2:00PM Water Cooler 12/10/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day


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

Case count by United States region:

Returning to the upward trend. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, here, and I hate to see the upward rise, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks.

I thought I’d look at some big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California) instead of the Midwest:

The big states all moving more-or-less in tandem now, with California sprinting ahead; perhaps spread was nationalized with colleges and universities opening and closing? The correlation seems to happen around 63 days ago (October 1).

Test positivity by region:

Nowhere near 3%, though.

Hospitalization by region:

We should also take into account that hospitalization is also discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity.

Case fatality rate by region:

On deaths (dashed lines) the pairing of Midwest (blue) and South (green) vs. the pairing of Northeast (orange) and West (red) isn’t something seen in any of the other charts. Odd.


“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

Democrats in Disarray

Mothership Strategies is at it again:

Makes Publishers Clearing House look like David Ogilvy….

“Dianne Feinstein’s Missteps Raise a Painful Age Question Among Senate Democrats” [Jane Mayer, The New Yorker]. “[O]thers familiar with Feinstein’s situation describe her as seriously struggling, and say it has been evident for several years. Speaking on background, and with respect for her accomplished career, they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said and getting upset when she can’t keep up. One aide to another senator described what he called a ‘Kabuki’ meeting in which Feinstein’s staff tried to steer her through a proposed piece of legislation that she protested was ‘just words’ which ‘make no sense.’ Feinstein’s staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable. ‘The staff is in such a bad position,’ a former Senate aide who still has business in Congress said. ‘They have to defend her and make her seem normal.’… Anyone who has tried to take the car keys away from an elderly relative knows how hard it can be, [one well-informed Senate source told me], adding that, in this case, ‘It wasn’t just about a car. It was about the U.S. Senate.'” • Trouble in the caucus boiling over…

Transition to Biden

“How Biden Should Investigate Trump” [The Atlantic]. “Joe Biden has a set of decisions to make about the record of the Trump era. The record needs to be discovered—in part so that damage can be undone, and in part to ensure that the country faces its failures squarely and through a common lens.” • The best thing the Democrats could do, for the sake of their continued functioning as a party, would be to investigate Obama. A little self-reflection would have a purgative, salutary effect….

“Union Power After the Election” [Dissent]. “Democrats received overwhelming support from the membership of what are now the flagship unions, based in the public sector, healthcare, education, and hospitality, of the postindustrial American economy and labor movement—the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Communications Workers of America, UNITE HERE (the gaming and hospitality union), and National Nurses United. In recent years, the members of these unions, who are disproportionately female and non-white, have been central to some of the largest and most important labor actions of the new working class: several Chicago Teachers Union strikes beginning in 2012; the wildcat strikes and job actions of teachers across mostly red states in 2018, starting in West Virginia; the United Teachers Los Angeles strike of 2019; and aggressive organizing and strikes by healthcare workers and nurses all over the country. Their militancy is a major reason why labor may have more influence with Biden than it had with Obama. The urgency caused by the pandemic-driven collapse of the economy and the development of a significant social democratic faction within the Democratic Party has also given labor a chance to punch above its weight and promote broad policies on behalf of the working class. Yet labor’s leadership looks primed to screw up its first chance to effectively throw that weight around in the tussle over the nominee for secretary of labor.” • So it will be interesting to see who Biden’s Secretary of Labor is…

UPDATE “President-elect Joe Biden selects Susan Rice as director of White House Domestic Policy Council” [USA Today]. • Biden wants to start his own wars, I guess….

UPDATE “After years of denial under President Trump, experts expect Joe Biden to confront domestic extremism” [USA Today]. “While Biden’s blueprint for tackling domestic extremism is unclear, there are signs he will prioritize the issue. A ‘Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic’ on the president-elect’s website includes a promise to ‘Establish a new Task Force on Online Harassment and Abuse to focus on the connection between mass shootings, online harassment, extremism, and violence against women.'” • Oh, a task force.

UPDATE “Biden picks leave Democrats with slimmest House majority in modern history” [The Hill]. “President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to tap Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) for his new administration will mean Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) fragile House majority — already decimated in the November elections — will temporarily shrink by a couple more seats next month. Democrats will easily refill those deep-blue seats in New Orleans and Cleveland, but they’ll have to wait for special elections to do so. The looming vacancies mean Democrats will likely hold a precarious 220-213 majority, the slimmest in modern history, just as they kick off the 117th Congress and Biden and his Hill allies grapple with twin public health and economic crises. For Pelosi and her whip team, it means that just four defections could tank any piece of legislation that Democrats bring to the floor.” • Four. Remind me how big the (so-called) Squad is?


