2:00PM Water Cooler 11/5/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

More hot takes soon! –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

I feel like singing now that Election Day is past….

#COVID19

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:

Up, up, up!

Test positivity by region:

Case fatality rate by region:

Diminishing returns?

Politics

“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

2020 Hot Takes

No, the ALL CAPS is wrong:

It’s “The 👏 Sink 👏 is 👏 So 👏 Much 👏 Better.”

Sellout’s remorse:

2020 Democrats in Disarray

“The 2020 Election Result Completely Discredits The Democratic Leadership” [Current Affairs]. This is quite a takedown. Here is a choice nugget: “Let’s be very clear: the Democratic Party screwed this election up massively. Trump actually did better than he did in 2016 in areas with high COVID-19 deaths. Union members in Ohio appear to have gone for Trump, and most of the people who saw the economy as the top issue voted for Trump, even though this should theoretically be the issue on which the Democratic Party is strongest. ”

UPDATE The bill of particulars:

UPDATE More on redistricting:

UPDATE Same as it ever was (see Nomiki Konst after 2016 here):

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA:

UPDATE This doesn’t seem to be getting the same traction RussiaRussiaRussia and racism did, oh well:

UPDATE So much for the “Obama Coalition”:

Bullshit called, 2016.

FL: “‘Old white men are dying,’ so Trump looked elsewhere for votes in Florida” [Politico]. “Along with frequent campaign and surrogate trips, including at least four from the president himself in the final weeks, Team Trump’s winning formula included a heavy dose of messaging that sought to brand Democrats as socialists and anti-police, a focus on opening the economy despite the coronavirus pandemic, generous spending on a traditional ground game, and the buildout of a coalition that Trump in the past had paid little attention to, according to nearly a dozen Florida Republicans and campaign officials. That new coalition will be central to continued Republican success in the state. As one Republican put it, ‘you’ve got to kind of recognize that old white men are dying.’ For Trump, that meant adding to his support of conservative-leaning Cuban Americans and older white voters. The campaign wooed non-Cuban Hispanics and put a greater emphasis on conservative South Florida Jewish voters. The campaign also sought the support of Black voters with messaging focused on school choice and the Trump administration’s funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, something that it hadn’t done in 2016. Ryan Tyson, a Tallahassee-based Republican pollster and consultant who tracked Trump’s performance across the state, said the president’s ability to pull support from traditionally Democratic demographics played a huge role in his win.”

MA: Gonna be interesting to see Warren trying to get these voters back:

TX: “Houston was a train wreck for Democrats in 2020. Here’s why.” [Houston Chronicle]. “Republican political consultant Derek Ryan said Democratic candidates generally over-relied on phone calls, texts, commercials and mail in an attempt to make up for their lack of in-person campaigning. Republicans gained an advantage, Ryan said, by block-walking door to door, which they did while wearing masks and standing six feet from voters’ front doors. Marc Campos, a longtime Democratic strategist in Houston, agreed with that assessment. ‘I think there’s something to be said about not having a traditional ground game while the Republicans did,’ Campos said. ‘There were some people that went door to door and did (literature) drops, but we weren’t as aggressive as the Republican Party was.'”

2020

Biden (D)(1): “It Isn’t Over Yet, but Biden Has Ground for His Confidence” [The New Yorker]. “Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden said, “It’s clear that we are winning enough states to reach two hundred and seventy electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report when the count is finished we believe we will be the winners.” The former Vice-President has ground for his confidence. Earlier in the afternoon, the Associated Press called Wisconsin for him. CNN also called Michigan for him. Nevada also seems to be heading in his direction. That effectively means that Biden needs to pick up only Arizona or Georgia or Pennsylvania—all states where there are still a lot of uncounted ballots—to get to two hundred and seventy Electoral College votes.”

Biden (D)(2): “The Daily 202: Biden patched up the Blue Wall, but he failed to rebuild Obama’s coalition” [WaPo]. “The urban-rural divide actually grew deeper this year. In 2016, Trump won 23 [Wisconsin] counties that Obama had won. Biden took back just two of them: Door and Sauk. ‘Biden instead exceeded previous Democratic win margins in Wisconsin’s two biggest cities, Milwaukee and Madison. That pattern extended to Michigan and other battleground states,’ Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report. ‘That leaves the nation potentially heading toward a period of entrenched partisan warfare, even as it is battered by crises. ‘This is a democracy at full work, but clearly very divided,’ said Jim Doyle, a former Democratic governor of Wisconsin. ‘We are clearly very, very divided by cities and rural, we’re very divided by race.'” • C’mon Jim, you can say it. C-… Cl-….

Trump (R)(1): This is a good ad:

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): Since anecdotes are all we have at this point:

TPP; no Iraq, Aghanistan, or Libya. Or Russia.

* * *

“What’s really going on with the mail-in ballots the US Postal Service can’t trace” [Recode]. Vice had this same story yesterday. “Several news outlets reported on Election Day that the United States Postal Service did not have records of delivery scans for 300,000 mail-in ballots across a dozen states, stoking fears [note lack of agency] that changes to the Postal Service implemented earlier this year by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a top Trump donor, had potentially disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters. But the president of the largest postal worker union corroborated in an interview with Recode on Wednesday morning what the Postal Service has repeatedly said about the data in court filings in recent days: There are numerous reasons why ballots in the days leading up to the election would not receive a delivery scan and that it’s highly unlikely that the number of undelivered ballots totaled anywhere near 300,000. ‘Just because something didn’t have [a delivery scan] does not translate at all into ‘it was not delivered,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told Recode on Wednesday…. ‘What we had in place … is the ballots were given such priority treatment, even beyond first-class treatment, that ballots were being purposely pulled out’ of normal mail-processing procedures and given expedited delivery in the days leading up to Election Day.” • The ballots didn’t get scanned because that would have delayed. So, leaving aside the hysteria and the yammering and the usual Twitter virality, because honestly, who cares anymore, the whole episode is an example of the deformation professionelle of the liberal Democrat hive mind. (1) They instantly blamed Trump, in the sort of conspiratorial reflex action they decry in others; (2) they did not know, or seek to learn, the material circumstances of the discrepancy, and in particular (3) ignored union leadership and the workers themselves, to whom they could have gone for clarification; and (4) they mistook the map (scanned data representing the ballots) for the territory (the ballots themselves), which is exactly the sort of mistake that PMC symbol manipulators would make. They also (5) undercut the credibility and reputation of the Post Office and those who work there*. I await the heartfelt mea culpas on this one [snicker]. NOTE * Who are [snicker] disproportionately minorities, good job, liberal Democrats.

“Contested Election: The 2020 Election Has Proven A Target Rich Environment For Challenges” [Jonathan Turley]. “It is inevitable with tens of millions of voters across thousands of polls that isolated or systemic problems arise. But this election is different by a high order of magnitude. Mail voting is always a magnet for challenges. In past elections, some mail ballots were not even counted since they would not affect the outcome. Now officials have to process tens of millions of mail ballots in areas that have not dealt with such numbers before. Watch the developments in three basic categories as the election unfolds…. The first category of challenges is deadlines. This will constitute the most extensive form of challenges. The ‘clocking’ of ballots is an effective basis for challenges as the deadlines are set by state law…. Another category of challenges is conditions. This rises significantly in the election and includes allegations of voter suppression due to long lines or malfunctioned equipment…. The most worrisome category of challenges is certification. This comes when the votes must be certified by the states for eventual submission to Congress. Many states do not start counting votes until after polls close. That could leave the outcome hanging by both tabulation and litigation, which could be serious in Pennsylvania. Michigan is also of concern due to its 1,600 districts with different systems. Wisconsin and Nevada will process record numbers of mail ballots with untested systems. Nevada has rejected demands for added standards to count ballots that could spark challenges over potential voter fraud. Such challenges can force recounts, the process that slowed states like Florida in 2000. The problem is that the states must send certified results to Congress in five weeks. There is a chance that challenges could delay submissions, or that states could send two sets of electors as a result of disputed results. Congress would have to select between those conflicting sets or perhaps disregard submissions.” • It is still shocking to me that I have to go to a conservative lawyer to find a simple, high-level explanation of the legal issues at stake. I do try to keep track, but all that’s crossed by Twitter feed from Democrats is yammering that Trump is trying to steal the election (which, if there are genuine legal issues at stake, is untrue by definition).

“OSCE slams Trump’s ‘baseless allegations’ of US electoral fraud” [Deutsche Welle]. “An international election observer mission to the US has concluded there was no evidence of election fraud and Tuesday’s presidential vote was ‘competitive and well managed,’ despite ‘logistical challenges’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) noted statements made by President Donald Trump about deficiencies within the country’s electoral system were baseless and eroded trust in democracy.” From the OSCE report (PDF):

Election observation is regulated by state law, but some states leave it to the discretion of election officials. The elections were extensively observed by partisan and non-partisan observers which increased the transparency of the process, however, a number of states and counties do not allow citizen non-partisan and international observers inside polling premises. Concerns of intimidation by persons outside of polling stations acting as poll watchers incited to do so by accusations that there would be widespread voter fraud, were raised in the run up to the elections. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, election officials in several jurisdictions limited the number of observers permitted. Legal restrictions on presence of international observers are in place in at least eighteen states, which is not in line with OSCE commitments. While the presence of IEOM observers was welcomed in the majority of states where observers were deployed, state election officials in three out of 30 states visited declined to meet with them or share their views.

And:

A national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition comprised of more than 300 local, state and national partners maintains a permanent hotline operated by some 43,000 volunteers in multiple languages to answer voters’ concerns and questions.104 It also provided immediate legal support nationwide in case of disputes during the polls and conducted election observation. According to its representatives, it deployed 45,000 observers for these elections.

So, as usual, a patchwork. That said, anybody who watched the 2016 and 2020 Democrat primaries knows that liberal Democrats have both the operational capability, the desire, and the will to steal elections. All those are operating in this year’s general, especially given perceived existential threats. But that they could doesn’t mean they did. I have not seen a colorable claim of election theft by Democrats (although I distinguish this from court cases brought to challenge resutls, which Republican rhetoric does not).

UPDATE “Biden Had No Election Coattails” [Karl Rove]. “There are suspicious partisans across the spectrum who believe widespread election fraud is possible. Some hanky-panky always goes on, and there are already reports of poll watchers in Philadelphia not being allowed to do their jobs. But stealing hundreds of thousands of votes would require a conspiracy on the scale of a James Bond movie. That isn’t going to happen.” • And Rove should know! And speaking of international observers:

UPDATE Astonishing:

Either Jebbie has the memory of a goldfish, or he thinks we all do. (Jebbie, as Florida governor, pioneered Kobach’s approach of purging voter rolls in the 2000 election.)

* * *

“Democrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight” [The Hill]. “One of the most eye-opening statistics of the election was that two Senate Democratic challengers, Amy McGrath and Jaime Harrison, raised $199 million for their respective campaigns against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and wound up losing by about 21 points and 14 points, respectively.” • To be fair, that money sent a lot of Democrat strategist kids to college. So the next generation is in good shape. More: “Now that Sen. Gary Peters (D) has retained his seat in Michigan, Democrats will control at least 48 Senate seats next year — two short of the 50 they need to control the agenda. This means they have to win a Jan. 5 runoff for Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) seat, and also force Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) into the runoff by keeping him below 50 percent of the vote, and then defeat him in a Jan. 5 runoff as well.”

