing creepier and more alarming than this tweet is how many times it’s been liked and re-tweeted
    Establishment power’s first* task during the Biden administration will be the suppression of any and all forms of dissent. It simply cannot allow another out side figure to come to power and will now do whatever is deemed necessary to quash those chances.

    * and arguably only real task

    1. JBird4049

      If you don’t recognize the intense strain of authoritarianism in this new ruling coalition, you see nothing about US politics

      “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of…”. And I use to think the Red Scare was old history. Silly me. I’m torn between fear and laughter, but honestly, the stupid just burns.

      Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight
      I got the feeling that something ain’t right
      I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair
      And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs
      Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
      Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

    2. Phillip Cross

      There is no denying that a large number of those most enthusiastic about Trump, have literally been indoctrinated into a cult like worldview. Efforts to heal the divisions in this country are going to be rather difficult, when one side has accused the other of heinous, supernatural crimes against children. Where would you even begin?

      1. Duke of Prunes

        But repeatedly calling 75m people racist and believing that 100k in Facebook ads threw the election is perfectly rational?

        Lots of cult-like behavior on both sides, I’m afraid.

        1. JBird4049

          Both sides present themselves as the anointed champions of the truth. The details of the two are different, but really, we’re right, and they’re evil, so burn it with holy napalm, is what’s they are saying. Saying that they are both two similar kinds of crazy is doubleplusunacceptable as is pointing out that the propaganda arm, aka the “news” media, is actually a tool of our ruling class.

      2. tegnost

        ok, phillip. Cult like world view?
        Blue no matter who is as much of a cult as maga.
        And Blue no matter who is not trying to unify the country, sorry,
        “heal the divisions”
        I read as many of your comments as I can stand to read and I’ve seen nothing that could be construed as an attempt to heal the division.
        You sow division then default to “everyone in america is horrible” or something to that effect.
        At this point you are doing a lot of work to unite the people you despise, and when you have succeeded, what then?

      3. richard

        russiagate is blue qanon
        libs have lost their minds every bit as much as maga
        when one side accuses the other side of treason
        red baits and smears
        makes one unsourced claim after another, for several years
        rarely corrects the record when they are wrong
        and distorts our narrative so much that people think Russia has more effect on our elections than Israel, Saudi Arabia, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, our own natsec, etc
        well, that is a “cult” too, a world view just as childish as MAGA
        imposing it on everyone will end as poorly as you can imagine.

    3. John

      Bernie is an outside figure only for the most parsimonious definitions of inside and outside. He proposed nothing that FDR, LBJ, and Hubert Humphrey would not have been totally comfortable with.

      1. Starry Gordon

        He was outside the club, not outside the ideology. But he had to be outside the club, because that was his shtick. Also he seemed to take the ideology seriously, which was offensive to the money people.

  7. boydownthelane

    Just curious, but where here at Naked’s presentations are the links to the legal team press conference that ENDED AT 1:40 or the summary that was posted shortly thereafter?

    52-minute presentation by Trump’s legal team

    “… During the presser, Giuliani also said there is a pattern in the voting data that suggests “a plan from a centralized place” to commit voter fraud in Democrat-run cities. Giuliani also said the Trump campaign will likely bring a lawsuit to Arizona.
    They also said they have testimony from an insider who they say unearthed provable fraud regarding voting machines and software used in multiple states.
    They describe a process of vote switching as well as “trashing” Trump votes through a simple drag and click process.
    Additionally, they say this election involved a manipulation of the ballot count in a foreign country.
    “This is a massive, coordinated, well-funded effort to deprive we the people of the United States of our fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution to preserve this Constitution republic we all cherish.”
    – Sidney Powell
    And they describe multiple incidents where the number of votes cast far exceeded the population of the public in that county, including children. ….”