“Great Latinxpectations” [The Baffler]. “For decades, the illusion of a “Latino vote” represented the facile container for a multi-racial ethnic group that includes people whose roots in this nation predates borders or whose heritage can be traced to countries from the Patagonia to the Caribbean. Advocates, journalists and political scientists have repeated, at near mantra-levels, that Latinos are not a ‘monolith.’ But ‘Latino vote’ persisted into the 2020 election, revealing less about Latinos and more about the presumptuousness of ‘Latino vote’ adherents whose response to the electoral force of Latinos resembles the discovery of a new species—distant, confused, and fetishizing. The news about Republican gains among Cuban and Venezuelan voters eclipsed the reality that a diverse bloc of Latinos backed Democrats. Why? Because in the ‘Latino vote’ model it was seemingly inconceivable that immigrants or their children would send their votes to a president who built his political brand by demonizing immigrants. But before they were immigrants or the ‘Latino vote,’ many Florida Latinos, specifically Cubans and Venezuelans, belonged to the privileged class in their countries. To reach the U.S., they didn’t cross a desert. They traveled business class.” • Oh, wow, class trumped identity. Who knew?

TX: “What went wrong with Texas Democrats’ 2020 plans? State party leaders intend to find out.” [Texas Tribune]. “The head of the Texas Democratic Party has appointed a committee to take a “deep dive” on what went wrong in the November election after a group of executive committee members wrote to him demanding answers, reforms and a shakeup in senior staff…. The Tribune obtained a copy of the letter that was dated Friday. In it, the State Democratic Executive Committee members raise a host of issues related to the governing body’s relationship with party staff — which appear to predate this election cycle — as well as the party’s role in the November election. ‘From messaging to organizing, political data to simple administration, the Texas Democratic Party has dropped the ball and it is becoming more and more apparent every day that our senior leadership is refusing to take responsibility or, more importantly, the actions necessary to resolve the many shortfalls of our party this election cycle,’ the letter said. The letter makes a dozen requests, including a change in senior staff, a ‘full accounting’ of party finances, a ‘full roster’ of party employees and consultants, a ’10-year strategic plan,’ an ‘overhaul’ of the party’s approved vendors list, outreach to state parties in places like Georgia and Virginia, and a task force on the party’s headquarters.” • This is much better than what the DNC did after 2016, with its pathetic “Unity Reform Commission.”

UPDATE OK, Van Ness Creative Strategies is talking their book. Nevertheless:

Obama Legacy

UPDATE “In Conversation With Barack Obama” (interview with, you guessed it… Jonathan Chait) [New York Magazine]. Obama: “I have no regrets about at least testing the possibility that Republicans are reasonable.” • After they impeached Clinton over a [family blog]. Ye Gods. At least in 2008 Clinton would have been vengeful, ffs. That might have done some good around the margins…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Del. Lee Carter files for Virginia governor, but says he’s ‘keeping his options open” [Prince Williams Times]. “Del. Lee Carter of Manassas has filed a statement of organization to run for Virginia governor in 2021 but says he’s still deciding whether he’ll launch a gubernatorial campaign and is ‘keeping his options open.’ ‘I’m still in the decision phase of whether or not to run for governor. But I did file some paperwork because, at this point, it is a prerequisite to keep that option open,’ Carter, 33, said in an interview Wednesday. News of Carter’s filing corresponded with Wednesday’s announcement that former governor Terry McAuliff, 64, will also enter the race. Carter, a self-described democratic-socialist, said his decision to run will be solely based on whether he ‘hears discussion from other candidates about making big, transformative change to our political system and to our economy to make sure we have an economy that works for the rest of us.'” • I’d love to see Carter take down McAuliff. That would put the cat among the pigeons!

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 Situation: “05 December 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims Significantly Worsen” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 693 K to 735 K (consensus 707 K), and the Department of Labor reported 853,000 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 740,500 (reported last week as 739,500) to 776,000.”