“Senate Dems Spent A Billion Dollars And Need A Miracle” [Andrew Perez and Julia Rock, Daily Poster]. “Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and challengers like Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, Amy McGrath in Kentucky, and MJ Hegar in Texas combined to raise $250 million this cycle — and they all appear to have lost by double digits. Well-funded challengers like Sara Gideon in Maine and outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in Montana took in nearly $110 million and lost, too. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the national party committee that elects Democratic Senate candidates, and the Senate Majority PAC, the DSCC’s allied super PAC, together raised more than $450 million this cycle…. Only two Democratic challengers, former Gov. John Hickenlooper in Colorado and Mark Kelly in Arizona, won their races on Tuesday. Democrats also lost one seat in Alabama, so they currently hold 48 seats.”

“Puerto Rico Voters Declare They Want U.S. Statehood. Now What?” [Bloomberg]. “On an election night in Puerto Rico full of cliffhangers and razor thin margins, one vote seemed a bit more clear: a majority in the U.S. territory wants the island to be a full-fledged state. A non-binding referendum on the sidelines of the governor’s race found that 52% of voters want statehood versus 48% who are against it. Some 590,000 people voted in favor of statehood — more votes than any gubernatorial candidate received including pro-statehood front-runner Pedro Pierluisi.”

* * *

“The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy” [The Atlantic]. “Surveys badly missed the results, predicting an easy win for former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic pickup in the Senate, and gains for the party in the House. Instead, the presidential election is still too close to call, Republicans seem poised to hold the Senate, and the Democratic edge in the House is likely to shrink. This is a disaster for the polling industry and for media outlets and analysts that package and interpret the polls for public consumption, such as FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ Upshot, and The Economist’s election unit. They now face serious existential questions. But the greatest problem posed by the polling crisis is not in the presidential election, where the snapshots provided by polling are ultimately measured against an actual tally of votes: As the political cliché goes, the only poll that matters is on Election Day. The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.”

UPDATE Nobody knows anything (1):

That aged well.

Nobody knows anything (2):

Nobody knew anything before the election, and nobody knows anything after it, either. Swell.

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.

Employment Situtation: “31 October 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Marginally Improve” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 730 K to 815 K (consensus 745 K), and the Department of Labor reported 751,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 791,000 (reported last week as 787,750) to 787,000.”

Employment Situation: “October 2020 Job Cuts: Year-to-Date Cuts Fall” [Econintersect]. “October marked the lowest number of layoffs in seven months, as U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 80,666 jobs from their payrolls…. October’s total is 32% lower than the 118,804 cuts announced in September. It is 60% higher than the 50,275 cuts in the same month last year. October’s total is the lowest since February, when 56,605 cuts were announced.”

Productivity: “3Q2020 Preliminary Headline Productivity Improved” [Econintersect]. “A simple summary of the headlines for this release is that labor costs are growing slower than productivity on a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis. The overall view this quarter is that nonfarm productivity is up 4.1 % from the same quarter one year ago while unit costs are up 2.5 %. Please note my productivity analysis at the end of this post which is at odds with the headline view. Doing a productivity analysis during a major recession or recovery period is a waste of time as productivity is obscured by government interventions.”

* * *

Marketing: “Moral foundations theory can help rehabilitate pharma’s image” [STAT]. “I came to realize that most people are unfamiliar with the care the pharmaceutical industry takes in discovering and developing drugs. Few outside the industry know how hard and expensive it is, in both time and money. Fewer understand the failure rate for drugs in development, or the concern the industry must have for product safety. Learning to reframe my conversations about the pharmaceutical industry using arguments based on recently formulated ideas about the basis of conflicts called moral foundations theory has abated the criticism of my career choice among my liberal-leaning friends and family. Although this theory, formulated by Jesse Graham and Jonathan Haidt, was created to explain why religion and politics have become so divisive, it also provides insight into consumer attitudes about other areas…. Liberals particularly abhor monetary trade-offs that result in people getting hurt, especially people who are disadvantaged.” • Lol, #MedicareForAll….

Tech: “BBC makes switch to AWS, serverless for new website architecture, observers grumble about the HTML” [The Register]. “Another comment from John Leach, who runs a headline aggregation site called News Sniffer, said that the generated HTML is not easy to analyze. ‘I run the News Sniffer project which has to parse BBC News pages and I knew about this rollout a few weeks ago when the HTML all changed format completely and my parsers broke. As a side note, the new HTML is way more complicated and much harder to parse than before – I know the aim isn’t to help parsing for content, but I was still saddened to see how it’s ended up.'” • Well, that should be an aim.

Tech: “Volkswagen’s chief battles to keep electric dream alive” [Financial Times]. “The danger is that electric cars, which contain far fewer parts than combustion engine models, will be commoditised. It is a scenario Mr Diess hopes to combat by owning the valuable customer data generated by vehicles that are ever more automated and connected to the web. Modern vehicles contain more lines of code than a smartphone, but Volkswagen relies on suppliers for 90 per cent of its models’ software. Unlike rivals such as Daimler, which has partnered with tech giant Nvidia, VW is ploughing €7bn into building a subsidiary with 5,000 staff, tasked with increasing the amount of proprietary software in VW cars six-fold.”

Manufacturing: “U.S. health care providers are facing new strains on supplies of critical protective gear as Covid-19 cases surge across the country. The inventories of N95 masks have improved since a severe shortage early in the pandemic, but … many facilities are still rationing and reusing the high-grade masks and some state health departments expect supplies to tighten further” [Wall Street Journal]. “The dilemma at hospitals and other sites suggests that earlier shortages of masks, gloves and other gear weren’t entirely solved but merely tamped down as Covid cases fell back during the summer months. Top U.S. producer 3M is on track to produce nearly 100 million N95 masks a month domestically this year, quadrupling its pre-pandemic production, and other companies are adding capacity. But with new Covid cases and deaths spiking sharply higher, 3M says it has ‘more demand than we can supply.'”

Manufacturing: “Semiconductor supply chains are looking far less American than they used to. The U.S. and Europe together produce less than a quarter of world’s chips… a decline from the more than three-quarters of share they held in 1990 that highlights how the epicenter of a sector critical to the electronics industry has shifted” [Wall Street Journal]. “Today, Asian countries dominate semiconductor manufacturing and China is on pace to become the world’s largest chip producer by 2030. The upheaval has come as governments outside the U.S. have offered incentives to build up domestic industries. Chip companies also have been attracted by growing networks of suppliers outside of the U.S., and an expanding workforce of skilled engineers. Some of that production is for U.S. companies but the trend is a growing concern in Washington, and China’s capacity in the high-value supply chains is only growing stronger.

* * *
.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 39 Fear (previous close: 34 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 32 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 5 at 11:37am. • Greed and Fear on. NOTE For those who wonder if we should keep running it, readers asked for it back after I took it away. Also, I like having a quick insight, however shallow, into Mr. Market’s psyche.

The Biosphere

“The Overfitted Brain: Dreams evolved to assist generalization” [Erik Hoel, arXiv]. “Understanding of the evolved biological function of sleep has advanced considerably in the past decade. However, no equivalent understanding of dreams has emerged. Contemporary neuroscientific theories generally view dreams as epiphenomena, and the few proposals for their biological function are contradicted by the phenomenology of dreams themselves. Now, the recent advent of deep neural networks (DNNs) has finally provided the novel conceptual framework within which to understand the evolved function of dreams. Notably, all DNNs face the issue of overfitting as they learn, which is when performance on one data set increases but the network’s performance fails to generalize (often measured by the divergence of performance on training vs. testing data sets). This ubiquitous problem in DNNs is often solved by modelers via ‘noise injections’ in the form of noisy or corrupted inputs. The goal of this paper is to argue that the brain faces a similar challenge of overfitting, and that nightly dreams evolved to combat the brain’s overfitting during its daily learning. That is, dreams are a biological mechanism for increasing generalizability via the creation of corrupted sensory inputs from stochastic activity across the hierarchy of neural structures. Sleep loss, specifically dream loss, leads to an overfitted brain that can still memorize and learn but fails to generalize appropriately. Herein this ‘overfitted brain hypothesis” is explicitly developed and then compared and contrasted with existing contemporary neuroscientific theories of dreams. Existing evidence for the hypothesis is surveyed within both neuroscience and deep learning, and a set of testable predictions are put forward that can be pursued both in vivo and in silico.” • Being extremely wary of treating the brain as doing anything like what we understand as computation, “the novel conceptual framework” should be, IMNSHO, “a novel conceptual framework.” Nevertheless, interesting!

“Identifying gut microbes that affect human health” [Nature]. “Vujkovic-Cvijin et al. report that gender, age, bowel-movement quality (categorized as stools that are solid, normal or loose), body mass index and level of alcohol consumption are among the strongest potential confounders that could hinder efforts to identify true associations between disease and gut-microbiota composition. This is because these characteristics are strongly associated both with microbiota composition and with disease status. When examining the differences between individuals with a condition such as type 2 diabetes and people who do not have this condition (but who might have other diseases), there seem to be many statistically significant associations between disease status and the abundances of different gut bacteria. By contrast, if individuals who have or do not have the disease are matched using some of the confounder criteria mentioned, many of these associations cease to be statistically significant. This implies that some gut-microbiota changes previously attributed to certain diseases might instead stem from other underlying causes related to these confounders. For example, alcohol consumption causes gut-microbiota changes, and individuals who have certain diseases consume less alcohol than average (perhaps because of the drugs that they take). Therefore, failing to match individuals on their level of alcohol consumption could result in a misleading conclusion that microbiota changes associated with the disease are attributable to the disease itself, rather than to a below-average alcohol intake.”

Health Care

“Even if Biden wins, divided Congress stifles chance for more progressive health policies” [Health Care Dive]. “With the 2020 election results still in flux, even if former Vice President Joe Biden squeaks out a win, the chances of him achieving his more ambitious health policy objectives are slim given a Congress even more fractured than before.” • The so-called “public option” being in the “most ambitious” part of “more ambitious,” no doubt. Idea: Democrats should stop listening to pollsters on this, and indeed on all other, issues?

Class Warfare

“Lyft plans next gig-work move: making peace with unions that opposed Proposition 22” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “Now the companies hope their victory will set a model to revamp the nation’s labor landscape, creating a third category of worker, neither employee nor freelancer — an independent contractor with some trappings of an employee. ‘We’re looking ahead and across the country, ready to champion new benefits structures that are portable, proportional, and flexible,’ DoorDash CEO and co-founder Tony Xu, said in a blog post. ‘California’s new law is a groundbreaking step toward the creation of a ‘third way’ that recognizes independent workers in the U.S.,’ Lyft wrote in a press release.” • How about #MedicareForAll, you ghouls?

“Uber and Lyft eye other states after California ballot victory” [CNBC]. “Companies that supported Prop 22 want similar measures elsewhere…. Berenzweig believes that one reason Prop 22 garnered widespread support was because ‘people like to be independent. They don’t like the government shoving an answer down their throat.’ More important, he said, the companies were savvy in defining a middle ground. The new base hourly compensation under Prop 22 is around $16.80, which is higher than the minimum pay under fair labor standards, provisions and regulations. That pay rate helped with the companies’ pitch.”

