2:00PM Water Cooler 11/30/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

I hope everybody’s Thanksgiving was excellent, and safe! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day


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:

The Midwest in detail (with New York, California, and Texas for comparison):

Note that the fall in the Midwest began around 11 days ago. That’s a little early for Thanksgiving travel.

Test positivity by region:

Nowhere near 3%, though.

Hospitalization by region:

I have seen the idea in my travels that hospitalization rates should not drop over Thanksgiving, because hospitals do not close. But the rates have dropped, in every region. I suppose data submission could have stopped, however, even if admissions continued. Or perhaps staff were given a well-deserved break?

Case fatality rate by region:

Deaths (purple line) dropping starting on Thanksgiving Day sure looks like a reporting issue to me.

“Daily COVID-19 Data Is About to Get Weird” [The Covid Tracking Project]. “The actual case increases from Thanksgiving exposures—people who got COVID-19 during the holiday weekend—probably won’t start showing up in the data until the second week of December. Succeeding waves of infections from holiday gatherings will roll in for weeks. From what we’ve seen so far, the virus can spread with remarkable speed, but there are delays at every step in tracing and reporting its spread: It takes time to get tested, time to get and report a result, time to trace close contacts—and to start the process over again with a new circle of exposures.” •

From the Department Of A Million-To-One Chance:

“Possible role of tryptophan and melatonin in COVID-19” [International Journal of Tryptophan Research]. “[T]ryptophan-rich sources could be beneficial for COVID-19 subjects.15 Despite enormous efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, an effective and safe will, vaccine will likely not be available before 2021, which further demonstrates the need to develop quickly alternative solutions that are effective and known to be safe. Increasing evidence from several studies show that tryptophan and its metabolites including melatonin can reduce inflammatory reactions and enhance the immune system.7-9 There may also be a possibility that serotonin levels are altered in COVID-19 patients because of mental stress, which suggest a role for Trp in treatment. Trp is the precursor for melatonin (sleep hormone), which was reported to exert beneficial effects on the immune system through various physiological means.” * From Scientific American: “Tryptophan is one of 20 naturally occurring amino acids—the building blocks of proteins. Because the body is unable to manufacture tryptophan on its own, it must be obtained from food protein. Turkey is a great source of this essential acid, but it is not unique: many meats and other protein products pack comparable amounts.” • Apparentlly, tryptophan does not make you sleepy; that’s the carbs. And even if there are other comparable sources, Thanksgiving to my mind is about eating lots of turkey. So if there’s a dose-response relation…. Anyhow, the article does conclude that “more research is needed.” But we can’t always wait for the controlled study. So chow down on those turkey leftovers!


“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

Transition to Biden

I could dunk all day on Neera Tanden (here, here, and here for starters), but maybe Stoller is right:

Since this theory assumes that Team Biden is completely detached from all reality, isn’t it likely to be right? Then there’s this:

Which we know from Wikileaks (hat tip, Julian Assange):

But Neera Tanden went to Yale!

Transition from Trump

“Trump considering kicking off 2024 run during Biden’s inauguration: report” [The Hill] • World’s Greatest Troll™

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Political lying as tribal signaling” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. ” I propose that political lies are a costly signal of tribal loyalty. Remember, in economics, ‘signaling’ means much more than just ‘trying to prove something.’ Signaling in econ is basically when people jump through hoops in order to prove themselves. You might take a useless but difficult college course or math test, just to prove to future employers that you’re smart. Or you might get a tattoo to prove your loyalty to a yakuza gang, even though the tattoo would make it harder to get into a Japanese public bath or get a normal job. The fact that the signal comes with a cost is essential to separating the dedicated people from the posers. Political lies could function similarly to the gang tattoos. By going on record as saying that we should seriously consider the possibility that climate change might not be real, you exposure yourself to a lifetime of ridicule. But that very exposure might prove that you’re the real thing, hardcore, really on the team, to a partisan audience who might otherwise be inclined to question your conservative bona fides…. What if supporting Trump, in spite of all the costs, is a way of demonstrating that the Red Tribe is still numerous and strong, and that conservatives aren’t simply going to disappear from American culture? Uttering falsehoods about the election could simply be part and parcel of this same attempt at signaling that We Still Have a Gang.” • Hilariously, it doesn’t seem to occur to Smith that his theory applies to RussiaGate believers…. NOTE I’m a little worried about “tribalism” covering everything like kudzu. Tribes are social structures. I’m reluctant to call groups like bōsōzoku or fandoms or Byzantine chariot factions or today’s Reds and Blues tribes, except metaphorically.


Well, this is a horrible thought. Thread:

In general, I’m more comfortable with arguments from American, not European, precedent. After all, Nazi legal theorists came to the United States to study our Jim Crow laws, because they considered them very modern and advanced, albeit misdirected (James Whitman, Hitler’s American Model).

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.

Chemical Activity Barometer: “November 2020 Chemical Activity Barometer Rises But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 0.8 percent in November on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1.0 percent gain in October. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer fell 2.4 percent in November… These were highly volatile months for the data. The November data are provisional and subject to revision.”

* * *

Retail: “Black Friday traffic at U.S. stores down 52% even as online retail sales hit record high” [MarketWatch]. “Consumers spent an estimated $9 billion on U.S. retail websites on Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping. That was a 22% increase over the previous record of $7.4 billion set in 2019. Meanwhile, traffic to physical stores plummeted as retailers tried to prevent crowds by cutting their hours and limiting doorbuster deals. U.S. store visits dropped by 52% on Black Friday, according to Sensormatic Solutions, a retail tracker. Traffic was slower in the Northeast and West than in the Midwest and South, said Brian Field, Sensormatic’s senior director of global retail consulting. Jewelry and footwear saw some of the biggest in-person sales declines, according to RetailNext, a shopping tracker. Apparel sales were down 50%, while sales of home goods fell by 39%. Even with that drop, Black Friday will still likely end up as one of the biggest in-person shopping days in the U.S. this year, Field said. He thinks many people will still shop for the holidays in person, but will choose mid-week days when crowds are smaller. Heavier in-store discounts and concerns about lengthy shipping times could also draw shoppers closer to Christmas.”

Tech: “HP CEO talks up HP-ink-only print hardware and higher upfront costs for machines that use other cartridges” [The Register]. “Just this month HP began to roll out HP+, described as an ‘end-to-end platform strategy’ that ties customers into only using HP ink, which ‘provides a differentiated value proposition for our loyal customers,’ said Lores. HP+ includes web-connected ‘standard print hardware’, which HP says ‘automatically detects and fixes connectivity issues’, the Smart Security monitoring system, native in-OS printing, and a Forest First feature where every page printed is ‘balanced with investments to help protect and restore forests in equal measure.’ The requirements of HP+? An HP account, internet connection, and ‘use of Original HP Ink or Toner for the lifetime of the printer.'”

Tech: “Belgian security researcher hacks Tesla with Raspberry Pi” [Computer Weekly]. “The Tesla Model X’s key fob lets its owners automatically unlock their car when approaching it, or by pressing a button, using the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications standard to talk to the car via a smartphone app. This process was bypassed by PhD student Lennert Wouters of the University of Leuven’s Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (Cosic) research group in a proof of concept using a self-made device built from a Raspberry Pi, a modified key fob and engine control unit (ECU) from a salvaged Model X, and other components costing a total of $195 (£144/€162).”