Housing: “3Q2020 CoreLogic Homeowner Equity Report: Homeowners Gained Over $1 Trillion in Equity” [Econintersect]. “The Home Equity Report for the third quarter of 2020 shows U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63% of all properties) have seen equity increase by 10.8% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of $1 trillion, and an average gain of $17,000 per homeowner, since the third quarter of 2019. This marks the largest average equity gain since the first quarter of 2014. Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, home prices soared throughout the summer and fall. Appreciation reached its highest level since 2014 in the third quarter of 2020 as prospective homebuyers continued to compete for the low supply of homes on the market, pushing home equity to record levels. Equity gains are likely to persist over the next several months as strong home-purchase demand is expected to remain high and continue pushing prices up.”

Inflation: “November 2020 CPI: Year-over-Year Inflation Rate Unchanged” [Econintersect]. “According to the BLS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) year-over-year inflation rate was 1.2 % year-over-year (unchanged from the reported 1.2 % last month). The year-over-year core inflation (excludes energy and food) rate was also unchanged at 1.6 %.” • But hidden in the averages:

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Design: “Why Pantone Believes Gray and Yellow Will Be 2021’s Colors of the Year” [AdWeek]. “The Pantone Color Institute has selected not one but two colors for its ‘Color of the Year 2021’—Ultimate Gray and Illuminating yellow—a pairing of colors that, Pantone said, come together to conjure ‘deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine filled day.’ … Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said the selection of two colors also reflected a sense of union… ‘The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one,’ she said.”

Design: “Pantone’s Color of the Year Is Really Weird—Just Like Everything Else Right Now” [Vogue]. “Pantone has such a great global reach, I wish it either stop trying to hitch its color trends to current events, or pick something more meaningful. Medical Mask Blue, for instance, as a reminder that we’re not through this crisis yet and we still need to be masking up. Or Ultimate Gray, as a reminder that the future is always a vast unknown space, no matter how much we project our desires onto it.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 80 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 85 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 10 at 12:03pm.

Health Care

“US experts convene to decide whether to OK Pfizer vaccine” [Associated Press]. “A U.S. government advisory panel convened on Thursday to decide whether to endorse mass use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to help conquer the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans. The meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration represented the next-to-last hurdle before the expected start of the biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history. Depending on how fast the FDA signs off on the panel’s recommendation, shots could begin within days. The FDA panel functions like a science court. During the scheduled daylong session, it was expected to debate and pick apart the data — in public — on whether the vaccine is safe and effective enough to be cleared for emergency use. With unprecedented interest in the normally obscure panel, the FDA broadcast the meeting via Youtube, and thousands logged on.”

Here we go:

“Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine” [New England Journal of Medicine]. The Results:

A total of 43,548 participants underwent randomization, of whom 43,448 received injections: 21,720 with BNT162b2 and 21,728 with placebo. There were 8 cases of Covid-19 with onset at least 7 days after the second dose among participants assigned to receive BNT162b2 and 162 cases among those assigned to placebo; BNT162b2 was 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 (95% credible interval, 90.3 to 97.6). Similar vaccine efficacy (generally 90 to 100%) was observed across subgroups defined by age, sex, race, ethnicity, baseline body-mass index, and the presence of coexisting conditions. Among 10 cases of severe Covid-19 with onset after the first dose, 9 occurred in placebo recipients and 1 in a BNT162b2 recipient. The safety profile of BNT162b2 was characterized by short-term, mild-to-moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was low and was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups.

The methods and especially the “exclusion criteria” are are above my paygrade. Hopefully readers will dig in.

A good question:

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“Rising Coronavirus Cases Force Chicago To Set Up Temporary Bars In Hospitals” (podcast) [The Topical].

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As an aerosol believer, I think we should all pay great attention to the flow and condition of air indoors, but I confess I have no concrete suggestions for winter; it’s unpleasant (and costly) to open the windows when it’s cold. Apparently, low humidity makes it easier for the virus to spread, so if you have radiators, be sure to put a pan of water on top of each one. If anybody has thought through a winter system for covid, I’m sure readers would love to hear it. I don’t think the “six feet apart” mantra is enough; we need to think about air flow. For example, does the virus concentrate in “dead air,” like dust balls?