UPDATE “Passed California Ballot Measure Allows Uber, Lyft To Categorize Workers As Car Parts” [The Onion]. • Certainly “flexible”!

News of the Wired

Somebody had to:

“Programmable Filament Gives Even Simple 3D Printers Multi-Material Capabilities” [IEEE Spectrum]. “At the ACM UIST Conference last week, researchers presented a paper that offers a way of giving even the simplest 3D printer the ability to print in as many materials as you need (or have the patience for) through a sort of printception—by first printing a filament out of different materials and then using that filament to print the multi-material object that you want…. It might seem like using a multi-material filament to create a multi-material print doesn’t actually solve anything, since that multi-material filament has to be created by something that can print multiple materials, right? Right! And a simple 3D printer can totally do that, as long as you’re willing to change out filaments by hand. That’s really the trick here: you use a regular 3D printer to 3D print a complex multi-material filament that you then feed back into the printer to print your object.” • Whoa, how very meta!

Also meta: Google including its search results in its search results:

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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 (CR):

CR writes: “Red maple blue sky white clouds aka fractal world.” Appropriate colors for the day after Election Day indeed. Also, I’ve noticed that we’ve had a run of photos taken while people are out on their walks. I encourage walks, partly for the photos, which I do need, but also because as winter approaches, flanked by its companions darkness and (for some) depression, it’s good to get out in the light and get moving, and also good to look up at the trees and the sky, and not down at the ground and one’s shoes.

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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.

203 comments

  1. antidlc

    Republicans gained an advantage, Ryan said, by block-walking door to door, which they did while wearing masks and standing six feet from voters’ front doors. Marc Campos, a longtime Democratic strategist in Houston, agreed with that assessment. ‘I think there’s something to be said about not having a traditional ground game while the Republicans did,’ Campos said. ‘There were some people that went door to door and did (literature) drops, but we weren’t as aggressive as the Republican Party was.’”

    Serious question…

    Does going door to door really accomplish anything? The article claims it does.

    Are people really going to listen to some stranger talk about why they should vote for candidate xyz?

    Do people even open their door to see who is there? I don’t. If someone rings the doorbell, I don’t answer it. I look out the window and if there is a stranger, I don’t open the door.

    But maybe that’s just me

    1. nippersmom

      I canvassed for Sanders in 2016. I know of at least one household where the two adults (an elderly Black couple) said they were going to vote for Sanders after I spoke with them because we were the only ones who had bothered to approach them to talk about our candidate and his stands on the issues and ask for their vote. Of course, we had some houses that were Hillary voters and some that were already pro-Bernie, but we also had others who listened to what we had to say, took the literature, and said they would weigh their options before deciding.

      So yes, it can make a difference.

    2. anon in so cal

      As someone who’s knocked on neighborhood doors to get signatures for various petitions, it’s amazing how so many people will come to the door and open it. My neighborhood bestie is also amazed; both of us will never open our own doors. She quotes another neighbor like us whose motto is, “if you couldn’t go the trouble of calling first, I won’t go to the trouble of coming to the door.”

      People also came to the door back in 2016 when I canvassed for Sanders. Is canvassing what these GOP types did? I personally think it’s totally useless. People back then were either already going to vote for Sanders or hostilely said they were voting for Clinton, end of discussion.

    3. Shtucb

      I’ve worked on a few significant local ballot measures, one in particular where polls went from being a sure loss (38%) to a sure win (55%) in 5 months due to our efforts. We were all sure that our huge ground game vs. the astroturf opponent made an enormous difference. We had maybe 200+ people doing canvassing, and they had effectively zero.

      You can never re-run the experiment, and therefore can’t prove it, but I’m convinced.

    4. stefan

      Absolutely it does. The best example I know of is Connie Morella. She made a point of canvassing her entire Maryland 8th district door to door the first time she ran for Congress, and she was re-elected seven times after that, a moderate Republican in a Democratic district. BTW, she was the only Republican to vote against both Iraq wars.

      1. albrt

        I can see the actual candidate going door to door being effective. Almost everybody likes to vote for somebody they “know.”

        Harder to see it with low-level volunteers who can’t even really say what the candidate will do. I would absolutely laugh at anyone showing up at my door predicting that Mr. Biden will do anything other than hide in the White House basement if elected. He can’t risk going upstairs to govern for fear of literal defenestration by Ms. Harris (or by any of the other vipers he will appoint to his cabinet).

        But I do think the dynamic mentioned above works with a small but meaningful percentage of people. “You’re the only ones who showed up and asked for my vote, so I will vote for your candidate.”

        1. ambrit

          Agreed. One of the few politicos I remember going door to door recently was a candidate for County Sheriff who was not the “preferred candidate.” He won. Before that, the present Mayor of our half-horse town went door to door his first try and also won. I also remember the father of a state Representative going door to door in her behalf. She lost, but entered the political ladder by winning at the City Council level the next year.
          One thing not generally mentioned about “lowly” local positions is that they are not full time careers. City Council members, etc. generally have to also earn a living at the same time.

    5. curlydan

      I think a lot of people will still answer the door, and frankly, it kind of shows you care.

      Getting a phone call just seems annoying to me. Getting a text feels lifeless–like you’re just talking to some bot.

      The problem the Democrats have with door-to-door (at least in a non-COVID environment) is that it’s kind of hard work that probably take real management and (quelle horreur!) sometimes you might have to pay people to do it.

      It’s a lot easier to get people to phone bank from their homes after a virtual training than meeting in a centralized location and asking them to fan out across the city then come back to meet up again later.

      In other words, door-to-door cuts into the profit margin of the Democratic Party, and that makes their money laundering operation (taking chunks of your money to send their kids to a nice college) a lot less profitable.

    6. verifyfirst

      Very good question. I don’t know if there is actual research on it. I know from all the door knocking I have done over the past 30 years, it seldom felt like I made any difference, except in down ballot races, where if they agreed with my top level candidate, they would take the literature and perhaps vote the whole slate, including judges.

      But Rashida and Omar certainly think it made a big difference in MN and MI this time around, including for Biden, so who am I to argue.

      https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/05/omar-and-tlaib-credited-major-factors-securing-biden-victories-minnesota-and

    7. dcblogger

      there is a ton of research on this and it all says that door to door works. Campaign managers have told me that you can always tell when canvassers are out because the website lights up. the only limitation on it is urban areas where everyone lives in a high rise where canvassers cannot enter. Then you have to organize meet and greets in as many buildings as you can arrange and do what is called community canvass, where you distribute literature in front of subway stops, libraries, grocery stores, farmers markets, etc.

    8. EarlErland

      “Does going door to door really accomplish anything?”

      Wow. We are in this together is a start. Going door to door once with my Four year old daughter on a lit drop she ran up to people outside on an August primary Saturday saying Happy Birthday vote for LaGrand

      I had to remind a cousin tonight MLK was never a person desired by the Democratic Party.

  2. TBellT

    “Nobody knew anything before the election, and nobody knows anything after it, either. Swell.”

    I’m taking pleasure in this fact, because it means I can just write off whoever tells me they know what needs to be done.

    I think back to an a line from an old workout tape I used to have; “How do you know what to do if you dont know what you did”

    1. dcblogger

      in a world of vapor voting machines nobody knows anything. Kudos to lambert for staying on top of this. Democrats do not want to deal with this, not just the bosses, the Democratic grassroots is also in denial. Just a handful of tireless election integrity activists keep plugging away on this.

  3. antidlc

    ” ‘Just because something didn’t have [a delivery scan] does not translate at all into ‘it was not delivered,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union,..”

    My own experience.

    I have paid extra to send letters/packages certified. Several times the tracking showed the letter/package in transit and the website never updated to show the letter/package was delivered.

    Really ticks me off.

    1. Keith

      Annoys me, too, especially when it involves live animals. PO will tell you to plan on one day, seller says it is likely to be a day or two sooner. Seller is usually right. It makes it hard for me to pick up my animals (ducks and geese so far) as I need to coordinate time off work. USPS don’t deliver the birds to my home. In fairness, UPS has been slacking in that department, too.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Has the USPS been slacking in these various regards? Or has steady defunding through the sneaky retirement super-prefunding mechanism combined with de Joy’s careful policies designed to prevent mail delivery been carefully slack-jacketing the USPS? To deliberately on purpose create the results you experience? To recruit you to the Sacred Cause of abolishing the USPS and privately profitising the profitizable parts and hostilely liquidating the unprofitizable parts?

  4. zagonostra

    >The Overfitted Brain: Dreams evolved to assist generalization – [Erik Hoel, arXiv].

    …dreams are a biological mechanism for increasing generalizability via the creation of corrupted sensory inputs from stochastic activity across the hierarchy of neural structures

    I’m not a neuroscientist but I play one on NC. I have a theory that dreaming is like defragmenting the hard drive on my computer, same thing as smarty pants above. My mind gathers all kinds of flotsam (stochastic activity) through out my day/life. When I go to sleep my brain goes to the accessory panel and selects the defragmentation option. I always feel more productive after a deep REM dream and am ready to take in more data.

    A corollary of my thesis is that I hand over control of the steering wheel (attention) to someone else while I take a break. Your eyes get tired after driving for 12 hours.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      This is why lucid dreaming was meh for me, gets in the way of the important stuff. Like sleeping.

      1. Late Introvert

        I like that I can head off nightmares these days, but ya I’d rather not get involved and see where it goes.

    2. jr

      None of this can account for the content of my dreams, the narratives, the characters, the sense of fear or wonder I feel. This smacks of confusing the TV set with the show playing on the screen.

      Unless you think dreams are merely “epiphenomenal” or just utilitarian processes.

      Condolences.

    3. Yves Smith

      I have terrific dreams pretty much all the time, with phenomenal and highly varied physical settings (usually but not always buildings, both inside and out) major features. Never any place I have been in life nor much resemblance to them. I don’t see how my dream obsession with physical spaces can relate to real life information processing needs.

      Lucid dream some too. I’ll decide something has to be a dream, and test it by flying. Then I’ll sometimes argue with myself as to why I can’t fly when awake.

      1. albrt

        I don’t see how my dream obsession with physical spaces can relate to real life information processing needs.

        Maybe you are unconsciously working on your memory castle. Thanks for the hat tip yesterday, by the way.

  5. Fred fubar

    > Nobody knew anything before the election, and nobody knows anything after it, either. Swell.

    And yet we want to be “Dogs on the internet”. /me shrugs

  6. Jason Boxman

    To be fair, that money sent a lot of Democrat stragegist kids to college. So the next generation is in good shape.

    Worse, these kids all too often ascend into the Democrat intelligentsia itself, perpetuating the rot. A perpetual loop of never learning lessons, and doing so well no lessons are necessary.

  7. Neelo

    Gee, I’m so glad I didn’t send money to the Democrats to defeat Mitch McConnell. Maybe it’s my fault he won? I’m sorry.

    Never, ever donate another cent to these losers and their “funds”. Maybe donate to a local populist, of any party, but not the Democrats. After all, they have Silicon Valley and their billions to tap. Why do they need us?