    Or this interview (which is noted to be age-sensitive and now requires sign-in at YouTube:

    https://phibetaiota.net/2020/11/unrig-video-4303-jason-dean-interviews-robert-steele-on-donald-trump-sidney-powell-mike-flynn-election-2020/ [Important: Note that at the 5:45 mark and thereafter, Steele discusses the geo-spatial trackability of the watermarks and their importance in generating confessions and plea bargaining which has already begun.]

    Note too the references in multiple locations, if you’re looking, know where to look, or care to look, about how the RICO elements of the fraud case will bring extreme pressure if not legal action for complicity in the conspiracy against media outlets (mainstream and alternate) which fail to have noted the evidence of the fraud in this election.

    1. a different chris

      >which fail to have noted the evidence of the fraud in this election.

      And democracy takes another hit. Sinking sinking sinking!

      Not from the BS “fraud in this election”, but from people like you. You don’t like the results so it must be rigged. Everything you wrote, including the, and, and but is a complete lie about what happened You have no proof, there isn’t any proof, because there was no fraud.

      Which is good, because if there was any fraud it would have been committed by your beloved R party. Don’t believe me? Who benefits the most from Trump getting kicked out but growth in the House and not losing the Senate?

      Yes, the pre-Trump Republicans. Put that into the pipe you are smoking.

      1. ambrit

        When one reformulates the question according to the theory that there is no real difference between the Ds and Rs in American politics, the dichotomy becomes; The Politicos versus the People.
        Both the Ds and Rs can indulge in “election fraud” where both benefit because their aims align and the public suffers.
        No overarching “conspiracy” is needed for this outcome to emerge. Think of it as a Distributed Denial of Democracy Attack. (DDoD Attack.)

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “You don’t like the results so it must be rigged.”

        Not really. How about “You don’t like the results so you’d like to be reasonably confident it wasn’t rigged. If that confidence takes some discovery, witnesses, and evidence, presented in a court of law, and then decided by a judge, so be it”.

        We dropped everything as a nation and went through four years of RussiaGate investigation but we can’t take 4 weeks on an election investigation?

        If your man won such a resounding mandate from the people, why would he and his censorship machine be working so feverishly to discredit all efforts to make that determination according to election laws?

        It’s called “the consent of the governed”. Let’s find out who got that at the ballot box.

    2. Michael Anthony Gualario

      Agreed. I’ve been reading this blog for 13 years and expect better. Where is the rigor in getting to the truth of the biggest story of our lives?

      1. Yves Smith

        Rigor is the reason we aren’t featuring it. And I don’t know how a link to ZH CT got approved either. Must be due to an overloaded admin blasting through comments in moderation after having had trouble getting access to the backstage.

        1. ambrit

          Not to quibble but, this “story” is gaining all the hallmarks of becoming a ‘legend.’ It is gaining traction in some of the populace, and could be played into a long running assault on the ‘legitimacy’ of the Biden Administration. Think, “Son of Russiagate.”
          It no longer requires the participation of the MSM for a political meme to gain traction. No wonder the extant elites are sounding the alarms about “fake news” yet again. This time, however, ‘they’ appear to be doing something about it. Glen Greenwald’s substack essay is a bit of evidence that favours that cynical interpretation of events.
          As for ZH, well, whenever I need to recharge my cynicism ‘batteries,’ I take a trip on over there for a bit. Exposure to such sites is analogous to having been administered a ‘vaccine’ against cult thinking.
          Stay safe!

    3. Angie Neer

      I’m expecting those links to show up on NC right around half-past never. That’s some serious fever-dream stuff.

    4. voteforno6

      Is this the same press conference that they blamed the manipulation of the voting machine software on Hugo Chavez? Is Giuliani the same guy who had to be taught remedial law by the judge the last time he appeared in court?

      There’s definitely something going on here, but it’s not what you think. Trump and his minions are attempting to overthrow the results of an election, with no regard to the law, or the wishes of the electorate. Trump and anyone who’s going along with him on this have no place holding any position of responsibility in a democratic society. Fortunately for the rest of us, they’re too stupid and incompetent to actually pull it off.