The Biosphere

“Fracking Sites Tied to Increased Heart Failure Hospitalizations” [MedScape]. “Living near hydraulic fracturing is associated with increased risk of hospitalization in people with heart failure (HF), a new study from Pennsylvania suggests. The link was strongest among those with more severe heart failure but was found in patients with either HF phenotype, according to the investigators, led by Tara P. McAlexander, PhD, MPH, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia. Although questions remain about specific mechanisms and how best to assess exposure, the evidence is mounting in a way that is consistent with the biologic hypotheses of how fracking would adversely affect health, McAlexander said. ‘We have many studies now on adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.’ Fracking involves a cascade of activities that can trigger neural circuitry, sympathetic activation, and inflammation — all well-known pathways that potentiate heart failure, said Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, who has researched the health effects of air pollution for two decades and was not involved with the study.” • Waiting for that famous Biden empathy to kick in, here.


(The earth, I mean; not the rocket launch.)

Screening Room

“Anthology’s Inaugural Film Program Reborn!” (nvl):

ANTHOLOGY’S INAUGURAL FILM PROGRAM REBORN! from Anthology Film Archives on Vimeo.

nvl writes: “Anthology has been a staple of my adult life, along with the Film Forum, and now closed Cornelia Street Cafe and St Mark’s Bookshop. The later were started by collectives of artists/writers, with their demise having been New York real estate. Who cares about downtown cultural institutions? One of the St Marks managers started a used bookstore, Topos, which is a bit to far for me to be a frequent customer.”

Xmas Pregame Activities

“No drama corona-Christmas has some secretly jumping for joy” [Associated Press]. “‘We’re happy to be saving money, spending more time together, and to just have a less stressful holiday,’ said [Corritta Lewis, a] 31-year-old human resources analyst in Oceanside. ‘We don’t have to deal with the crowded airports, stores and overall mania that the holiday brings. We’re going to lie in our pajamas and watch movies all day.'” • Sounds like a plan! Although I would miss singing carols.


“Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day” [Bloomberg]. “There was an interesting piece at Business Insider by Alex Yablon last weekend, talking about the growing phenomenon of Wall Streeters sounding left wing in their analysis. There are a number of facets, but basically the idea is that you hear more people in finance adopting MMT-like frameworks for their analysis of the economy. This is in contrast to the historic stereotype of Wall Street as a bastion of libertarian, free market ideology. This phenomenon may seem odd or contradictory, but it’s really not. An implicit premise of many laissez-faire thinkers is that the economy is basically a barter economy: People get together in some “market”, and butchers and bakers trade with each other so they both have a complete meal for dinner. And therefore the best approach to economic regulation is to be as hands-off as possible, so that everyone can trade in an optimal manner, having the best dinner possible. On the flipside, MMT and related schools of thought put money and balance sheets right at the center of their analysis. In their view, the economy isn’t filled with butchers and bakers necessarily. It’s filled with people who have bills to pay and cash-flow needs, who may take a job as a butcher or baker in order to meet their monetary obligations. Go read a Nathan Tankus blog post, and it’s filled with accounting. Two of the most famous left-wing books ever have capital in the name. Wall Street is a business of people trading claims on future cash flows in the form of stocks, bonds and other instruments. And everyone’s trying to accumulate more of those claims over time. You don’t have to be a socialist to see how modes of analysis that focus on money — as opposed to just seeing money as a simple means to facilitate barter — have a natural home in the finance profession.”

Class Warfare

The replies:

“Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic” [WaPo]. “Alex graduated with a master’s degree in May and was immediately in a bind: no job, no money and, with much of the country still shut down, little hope that anything would change. She’d spent most of her $1,200 stimulus check on rent, and used what little she had left to buy groceries. Everything else — vitamins, moisturizer, body wash — she said she shoplifted from a Whole Foods Market a few miles from her apartment in Chicago. ‘It was like, I could spend $10 and get a couple of vegetables or I could spend $10 on just a box of tampons,’ said Alex, 27, who asked to be identified by her middle name to speak candidly. She has a job now, earning $15 an hour, but still struggles to make ends meet. She says she continues to shoplift — something she’d never done before the pandemic — every few weeks. She says she moves through the store mostly unnoticed. Usually, she said, she picks up a few bulky vegetables — a bunch of kale, maybe, or a few avocados — to disguise the pricier items she slips into her bag at the self checkout. ‘I don’t feel much guilt about it,” she said. ‘It’s been very frustrating to be part of a class of people who is losing so much right now. And then to have another class who is profiting from the pandemic — well, let’s just say I don’t feel too bad about taking $15 or $20 of stuff from Whole Foods when Jeff Bezos is the richest man on Earth.'” • Access to food…