    1. Samuel Conner

      As Nixon wrote to DJT decades ago, the “little people” are useful as props.

      I agree about making contributions. I think the thing to focus on is helping progressives in the primaries. How does that saying go?

      Oh yes! “Early money is like yeast”

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Why do they need us?’

      Simple. By taking your money, it ensures that you do not have money then to send to a progressive.

  8. notabanker

    “The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.”

    They keep saying the important stuff out loud. I think they are really slipping.

    OMG, what would life be like without polls and pundits to tell us how to think? /s

    1. a different chris

      Wow, just wow.

      You and I stupidly thought it was:

      1) Politicians study what’s going on, talk to as many people as possible, come up with plans

      2) They bring those plans to the people during voting season, and whoever gets closer gets voted in

      3) The winners go and do what they said they were going to do, or at least try to, or maybe fake it because all they wanted were the perks but whatever

      4) After a reasonable period of time, the people have a chance to thumbs-up or thumbs-down on their progress.

      Rinse and repeat.

      But no, I guess they need to know up-to-the-minute what we are thinking, like we have time to think about all the crap they are supposed to be doing *and* do our normal jobs.

      Lordy.

      1. edmondo

        If we got rid of the pollsters then politicians might have to run on their own deeply held feelings, you know, have some core values. That will never fly.

  9. Josef K

    It’s a commonplace observation nowadays that groups of (especially young) people will be seated together (well perhaps not since March) and all looking down at their phones. The other day I glanced back at the car behind me in line, two young guys, both looking straight down. It occurred to me that smartphones have us looking pretty much straight down a lot more. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

    1. John

      Why not? Gets rid of all those pesky benefits. Saves money, worry; we are not responsible. They have to pay their own social security. Creates a Golden Parachute without the bother of being fired or retiring.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      If you’re an employer, what’s not to love? You don’t pay for training, vacations, sick time, health insurance, FICA taxes, unemployment insurance, retirement contributions, phones, rent, utilities, maintenance and cleaning of work space and so on. If an unexpected event — such as a pandemic — causes a business slowdown, you can dump those contractors with a ten-second phone call or text. Or just not call them at with the next assignment.

      1. Keith

        It creates a problem for govt, though. It needs to be able to track all those people to tax them. As employment becomes more informal, so do payments a reporting creating gaps. I have seen it first hand in WA, where independent housekeepers operate via word of mouth, as so do not need to report income. This allows them to also claim benefits for having kids with “no” income. This expanded under COVID as the economy closed, so everything went to a black market, eg auto detailing, barbers, nail salons, etc. Business occurring without taxation or regulation. As this model expands, so will the “shadow” economy, because after all, will the participants really care if govt gets their cut or will they prefer keeping more of what they make? Also allows them to work when they want and not have to deal with govt dictates or needless rules and bureaucracy.

    3. DJG

      Glen: This is already rampant in publishing. I have never been able to figure out how it is legal. I suspect that what is happening is that the cripple IRS just can’t investigate. And that’s what will happen with the gig economy companies–they defeated taxi regulations, and now they want to defeat labor law.

      1. Stephen V.

        DGT: if by *investigate* you mean office audit, then you are correct. But for the little people, there is a machine audit. Namely gig peeps & all self employed are sposed to be issued a pc of paper (F.1099) WHICH IS ALSO SENT TO IŘS. If the worker doesn’t report this same amount of income–they will eventually have to file or pay or both. Problem is, do these workers have the leverage to bargain for a level of income high enough to cover both SS Tax and income tax? Theres the rub.

        1. albrt

          do these workers have the leverage to bargain for a level of income high enough to cover both SS Tax and income tax?

          Um, no.

          If you don’t believe me, can I please have a $100K grant to study the problem?

      2. epynonymous

        The reason the publishing industry even exists is someone once wrote a book critical of the king of england in the 1600’s. He then mandated any one who published needed 10,000 silver pieces on deposit ahead of time to ensure the behavior of us plebs.

        Don’t have a reference to hand, but that’s how this type of history just gets lost.

    4. Chromex

      Well its just state law. I do not know the current test but back when I was practicing tax law, state law was irrelevant for determining whether someone was an employee or an ic. If that is still the case it may not change much in actuality. It also applies to Federal wage/overtime laws , although the fed min wage is disgustingly low.. the fact is that the feds do not care about state law in determining whether you are complying with federal requirements.

  10. a different chris

    That leaves the nation potentially heading toward a period of entrenched partisan warfare

    Uh, where has he been for like this whole century? Actually, maybe I should be gentler, it’s pretty arguable that only one side seemed to know it was in a fight. Well one side and The Squad, but haha they are young and need to calm down sez Nancy.

    PS: I was so happy to see “polling” and “garbage” in the same tweet!! Polls are not even wrong, is the point maybe people are finally getting…

  11. WobblyTelomeres

    “and also good to look up at the trees and the sky, and not down at the ground and one’s shoes.”

    Old joke:

    Q. what is the difference between an introverted engineer and an extroverted engineer?

    A. an extroverted engineer looks at your shoes.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Looking down at the ground can be great — if you’re cultivating it.

      Go long garden supplies.

  12. Edward

    I have not been following the polling issue, but weren’t there some polls, used by the Biden campaign for example, that were expected to be somewhat reliable? These are the ones that should probably be examined for accuracy. Pepe Escobar wrote an article a few weeks ago referring to such a poll, which indicated Trump was doing better then the usual polls claimed.

    1. Glen

      My own pet theory is that polls have become much more about TELLING you what to think as opposed to finding out what you think. But this has become increasingly difficult as what we are hearing on the MSM becomes so detached from our lived reality. And pollsters increasingly dance around what is popular with EVERYBODY. For example, this were the results from a Fox News exit poll:

      Want government run healthcare: 72%
      Concerned about climate change: 70%
      Increase spending for Green/Renewable energy: 70%

      Judging from the above, we are not getting a chance to even vote for one candidate that supports what the American people want. Instead voting is no longer about voting for who fixes the problems as opposed to who will be the less destructive. In fact, the whole political process seems to be designed to ensure that people who have solutions to problems are keep as far away from power as possible.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        But but but AOC wrote another “sternly-worded letter” to Biden yesterday, *holding his feet to the fire* on the Latino vote results. NOTE: “on the vote results”, NOT to suggest any policies whatsoever that might actually APPEAL to them. Maybe some better LatinX messaging will work instead, Hilary had hot sauce, Joe played some Latin music on his phone. I do look forward to watching Latinos who voted for Biden because they thought they would somehow be getting something “better” for them than Trump.

        Because fluff aside, as for the substance when you try to negotiate with a crime syndicate boss Michael Corleone portrayed what happens next: “You can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: nothing“.

      2. Edward

        This is what I am wondering; are most polls really “polls” for the rubes/voters, while the elites use a few reliable polls to discover public attitudes? I suppose the alternative explanation is incompetence.

        The problems with American democracy are legion at this point. Most politicians seem to have little inclination or incentive to remedy the problems, despite the fact the whole country is falling apart.

        1. albrt

          I think there are pollsters who can compensate for a lot of what is going on if they know the audience, such as Selzer in Iowa.

          The nationwide stuff is mostly BS for entertainment purposes, clever enough to predict better than you or I could do and maybe front-run the betting markets by an hour or so, but no basis for making decisions of consequence.

          I suppose that’s why experienced politicians make all their decisions based on cash contributions rather than polls.

    2. Biph

      I don’t think the national numbers will be that far off, the RCP average had Biden up 7% on election day, it looks like he’ll win the popular vote by 4-6% so that number will be +1-3% Biden. Some of the State polls were quite off FL, OH, IA others were pretty close NC, GA and AZ.

      1. albrt

        My home state of Arizona has come out of this election looking relatively less insane than a lot of places. So we got that going for us, which is nice when you are looking back at 100 days in a row of 110 degree plus temperatures with no rain.

  13. Alternate Delegate

    Being extremely wary of treating the brain as doing anything like what we understand as computation…

    But neural networks are in fact very different from sequential digital computation! You can simulate one with the other and therefore argue that both are Turing-complete, but the practical challenges are quite distinct.

    Working on a large project 25 years ago, it quickly became clear that the problem of generalizing from a training data set to a testing data set (also called a validation set) was completely nontrivial.

    In fact, neural networks got a bad reputation for twenty years. This happened because people would make exaggerated claims based on a poor validation set that was not really independent of the training set. Then the network would fall flat on its face when it was run against real-world inputs.

    Having seen this done right, with a good independent validation data set, I know it can be done. I suspect the more recent successes of neural nets have to do with people actually grappling with the validation problem. When you get to that point, you can see these nets start to make human-like errors. Errors like confusing two inputs that should have been easy to distinguish, because one of them is reminiscent of a third case, and this acts as a distraction. Completely unlike the usual programming bugs in sequential logic.

    Maybe it’s just a result of having been too close to this stuff, but I do see brain function as comparable to the behavior of these artificial nets. Not the same, but close enough to provide a useful comparison.

    1. a different chris

      >Errors like

      Don’t forget the racism! That was awesome, sigh.

      > start to make human-like errors

      I don’t know if you did, condolences if so you’ll never get that time back, read my rant on self-driving cars. That was basically it, if you want them to drive like humans you have to be OK with them smashing into things every once in awhile.

      But they aren’t, because Tesla won’t take financial responsibility for you driving over somebody’s grandma.

  14. John

    Why not party organization and a strong ground game in lieu of these stand-off methods, which are rather like subduing the enemy by high-altitude bombing? Hmmm … That might get ‘them’ out to vote. Is that good or bad for getting the right people elected. Tis a puzzlement.

    Why not get behind an agenda that the public favors? Oh, I see. They don’t like that idea; might cut into profits. Might give the plebs ideas. My God man, that sounds like populism or dare we say, not say, whisper, socialism.

    I respond Socialism is a scare word to you. Was Eisenhower a socialist? We had a kind of Social democracy between WW II and 1970 even as LBJ blew up the economy by monetizing the debt and under cover the ‘malefactors of great wealth” to use FDR’s term, or their children were laying the groundwork for the return to the economy of the 1890s, certainly that of the 1920s.

    And look here we are: plutocracy on steroids. But I digress. Put the suit in the closet; put on your walking shoes; get out there and ask for votes for your ideas. Being against goes less than halfway.
    It works just like pen and paper instead of an iPad.

    1. Carla

      “Put the suit in the closet; put on your walking shoes; get out there and ask for votes for your ideas.”

      Why on earth would anybody do that for the Democrats, the wholly owned subsidiary of Grifting, Inc.?

      If you’re going to bother, at least bother starting a mass movement to launch a new party.

      1. flora

        Interesting thing about the populist parties in the 1890s: they were a loose collection of state 3rd parties challenging their state’s R/D corporate dominance of their state leges. They won several seats in their respective state leges before they got together at a convention to combine forces for a national try. They didn’t start top-down. The energy from that time — organizing for mutual self-defense against the Wall St/railroad/banking financial predators — carried into the 1940s an 50s, imo

        Here’s the US Electoral College map from 1892. Weaver was the Populist candidate for president. He won 22 electoral votes. Scared the winds out of the Dem and GOP parties. The Dems later absorbed most of the Populists, but the GOP was also strong to pass some of their legislation when Teddy Roosevelt was president. (Now, both parties are captured by the neoliberal, financial predators, again.)

        https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ElectoralCollege1892.svg

        1. JBird4049

          Both parties are using far less solid or real foundations than any party from before ~1970. Certainly any party of the 19th and early 20th centuries! Money has always been important, but so was mass organization of voters in a hierarchical and systematic way all the way down to the block.