      To be honest, that is the strongest argument as to how they couldn’t possibly have colluded with Russia (or anyone) to steal the 2016 election. Just look at how terrible they are at it now! Aren’t you supposed to get better with practice?

      1. ambrit

        The sad truth is that Trump is just doing what the Democrat Party hacks did to him in 2016-2020.
        As for ‘stolen’ elections; that is a long and honoured tradition in America.
        The Compromise of 1877.
        Daley stealing Illinois for Kennedy in 1960.
        Bush versus Gore in 2000.
        Electronic voting machines, 2002 to today.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        …with no regard to the law…

        They are using the courts, no matter how incompetently, as is their legal right. It hasn’t devolved to the POTUS being decided by a steel cage Big Cheeto v Sleepy Joe death match yet, although that would be a lot more entertaining and probably an improvement over deciding things by votes counted with black box machines.

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Suggest a little calm, especially after four years when it became uncontestable that Team D actually did try to overthrow the results of an election with the help of the FBI and CIA. Do you have any regard for the law? If you did you would be fine with the law sifting through fact versus fiction in this case and then making a determination. We dropped everything as a nation for four years in order to investigate the depths of the dry hole of RussiaGate, surely we can endure 4 weeks to investigate this. Then, let the crying, or the SNL skits, begin. Last time I checked “the wishes of the electorate” meant a tally of the votes in elections that are certified.

    5. Aumua

      Honestly I don’t know if there was fraud or not, or what the scale of it might be if there was. I tend to err on the side of caution these days as far as believing this or that. But in case you didn’t know… what you posted is really out there stuff. Like, the watermarks and all of that is real fringey sh*t man. I mean that’s probably why it’s not going to gain a lot of traction here. I don’t want to try and speak for everyone at NC but I think we prefer at least some solid evidence on a topic or claim before we engage in any serious discussion about it.

  8. Louis Fyne

    538 gives us today’s example of ” burying the lede”…..

    not only do GOP state houses control redistricting, GOP controls more of the states with above average population growth.

    Pyhrric victory that Dems. control IL as IL likely will lose at least one House seat post-census

    1. a different chris

      Don’t know about that. The R party is the party of vote suppression, and the people that move tend to be urban and thus tend to be Democrats.

      If you are saying that it means a dilution of D’s, OK then. like I said I don’t know. But Arizona seems to show just the opposite is an equal bet.

      But if you are saying that people move to a red state and become Republicans, um no.

  9. a different chris

    “Legendary Arecibo telescope will close forever — scientists are reeling”

    Ok I could fit this telescope in my back yard. And it isn’t the most complicated thing in the world to make another.

    But no it has to close. We have to launch the USS Gerald Ford because the Russian subs don’t have enough easy targets. We build F35s because I dunno, future drone targets probably. Heaven forfend we do any more science, we know it all now.

  10. Wukchumni

    So beautifully written…

    Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove:
    A Preliminary Report, 1865

    by Frederick Law Olmsted

    The main feature of the Yo Semite is best indicated in one word as a chasm. It is a chasm nearly a mile in average width, however, and more than ten miles in length. the central and broader part of this chasm is occupied at the bottom by a series of groves of magnificent trees, and meadows of the most varied, luxuriant and exquisite herbage, through which meanders a broad stream of the clearest water, rippling over a pebbly bottom, and eddying among banks of ferns and rushes; sometimes narrowed into sparkling rapids and sometimes expanding into placid pools which reflect the wondrous heights on either side. The walls to the chasm are generally half a mile, sometimes nearly a mile in height above these meadows, and where most lofty are nearly perpendicular, sometimes overjutting. At frequent intervals, however, they are cleft, broken, terraced and sloped, and in these places, as well as everywhere upon the summit, they are overgrown by thick clusters of trees.