Tech: “FCC Maintains Ban on Mobile Phone Voice Calls During Flights” [Bloomberg]. “The U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a proposal to allow in-flight voice calls via mobile phones… [T]he proposal led to strong and immediate pushback, with travelers, flight attendants, members of Congress and others saying they were troubled by the idea of passengers talking on phones in flight. One group raised ‘the potential for air rage if passengers are using their cell phone.'” • Yay!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 88 Extreme Greed (previous close: 91 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 30 at 12:27pm.

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on Israel. “Iran voes [sic] revenge against Israel after its nuclear chief is killed” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.) I would have expected “Beast Government” to be popping with Biden’s election.

The Biosphere

“Illegal Tampering by Diesel Pickup Owners Is Worsening Pollution, E.P.A. Says” [New York Times]. “The owners and operators of more than half a million diesel pickup trucks have been illegally disabling their vehicles’ emissions control technology over the past decade, allowing excess emissions equivalent to 9 million extra trucks on the road, a new federal report has concluded. The practice, described in a report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Enforcement, has echoes of the Volkswagen scandal of 2015, when the automaker was found to have illegally installed devices in millions of diesel passenger cars worldwide — including about half a million in the United States — designed to trick emissions control monitors. But in this case no single corporation is behind the subterfuge; it is the truck owners themselves who are installing illegal devices, which are typically manufactured by small companies. That makes it much more difficult to measure the full scale of the problem, which is believed to affect many more vehicles than the 500,000 or so estimated in the report. In terms of the pollution impact in the United States, ‘This is far more alarming and widespread than the Volkswagen scandal,’ said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, the research group that first alerted the E.P.A. of the illegal Volkswagen technology. ‘Because these are trucks, the amount of pollution is far, far higher,’ he said.”

Health Care

Alert reader KH throws the following over the transom: “In case you haven’t already gotten word of this, these banners were strung across I-70 and I-25 in the Denver metro vicinity today. A friend took this picture and sent it to me. This took some organization.”

I reiterate my view that the first people to be vaccinated should be all the electeds (House, Senate, President) and all the political appointees at the Federal Level. Maybe the Supreme Court, too. Think of it as a trust-building exercise.

Our Famously Free Press

“One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times” [The Ringer]. “When he corners his typo prey, @nyttypos typically screenshots the problematic passage and tags the author and/or any editors he believes may be responsible (or responsive). Although he could catch more typos with honey than with vinegar, his tweets tend toward acetic acid. ‘Functionally illiterate’ is a go-to put-down. ‘It’s kind of a paradox in that if he just wants to fix the mistakes, he’s hurting his chances of doing so because reporters are probably tuning him out, maybe actually muting him or blocking him,’ [Jason Bailey, an editor on the national desk at the Times] says. ‘But he’s probably building more of a following among random people on Twitter who like to see someone dunk on the Times about backward quotation marks.'” • Nice attitude toward quality control for an editor! For example:

I believe that when a company consistently puts out a rotten product, the company is rotten. And so with the Times.

“Times Change” [New York Magazine]. This little nugget: “It was also a shattering departure for Times journalists to walk into the newsroom after Trump’s 2016 victory and find their colleagues in tears.” • Iraq didn’t do it. Abu Ghraib didn’t do it. The foreclosure crisis didn’t do it. Deaths of despair didn’t do it. Eric Garner didn’t do it….

The 420

John Fetterman Watch:

“Cannabis helps vets cope. Ask them” [Postindustrial]. “Even though the federal government deems marijuana an illegal drug, new state laws have allowed millions of veterans like Asher throughout Postindustrial America to turn to the plant used for millennia to alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, and treat other disorders that they say prescription medicine didn’t relieve, and in fact led to addiction in some cases. There’s a growing community of former service members and others who say they find relief, support, and education in working with each other. Several states in Postindustrial America allow cannabis use for medical reasons. Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York have legalized cannabis for medical use. Michigan and Illinois have OK’d recreational cannabis consumption. The other Postindustrial states — Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Alabama — continue to criminalize cannabis to varying degrees. There’s also mounting pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to broaden vets’ access to cannabis.” • The VA? That’s Bernie’s patch…

“Marijuana legalization could bring in over $1 billion to Texas. Could it happen?” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]. “The state could bring in an estimated $1.1 billion dollars per biennium if Texas legalized marijuana and taxed it the same as Colorado, according to a report by an Austin-based cannabis law firm. The firm estimates 1.5 million adults 21 and older in Texas use cannabis monthly. In the same report, the firm anticipates that 20,000 to 40,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs could be created. Colorado brought in $1.7 billion from marijuana sales in 2019 and is close to surpassing that figure in 2020 with $1.6 billion between January and September, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.”

Guillotine Watch


“It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Class Warfare

“How to Socialize in the Cold Without Being Miserable” [Bloomberg], “What to Wear to Spend Time Outside” [New York Times], and “6 things to buy now so you can socialize outside this winter” [CNBC]. • I can’t help but think that the real subtext of these three articles is preparing for homelessness. Then again–

“Anti-Jacketers Rally Outside Burlington Coat Factory To Protest Liberal Cold Weather Conspiracy” (podcast) [The Topical]. “Hear why members of the growing movement are calling cold weather nothing more than a leftist hoax made up to force Americans into thick down layers.”

“The Gig Economy Is White People Discovering Servants” [Medium]. “Uber and Postmates and DoorDash and all of these ‘gig’ economy companies simply created a giant pool of servants that you could call on demand. That’s all they really do. The gig economy is just a giant collection of servants. I should know. I have servants.

I live in Sri Lanka and despite always making below the US poverty line (about $2000 a month), that is a shit-ton of money here. I have also generally lived with family that pools resources. Hence I have (and have often had) a driver. This driver can go and pick stuff up as well. So that’s Uber and Postmates rolled into one. If you have a good driver they can do lots of things. My family or my wife’s family also have cooks, which makes DoorDash (food delivery) largely irrelevant, but again, there’s also the driver for that. Then of course there are cleaners and people to do laundry, which I have always had, even when I lived alone, because it makes life so much better. It has always amazed me that quite wealthy people in the west still clean their toilets and fold clothes. Silicon Valley hasn’t quite yet figured that one out, though WeWork has serviced offices where all the cleaning and janitorial are taken care of.”

“Why does Hillbilly Elegy feel so inauthentic and performative?” [Vox]. “As a hillbilly born and raised (in rural west Tennessee), I’m very used to seeing rural American life painted with broad strokes. Every scene of Hillbilly Elegy is designed to mix the laziest form of pathos with the laziest form of social commentary and present it with the most condescending tone of profundity, and y’all, I could have been rewatching Winter’s Bone instead of this patronizing mush. But like Alissa said, I was mostly prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared for this film’s sheer quixotic nothingness. Apart from the extremely lazy way the film shorthands its characters through regional and class stereotypes, Hillbilly Elegy is an incoherent, meandering, misogynistic tangle of vanishing subplots and vague ideas. I hesitate to even call them subplots since that suggests a plot arc to begin with. For example, I honestly spent the whole movie wondering why the opening leaned so heavily on the narrator’s childhood summers in Kentucky — his seminal time spent with ‘my people,’ a phrase he said over and over again like Moses freeing the Israelites — even though we never returned to Kentucky or his extended family again. Our hero, real-life memoirist J.D. Vance, spent most of the film treating ‘his people’ like sh*t.” • Oh.