          I think that the whole political establishment decided to neoliberalise their operations by effectively making redundant most of the people who ran the day to day operations and much of the groundwork for campaigning. That was outsourced to election “consultants.” Both parties are also trying to trim the excess fat or unnecessary voters. Get rid of anything that might hinder the profitability of the grift, the vote rigging, and lobbyist’s written legislation.

      2. John

        Thank you. I was so wrapped up in snark that I did not include this. The Democratic Party us hopeless … so is the Republican … we need a movement to push for the things people want. I certainly cannot start a national movement but, I can go to work locally to gin up support. Plant the seeds of something new to take on the establishment. Not easy; I would expect to be laughed at but it is worth the effort. I have young adult grandchildren. I can hope they will join and benefit from it. I am fed up and nothing will change unless we change it.

        1. stefan

          Yes, John, I have often wondered why the commenters at Naked Capitalism don’t compile a platform, or simple agenda, right here. Maybe something like “NC’s Seven Clear Points.” Might be more effective than just complaining about things.

          For instance, I would like to see America hardwired for broadband along every roadway from stem to stern (should have happened in 2009).

          Or, another example, I know Lambert advocates “universal health care, free at the point of service/delivery.” I get my health care from the VA, so I know it works. Also, my son was treated for cancer for free by the Public Health Service at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Took five years, no bills, worked great, now he’s doctor!

          Or, “hand-marked paper ballots counted in public” (that’s how we do it here in northern New Hampshire; above board, works fine, involves many citizens, keeps polling precincts local, small, and plentiful).

          What about a non-hypocritical immigration policy, or an effective national industrial policy? A living wage?

          And so forth. It’s worth pointing out that the Reagan Revolution was prepared for by more than a decade’s worth of serious thinking out in the wilderness at places like the National Review magazine. It takes time and real effort.

          1. edmondo

            Go sell that to The People’s Party. They are looking for a reason to exist. Offer them one. Might want to add Public Funding of Elections too. Money corrupts.

        1. tegnost

          FTA…
          ““He was really down to earth. He knew how to communicate with country people like me and Bubba,” Fischer explained. “I thought he did a great job and he was a lot like Bob Sykes. If you needed him, you could call him and he would return your call. He would talk to you.””

  15. Michael Fiorillo

    So, assuming Uncle Joe wins, the #McResistance may have scored a trifecta: Sanders defeated and neutralized, Orange Man out of the White House (executive patronage!), and a divided Congress giving them the perfect excuse for doing nothing.

      1. Duck1

        Wait, first thing on the agenda will be making the Trump tax cut permanent, Bipartisan, reaching across the aisle is so fine./s

    1. zagonostra

      Which dovetails nicely with what Glen Ford over at BAR is, and has been, pointing out.

      What the Democrats dare not risk, is a contest in which U.S. voters are given the choice of saving their families from destitution and disease or voting their race. The duopoly is designed to preclude such choices. It is a trap, a great two-sided filter that allows the corporate ruling class to shut every political outlet for advocates of people’s programs, environmental sanity, peace and real racial justice.

      https://www.blackagendareport.com/corporate-democrats-want-run-against-trump-republicans-forever

    2. km

      We’ll just have to reach out to Team R and privatize Social Security or sell off the Post Office or something! Maybe bomb some brown people….

    3. Pelham

      I hadn’t quite put that all together but yes. And it’s certainly the most likely way Dems are likely to interpret these events.

    4. Samuel Conner

      I noted with amusement an item today (at Politico.com, I think) with the link-title along the lines of “Even if Biden wins, he’s screwed.”

      The item began by noting that R control of the Senate would prevent JB from enacting his agenda.

      I gave up on the item at that point. JB doesn’t need the cooperation of Congress to fulfill his promise that “nothing will fundamentally change.”

    5. arte

      So:

      Run a basically conservative campaign against Trump (return to normalcy, back to business as usual).

      Start pushing extremely destabilising things, things like packing the supreme court, in the last month before the election, signalling to the swing “moderates” that split voting might be a good idea.

      Get Trump out – if only just – but end up with a split congress. Perfect result, promotions for everybody?

  16. D. Fuller

    The lack of outreach by Democratic Party leadership in going door-to-door in election years, is a well known issue that has been the subject of exposes for over a decade.

    Also, a major factor in the defeat of Hillary Clinton who failed to follow Obama’s example by not spending money on the ground game. Team Hillary instead spent $700 million on computer simulations run by five close associates that told Team Hillary that she was inevitable.

    Politics is like war. Victory is less likely if you don’t have boots on the ground. Something Democratic Leadership repeatedly sabotages in favor of money buying ads, mailers, etc. Worse, Democratic Leadership sucks the money out of State and Local party organizations. Perhaps the major factor in Democrats losing States to Republicans since the early 2000’s.

    Democratic Leadership appears to believe that they can have it like the 1980’s and cooperating with Reagan. As evidenced by the repeated attempts by Democratic Leadership to woo with sweet nothings, Republicans in the suburbs to vote Democratic.

    Even Truman knew that Republican voters preferred Republican candidates over Fake Republicans(D). A lesson that Democratic Leadership has forgotten or ignored.

    If it were not for Covid-19 and Trump? The Democratic Party would be a permanent minority party – barring horrid leadership beyond Trump’s, exercised by Republicans.

    Democratic Leadership has alienated their core base – workers & the middle-class – in pursuit of a mythical Republican voter alliance that will NEVER happen. In addition, since the demographic shift of Minorities to Democrats was announced in 1986 headlines? That has failed to materialize in a substantial manner. Hispanics are often Conservative & Catholic.

    Many Democratic voters were driven by Trump to vote for Democrats. Not by voting for Democrats because Democrats represent them.

    Democratic Leadership has shrunk their core base in favor of an illusion. Rely on Republicans to justify their existence.

    A recipe for becoming a permanent minority party.

    1. Justin Time

      It has become a bit of a tradition. The democrats are waiting for the minority vote just like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. Meanwhile the kids going door to door get all the candy and votes.

      1. Pelham

        That’s one way to look at it. On the flip side, though, as commenter Michael Fiorillo suggests, the real candy is not being able to govern, which in turn ensures big donors will stay on board. If the Dems were actually embarrassed into doing something having won the White House and both houses of Congress, they’d risk angering the donors and shutting off the spigot.

        The Republicans, on the other hand, can stay true to their brand by obstructing. Thus both parties can be happy with a muddled election.

        BTW, I realize this all sounds at least somewhat snide and cynical. But I think the evidence is there to at least partly support the conclusions.

  17. Hepativore

    I hope that the left does not hesitate to rub Biden’s loss in the DNC’s face if Trump wins and call out Obama for his part in sandbagging the candidate with the best shot behind the scenes. I know that it is a lost cause to try and get the leadership of the Democratic Party to admit fault but perhaps there is a small chance that we can get the older blue voters to realize that the “safe bet” just is not going to cut it anymore due to how bad things have gotten.

    Still, this means that we can focus more of our efforts on making sure that we get a better candidate for 2024 and hitting home the fact that the Obama/Pelosi/Clinton wing of the Democratic Party does not have a single shred of political capital or credibility anymore due to how much they have failed us.

    1. a different chriws

      Rub it in their face if they lose.

      Just as importantly, rub it in his face if he wins.

      “You either get behind us or just watch the Rs completely ignore you and continue to run the country. Which legacy do you want? ”

      If he wasn’t 99,000 years old, we could point out AOC’s media telegenics to him — there is so much power there it’s like the sun rising. Sigh, maybe somebody could do a powerpoint, has Joe seen those maybe?

    2. Pelham

      On the one hand, I agree. On the other, I’m not so sure. I think the Dem brand may now be so tainted by idpol and a tendency to scold and berate large classes of voters that even adoption of a genuine, all-out progressive agenda might not do the trick.

      AOC, for instance, is my favorite member of Congress, but sometimes I find her absolutely grating. Even Sanders this time around jumped into the idpol hole. And I don’t see an FDR-like figure anywhere on the horizon. Or even a Truman.

      1. R. S.

        Progressivism and left policy goals like M4A and the Green New Deal will have to come from the Republican party because idpol has taken too strong of a grip on the Democrats, and further they have taken the idpol too far into extremist territory. CA voters rejected Prop 16, which would have made affirmative action legal in the state. It was originally banned in the 90’s when the state was less diverse and had more Republicans. Even with much more diversity (I think CA is majority minority, and if not then very close to being so), the voters still rejected affirmative action. Yet affirmative action had the full backing of the Democrat party, most of the professional sports teams in the state, Hollywood, Big Tech, and a 20:1 funding advantage.

    3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I had a look at the toxic masculinity tweet before viewing the Nancy Antionette mega fridge one, which left me wondering if toxic femininity is a thing.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Eustache- Don’t get us started! But for anyone who has gone to public middle and high schools in this country, the short answer to your wondering if toxic feminity is a thing, is ‘Duh’.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Someone should really remind that tweeter not to overestimate the effects of faux woke pusillanimity.

      3. Wyatt Powell

        You sexist b*stard! /s

        Women can’t be sexist

        Black People can’t be racist

        Lesbians can’t be homophobic

        Get in the PMC idpol line or gtfo

        1. bidule

          Like it… And here is how to mathematically multiply your talking points.
          Given the idpol set (Women, Black People, Lesbians) on the left side and the set of sins (sexist, racist, homophobic) on the right side you can build a cartesian product between these sets, connecting each left entry to each right entry with a negative connector. You end up, for instance, with: Lesbians can’t be racist, Women can’t be homophobic and so on…
          Finally: open a Tweeter account and jump into the woke world… ready to fight obscurantism.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            It is all very confusing & judging by the replies I have come across to often relatively minor infringements of the Idpol code on social media, some females at least have the toxicity level of the not the Monty Python version of the Spanish Inquisition.

            Idpol IMO appears to want to raise a few boats by sinking many others & I don’t think it will necessarily succeed in the former aim, as for instance homophobic & transgender attacks in the UK are it appears rising steadily.

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/14/homophobic-and-transphobic-hate-crimes-surge-in-england-and-wales

    4. neo-realist

      Even if Biden wins, the left should be leaning on Biden to remove not only Pelosi, and Schumer, but to take out Mike Perez as DNC Chairman and get some tougher street smart leadership that will not only play hardball with McConnell and the GOP, but get more people smart in recruiting good candidates and revamping strategies to win congressional seats outside of the big blue coastal areas.