    There is nothing strange or exotic in the character of the vegetation; most of the trees and plants, especially of the meadow and waterside, are closely allied to and are not readily distinguished from those most common in the landscapes of the Eastern States or the midland counties of England. The stream is such a one as Shakespeare delighted in, and brings pleasing reminiscences to the traveler of the Avon or the Upper Thames.

    Banks of heartsease and beds of cowslips and daisies are frequent, and thickets of alder, dogwood and willow often fringe the shores. At several points streams of water flow into the chasm, descending at one leap from five hundred to fourteen hundred feet. One small stream falls, in three closely consecutive pitches, a distance of two thousand six hundred feet, which is more shall fifteen times the height of the falls of Niagara. In the spray of these falls superb rainbows are seen.

    At certain points the walls of rock are ploughed in polished horizontal furrows, at others moraines of boulders and pebbles are found; both evincing the terrific force with which in past ages of the earth’s history a glacier has moved down the chasm from among the adjoining peaks of the Sierras. Beyond the lofty walls still loftier mountains rise, some crowned by, others in simple rounded cones of light, gray granite. the climate of the region is never dry like that of the lower parts of the state of California; even for several months, not a drop of rain has fallen twenty miles to the westward, and the country there is parched, and all vegetation withered, the Yo Semite continues to receive frequent soft showers, and to be dressed throughout in living green.

    After midsummer a light, transparent haze generally pervades the atmosphere, giving indescribable softness and exquisite dreamy charm to the scenery, like that produced by the Indian summer of the East. Clouds gathering at this season upon the snowy peaks which rise within forty miles on each side of the chasm to a height of over twelve thousand feet, sometimes roll down over the cliffs in the afternoon, and, under the influence of the rays of the setting sun, form the most gorgeous and magnificent thunder heads. The average elevation of the ground is greater shall that of the highest peak of the White Mountains, or the Alleghenies, and the air is rare and bracing; yet, its temperature is never uncomfortably cool in summer, nor severe in winter.


    1. Judith

      It reminds me a bit of The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White originally published in1789 (which I am reading).

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link, Wuk. I am saving it for later today when I can sit down and read it slowly over a coffee. That’s really good stuff that and it would be great to follow in their footsteps to compare what is there with what they wrote. Maybe combine the two in a foto essay.

  11. Glen

    Big dish of Arecibo observatory has reached the end of the line

    Bummer. End of the line for the big dish.

    The USA is a third world country. Not because we are a poor country, but because our leaders made us into a third world country. It took forty years to do it. Welcome to Ronald Reagan’s America, and goodbye New Deal America!

    China would have this completely re-built by now.

    Trump has the right idea. We need to make America great again. He just was the wrong guy to get it done. I’m pretty sure Biden is the wrong guy too.

    1. Aumua

      Yeah I’m sure with enough money they can fix and/or rebuild it. Obviously we don’t have that as a nation I guess.

  12. froggy

    “Why the Left Should Ally With Small Business”. No, the Left shouldn’t ally with small business, it should own and manage small businesses as worker cooperatives.

  13. shocker

    I came across the Greenpeace “Just Recovery Agenda” yesterday. It is an expansive, in depth, positive path forward.


    “The economy we have today works for the 1%, not the 99%. The devastation wrought by COVID-19 in the United States—the death, anxiety, isolation, and instability—is the direct result of a system designed to concentrate power in the hands of a few. People are suffering and dying not only because of the virus, but because of the longstanding inequality and racism it has laid bare. This is the same system that has landed us in a climate and extinction crisis in which our very life support system—our planet—is under attack.

    “As we chart the course toward recovery, we must also confront these social, environmental, and economic injustices at their roots. The centuries-long era of racial capitalism[1]—the system under which wealthy white elites and massive corporations have controlled and exploited land, communities, and cultures to acquire power—must end.

    “Going back to normal is not an option. The past was not only unjust and inequitable, it was unstable. What we knew as “normal” was a crisis. We must reimagine the systems our country is built on from the ground up. We envision a world where everyone has a good life, where our fundamental needs are met, and where people everywhere have what they need to thrive.”