“The Economic Consequences of Sir Robert Peel: A Quantitative Assessment of the Repeal of the Corn Laws” [Douglas A. Irwin & Maksym G. Chepeliev, NBER]. “Britain’s repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was the signature trade policy event of the nineteenth century…. Combining the changes in factor payments with different consumption patterns across income groups, we find that the top 10 percent of income earners lose while the bottom 90 percent of income earners, who spent a disproportionate amount of their income on food, gain.”

News of the Wired

“A New Study About Color Tries to Decode ‘The Brain’s Pantone'” [Wired]. “And on a more fundamental level, figuring out how color perception matches with neural activity is an important step toward understanding how the brain constructs our understanding of the world around us. ‘If you could find a brain area where the representation matched perception, that would be a huge leap,’ says [Greg Horwitz, associate professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington]. ‘Finding the part of the brain where the representation of color matches what we experience would be a big step towards understanding what color perception really is.'”

Everything’s going according to plan [YouTube]. This is the Massive Attack cover version of the post-Soviet Russian original (hat tip for the original to a reader I cannot find; give yourself a shout-out):

Not that I’m foily…

* * *

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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. Clem

    Hillbilly ‘Eulogy’, “There’s nothing there”, Instead of good screen writing, too much reliance on props, why is it that every old pickup or car from 50 years ago has 3 layers of wax on it, never is dented or dirty? Cigarettes and art decoration alone don’t tell a story.

    Hollywood is dying. Ron Howard’s direction is an example of the last gasp. Thank god for streaming and even Youtube.

    The most realistic thing was his mother’s getting hooked on pain pills at work in the hospital.

    1. jr

      “Hollywood is dying.”

      Couldn’t happen fast enough. Slick, overproduced, formulaic, CGI out the wazoo, the list goes on.

  2. jr

    “ as a child for a period her family relied on food stamps to eat, on Section 8 vouchers to pay the rent and on the social safety. Her fresh perspective can help meet this moment“

    This means literally nothing in terms of how her she would act in any official capacity. I’ve known plenty of people who relied on the social safety net; it’s just as likely that they are deeply ashamed of it and despise those who need it as they would support it. Pure dreck.

      1. jr

        “I’ve been on Welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me out? No.”

        Thanks for this crystalline example of bifurcated thinking. Priceless. And why do I care what a brain dead sit-com actor thinks? Was he running for office at the time?

        1. Pat

          I don’t think you should care, except as an example of how distorted things are regarding this. It is such a point of shame to have to need help in this country we hide it, we deny it, and we allow those who are supposed to build and provide community to deny that help willy nilly.

          Profit trumps our health, our education, our mental condition as a society, and we allow that because we have bought that the poor, the hungry, etc have themselves to blame.

            1. Pat

              Sorry. I mistakenly went and read Lambert’s OSHA post just before and was and am still devasted at the loss of a truly generous soul from the beginning being so callously ignored by his employer for money reasons that I just launched into a rant at your clearly rhetorical question

              I also appreciate you.

              And for the record I should learn to step away from the keyboard at those times.

              1. jr

                Thank you, and likewise.

                “And for the record I should learn to step away from the keyboard at those times.“

                Yeah, but where else besides some family and friends etc. can we find sane conversation?

      2. The Rev Kev

        The look on the guy he was talking to told its own story. Maybe Nelson thinks that stuff like food stamps does not count as he ‘paid’ for it with his taxes.

    1. freedomny

      Also just an excuse for more means testing. Neera deepy believes in meritocracy – she’s so smart and bright and went to an Ivy League….and you can too! They always ignore the fact that capitalism is designed to be unequal….not “everyone” can make the big bucks.

      1. jr

        I had a brief spell at an Ivy League mental institution. I was a student in the night school (allowed to take real grad courses ?) and the place was filled with Neera Tandens, Chelsea Clintons, and Obombers. You know, “sharp” minds. “Bright Young Things” It was like eating marshmallow chicks by the box.

        There were a few students from the Tier 1 business school, one told me she had learned “nothing” there and was taking a few philosophy courses so she didn’t feel like a complete idiot when she graduated.

        1. John

          I spent a semester as a graduate student at Columbia 1958-1959 before the draft came calling. I do not recall that the students were any sharper than those when I was an undergraduate. That is a while ago perhaps times have changed. Of a certainty, tuition has skyrocketed.

          1. jr

            “Sharp” was a derogatory term in use when I was an undergraduate. It referred to people who were bright but deeply shallow. The kind of students who made it into the tough classes but bottomed out quickly.

    2. Procopius

      I’m thinking of a Republican brain surgeon, whose name escapes me at the moment, who grew up in dire poverty. At one time, he writes in his memoirs, his mother was so desperate she overcame her pride and “accepted” food stamps. They absolutely would not have survived without them, he writes. Then he writes that he will do everything he can to do away with the program, because it “causes dependency.” I know, I should do a google search to find his name, but [expletive deleted] him.

  3. Zar

    In case you haven’t already gotten word of this, these banners were strung across I-70 and I-25 in the Denver metro vicinity today. A friend took this picture and sent it to me. This took some organization.

    I saw an identical banner on a bridge over I-405 yesterday, east of Seattle. I often see right-wing political causes and candidates advertised there, maybe by the same group. I was wondering what group that is exactly, so I might just ask them during their next highway demonstration.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lambert said ‘I reiterate my view that the first people to be vaccinated should be all the electeds and all the political appointees at the Federal Level’ but that is no good that. Where would the trust be that those electeds were actually taking a vaccine and not just a saline solution? And you know what? Those electeds would justify that by saying that if even one of them suffered an adverse effect from the vaccine, that it would put off regular people taking it which would be bad, m’kay?

        1. furies

          Their posters are not wrong, you know.

          Pharma doesn’t do liability on vaccines.

          Big point for the anti-vaxxers.

    2. Cuibono

      can someone comment on liability here? If vaccine manufacturers are off the hook, will the Feds be assuming liability? If not , who in their right mind would get one of these shots?

  4. carl

    As a newbie to Twitter, I’m happy to see a couple of my “follows” mentioned here: Typos of the NYT and Guillotine-worthy Zillow listings. Architectual Twitter can be pretty fun too, starting of course with Kate Wagner.

    1. DJG

      carl: And yet I’m still trying to understand this Hawaiian place’s “gas automated tiki torches.” Is that an accessory or a state of matter?

      1. carl

        Follow that account; you ain’t seen nuthin yet. The tastes of people with too much money, just unbelievable.

      2. Wukchumni

        We have a place that somewhat approximates the Hawaiian compound in perhaps the most socialist parts of these United States, our National Parks. The fact is you own it too, we all have a shared interest. I’ve spent 40 nights or more there since the turn of the century.

        Only 4 miles walk into the backcountry on trail and then all off-trail for a short spell, it features a creek that flows right by the camping spot after coming down a waterfall en route to another, and there are 6 pools above you each with waterfalls you can hike to up the creek, and i’ve dove into each and every one of them, as the view in the distance grows to reveal a granite cathedral across the way coming into focus. Along the way up towards the higher pools you can see where glaciers of ice once held sway as one side of the creek is near vertical and the other flatter islands of polished granite where the grinding marks show the retreat 10,000 years ago.

        Paradise isn’t free-yet reasonable. $15 will procure an overnight wilderness permit. There are no association fees or upkeep fees with this Federally approved time-share agreement, they only ask that you take out what you took in, and follow the rules of the roost in the back of beyond.