      1. chuck roast

        I thought that you were a neo-realist? What you will hear is, “in a spirt of bi-partisanship we must reach across the aisle” (in order to cop Republican policies), and “there are many among the other party that we can agree with” (in finding new ways to extract rent), and “we can all come together in the spirit of harmony to do what is right for the American people” (while balancing the budget and cutting social security), and like that…

        1. neo-realist

          I said should as opposed to what may play out in the near term, which is likely that they will stiff arm such demands. The good thing that happened is the left grew their numbers amid the losses. Keep organising, keep plugging away, and grow the numbers and followers until they can dictate the terms. Possibly a long term project.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        My late friend Joji was a Zen master, one day we were outdoors and a bee landed on his arm. I asked “aren’t you worried he will sting you?” and he replied “I am one with the bee, and why would he sting himself?”.

        Imagining there is even a micro-fissure between Biden and Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, Adam Schiff, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, Wall St, the MIC, and 145 of the world’s largest billionaires is delusion of the highest order. You had your chance to vote for something other than that, now open wide and swallow your medicine.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It’s amazing to me how many people misunderstand how power works.

          Plebe: Do something for me.
          Pol: No. Why should I?
          Plebe: Because otherwise I won’t vote for you.
          Pol: You already did. Sucker. Want a rainbow sticker to put on your iPhone? How about a nice BLM keychain?

    5. km

      If Biden wins, the DNC response will be that running to the right works and therefore we must run harder to the right.

      If Biden loses, the DNC response will be that we just need to run harder to the right.

      Somewhere, somehow, we will be the suburban Republicans’ new best buddies!

      1. Samuel Conner

        yes; there is in them no mental space to the left of where they currently are.

        Perhaps it should be called the “DNR”:

        Democrat Noetic Ratchet

        That acronym seems doubly appropriate as the most appropriate response to a notional “death” of the D party.

  18. KLG

    “House Majority PAC’s president is Robby Mook.”

    I had wondered where that Big Data Dipsh*t was these days. Failing upward, naturally.

    Big Data, always the answer. Now, what was the question?

    A friend asked a question this morning: You know all those hysterical emails and texts asking for money to unseat Senators Graham and McConnell, what the hell did ActBlue do with the money? Never again.

      1. KLG

        Collins, McConnell, and Graham: Still standing after all these years! Pelosi Schumer Clinton Obama & Biden LLC, still standing around with their thumbs stuck in an orifice, as a former coach would say more colorfully, wondering what happened.

        A colleague who is also in office in this damn near light blue state (Color me gobsmacked; last time I looked Pokey Joe was within a few thousand votes of The Donald) is more agitated than I have ever seen him…GOPer naturally, and he seems mightily upset that several hundred votes appeared as if by magic in a nearby Democrat Party stronghold. I didn’t have time to note that my former college town home was split in half in naked gerrymandering during the last redistricting and that my current residence is caged in that same very same Dem-majority district, so that the local White Flighters’ votes will count more. But I will bring this up when the time is right. That and the $300M Rube Goldberg voting machines we now use.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I still get auto insurance snail spam even though it’s ten years since I owned my last vroom vroom vehicle.

  19. Another Scott

    Ranked Choice Voting went down in Massachusetts on Tuesday 55-45, despite an almost non-existent no campaign (spending less than $4,000 compared to $10 million in favor), and support of the Democratic establishment.

    https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2020/11/05/massachusetts-question-2-ranked-choice-voting-what-went-wrong

    “It also utilized high-profile surrogates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, six of the state’s nine members of Congress, Attorney General Maura Healey, and former Govs. Deval Patrick and Bill Weld — who argued that ranked choice voting would encourage more diverse, positive campaigns, in addition to more majoritarian results.”

    Looking at the results by town, the major support areas were the wealthy Western suburbs, along with the Amherst area and other college towns.

    https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/11/04/question-two-ranked-choice-voting-massachusetts-no

  20. a different chris

    So I hate to disparage the good Nathan Robinson’s work, however:

    The left has been saying it over and over ad nauseum: the Democrats have failed to offer a compelling alternative.

    The problem with the argument here is simply this: if it’s perceived as 6 on the one, 1/2 dozen the other , then people stay home. They did not..

    So his column is crap. Sorry, it is: until he gets to the socialism part. That’s really good stuff, as long as you do *not* buy the underlying “that’s what the people want, Bernie would’ve killed it” stuff that is looking like complete BS at this point.

    It’s going to be a hard slog, there are two parties against you, one paradoxically badly weakened but likely to have the most powerful office in the world, the other just evil and again seeing it all in their grasp. And a not-too-bright electorate easily conned by any pitchman that comes by.

    You need to kill off two parties, the Dems seem to be walking the plank by itself, there is one really good approach for the Rs but I don’t know how to do it technically. (Not saying you won’t need to wear the skin of the D party, like The Walking Dead, that’s probably the best option)

    It is simply this – the more power a group gets the more vulnerable it is to a or multiple schisms. The opposition is obviously, no matter what they tell the troops, nothing to worry about. So you got ruthless, ambitious people, a prostate enemy, and what happens: they turn on each other. Have you seen the clownshow our military leadership has put on in the Middle East? That’s exactly the dynamic.

    The Left needs to both take over the D party and get the R party to rip itself apart from the inside. They cannot do it head on. The D party could, but they are two stupid.

    Now you have three factions you can tease out and set against each other. The Trumpists, the Christianists, and the Business Conservatives. They don’t have a single shared value – Trump is completely irreligious like the Business Conservatives, but he wants to close down the borders. The Christianists want the borders closed down, but everybody has to confirm to a morality (cough, abortion, cough) that is simply not acceptable to the business conservatives.

    The unholy alliance worked when there were two, but now the Trump wing, well it’s not a wing it is and has to be at the top, controlling the other two.

    They will not long stand for this, and the explosion separating the three groups, if we can throw enough irritant in there, will be massive.

    But no, I haven’t the slightest idea how to go about hurrying this along fast enough for the planet and the poor to survive the mess we now have.

    1. Darthbobber

      I don’t follow your first point at all. The democrats offered me no compelling reason to vote FOR them, but I did. Trump accomplished that without the democrat’s assistance, and IN SPITE of their “national security” fetish and neoMcCarthyism.

      It’s perfectly possible for people to turn out en masse to choose among unpalatable alternatives. Though I note that in Philly, while they probably managed just enough to swing the state, Biden’s vote total here looks like it will ultimately be below Clinton’s in 2016.

  21. anon

    I cannot understand how votes are still being “found” in multiple states almost 48 hrs after polls close. Where were they hiding?

    1. Person

      Full banana republic status achieved. This is as bad as Bush v. Gore… maybe worse, as this time most people are heavily invested in the outcome.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Can you provide a citation of where votes are “being found” 48 hours after the polls closed? Because I have yet to see one. In Nevada, mail in ballots that were postmarked by November 3rd are required to be counted if they arrive before November 10th. These ballots aren’t “being found” in some nefarious manner; they’re in the effing mail. And legal votes per the regulations of my state. However, right now pretty Mr. Laxalt is claiming they are “improper votes” in order to screw Biden out of his (hardly deserved) win.

      One thing no one seems to be able to note right now is that Biden, despite his myriad flaws, is 3 million popular votes ahead of Trump. Since flinging BS is all anyone outside of a county clerk’s office can do right now, why isn’t this little fact getting mentioned every time a Republican operative slanders voters who mailed in their ballot in order to thwart a complete vote count? Yet again, the Democrat elite spokespeople can’t or won’t defend the little people. I.e. poll workers. County clerks across the country. Postal workers. The PMC elite simply don’t even think about such low lifes, and so don’t make what to me is the obvious shrewd push back when regular guy workers are slandered by up & coming Republican pretty men.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Word. Yes, it would be nice if we had the infrastructure to vote in a day but we don’t. It would also be nice if ballots were hand marked and hand counted in public but we don’t have that either. What we do have is a commitment to counting all the votes according to known rules that were not invented yesterday and should be familiar to all of us.

        Of course, whoever wins we lose, because all the candidates represent the donors. All the same, I would be very glad for DT not to be in charge of the pandemic response.

  22. Stephen V.

    Technical question: if I had a 3D printer, could it print me some colored ink? It seems there’s a global shortage due to the alcohol being used instead for sanitizer. Sigh.

    1. jef

      3D printers do not “make” anything, they assemble whatever they are programed to assemble using the elements you load the 3D printer with. So yes in theory you could print colored ink but you would need to load the printer with ALL the ingredients of colored ink.

  23. kareninca

    Last week someone posted an article from the San Jose Mercury News in the comment section. It was about the extreme increase in the death rate of homeless people in the Bay Area since the pandemic. I wasn’t able to read it due to the paywall, but it is true. The deaths are not due to covid; it is because their ecosystem is disrupted.

    Last year my church hosted a homeless shelter; it moves around from church to church; we hosted it for a month. There are limits to how long a person can stay there; I think it is a one time thing. One of the guests was a young woman in her mid to late twenties. She was tall and athletic and highly energetic. Boy was she annoying; for instance, we had a bowl of M&Ms out and she compulsively ran her fingers through the M&Ms (plus several other such things)!!! Anyway she was basically very nice, not that someone should have to be nice to have a place to sleep.

    So the day before yesterday I was driving down El Camino and I saw her walking on the sidewalk. She was very skinny; last year she was muscular but slim but now she was just plain skinny. She looked pretty bad. She is someone who needs tons of food; when she was in the shelter I got her a 17.6 oz. TJs chocolate bar and she ate it overnight. A lot of the guests last year were employed; they mostly worked in the restaurant industry. When they showed up in the evening those ones wouldn’t be hungry since they had eaten at work. That work is gone now; that food is gone. So are restaurant discards.

    This year we can’t host the shelter since our church is too small for physical distancing of mattresses. So we are being helped by a mega church; they will do the shelter; we will do the food. One of those “evil anti-gay mega churches,” but I vastly appreciate their help; I don’t see “Atheists United” stepping in here to provide the shelter. The funny thing is that the only person I know who attends that church is obviously gay but in denial.

    So, no, I didn’t pull over and talk with the young woman. I have a 96 year old at home; she wasn’t wearing a mask, and I have no reason to think she would be considerate about germs. So this is one more way that the poor are suffering now; they are pariahs more than ever. If I see her again I’ll stop and do my best but I doubt I’ll see her again.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks for sharing that. So many constraints, no time for passing judgements, you do what you can with whom you can.

    2. Late Introvert

      Thanks for this. I agree the left has few social welfare programs. I attribute it to the crushing of the unions, that’s how we did that kind of thing. Now we’re all scared of losing our no-benefit low-wage jobs.

      Nice to know that the Mega Churches (wealthy) are chipping in, that someone is from that cohort.

  24. zagonostra

    >NZ statistical sand

    Not much you could build on with an election that has votes this close, not even a casino.

    Biden currently has 604,251 of the vote or 49.43% votes total.
    President Trump has 592,813 of the vote or 48.50% votes total.

    https://www.fox13now.com

    1. WJ

      If these counts are indeed correct, then I do think this phenomenon needs *some* explanation.

      Maybe lots of mail-in voters didn’t bother voting for any of the races other than the presidential?

      Maybe some Republicans voted Biden and then Republican on down ballot races? (But I think this would be a small percentage–too small to account for the numbers cited in your link.)

      It is curious. But I don’t think that *in itself* it constitutes evidence of fraud.

      1. edmondo

        I believe the Republican senate candidate was African-American and his second time running so rather well known. I would not be surprised to have seen him pick up Biden voters. In fact, he got nearly 8000 more votes in Detroit than Trump did.