    1. Mel

      It’s an interesting document. Once they get into the meat of it, there’s a huge raft of proposed legislation and (it would seem) worked-out measures that they want to see enacted. Is there anybody who’s looked into those who can discuss what they are?

  14. Watt4Bob

    Identity politics is based on a category error? Who knew….

    Identity politics being based on a category error has never served to reduce its political utility.

    IOW, the democrats have nothing to fear from an electorate they’ve so utterly divided, and because of that, it follows that republicans have nothing to fear from democrats.

  15. a different chris

    Well, this is our country. Fox headline:

    “Giuliani presses Trump election challenge case in fiery news conference with legal team”

    NBC headline:

    “Rudy Giuliani press conference ‘an SNL skit of sorts:’ Chuck Todd”

    We are so screwed. Clowns to the left* of me, Jokers to the right here I am….

    *wish it was actual Left, not US ersatz left..

    1. notabanker

      Trying to make some sense of it all
      But I can see it makes no sense at all
      Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor
      ‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore

  16. Wukchumni

    On the first wave of Covid my country gave to me, no need for masks you see

    On the first wave of Covid my country gave to me, no inventory of PPE

    On the first wave of Covid my country gave to me, $1200 to last an eternity

    {feel free to continue…}

    1. Carla

      On the second wave of Covid my country gave to me, no remedies for co-morbidities

      On the second wave of Covid my country gave to me, no advice to take Vitamin D

      On the second wave of Covid my country gave to me, a promise that “not a single thing will change” as far as the eye can see

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Do we really have to think about twelve waves?

      (Makes me think the last verse would be less like days of Christmas and more like the end of that old lady who swallowed a fly. . . .)

  17. ProNewerDeal

    Thanks NC for the morning link on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

    Any take from biomedical Pros like Ignacio on this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

    The US ordered 100M doses. It is still to complete the Trials process. It is of an apparently established vaccine category “Recombinant viral vector”, not the new mRNA category like Moderna or Pfizer/Biontech.

    My layperson intial sense is to specifically take this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if it is possible, even this means a few months delay relative to the availabilty of the 2 mRNA vaccines.

    1. ShamanicFallout

      It’s strange- have we heard from Ingnacio recently? I was thinking just yesterday because it seemed like we hadn’t had many comments from Ignacio since ‘the big vaccine’ news has hit

  18. kareninca

    I have a relative who just had truly needed surgery done at Yale. The surgery went very well, knock on wood; she is on her way home as I type. But – could she have caught covid there? We have a friend of a friend who just did; who just went into Yale negative and had surgery and came out positive. This relative of mine was stuck for six days sharing a room with another patient who talked loudly nonstop on the phone. What a stupid system; having two people share a hospital room during a pandemic!!!!!!

    So we are worried about the risk to the friend who will be staying with her for the next week. My relative asked for and got a covid test just before leaving Yale (for the sake of this friend), but of course that is not perfect. We’ve told her to stay out of my relative’s room, and only enter it if she is truly needed for something, and my relative will put on a mask for that. And we got a giant hepa filter.

  19. Glen

    Today’s plant photos are fabulous, and a great example of what photographers call the Magic Hour or the Golden Hour:

    Tips and Tricks for Taking Magic Hour Photos

    Normally this occurs around sunrise or sunset, but often, as is possible in today’s example, it’s just a matter of some clouds shuffling around or something else re-arranging the lighting.

  20. shocker

    (Tried to post this about an hour ago, not sure what happened.)

    Came across the Greenpeace “Just Recovery Agenda” yesterday. Looks like an extensive, in depth, positive path forward.