  5. Carolinian

    Re Hillbilly Elegy–time to admit that Opie just isn’t a very good director? Ironically the man once starred in a television paean to hillbilly niceness–The Andy Griffith Show. Of course 1960s television used bumbling Southerners as a staple. But for at least this one series–starring a North Carolinian–bumbling was seen as a form of innocence in a country that as a whole didn’t much want to talk about Civil Rights. The show is still much beloved.

        1. pjay

          I love the Hillbilly Gypsies. But the Dillards – who played the Darling boys – were for real, and pretty good too. And I think Maggie Peterson also sang as well.

      1. Janie

        I can understand the lyrics she sings – in the Massive Attack video, not a word. Plus, the flashing lights are headache-inducing.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i didn’t like cocteau twins when they were “on the radio”, but i find i like them, now.
            and her incomprehensibility is a part of it.
            gives “scat” a whole new meaning.

    1. cyclist

      I always preferred the Beverly Hillbillies-Green Acres-Petticoat Junction nexus during TV’s ‘Dare to be Stupid’ era. Mr. Haney was one of my role models….

        1. cyclist

          I’m not sure – I haven’t watched network TV for many years after deciding I wasted too much of my youth watching dreck. Maybe I should have tagged it as “Dare to be Silly”: do we have any contemporary equivalent of My Mother the Car or Green Acres?

          1. ambrit

            The “contemporary equivalent of My Mother the Car or Green Acres” has to be the MSM news shows. Just like any decently constructed sitcom, today’s MSM news programs have predictable plots presented by self important dilettantes pretending to be “regular folks.”
            When did American media “jump the shark?”

      1. Baby Gerald

        I’ll second you there, cyclist. I recently happened upon the very first episode of Beverley Hillbillies on MeTV, which airs episodes unedited and sequentially. The writing and acting on that show was really impressive. I always enjoyed watching these as a kid but I was surprised at how much I laughed while watching each episode three decades later.

    2. The Rev Kev

      One thing that Hollywood will not do is do is an American re-make of “How Green Was My Valley” or “The Grapes of Wrath.” I can just imagine a film now based on a small, prosperous town in rural America the night Reagan was elected. In the years that come, most of the small businesses in main street are closed down when a Walmart opens up on the edge of town. The main manufacturing business in town is brought up by an east coast firm who ship those jobs to China.

      The workers who have to pack up the machinery find out that out that those machines are actually headed to China. Those that are not deliberately scrapped so that they can never be used again. The doctors in the town find it in their interest to supply opioids to their patients but since the clinic is now part of a national chin, they get no say anyway. But I am sure that people here can fill in the blanks of such a story. But as I said, Hollywood would never do such a film but would rather film something safe – like “Transformers 16.”

      1. ambrit

        Transformers 1619.
        A remake I would like to see is an updated version of “Brother From Another Planet.”

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        “Winter’s Bone” mentioned in the link above is a story about what’s left after. The scenes fit the impressions I recall from driving through some small towns in the Ohio Valley near West Virginia. I’ve lived near the burned out remains of several old mill towns and factory towns. The trouble with your plot idea is that stories like you suggest would almost have to be a “period pieces” which are more expensive to make. John Sayles went ahead and risked a story about the coal miners strike leading to the Matewan Massacre of 1920. But these weren’t Hollywood movies.

        To make a non-period piece about a factory shutting down you would have to move from the fly-over country closer to the coasts. You could tell a story about a software company sending its business to India, or the closing of Big Pharma plants in New Jersey as they move some operations to the South and far far away. Those stories don’t have the same drama potential as closing down a factory. The better paid workers have no sense of the value of organizing and shy away from violence. The story might tell of divorces, descent to financial ruin, and similar things … except it would have to be episodic or told through the story of one exemplar family. Taking your idea of the Walmart driving out small business might work, but you’d better hurry. I think you could adapt Steinbeck’s last novel “The Winter of Our Discontent”.

        But to you main point — today’s Corporate Hollywood wouldn’t touch any of these stories with a long long stick. What will be left of Hollywood and the movie theater chains after the Corona pandemic has run its course and we have a space of time before the next pandemic? Perhaps they might be a small true gale of creative destruction.

    3. Angie Neer

      The Andy Griffith Show was ambient noise in my childhood, and didn’t attract my conscious attention back then. But a while back I stumbled upon an episode, on one of the oldies TV stations, that I found startling. The kid overheard a conversation between a jailed suspect (in his dad’s jail) and the suspect’s lawyer, which included incriminating information. Of course, he wanted to immediately tell his dad all the details. But Sheriff Andy refused to listen, patiently explaining that the suspect and lawyer had an absolute right to privacy of their conversations, and he wouldn’t violate that for anything. Frankly, it was a pretty dramatic and remarkably clear explanation of attorney-client privilege to see on a TV show. I never got a civics lesson like that in school.

  6. Wukchumni

    Just heard that our recently sold little supermarket which had been in the same family for around 60 years, was also the largest contributor by a wide margin to the town’s food bank.

    They kept it on the down low and nobody knew, my favorite kind of giving thanks, anonymously.

    1. divadab

      Yup same in my town – I used to pick up for the food bank and the locally-owned supermarkets were much more generous than the rest.

  7. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: “Possible role of tryptophan and melatonin in COVID-19”

    Well if you do not have enough zinc eat all the tyrptophan you want because it does not matter. We need zinc to stimulate two enzymes GCH1 and PTS to make a coenzyme called BH4, which turns tryptophan into 5-OH-Tryptophan and then into Serotonin.

    And if we do not have enough zinc, tryptophan goes down an inflammatory pathway called the kynurenine pathway.

    This is why you feel tired and depressed when you are sick, because most of the tryptophan is pulled away from making serotonin and down into the kynurenine pathway. That pathway has immune and neurological effects by increasing glutamate, an excititory neurotransmitter. They are testing glutamate modulators for COVID recovery.

    The researchers never ever think about vitamins and their importance as cofactors and how they keep these enzyme pathways functioning.

    1. TroyIA

      There may also be a possibility that serotonin levels are altered in COVID-19 patients because of mental stress, which suggest a role for Trp in treatment.

      Farid Jalali MD is pretty firm in his belief that platelet hyper-reactivity is causing elevated serotonin levels in patients.

      Folks – if your covid patient is doing well respiratory wise but suddenly starts to become delirious and agitated and hallucinate -> tachypnea – it is due to SEROTONIN excess and they respond to treatments for it:


      . . .

      Those two processes, platelet hyperreactivity of acute COVID and pulm endotheliopathy of acute COVID are STILL ongoing, leading to elevated serotonin release by platelets and reduce reuptake/regulation by (injured) pulm endothelium …

      Serotonin excess will CONTINUE acutely

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I don’t know why he is coming up with serotonin excess when precedex is a nor adrenaline blocker and has nothing to do with inhibiting serotonin release or controlling serotonin. Go ahead, look it up.

        In my humble opinion it’s not serotonin, but glutamate as I pointed out earlier. Glutamate release will increase nor adrenaline release.

    2. Louis Fyne

      ty for your multiple consistent posts re. zinc/vitamins.

      been inspired to brush up on my faint rusted out biochem memories. some day soon!

    3. Mel

      Point of Information. I’ve put myself on daily 2000 I.U. of vit.D3 and 50mg of zinc gluconate as a precaution, with no obvious problems. The bottle says that excessive zinc may cause copper deficiency. Are there obvious Cu deficiency symptoms that would tell me if this happened?