      2. Darthbobber

        Georgia, for example. The democrat is Ossoff. Please. So Perdue is doing slightly better than Trump and Ossoff significantly worse than Biden.

        This happens all the time.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      If you look at the percentages vs. absolute numbers, it doesn’t look so bad. Montana (where the Dems are supposedly not stealing the election) had 11% difference between Biden votes vs. Dem senator while Michigan is 2.4%. Not really making the case there.

    3. marym

      People split their vote or leave some votes blank.

      Here’s a link with examples of a few states where voters left the presidential choice blank or chose “none of the above” in 2016.
      https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/11/protest-and-blank-ballots-rose-in-some-states.html

      According to Pew Research in 2020 “…among those living in states with Senate races, the largest share of voters say they plan to vote for both Biden and the Democratic Senate candidate (42%) or Trump and the Republican Senate candidate (38%) in their state.”

      So 20% would split their vote. A little more than in the past:

      “A recent analysis of U.S. Senate elections since 2012 shows how rare it is for a Senate race to go a different way from a state’s votes in presidential elections. In 139 regular and special elections for the Senate since 2012, 88% have been won by candidates from the same party that won that state’s most recent presidential contest.”
      https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2020/10/21/large-shares-of-voters-plan-to-vote-a-straight-party-ticket-for-president-senate-and-house/

  25. ChiGal in Carolina

    Hey Lambert,
    the chaos has infiltrated your email system!

    No, I didn’t learn fomites are a thing through personal experience, that was a reference to links at the time, and

    Yes, I sent you today’s plantidote ;-)

    Agree about walks; Taleb’s ode to walking is right on if characteristically condescending!

      1. Samuel Conner

        And who can forget the “Doctor Who” episode “Into the Dalek”. I am very fond of Peter Capaldi’s protrayal of The Doctor.

    1. edmondo

      I have a great idea. If it works microscopiclly, it should translate into every applications. Why don’t we “invent” a peroxide car? It could have a seat in the back so the “engineer” could pour peroxide into the non-polluting engine and make the car go faster or slower. We could be the Elon Musk’s of Peroxide Car assembly, do an IPO on Wall Street and become billionaires.

  26. zagonostra

    Not sure I saw this on any of the links or my daily news intake…time to take a break before it’s too late, if isn’t already.

    Japan will release over a million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

    Tepco must continue pumping water into the melted reactors and has decided to discharge, in agreement with the government, the water accumulated so far into the sea after filtering it to make it less radioactive (however, to what extent it is not known) with a process which will last 30 years. There is also radioactive sludge accumulated in the decontamination filters of the plant, stored in thousands of containers, and huge quantities of soil and other radioactive materials.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-nuclear-pandemic-spreads/5728591

    1. edmondo

      They forget their history. Godzilla was the result of a nuclear leak back in the 50’s. They are playing with fire, both literally and figuratively.

      1. Late Introvert

        I’m not sure Zappa was correct in this case, that the ocean is the ultimate solution, but it’s better to store it in tanks above ground where sooner or later it will leak? This one really sucks, there are no good answers.

  27. Jim Hannan

    Regarding re-districting maps next year, Arizona uses an independent commission so it doesn’t matter who wins the legislature.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Michigan now has one, too — though there are still some duopolist weights available to throw on the scales.

  28. rtah100

    More on (war on) mink

    Uh-oh – that didn’t take long! Denmark puts regions into mink lockdown….

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54833459

    Remember, follow what they do, not what they say….

    PS: Lambert, I’m pleased as punch to have been quoted in today’s links. This new news came too late for your Watercooler. Better never than late but here we are….

    1. edmondo

      Do they think if they gave zinc to the mink to bring them back to the pink that they might blink?

  29. Person

    Insane DKos thread blaming poor election results on right wing radio: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/11/4/1992127/-The-biggest-political-mistake-in-history-It-s-the-radio-stupid

    The author poses this question in the form of a statement: “Media will now ask every Democratic politician how they are going to appeal to that vast chunk of the population that has been soaked in 30 years of unchallenged exaggeration, distortion, hate, and lies.” (That’s a great question!)

    The author’s answer: pressure and boycott talk radio advertisers and universities that run sports programming!

    I get it, Limbaugh sucks and his listeners pick up terrible ideas from his program. But there’s no indication of awareness here that maybe, just maybe people listen to idiots like Limbaugh because he is willing to understand and speak to their own interests and concerns, unlike the Dems who have either ignored those concerns (at best) or are actively hostile towards them. Yes, Limbaugh takes these concerns and spins a twisted narrative around them, leading people to vote against their own interests. But you can’t counter that unless you actually offer something to people that is in their interest. Austerity and “learn to code” won’t cut it.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      …30 years of unchallenged exaggeration…

      So what’s been stopping the author, the kos krowd and the Democrat party from, you know, challenging them?

      1. albrt

        The attempt to start a liberal network (Air America) failed massively in the mid 2000s after the ignominious end to John Kerry’s flaccid 2004 campaign.

        Turns out the intended audience actually has very little in common, is not interested in what each other have to say, and mostly is only interested in promoting a “process” that allows each “voice” to be assured of time at the microphone (with nobody else listening).

        TLDR – turns out leftism based on process and identity is not a thing.

        Leftism only works if you have leaders who deliver the goods to the people who are working hard enough that they don’t have time for that crap.

  30. Phacops

    Re: MI redistricting

    The proposal by Politics Not People passed putting the redistricting in the hands of a citizen panel. I had applied, but was not selected. The next congressional election will be interesting. I expect repubs to lose 3 to 4 seats, though for our 1st, the UP and Northern Michigan, will not fundamentally change.

  31. RMO

    I said it before but recent events reinforce my opinion of Nate Silver: he’s like a person who bought a winning lottery ticket once and thinks this makes him a financial genius.

    1. Drake

      I think the man is utterly brilliant at explaining why his predictions were really right all along. There’s some undeniable genius there that takes your breath away. I’m in genuine awe of him.

      And he’s really upping his game in making his predictions so vague and hedged that they can’t help but be right no matter what happens. A true Rennaissance man.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        I once read a definition of economics as the science of explaining why you were wrong.

        Looks like Nate has a great future in economics.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Interesting — That reminds me of one of the traders described in Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness. Election predictions seems like an occupation where you probably vastly overstate how much of your success is attributable to skill. (The counter example is a dentist, where success is much more attributable to skill.) But if you can convince everyone your failure is a success or was unforeseeable, I guess you can keep playing. (Whereas with trading, if there’s a smoking ruin where your employer’s money used to be, you’re probably in greater difficulty.)

    3. Biph

      He’s a sabermetrics guy, those stat geeks do well with a guy who has 500 AB a season to figure out a statistical model for probable future performance, doing that for a once every 4 year event is a different beast.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Silver had his limitations as a baseball prognosticator as well. His model repeatedly forecast the 2014-2015 Royals as a sub-.500 team because they relied on relief pitching, defense and contact hitting rather than power and walks. It was understandable when the Royals surprised nearly everyone and made it to Game 7 of the ’14 Series, but it was pretty ridiculous when the Royals were again predicted to have a mediocre season in ’15. That year, they had the best record in the American League and beat the Mets in five.

  32. McWatt

    This week there occurred an election phenomenon I have never experienced in 50 years in
    retail. A 90% drop in weekly sales.

    Good job everyone!!!!!

  33. Boshko

    Re: Prop 22

    One under-reported, rather never-reported, aspect of support for prop 22 came from the entertainment industry. The passage of AB5 really hurt how independent artists worked. Think musicians, designers, photographers, actors, writers and the entire creative class in LA. This contingent strongly supported prop 22 as it removed the onerous conditions that required a songwriter, for example, to “employ” a drummer for a gig or recording session, and having to subsequently file mountains of paperwork, fees, insurance etc. AB5 was a serious and classic case of unintended consequences. A well-meaning labor law has only had big tech in its sights, but catches a lot other workers in its net and screws them over.’

    Clearly I have a friend on the impacted side of this, and his conversations with state legislators after the passing of AB5 found them entirely clueless about its broader ramifications.

    Of course a society that broadly respected labor over capital, the health and well-being of its citizenry etc etc wouldn’t find itself trying to tackle big tech in such convoluted ways, but alas.

    1. fwe'zy

      sounds Right to Work but ok

      Of course a society that broadly respected labor over capital, the health and well-being of its citizenry etc etc wouldn’t find itself trying to tackle big tech in such convoluted ways, but alas.

      This isn’t about tackling big tech but rather the “right to work” mentality.

  34. Heruntergekommen Sein

    Indiscriminate voter suppression works. This statement explains 4 or 5 above issues. Trump has a slight edge with white college-aged women? Perhaps some groups are predisposed toward neat handwriting, closely following instructions (possible better elementary public-school education), and less often forced to change residences (thereby less likely to have their ballots/registration bureaucratically 86’d from a mixed district) than other demographics.

    Age/sex/race -connected preferences may only be expressing themselves because of the voting infrastructure. The psychology of candidate preference might the equivalent of a coin flip: any correlations to bureaucratic performance are flattened by the shear size of the sample. There is an infinite number of personal myths one can adopt to explain why one votes. But none of that is expressed in the actual ballot. Think of elections as bad qualitative studies into which tons of bad biases are baked. Each political party uses the ballot as a text created at a poll tied to a geographical zone to influence next election’s results. But instead political “scientists” look at the most superficial genetic phenotypes of the voter, creating mythical political blocs out of DMV information. Is age/sex/race any less ridiculous than sorting voter preference by eye-color, weight, or blood type? Shouldn’t political scientists be looking at the entire human genome if this is the case. Imagine doing a biological or archaeological study without imaging or visual examining the object being studied, the ballot itself – fonts, leading – and its immediate environment – room temp, lighting, room dimensions. Traffic conditions around polls surely has a more significant effect than philosophical theories. But then politics is our war of religions, with a political priesthood up to its eyeballs in haruspices.

  35. John Richmond

    Of course, Chump and each Chump kid probably has twice the value and twice the ice cream in their fridges. But Chump voters don’t know that, as Rachel Bitecofer points out, because Democrats don’t tell them. Notr does “liberal” media.

    Justin Amash talked last year about how people were hearing reports of Chump corruption for the first time from him. Of course Justin could have told them before. He didn’t have to entirely leave his party to grow a spine.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Really? Has Team Blue decided to pretend they weren’t negative enough? You do realize House Democrats impeached Trump?

      Justin Amash was a Republican. If you thought he had a character at this point, well, you probably can’t be helped.

      1. albrt

        They should have impeached Trump for how much ice cream he eats, but they couldn’t because of Nancy Pelosi. The democrat party is hopelessly compromised on all the important issues of the day.

        Seriously though, that ad is about as good as anything from the Lincoln Project.

    2. kareninca

      “Chump and each Chump kid”

      I haven’t made fun of another person’s name since I was in elementary school. It doesn’t lend to the tone of the conversation; it is a distraction; it makes the person who does it seem as if they don’t have an actual argument but instead have to rely on juvenile humor.

  36. wadge22

    3D printing. Its not just toy plastic boats any more.

    Now they are doing very small toy boats.
    OR
    Multicolored toy plastic boats.