    Preamble: Normal Was a Crisis

    “The economy we have today works for the 1%, not the 99%. The devastation wrought by COVID-19 in the United States—the death, anxiety, isolation, and instability—is the direct result of a system designed to concentrate power in the hands of a few. People are suffering and dying not only because of the virus, but because of the longstanding inequality and racism it has laid bare. This is the same system that has landed us in a climate and extinction crisis in which our very life support system—our planet—is under attack.
    No Need to Panic Activity at Swedish Parliament in Stockholm

    “As we chart the course toward recovery, we must also confront these social, environmental, and economic injustices at their roots. The centuries-long era of racial capitalism[1]—the system under which wealthy white elites and massive corporations have controlled and exploited land, communities, and cultures to acquire power—must end.

    “Going back to normal is not an option. The past was not only unjust and inequitable, it was unstable. What we knew as “normal” was a crisis. We must reimagine the systems our country is built on from the ground up. We envision a world where everyone has a good life, where our fundamental needs are met, and where people everywhere have what they need to thrive.”

    1. shocker

      “Going back to normal is not an option. The past was not only unjust and inequitable, it was unstable. What we knew as “normal” was a crisis. We must reimagine the systems our country is built on from the ground up. We envision a world where everyone has a good life, where our fundamental needs are met, and where people everywhere have what they need to thrive.”

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Thanks for finding and sharing this (twice, yet, to be sure).

        At first skim-through, a good bit of this sounds familiar from the Hawkins-Walker and Green Party national platforms. Others may find overlaps with the platforms of the MPP, assorted Socialist parties, the Poor People’s Campaign, and more.

        Maybe it would be a good idea to compare these platforms so we can identify how much we agree with each other and — if you’ll pardon me putting this in a Green idiom — “go WE go” forward together. . . .

  21. Wukchumni

    I had no idea there were so many cases of the virus @ the Marine Training Center, ye gads!

    Mark my words, Mammoth Ski resort will be closed within a few weeks. Employees in ski towns like this tend to live cheek by jowl and that ain’t no bueno~

    Bob Lawton, Mono’s chief executive officer, reported on an increase of cases not related to the outbreak at the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center outside Bridgeport. The County’s total cumulative numbers as of Wednesday morning totaled 493 cases, 259 associated with the training center, 188 in Mammoth, 17 cases in south county, 29 to the north. Those numbers, Lawton said, represent a 400-percent increase over the last three weeks. “Hospital capacity is a concern,” he said and hospitals in Nevada have also been impacted.

    he literal elephant in the room was Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, more specifically the influx of workers and how they were housed. “We’ve reviewed their housing plan,” said Mammoth Lakes Town Manager Dan Holler, “but we don’t have the authority to regulate how the employees live.” He went on to say the Mountain has been cooperative.


  22. lobelia

    More on Gavin Newsom’s French Laundry, Spreader, Lobbyist Birthday Party, emphasis mine:

    Los Angeles, CA — Charles Johnson, husband of a black woman who died in childbirth and a patients’ rights leader, was terribly disappointed at pictures showing Governor Gavin Newsom at the infamous French Laundry dinner unmasked and undistanced with the head of the California Medical Association Dustin Corcoran, his wife and CMA lobbyist Janus Norman. The dinner was a birthday party for Justin Kinney, the Medical Association’s highly paid consultant.

    Johnson is chair of the Fairness Act, a California ballot measure updating a compensation cap placed on injured patients in 1975 that has qualified for the 2022 ballot.

    “The head of the doctors lobby should know better than to be at an undistanced, unmasked dinner in the middle of a pandemic,” said Johnson. “We are terribly disappointed that our multiple requests for a meeting with the Governor have been denied for nearly a year after announcing the Fairness Act initiative and yet the Governor is ear to ear with the Medical Association and their lobbyists in the middle of the pandemic. It’s no wonder that the cap for patients to recover for medical malpractice hasn’t gone up since 1975. Patients need a seat at the table. We hope the Governor will give injured patients who’ve lost loved ones the same consideration he is affording these powerful lobbyists and their fixers.