        1. rowlf

          Doesn’t strident media cause lethargy too? I think Tom “Kids: get away from the cell phones, get away from the computers, and mail someone a fish before it’s too late.” Magliozzi had a few good ideas.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I would say slow wound healing was my biggest problem when I had low copper and neutropenia. If you get a CBC blood test and your neutrophils are low that will tell you that you’re probably low on copper. But you can also get a serum copper test.

        50 mg of zinc a day is not really a high enough dose to cause low copper. But it’s easily corrected by taking one to two milligrams of copper a day. The protocols and nurses are giving to covid patients has zinc with copper added to prevent copper depletion. Seacg for the Malik covid protocol.

        1. Mel

          Thanks. No obvious signs of any trouble, so I’ll just keep on, with my eyes open for any bad changes appearing.

  8. dcblogger

    It was recently declared that Patrisse Cullors was appointed the Executive Director to the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation. Since then, two new Black Lives Matter formations have been announced to the public: a Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee, and BLM Grassroots. BLM Grassroots was allegedly created to support the organizational needs of chapters, separate from the financial functions of BLMGN. We, the undersigned chapters, believe that all of these events occurred without democracy, and assert that it was without the knowledge of the majority of Black Lives Matters chapters across the country and world.

    We became chapters of Black Lives Matter as radical Black organizers embracing a collective vision for Black people engaging in the protracted struggle for our lives against police terrorism. With a willingness to do hard work that would put us at risk, we expected that the central organizational entity, most recently referred to as the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation, would support us chapters in our efforts to build communally. Since the establishment of BLMGN, our chapters have consistently raised concerns about financial transparency, decision making, and accountability. Despite years of effort, no acceptable internal process of accountability has ever been produced by BLMGN and these recent events have undermined the efforts of chapters seeking to democratize its processes and resources.

    In the spirit of transparency, accountability, and responsibility to our community, we believe public accountability has become necessary. As a contribution to our collective liberation, we must make clear:

    long list of particulars

  9. jr

    Re: New York Typos

    Wow, not only can they not reason or do research at the Times; I was already aware none of them can write to save their lives. But what I found equally disturbing was the title of the article. Does anyone but the author of that piece think the Times or their hired hacks have anything to offer one in vis à vis one’s family’s relations in this day and age?

    First we are told a whopping 90% of families eat outside the home, unless your car is your home that is. Then we are told we have more opportunities to eat together “than we think”. But what if the reason for eating outside the home is due to working say 2 or 3 jobs? Any ideas there? Oh, and lunch is “great for picnics”. Maybe in the car?

    The “Nourish” section. Barf. How about the “Healthy Eating Section”? But then Times readers are already attuned to the writing style of advertisers and marketers.

    If the problem is “tension at the dinner table”, look for “conversation starters and games”.

    Right, Dad’s laid off due to COVID, Mom’s sick and lacks “access” to health care, and Junior is experimenting with Fentanyl. Lots to talk about already, there.

    Eating together should provide a “fun, welcoming space.” and avoid “…stress, arguments and grilling kids…”, all unattainable or unavoidable for most Americans.

    -A bunch of filler that could easily be found on the Internet plus a few blurbs from experts.-

    “and resources (income level; having two parents in the household) also influenced the findings“

    Ah, the usual nugget of truth buried under the tripe at the Times. I propose we start with this and retitle the article “Overworked or unemployed parents, poorly educated in matters of health, buried under debt, rightfully suspicious of the advice of elite experts who have s(r3w#[) them over in the past, subjected to a cruel and capricious work culture, find it hard to get their overmedicated, video game addicted kids to eat healthy (read often expensive) food together.” There we go.

    The following lists of do’s and don’ts literally contradict one another or are the stuff of fantasy for most US families. Don’t talk politics but do talk current events. Don’t talk chores but talk about the vaporware vacation you cannot afford. Don’t talk bad grades but talk about helping with schoolwork. Don’t talk about food but talk about food. Then a list of “conversation starters”. A warning about (addictive) tech that kills conversations. Then:

    “We don’t hate your smart phones and iPads.” and “a little Google is needed to spice up your meal.”

    Literal advertising.

    Then ideas for play, again see my suggested new title above.

    All this from the owner of the site “Well”, which like “Nourish” is a lazy, hazy attempt to summon an image and emotional response instead of inform. Advertising jargon infecting “journalism”. Come to think of it, the whole article is just embedded advertising for the author. No doubt there are plenty of other vacuous, unrealistic suggestions at “Well”. I’d check but then I’d feel “Unwell”.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the people get paid for this stuff, the Times staff or their “contributors”. Oh right, we live in a decaying society in a rotting civilization. Gotta remember that.

    1. JBird4049

      We live in a decaying society in a rotting civilization because that is profitable for some. Paying people to write quality stuff is not profitable enough.

      1. John

        I remember when it was rarity to find a typo in any of the New York newspapers of yesteryear. I grew up on the Herald Tribune, switched to the Times when the Trib folded, and usually read the World Telegram on the subway in the afternoon.

        The decline is shocking.

  10. divadab

    Re HP’s shameless attempt to tie their customers to their overpriced printer inks for life:

    Once upon a time, HP made quality products – I am still using a laserjet 1012, albeit with some difficulty kludging drivers with windows 10. Print quality is just fine, toner lasts a long time, and replacement toner cartridges are commoditised.

    But I’m really getting sick of being forced to upgrade my perfectly functional pc and related equipment because “no longer supported” or “our software no longer runs on windows 7”. I recently had to upgrade to an HP laptop/microsoft annuity-generating windows 10 appliance and its operating system would not recognize my perfectly functional HP laserjet 1012. Dang and Blast! Off to kludging your printer driver land!

    I suppose at a certain point I will have to cut this cord as already done for cable…..

    1. HotFlash

      When Bill’s Windows stopped talking to my HP 1012 (Thanks Carly!) I installed Linux Mint as a dual-boot — in case I changed my mind, you know. Never even been tempted to go back, though. I had to do a little bit of digging for a printer driver, but that was a decade or more ago and no glitches in all the time since. I also have more control over my printer using the Linux terminal program. Libre Office runs all my old MS Office and even WP stuff without whining including some pretty fancy spreadsheets. As a bonus, I got back some of my old, dear share-ware utilities that Bill’s OS wouldn’t talk to, but which run fine under Wine (Linux Windows emulator). Now if only I could get my old Lotus stuff to run!

      Personal note, once removed: Mr HotFlash once met Mr Packard (of Hewlett Packard) back in the day, says he was a nice guy (I think over shared RR interests, or perhaps photography — he wasn’t Mr HotFlash then, so details are hazy.) but had already sold his share of the company in order spend more time with his toys. I blame Carly Fiorina and the MBA’s for HP’s terminal crapification, but Messers H and P could have found better stewards.

      My dear divadab, do not fear Linux. If you are the cautious type, try a dual-boot, as I did, then you can boot up either Windows or Linux, with full access to your files in either system. The installation process is not scary, the wizard walks you through all the way, it doesn’t take all that long, and you can bail anytime. Or just keep on booting into Windows.

      More info here: https://www.linuxmint.com/

      1. divadab

        Many thanks for the advice, Mrs. Hot flash. I am the cautious type (cpa, don’t fix what ain’t broke, etc.) and will suffer the pickpocketing until it is intolerable before I take the linux step. I also think HP has been infested with breakers and takers as has most of corporate America – truly we are cursed with a ruling class whose ideology can only be characterised as looting and self-dealing. I mean, what are the Waltons but profiteering agents of Communist China?