    I marvel as I imagine what could come next.

  37. flora

    re: “The 2020 Election Result Completely Discredits The Democratic Leadership” — [Current Affairs].

    Robinson makes the same mistake, imo, the entire Dem estab and MSM have been making since 2016: painting T as a cartoon villain with horns and a tail — he’s a f*scist, he’s a r*cist, he’s a this and a that! Instead, they should be looking at him and his campaign in the normal terms of what did he promise — no TPP, no TPIP, a better NAFTA, bringing home the troops, bringing back jobs, etc. — and how much of that he achieved. Some, not all, and he gave billionaires tax cuts, but also sent out some stimulous checks to Main Street and tried to reduce troop numbers overseas.

    The Dem estab will not talk about Main Street economics . They paint a non-neoliberal candidate as a cartoon villain instead. If they won’t or can’t speak honestly even to themselves about the appeal of non-neoliberal candidates as alternative to their neoliberal project they’ll never think through in clear terms what needs to change.

    “How should we campaign against a monster” is the wrong question. It absolves the party from its own failure to address the economic issues facing the voters and their economic anxiety. They’ve even made a joke of the phrase “economic anxiety”. Good, good, that’ll help. (/s)

    I liked Robinson’s article, but he falls into the same cartoon characterization of the opponent and because of that can’t quite see straight himself, imo.

    My 2 cents.

    1. flora

      adding: If B wins, the Dem estab will be confirmed in the rightness of its neoliberal economics approach and, as B said, nothing will change. Why should they have to change anything or work hard or study or pay attention to non-wealthy voters? “Because markets” will save them!

      1. Samuel Conner

        I’ve been accused of mainlining hopium, and perhaps this is more of that, but it’s beginning to look like JB will narrowly win enough of the remaining states to cross 300 EV. It might be a mirror image of 2016.

        It seems to me (I welcome correction from clearer thinkers) that narrow wins ought, in principle, to give power to marginal voting blocks that could swing outcomes depending on how/whether they vote. I’m hoping that there will be serious organizing among local progressive groups. I think that the razor balance that the duopoly seems to have engineered might give 3rd party and protest voters disproportionate power.

        1. tegnost

          After 4 years of RRR I think they deserve every bit of protest they are going to certainly get, and I’m in!

        2. albrt

          If there is intentionally no policy difference between the legacy parties, then narrow wins are by design. The real battle is to extinguish any policy ideas outside the bipartisan consensus so the duopoly can keep raising money for nothing.

          If somebody with an actual idea ever gets a foothold, I agree that things could change quickly. But there is no realistic possibility of negotiating with the duopoly until that happens, and the duopoly will never negotiate in good faith.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Looks like he will win. But the Dems have lost ground in the House and Senate. They don’t get to take the people for granted. We need to see the concrete, material benefits or Pelosi is out.

    2. Jeff W

      I agree, flora.

      But I think Nathan Robinson makes a more fundamental error—and that is that Democratic Party establishment is interested in winning the White House or seats in Congress.It’s not opposed to it, of course, but its primary objective is not changing the fundamentals underlying power in Washington whether it wins or loses. (Your additional comment gets at that.)

      So Robinson says “The Democratic Party establishment fundamentally does not know what it is doing.…This year, what we have learned is that is not only incompetent, it is also unteachable.” But what Robinson wants it to learn and what it can’t be taught—that (in the words of Current Affairs contributing cartoonist Matt Lubchansky) it “simply espouse policies with broad-based support that improve people’s material conditions in clear and accessible language” or, more simply, that it simply act in the public interest in the pursuit of winning—would upset the gravy train too much in a myriad of ways, as we well know

      So whether or not the Democratic Party establishment can’t learn that, it doesn’t want to. The party is incompetent at what Robinson thinks it should want but not at what the party wants, not on the party’s own terms—“nothing would fundamentally change,” as the party’s standard-bearer put it back in June—and, to that extent, the party has a laser-focused, practically ruthless idea of what it is doing. It’s this weird category error, alongside the one you point out (i.e., Trump is a “monster”), that, for me, makes Nathan Robinson really difficult to read.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        Robinson is an overrated PMC tool. All of these “serious leftist” public intellectual wannabes who pretend to bemoan the neoliberal Democratic Party and then turn around and say “vote blue no matter who!” don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  38. edmondo

    Chomp on this:

    IF- still a big if – Biden wins AZ and NV and loses PA and GA he has 270 Electoral votes. He can afford to lose no one. Guess which former Secretary of State and former senator was elected a Biden elector in New York? No, it wasn’t William H. Seward. Without her vote, it goes to the House. I wonder if Uncle Joe saved any money for a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

  39. jr

    Field report: NYC

    Hundreds of protestors at E. Houstan and LafyetteSt.

    Peaceful group at the Stonewall no#’s

    Protestors at Washington Square Park no#’s

    Source: Citizen App

    Reporter: high on salvia and my phone keeps shifting around under my fingers and I’m laughing.

  40. Fern

    People seem to have forgotten that Bernie did better with Hispanics than with any other ethnic group. Might want to figure out why.

  41. lobelia

    Re California’s Horrid and devastating Proposition 22 [The Nasty Uber, et al Gig Worker Proposition] I’m still trying to figure out how it was called a Victory way, way before the final vote count. It was declared a victory when only 72% of the ballots had been counted, at 58% ‘Yay’. And no, I can’t provide a link for that because I found it at an NBC site which is dated November 3rd, but seems to keep updating, without noting the update date. As I write this, that site is showing a 75% vote count. That is not 100%, far from it.

    Further, I did not track California election projections based on mail-ins, etcetera, prior to election day because my life has been swamped with daily horrors resolving around a relative in a stunningly negligent hospital, but now I’m wondering whether pre election day reports did not thoroughly lay the ground for both cheating and deliberately discouraging the impoverished from even showing up. I certainly almost didn’t vote due to a ghastly call on election day being told a hospital bed and wheelchair were going to be sent to my recently criminally flooded apartment (the landlord knew, the water heater overflow pump had been blocked with cement, when I rented the place, but landlords are not required to inform of such things) for a relative who does not need a wheelchair, or a home hospital bed, in a criminal California Hospital ‘Error.’

    (Do not trust so called ‘Social Workers’ or ‘Case Managers’ in California Hospitals to actually take care of the patient. I’ve been through this travesty of healthcare for years now on behalf of those I love, and during my own Cancer Care™.)

    1. tegnost

      I like the way this quote makes it seem as if people voting for prop 22 were the workers, when in all likelihood it was customers who want the cheap service continued

      “Berenzweig believes that one reason Prop 22 garnered widespread support was because ‘people like to be independent. They don’t like the government shoving an answer down their throat.’”

      This is a bellweather of badness

  42. Dave_in_Austin

    Today’s Water Cooler article about the Post Office had some really interesting information if you know how the PO works. U S mail is almost never sorted at your local post office unless you live in a little town in Alaska. Everything else goes to one of the 220 regional sorting facilities where the incoming mail is run through automatic readers which record both the destination name and address and the return addresses with more than 99% accuracy. The sorting machines also take a picture of the front of each letter, record the point where the letter entered the system, and attach the bar code label you see on every piece of first class and magazine-rate mail. The bar code tellss where the letter is going . The letters are then automatically routed to the destination PO and the individual carrier route where usually they are auto-sorted so the carrier picks up bundles that precisely follow the route- with no human hand involved in sorting. All records of this process have been permanent records for more than 20 years.

    A paranoid fantasy? No. During the 2001 anthrax attack two random victims from NJ and CT died. Nobody could figure out why. The mystery was solved when the sorting machine records were examined. The anthrax letter going to DC went through a NJ sorting machine and the compression rollers probably forced out a “poof” of spores. The two victims got letters that passed though the same machine seconds later The point is that the data is there on every piece of mail – including absentee ballots- from the time you drop it in the box until it is delivered.

    According to the postal union president cited in the Water Cooler article, the absentee ballots were mailed, we assume automatically barcoded with all the other mail, and arrived at the destination post offices where because of the emergency they were pulled from the carrier route bundles by hand and delivered to the election polling place immediately.

    Now all this means the PO records contain information that can track all sorts of potential fraud.

    First, there may be absentee ballots that never go through the PO system at all- the envelopes are just dropped into the pile of absentee ballots by a corrupt official. This is one explanation why Philadelphia area GOP poll watchers are being kept 100+ ft away from the counting tables and when they used binoculars from outside the windows were covered. The PA state capitol’s newspaper in Harrisburg says the state Supreme Court issued an emergency order allowing GOP poll watchers to be six feet from the counting table. The Philadelphia area Democratic officials doing the counting are ignoring it. What do we do if in the absence of opposition poll watchers the envelopes have been illegally discarded or separated from the enclosed ballet? I don’t have a clue.

    A second form of fraud would be accepting ballets which were not delivered on time because they were postmarked the day after the election. The barcode information would spot that immediately. This is the rumor about what is happening in Wayne County- Detroit aand it will be easy to spot if the records are properly preserved.

    A third form of fraud could be detected if there were suddenly big batches of ballots all dropped off at a post office or box at the same time- especially if the ballots when opened turned out to be from voters who didn’t live near that post office. The mass mailing of absentee ballot forms to every address in some states was simply an invitation to fraud off this kind.

    So if there are any NC readers with good PO contacts, talk to them. What other ways can PO records be used to detect voting fraud- or prove that it didn’t happen? Post the results to NC. The small number of PO job openings means that almost all hires are veterans who get bonus points- and the ones I know are straight shooters. They love the country and fair elections more than they love either party or any candidate.

    1. marym

      As I understand it, in Philadelphia observers were always allowed in the room. Today a judge had them reach an agreement as to numbers without a court order; and the distance issue is being appealed. Whatever the specific outcome, the operation is being continuously livestreamed, thus greatly reducing the (probably non-existent) likelihood that “envelopes are just dropped into the pile of absentee ballots by a corrupt official” even without observers looking over their shoulders.

      I strongly support having people observe the voting and counting, and people making good faith proposals as to how the process can be made more secure. However, they should understand the controls and procedures already in place throughout the process for mitigating fraud, and have some respect for the professionalism of election and postal workers.

      It’s not as if this work hasn’t been and can’t be done with integrity, no matter how many “rumors” and “invitations to fraud” and hypotheticals one can imagine.

  43. Cuibono

    months and months of hand-wringing over the state of things around these parts but few good ideas bout what should be done to right the ship..why is that?

    1. Quentin

      Yes, but we can obsess about the so-called Founders while today seems almost invisible. We say often, critically, that Americans can’t remember what happened yesterday. But it is not said that they seem only to try to remember what happed centuries ago when the glorious narrative about the US, i.e. ourselves, supposedly began. Maybe indicators of ever creeping dementia or alzheimer are coming sharply into view. Too bad: the self-dramatization is appaling, disappointing, depressing. The only solution seems a sugar high; ice cream anyone? Brunch will no longer suffice.

    2. tegnost

      M4A, re impose glass steagall, stop bailing out banksters and corps….you haven’t heard that “around here”?
      Oh and thanks on the way out to trump for gutting the TPP and getting rid of the mandate.
      What are bidens solutions, or even his ideas for “righting the ship?

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