“How Covid Turned Cashiers into Carers” [Tribune]. “Since lockdown creates a world in which shops are one of the only environments people can be guaranteed face-to-face interactions, security guards and cashiers alike are finding themselves recast as counsellors, mental health support workers, and ‘friends’. In my shop, visits from vulnerable, elderly, and lonely customers—nearly all of whom live alone, and some of whom have complex mental health conditions—have dramatically increased. These individuals often stay for over an hour. They come for a variety of reasons, but mainly to be somewhere warm and to have someone to talk to – about their worries, their YouTube channels, their medication, their boredom. This trend has been accelerated, not created, by the pandemic….. The behaviour of retail staff over the course of the pandemic has been depicted as ‘heartwarming’ and full of ‘simple acts of kindness’, as though retail staff don’t work for pay, but in the hope of inspiring next year’s John Lewis Christmas ad. This framing downplays the degree of physical and emotional labour involved in providing emotional support, while depoliticising the fact that it has been left to retail workers to provide it. The new relationship between customers and staff should be seen for what it is – the outsourcing of care.”

“Hero to Zero” [The Baffler]. “Those of us who have survived this far know exactly to whom we owe our lives, and it’s certainly not the government (imagine!), or the wealthy, or the employing class. It’s the health care workers, grocery store workers, sanitation workers, delivery workers, retail workers, transit workers, education workers—the list goes on ad infinitum, but you know precisely who I mean. They are the underpaid, under-appreciated, under-protected U.S. working class, many of whom were treated to a nightly round of applause, for a spell; some of whom were thrown a few weeks of hazard pay like so many of Trump’s paper towels; and many more of whom were just expected to get on with it and try not to die in the process…. Nearly a year into the pandemic and across every sector of essential work, it seems that employers have lost interest in lionizing the workers who have sacrificed so much for the sake of others, or even in pretending to care about the risks those workers must endure to earn a paltry day’s wage. It was bound to happen, but it’s still another black mark against the soulless ruling class of this country—and a goddamn shame to witness. All the yard signs and earnest rounds of applause in the world won’t fill an empty belly or bring back a dead friend.” • “In this house” yadda yadda yadda….

“The Trouble with White Women” [Duke University Press]. “There is a deeper, more structural reason why white women vote for misogynist, white supremacist candidates despite a century and a half of feminist organizing, however. Simply put: sex difference is itself a racial structure. Sexual difference, as a concept, emerged as a function of race. This is particularly salient in the nineteenth century, the era in which modern notions of race and sex difference solidified. My new book, The Biopolitics of Feeling, zeroes in on this generally overlooked phenomenon (outside of the history of evolutionary thought): that a wide variety of scientists, writers, and reformers articulated full sexual differentiation as the unique achievement of the civilized. The binary entities of man and woman were newly understood as thoroughly distinct in terms of mental, physiological, emotional, and psychological capacity. Sex difference was presented as the singular attainment of a teleological evolution moving toward ever greater specialization. The primitive races, by contrast, were cast as unsexed, as insufficiently evolved in both anatomy and character. The category of womanhood emerged in modern times as a unique quality of civilization. Its ramifications are still visible in electoral politics across the country.”

News of the Wired

“”A damn stupid thing to do”—the origins of C” [Ars Technica]. “But C did not emerge fully formed out of thin air as some programming monolith. The story of C begins in England, with a colleague of Alan Turing and a program that played checkers.” • The author of the checkers being one Christopher Strachey, of the Bloomsbury Stracheys…

“Is the Thumbs Up Emoji Really a Coded ‘F*ck You’?” [Harpers Bazaar]. “Emojis aren’t just a shorthand; they afford us the ability to convey tone, emotion, even playfulness while also providing a clarity and reassurance to text that might otherwise be read as ambiguous.” Except: “[E]emoji can be used insincerely—and that’s really hard to be sure about.” • Oh well.