    2. Carolinian

      The Register link is really just a frame for this worth a look Cory Doctorow article


      For the inkjet industry, ink was liquid gold, and they innovated endlessly in finding ways to wring every drop of profit from it. Companies manufactured special cartridges that were only half-full for inclusion with new printers, so you’d have to quickly replace them. They designed calibration tests that used vast quantities of ink, and, despite all this calibration, never could quite seem to get a printer to register that there was still lots of ink left in the cartridge that it was inexplicably calling “empty” and refusing to draw from.

      But all this ingenuity was at the mercy of printer owners, who simply did not respect the printer companies’ shareholders enough to voluntarily empty their bank accounts to refill their printers. Every time the printer companies found a way to charge more for less ink, their faithless customers stubbornly sought out competitors who’d refill or remanufacture their cartridges, or offer compatible cartridges.

      I’ve done my share of cartridge refilling–works better with black than with color–but ink jet printers can be so finicky that it hardly seems worth the trouble using them unless you print a lot. Amazing that the scam persists after all these years. Just spotted on sale at a discount store: a Canon printer for $19 (no cartridges) and an ink cartridge next to it selling for almost as much. Haven’t all those printer patents expired by now?

  11. shtove

    A qualification to the Corn Laws repeal study, from the abstract:

    Labor and capital gained a slight amount of income at the expense of landowners (whose income fell about 3-5 percent).

    1. The Rev Kev

      This must be a different Corn Laws that they are talking about. The one that I read about was devastating to rural regions in Britain as a torrent of cereal products came out from North America and undercut the local produce. Wages for agricultural worker dropped and many of them were forced to emigrate to the colonies in order to survive. Wiltshire was one such region which was hard hit by these changes and the population dropped as many either emigrated or went to places like London in search of work. The book “Forgotten Labour” by Avice R. Wilson covers the ground truths of what happened am I am surprised at the conclusions draw by this paper’s authors.

      1. eg

        A second “enclosure” driving yet more rural labourers into the maw of industry

        Also, the “free trade uber alles” crowd busy working on behalf of their oligarch paymasters

      2. shtove

        The end of the Napoleonic wars was the inflection point, so most agitation among rural workers was in the 1820s and 30s with Captain Swing sabotage and intimidation, then withholding of tithes. Both were followed by legislative reform. No doubt that the Corn Laws improved the lot of urban workers, with a reduction in the price of food.

  12. Alternate Delegate

    On tribalism: I agree it’s unhelpful to cast the Red / Blue divide as “tribalism”, because this obscures a much more useful function for this term.

    Tribalism is more useful as an individually inescapable clan membership that is used as a basis for kin selection, alliance, and warfare.

    It’s not actually necessary for the defining traits and markers to be genetic, but it helps if they at least appear to be equivalently permanent. We’ve seen e.g. Irish and Balkan tribal conflict marked by language or religion. It’s essential for the participants to believe that they’re advancing the survival of “their people” against that of other “peoples”. The goal is collective evolutionary advantage, or, more pointedly, human subspeciation.

    Under this definition, the Red and Blue factions are not tribes. Instead, the dynamic is that both factions are attempting to harness tribal forces for political advantage. The Red faction has tied its chariot to white supremacism, while the Blue chariot is supposed to be pulled by a bevy of identity politics ponies. This is seen as preferable to an appeal to economic interests.

    Of course, this is a terrible idea on both sides, especially for Team Blue. How badly do you have to screw up this strategy before you see Team Red actually increase its vote share from blacks, latinos, and women? (In addition, a moment’s reflection will tell you that gender politics works poorly in this game because everyone’s “people” includes both men and women.)

    I remember there was a politican who said once “the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve“. I wonder who that was?

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      leave only the top 10% does that change what the red team & blue team are actually about? If the top 10%, or perhaps 5%, were to experience an actual crisis, would we see tribal divisions or more solidified groupings?

  13. Wukchumni

    “How to Socialize in the Cold Without Being Miserable” [Bloomberg], “What to Wear to Spend Time Outside” [New York Times], and “6 things to buy now so you can socialize outside this winter” [CNBC]. • I can’t help but think that the real subtext of these three articles is preparing for homelessness. Then again–
    If I was homeless in the cold, i’d want 3 items in particular, a wood or twig burning stove, a small 1 liter covered pot and a flat old school plastic hot water bottle. The ensemble would be around $50 online.

    The amount of warmth from a hot water bottle is just amazing, and lasts through to the morning. Its my cold camping secret weapon.

      1. Carolinian

        Newspapers getting harder to find than in the old days when bums would classically sleep under them on park benches.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I bet that the smarter ones learned to sleep on top of them as more warmth is lost to the ground than the air.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for the tip although think I’d prefer my down sleeping bag for deluxe homelessness. My parents, who grew up in the country without central heating, had hot water bottles. An even older version is the “warming pan” full of hot coals and stuck under the covers using its long wooden handle.

      1. eg

        These were also the go-to nighttime solutions for homes without central heating in the St John River valley of rural New Brunswick like the one my father was born in

  14. Wukchumni

    “Marijuana legalization could bring in over $1 billion to Texas. Could it happen?”
    Back in the day, I knew a chancey gardener type who told me his crop was worth about 50% more landed in the Lone Star state, versus wholesale value by the pound in Cali. They’d get a bit draconian on you with long terms in the all bar motel for reefer hadness.

    Party on the Patio ZZ Top


  15. Phillip Cross

    “Illegal Tampering by Diesel Pickup Owners Is Worsening Pollution, E.P.A. Says”
    This reminds me of a great comment i read on here the other day!
    drumlin woodchuckles November 19, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    ” Its only a mask” . . . No, its a symbol. Its a symbol of what Democrat-voting liberals do. That makes it a symbol of what Trump-voting Coaly-Rollers must fight against to the death, and never ever do themselves.
    If a Storm Trumping Coaly-Roller were to wear a mask, that would show that the Bi-Coastal elitist liberals were able to own HIM. No Storm-Trumping Coaly-Roller will ever let hermself be humiliated in that manner.

    Coaly Rollers. Is there a more perfect example of how [family blog]ed in the head this country has become?


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      As I look at the BLM supporters in that photo, I see that most of them are not wearing masks and most of them are not practicing Safe Six ( feet apart). It lends a bit of support to the conservative charge that the BLM protesters were granted a total exemption from infection-prevention protocols , so why shouldn’t the Trump Rally-ers be granted an equal and opposite exemption?

      Someone should look into whether Trump Rally ( and Sturgis Rally) infection-control-measure flouting predated or post-dated such flouting by the BLM side.

      That said, I still like the term Coaly Roller.

  16. hunkerdown

    The aliens are multiplying…

    An almost identical structure to the now-famous Utah monolith has been found across the world in Romania. This one has what look to be deliberate loop-de-loop scribbles scratched on its entire face and stands at about the same height as its Utah twin. The European monolith is only a few feet away from where an ancient Dacian fortress once stood, according to The Daily Mail.

    1. Jen

      I’m sure this is just some squillionaire playing with us and totally not a signal for alien invasion. Right? Right?