    (I so wish some people from out of state would stop oohing and awing over Governor Gavin Newsom, and the rest of the predominantly crony, California pay to player power strivers; particularly when he may be attempting to primary Kamala in four years, or Kamala may be enlisting him as a VP candidate in four years. Wille Brown’s probably already discussing it with one or both of them.)

    1. JBird4049

      But Gavin “is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” to quote good old uncle Joe about another professional managerial candidate.

      It is all about providing the right appearance for the ongoing sting.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      If they’re both on the ticket, California electors couldn’t vote for both of them — and given the (deliberately?) narrowing margins of the Age of Triangulation, this could lead the Ds into yet another new way of losing.

      (Unless one or the other of them can establish Cheney-style residency elsewhere, that is.)

  23. Wukchumni

    Additional Mammoth stuff:

    I’m pretty convinced that winter in the mountains & people don’t mix well as far as the virus goes, on account of exactly 1/3rd of all cases of Covid (259 infected) among active duty troops across the country coming from the Marine Cold Weather Training Center near Mammoth, which only has 1,700 soldiers, there’s something very wrong with the mixture.

    Across the U.S. military, the story is similar. As of Saturday, out of 1.3 million active-duty troops, only 777 had been hospitalized for COVID-19 and nine had died. Compare that with Nassau County in the New York suburbs: A similar-size population, albeit an older and less fit one, that has had more than 2,200 COVID-19 deaths to date.


  24. The Rev Kev

    “Lawsuit: Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19”

    I liked the bit where it said ‘and have retained the law firm Covington & Burling LLP to conduct an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder.’

    I am sure that here Eric Holder will be very energetic for a change.

  25. ProNewerDeal

    I see most people, even non-NC Indy Media, CorpMedia, Politrickians, & regular people; incorrectly describe COVID as a binary under 1% Death Rate for under-6- vs Full Recovery.

    Long COVID IMHO is a significant unkown risk factor that according to a UK study 20% of COVID patients experience, & effects even young adult age cohorts. 2.2% of COVID patients experience symptoms even after 12 wks. “Permanent lung & heart damage” is 1 of the symptoms.

    Furthermore what about lifetime risk due to permanent organ damage? Could a healthy 40 year old that would have hypothetically otherwise lived to 80 die or experience serious disability at 60 due to permanent organ damage? Could this occur even if the COVID was asymptomatic or a mild case with no hospitalization or no Long COVID symptoms?

    IMHO the Public Health experts & Pols mass-communicating to the public are DERELICT in not addressing Long COVID. AFAIK Fauci, Trump, Biden, state Govs & Public Health heads have not discussed Long COVID in their COVID mass-communications.

  26. John Anthony La Pietra

    Michigan has had a significant spike lately, such that we have a new re-tightening of controls. (My small city’s school district had planned a week of all-virtual school the week after Thanksgiving and Black Friday “proper”. But now after Friday well be all-virtual for two months.)

    OTOH . . . I visit Weather Underground fairly often . . . and noticed, imprecisely, that our county’s cases and deaths figures — which had jumped up recently in line with the news of the area and statewide spikes — seem not to have changed in the past few days. At all.

    Maybe I’ve misread the site — I didn’t record the figures or save screenshots. Or maybe the county health folks are only assembling the statistics every week now?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Figures for Calhoun County, Michigan as of today:

      AS OF FRI 11/20
      Calhoun County
      Confirmed cases: 3525
      Deceased: 78

      Michigan Coronavirus status page
      (Calhoun County is in the second row of counties up from the Indiana/Ohio border, third from the left)
      Confirmed cases: 4,602
      Confirmed deaths: 104
      Population: 136,146
      Cases per million people: 32,899

      I’ll see if the County Health Department can explain the discrepancy.

  27. Richard H Caldwell

    Science vs. Magic =
    Auto white balance and the differences in modeling, reflection, and scattering between point and diffuse light sources of different color temperatures vs. “the colors changed…”

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