“BLANC is a full-face modular mask designed for protection and privacy” [Design Boom]. “a team of entrepreneurs, product designers, and PPE specialists have unveiled a full-face modular mask called ‘blanc’. conceived as a protective mask, lifestyle accessory, digital hygiene unit, tech gadget, and privacy keeper, ‘blanc’ covers the users’ eyes, nose and mouth, while FDA-approved HEPA filters protect wearers from 99% of particles — including dust, mists, and aerosols. these filters seamlessly fit into the mask frame with a built-in visual color scale indicating when it’s time to change them.” • This is also a kickstarter pitch, so caveat lector. That said, it’s good to see somebody looking at masks as a fashion opportunity, like sneakers, instead of disposable pieces of non-woven cloth. The look:

Not a look for everyone. But wait ’til the anime crowd go to work…

“Bad sex award cancelled as public exposed to ‘too many bad things in 2020′” [Guardian]. “The prize was set up in 1993 by Auberon Waugh, with the intention of ‘gently dissuading authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels.’ Last year it was jointly won by Didier Decoin for The Office of Gardens and Ponds, which included the passage: ‘Miyuki felt as though she was manipulating a small monkey that was curling up its paws’, and John Harvey for Pax, in which the characters ’embraced as if with violent holding they could weld the two of them one’. The award’s judges said they took the decision because they felt ‘the public had been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well’.. But the judges warned authors not to take the cancellation as a ‘licence to write bad sex’. ‘With lockdown regulations giving rise to all manner of novel sexual practices, the judges anticipate a rash of entries next year,’ said a spokesperson. ‘Authors are reminded that cybersex and other forms of home entertainment fall within the purview of this award. Scenes set in fields, parks or back yards, or indoors with the windows open and fewer than six people present will not be exempt from scrutiny.'” • Good work.

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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 (jr):

jr writes: “Fall fashion.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Krystyn Podgajski

    “But given this sharp drop after 14 days after one dose, can someone explain why single dose isn’t very very high on the agenda?”

    The fact thi$ per$on a$ked thi$ que$tion prove$ we $till have $o much work to do…

    1. Jason Boxman

      I thought why not skip a second dose, but then I realize you wouldn’t get your immunity card or whatever, so that’s a no go if required by your employer or whatever.

    2. anonymous

      The protection was higher after 2 doses were given. The study was started as a 2-dose study, so just one dose can’t be evaluated with the current study, although it is a subject of interest. The question was asked after the sponsor presentation during the FDA meeting.
      Another question was about asymptomatic infection. The study has been monitoring participants for antibodies to the N (nucleocapsid) protein, which should be from infection, and Pfizer expects to be able to release results early next year. Serological monitoring for antibodies to the S protein and the N protein will continue through the 24-month trial.
      The sponsor Q & A is about 5 hrs in.

      1. Cuibono

        those Antibody studies are notoriously unrealiable.
        They should have been doing weekly PCRs

        or a subgrurp doing viral cultures

  2. ACF

    Re pairing of midwest/south & NE/west on deaths, my biases suggest midwest & south are more obese than west/NE, but I could be wrong…

      1. ACF

        No everything has exactly the same pattern of spiking it’s simply that the pairs of states have a different amplitude of death.
        Seems like it’s simply more deadly in the Midwest and south, than west/NE. so the question is why?

        Is it about population population getting sick or is it about the hospitals/resources available in each region?

        I was guessing it was a population-based difference & that the difference was obesity
        But it’s purely I guess
        I have no data

      2. HD Goering

        The dashed lines seem to be deaths per day not normalized by population. Is that intended? If so, what is the point of juxtaposing that data with the case fatality rate, which is independent of population? Apples and oranges.
        Also if so, the pairings can be merely coincidental.

          1. HD Goering

            By juxtaposing the two sets of data the chart illustrates the history of the ratio (deaths : deaths/cases), equivalent to (1 : 1/cases). Not illuminating.

            But, on further reflection, my suggestion of (deaths/pop : deaths/cases) is equivalent to (1/pop : 1/cases). Also not illuminating.

            Am I missing something? Are we both missing something? Was Mark Twain missing something?

          1. jo6pac

            I was hoping some one in medicine might answer. I a few minutes of online work I found others that had done the research that weren’t LR people. I’ll remember not to post LR in the future.