      1. jr

        Let’s hope it is, fervently. I’m a big fan of the “Zoo” scenario. Better than the “BladeRunner” or “Road Warrior” scenarios, I suspect

  17. dcblogger

    I am really glad to see Trump go. The national discourse was totally skewed by his never ending tantrums. Now we can focus on public purpose and I don’t think Biden is going to be pleased by that. People are not psychologically invested in Biden they way there were in Obama or even Bill Clinton. The public will not be willing to cut him any slack. I hope for everyone’s sake that there are people near Biden capable in persuading him to use executive orders to cancel student debt and otherwise open the spigots of $ into the economy. Otherwise the republic is toast.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      We can only hope. Although if Trump continues to troll from the sidelines, it may not work that way.

    2. ambrit

      The Republic was basically fried bread when the Democrat Party refused to admit defeat in 2016 and look at themselves honestly afterwards. So, I’ll give you your Trump Tantrums and raise you one Russiagate Forever War (Political Division.)
      Really, even though this could become an infinite regression, the obvious point of break with the tradition of “honest” elections was the 2000 folding of the Gore Campaign in the face of a Judicial Coup.

  18. Louis Fyne

    that CO highway pic re. liability reminded be of this.


    bloomberg via

    And my tin foil hat knee-jerk-reacted and wondered if NC’s website problems was in some way related. Though absolutely doubt MI6 is watch the daily plantidotes…ya never know.

    all it takes is one low-level contractor to put something on a watchlist….

    tin foil hat off, lol.

  19. Wukchumni

    Biden won’t be fleet of foot for awhile, but the real relief is that he didn’t have it inserted in his mouth when malady struck.

  20. petal

    Update on the Utah monolith
    “The mysterious triangular metal monolith that appeared in the remote Utah desert and captured the attention of the nation vanished on Friday, believed to have been hauled away by someone in a pick-up truck who wrote ‘Bye b****’ in the dirt and left behind a puddle of urine. “

    1. Wukchumni

      Is it all possible that an artist married to a Beatle is responsible for placement, and it’s really an Onolith?

      1. ambrit

        I really wouldn’t call Yoko’s singing style “rock.”
        Also, if a big business was behind the prank, then the object is properly referred to as a “Corprolith.”

  21. clarky90

    Re: “Political lying as tribal signaling” Noah Smith,

    larkyca eciphersda eona-igpa atinpa
    Translates as; (clarky90 (reveals the key for) deciphering neo-pig latin).

    Noah Smith is, himself (demonstrating) using lying as signaling. He is also using “hiding in plain sight”, another secret practice.

    Hey Presto! It is fun and challenging to finally make sense of seemingly illogical, complex screeds, like Noah’s. It reminds me of suddenly being able to “see” the 3d picture in an Autostereogram. Joy!

    Noah has used the medieval, occult widdershins encoding technique. Widdershins takes the meaning and turns it upside down and inside out. A bit like witchcraft. Ordinarily, you need to go to Harvard or Yale to learn this.

    To decipher, just do the reverse to the presented “meaning”. ie “Hope and change that we can believe in.”

    Anyway, here is a teaser of how I would read “Political lying as tribal signaling”.

    #1 Noah is signaling for (any) job in Biden’s administration
    #2 Noah is signaling for a (well paid) job in the Liberal machine
    #3 Noah is signaling that he and his handlers are concerned about the growing evidence of election fraud perpetrated by the Democrat Party..
    #4 Noah is signaling …….
    #5 ……..

    “Political lying as tribal signaling” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. ” I propose that political lies are a costly signal of tribal loyalty. Remember, in economics, ‘signaling’ means much more than just ‘trying to prove something.’ Signaling in econ is basically when people jump through hoops in order to prove themselves. You might take a useless but difficult college course or math test, just to prove to future employers that you’re smart. Or you might get a tattoo to prove your loyalty to a yakuza gang, even though the tattoo would make it harder to get into a Japanese public bath or get a normal job. The fact that the signal comes with a cost is essential to separating the dedicated people from the posers. Political lies could function similarly to the gang tattoos. By going on record as saying that we should seriously consider the possibility that climate change might not be real, you exposure yourself to a lifetime of ridicule. But that very exposure might prove that you’re the real thing, hardcore, really on the team, to a partisan audience who might otherwise be inclined to question your conservative bona fides…. What if supporting Trump, in spite of all the costs, is a way of demonstrating that the Red Tribe is still numerous and strong, and that conservatives aren’t simply going to disappear from American culture? Uttering falsehoods about the election could simply be part and parcel of this same attempt at signaling that We Still Have a Gang.”

    So now for fun, run Noah’s signal through the neo-Turing machine (inside out, upside down) and be amazed at how much sense it finally makes!

  22. Louis Fyne

    totally sounds like performance art straight from 1975—-even the mysterious disappearance.

    just saying

  23. Noone from Nowheresville

    so watching the new potential administration unfold, is anyone else feeling like the Night King and Dany might have had the right of it and that Jon Snow might have been very very wrong.

  24. upstater

    re. “FCC Maintains Ban on Mobile Phone Voice Calls During Flights”…

    Now if the airlines, FAA, CDC or somebody would do something about maskless passengers, below-the-nose fakers or passive-aggressive maskless oppositionists that place empty Starbucks cups on their trays for 4 hour flights… BAN THEM!

    DON’T FLY!

  25. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Weed for Heroes:
    “There’s also mounting pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to broaden vets’ access to cannabis.”

    Naga happen unless and until it’s approved by the FDA, and even then only for FDA-approved use. As other veterans here likely have experienced (McPhee, OIFVet, Fuller?), getting a VA doc to prescribe an off-label use requires jumping through hoops, extra work for the doc to circumvent the formulary, sign-offs by a dozen of the vet’s personal concierge team (/s), etc. About the only thing the VA responds to is an Act of Congress, and even then, it will find ways around things it doesn’t want to do.

    Current VA thinking is that cannabis use is a “disorder,” leads to opioid addiction, death, blahblahblah. That does appear to be changing, but getting the VA to change direction is like steering the Titanic — with one exception: anything that increases profits for its big-name corporate partners. And that’s how I predict that cannabis will be approved for use within the VA. It still would have to be approved by the FDA first, though.

    An important clue — not mentioned in the linked article — is that the VA study of the effects of cannabis on PTSD is not using plant-derived cannabinoids but synthetic materials. It wouldn’t be that hard to figure out which one(s), but I don’t have the time right now, so I’ll just leave you with a few links:

    San Diego VA study testing cannabidiol—a compound derived from cannabis—for PTSD

    FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process

    1. Brunches with Cats

      A couple more:

      Current official VA policy :

      And this:
      Former VA Secretary Who Oversaw Marijuana Research Blockade Now Backs Cannabis Studies For Veterans

      Ruling out sudden enlightenment.

      As for Bernie, his big claim to fame re: veterans was working with McCain to get the Community Care Program, which morphed into the MISSION Corporate Profit and Privatization Act. As a regular Veterans’ Affairs Committee member (not even minority leader), it’s back to helping constituents get delayed disability checks and such.

  26. JBird4049

    >>>In general, I’m more comfortable with arguments from American, not European, precedent

    I get that, but I am more worried about how eugenics gets spread and amplified. Each wave being amplified by those who want to improve and then use the ideas.

    I guess modern eugenics, aside from ancient practices of infanticide of those babies considered weak, deformed, or just unwanted, started a decade or so before Francis Galton invented the word eugenics in 1872; in 1858, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace published their work on evolution by natural selection.