  3. fresno dan


    Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump are not the sturdiest candidates to conquer the coronavirus: older, in some cases overweight, male and not particularly fit. Yet all seem to have gotten through Covid-19, and all have gotten an antibody treatment in such short supply that some hospitals and states are doling it out by lottery.

    Now Rudolph W. Giuliani, the latest member of President Trump’s inner circle to contract Covid-19, has acknowledged that he received at least two of the same drugs the president received. He even conceded that his “celebrity” status had given him access to care that others did not have.

    “If it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have been put in a hospital frankly,” Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, told WABC radio in New York. “Sometimes when you’re a celebrity, they’re worried if something happens to you they’re going to examine it more carefully, and do everything right.”
    What is the matter with Americans? Don’t they know they should be celebrities so that they can get good health care (do I really need the sarc tag)?
    There is a ?pictolist? of the deadliest days in US history contained in the referenced article. Now, undoubtedly, we have a lot bigger base now a days, so even a small percentage increase will raise the absolute numbers substantially. Still, 6 of the top 15 days of fatalities in the US have supposedly happened in the last couple of weeks. Almost certainly, that number will rise substantially.

  4. DonCoyote

    Did anyone else see Blanc and think “high-tech version of the Buddha Box?”

    “Namaste means ‘f*** you, I have anxiety’ ” (Cartman, who else?)

    1. jr

      I don’t know how cool I am with a wi-fi rec-trans next to my skull, I tend to hold my phone a few inches away or use headphones. Although I do like the anonymity and cyberpunk feel…

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Stig? Spot on. If everybody wore them you would have an 80s version of a dysfunctional future. Facial recognition would not be worth a damn but it would not be long before some bright spark from Silicon valley made them with wi-fi meaning that people would be identifiable.

    2. Ed Miller

      I got a totally different perspective, which I find humorous.

      The Blanc comes shortly after (in days) the article on aliens and “humans not ready to accept…”
      Of course there are those who wonder about Jared Kushner. LOL

      Once people start wearing the Blanc, who can distinguish between real humans and aliens?

      Problem solved! It’s almost as if everything is planned.

  5. fresno dan

    “BLANC is a full-face modular mask designed for protection and privacy”
    conceived as a protective mask, lifestyle accessory, digital hygiene unit, tech gadget, and privacy keeper,
    As well as an ugly shield… I think it will really help me with the ladies – the two 2 paper bags over my head, which I wear to prevent being shot dead as a putrefying zombie, are not very sleek, are so gauche, and scream poor. This will make me a hep cat!

    1. RMO

      You can just buy an established product that really works when it comes to protection:


      I have one that I bought primarily for making soap (during the lye and water phase of production) and for use when dealing with solvent vapors etc. P100 cartridges are available (so better filtration than N95 while being much cheaper than the various full blown organic/inorganic/mercury/lead/radioactive filter cartridges needed for many of the common industrial uses). To be a good citizen you would need to strap a disposable medical type mask (or equivalent filter fabric) over the exhalation valve which is easy to do. If I run out of N95’s and the infection rate here in BC goes up again I will likely end up wearing this mask when going shopping…

      And the only thing “digital” about it is that you use the fingers on your hands while putting it on!

      1. skippy

        I have two of those with the OEM drinking stem and a heap of the hazmat grade filters which are used in two stage with the particle filter on top and with its own fine particle filter stage.

        BLANC would not even come close – HEPA is house – shop vac level nuance filter and then without proper seal mask efficiency starts going out the window. False sense of security issues as noted here on NC.

        Per se have seen blokes using cheap nuance filters whilst using airless sprayers with water based paints.

        After finishing spraying and taking mask off there are two bright lines of paint going right up their nostrils from the left and right side of mask. Right where the cheeks meet the area of the upper lip surface in transition E.g. any facial movement, for any reason, breaks the seal at that point. This is why fitment for medical grade masks require training and vigilance. That is not to say N95 et al mask are not effective by any means, as long, as other protocols are adhered too.

        Hence why I think Mandalorian is a good moniker for it.

  6. ChrisAtRU


    I dig this look! Hahahaha! I’m part laughing at companies who’ve spent millions on facial recognition software only to be upended in the post-COVID era. I’ll wait for the cheap Chinese knockoff version that sells for ten bucks at your friendly neighborhood pharmacy check out … ;-)

      1. rowlf

        The Simon Stålenhag versions. Remember the eerie cartoonish robots in The Electric State that were all unsettling?