    Almost immediately, the idea of Social Darwinism appeared. The upper classes who wanted to save money, and by those wanting to get onto the latest intellectual fashions distorted the theory of evolution and even to a slight degree Galton’s ideas. Galton himself, although a very probable racist, and yes. classist, did not approve of the government getting involve with the exception of offering cash supports to those of the “right breeding” who married each other.

    By the 1880s and increasing into the prewar period of the First World, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and finally the United States all had international conferences of doctors and scientists on this great new “scientific” advancement. Strangely, all had empires full of “those” people of the non-pale variety.

    By the 1890s, various rich people, their foundations (a few of them appear on the introductions to PBS shows. Like corporations, they are the undead.) and sometimes directly by corporations, started programs to spread these ideas among the public, and,more importantly, politicians. Once it got inserted into the Progressive Movement, it really got going. Interestingly, today’s resurgent reformist, populist movements, the modern Progressives, is also being infected with racial ideology. A partially successful attempt to have race or nationality replace class in the reform movements. Do not forget that the Irish, Italians, Slavs, Greek, Jews, even sometimes the Spanish, were not considered part of the White Race, which meant that they were racially inferior. It was only into the 1960s, that this idea (mostly) died out. Guess what countries were the major sources of new immigrants?

    Sterilization of imprisoned felons, those in asylums, the mentally or emotionally disabled, the occasional orphan, Blacks going to doctors, White and Black children of the very poor being grabbed and sent to medical clinics by the police, and I am sure I am missing somethings. All this became a thing from about 1900, peaked in the 1930s, but continued, legally, into the 1970s with California and North Carolina.

    I used the qualifier “legally” because it still went on, and probably still active somewhere, in the California prison system past 2000. Completely illegal of course, but every few decades stories drift out from the blackout of the penal system, and bye-bye doctor(s) and unofficial program in whatever isolated women’s prison(s) it is being done. I have been looking for these stories on these kind of projects for over thirty years every since I found out about this happening in my state. Every roughly every decade it reappears, but you have to look for it. It always on some back page, or some verbal radio or television blurbette.

    To recap, the movement had its modern birth in the 1850s with Darwin’s and Wallace’s ideas being perverted. Social Darwinism appeared in the 1860s. Then in the 1870s the eugenicist Galton had his ideas extended beyond what he thought was good. From the beginning, businesses and wealthy individuals financially supported these ideas. It became a professionally acceptable Western theory in the late 1900s into the 1930s and used in the debates of any and all social reforms, including social security like programs, prisons, schools, hospitals, and immigration, as well as colonization. Denying the ability to marry or legally have children. The existence of American slums, the extermination of the Native Americans, the horrible conditions for Blacks, and so on were justified as well. Then came sterilization, first of patients in medical institutions, then criminal prisoners, then occasionally orphans, then poor people in medical clinics regardless of race, then poor children being kidnapped of the street. The sterilizations themselves were approved by the Supreme Court although I doubt they would have approved of kidnapping children.

    Now, we come to the Germans. They too followed every development in each country the Eugenics Movement appeared. Their medical, legal, and educational institutions became completely tied to the other countries’ institutions and they imported it all. The laws on miscegenation, sterilization of the inferior, on the care of the mentally and physically disabled, on marriage, everything was copied from the Americans. Sorry folks. They got it from the United States. Then their improvements of the ideas of eugenics was genocide. Why sterilize the odd handful at a time? Sterilize them all. Then the idea was why sterilization? Aren’t they a “burden on society?” That is the reason for the first death vans or trucks using carbon monoxide when injections or starvation caused them problems like enraged relatives. Also too slow. The Nazis have mentally and emotionally prepared for the next improvement on eugenics by the time Poland was conquered. Those improvements terrified the Allies and poisoned the idea of eugenics in the West.

    It took 87 years from Darwin’s and Wallace’s to be used to start the debate on eugenics to the closing of the extermination camps. Each step was merely an extension of the previous step. The idea of eugenics influenced everything from philosophy to law to medicine to military strategy (the Nazis took military resources like trains from the Wehrmacht to continue the Final Solution when the Germany military was losing the war.)

    Expanding on this, I am going to put in Identity Politics. The original identity politics comes from the Combahee River Collective and its statement put out in the 1970s; everyone has many identities, many parts, many connections, to everyone else and to ignore them and the complex interaction of our identities with the many parts of the system of oppression strengthens the oppressors; acknowledging and working with the whole gives us strength. Whatever else, the identity politics as described in the statement was an attempt to unite the whole, the whole individual, the whole society, and the individual with that society.

    I just have to say that I think someone are pushing the growth and power of Idpol in an attempt to quell the serfs and servants. A modern COINTELPRO is in action. We just haven’t see it yet. And if you think me completely crazy, which is quite understandable, just recall those sterilizations done on immigrant women while they are imprisoned recently.

    1. Redlife2017

      I think that is very well argued. Thank you.

      The connection between IdPol and eugenics is something I have been wondering about. There have been weird arguments that white people are inherently racist – which considering race is not a biological thing, I find very, well, strange to come from so-called lefties who like to argue about “listen to the science”. Because the line from saying that to saying that “Black people are [fill in the blank]” or “Chinese people are [fill in the blank]” is really not very far. Even if the people making the IdPol arguments aren’t going to go there, someone else most certainly will. And the Biden Administration is going to really “mature” that project. Either purposely or completely (and I would think more likely) totally by accident.

      I do not look forward to the election of 2022. I think the next 18 months will be quite a dark turn…

      1. JBird4049

        I agree that it is likely to get dark and I think it will be darker than most people are anticipating. Agree or disagree with Darwin and Wallace, their ideas and scientific theory were just the result of honest research. Things are allowed to get worse because of the step by step twisting of ideas to support the increase in whatever the evil is, usually, ultimately for personal gain, not knowledge.

        Most people have a conscience, however shriveled, which prevent them from going beyond a point. A gradual increase in evil actions can get around that. Anyone who was looking to use the theory of natural selection to support Social Darwinism, never mind eugenical programs would have just stopped if they had somehow realized Aktion T4 and the Holocaust would be the end results regardless of how racist they were. Eleven million deaths are a bit much. The 82 years between Darwin and Auschwitz allowed the growth of mental possibilities into those genocides.

        I fear that the Combahee River Collective statement on personal identity has been, and will continue to be twisted, into the insanity of Identity Politics. Who knows just how far the decent will be? We are already at the neo-racist idea of supposedly inherent white racism, which is being mated with the Clintonian idea of the Disposables. Just like how much of Social Darwinism is just unscientifically Cuckooish, especially after the eventually greater understanding of what evolution, including human evolution, is, so is Identity Politics and Disposability. I wonder just how many self proclaimed leftists, liberals, and moderates realize that they are going into untermensch territory.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It would appear that when I spoke of ” Racial Justice Leftard WokeNazis”, I was more clinically correct than I realized.

          ( And why shouldn’t I believe that the Combahee River Collective Statement wasn’t deliberately stealth-written on purpose with exactly that intent in mind?)

          1. JBird4049

            I am increasingly paranoid and conspiracy minded, but I need some connection to reasonableness. This includes the belief that the alphabet agencies are doing nefarious things with decades in mind. However,once you release an idea into the wild, it can be used by anyone in anyway they want.

            Wallace and Darwin didn’t write their theory up just so it could be twisted by the Nazis to justified genocide four generations later; I just don’t think that the collective, in 1974, wrote their statement so that it would be stolen, distorted into a meaning nearly 180 degrees from what was actually said, and then used on a national level in 2020 or even at the academic level in 1995.

  27. eg

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