  7. BrianC - PDX

    About hospitalizations… I live in the Portland OR Metro area. I have heard 3rd hand that PDX hospital ER departments are triaging incoming Covid patients. Those deemed to be unable to survive are not being admitted and given an ICU bed, supposedly they are being routed to home health care or hospice. I honestly don’t know how this would work, because I thought if you could drag yourself across the threshold of an ER they couldn’t boot you out?

    I have no idea what to make of that report. Rumor, fact, garbled report of some triage metric being put in place?

    Given the spread of Covid and the fact that skilled hospital staff are finite, I could imagine something like this occurring at some point if trend lines continue going up.

    Second item:

    Evidently Salem General, just down the road, is now offering nurses $103/hour to work in their Covid ICU. Which is $70/hour more than was offered to the person that told me this story when she started there a few years ago. Guess this is the neo-liberal market in action. Though the preferred neo-liberal outcome is that a “surplus” of labor should be driving costs down. Maybe we can reduce the requirement to be a nurse to just completing 20 hours of online classes and give them a “Covid Nursing” certification. (Yes, that is snark, but I bet there is some truth in there.)

    1. Ron Grissman

      Re: “I thought if you could drag yourself across the threshold of an ER they couldn’t boot you out?” Trump CDC and state health departments have invoked emergency rules for emergency times. So no the above is no longer true. Decisions are being made based on surviving. And it’s not always based on how a patient presents. If is often statistical, e.g., over 65 and a high BMI – not famous? Then out you go. Oregon isn’t the best state to make a plea for life, ‘cause they have patient assisted suicide. Great, go back to your car, drink this and we’ll be by. Would be funny if it wasn’t true. The docs who do this normally have special training and mandatory mental health check ups. The ER docs nurses, others are having a real hard time with this. Hospital police or security finding bodies in cars. The human mind can take just so much of this.

    2. Glen

      I’m beginning to wonder if this is not the scenario that played out in NYC the the spring where they were transferring patients to nursing homes. Where they just full at the ICUs and this was triage?

    3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      I live in the same ‘market’ and I have it first hand that there is nothing approaching a catastrophe. This from medical professionals. Turn off KBOO.

      1. BrianC - PDX

        Thank you. As I said I have no way to evaluate this.

        I’ve pinged a couple of people that I know work in local ER departments here. (Used to kayak with them way back when.) Haven’t heard back yet.

        It feels eerie silent. I watch the same numbers going up that everyone else is watching. While wondering, are we getting to a point where this is going to cause problems? Does the “system” still have slack to handle what is coming?

        My contribution is to stay home as much as possible and to avoid doing *anything* risky. Easier for me than many others.

  8. Janie

    Jr’s pic of leaves is a beautiful complementary color combo – much lovelier than Pantone’s choices.

    1. anon y'mouse

      “next year, we shall all be depressed. but none of us will want to admit this.”

      i knew before the unveil precisely which two iterations of grey and yellow they would be.

      when can i get a job at Pantone? obviously not in the copywrighting dept.

  9. Tom67

    Re covid. Here a view from Europe:
    1. Funny numbers: Sweden famously took a laissez faire approach to Covid. France took an ultra hard approach and Germany was in between. Result: much higher death rate in Sweden in spring. Lower death rate than Germany in autumn.
    2. Up to now no higher overall number of deaths in Germany than in previous years. But more money is given to hospitals per corona patient. Could very well be the explanation for the autumn bump up.
    3. Italian high numbers out of synch with Germany. Due to worst air pollution in Europe in Northern Italy?
    4. High death rate in US: not surprising. According to physician friend who worked in both Germany and NYC Americans on average are in much worse shape when they come to hospitals than Germans and die much more quickly. No wonder as they haven´t seen a doctor for many years for lack of health insurance.
    Vaccine: German non profit paper (Arzneimittelbrief) that is independent of the pharmaceutical industry has an extremely critical paper up about the rushed vaccines (especially german american biontech- pfizer). They basically term it a mass human experiment. Something like a roll out of a new Windows where clients do the testing for Microsoft. Oh, and by the way: the EU has waived all liability for the new vaccines. honi soit qui mal y pense
    For those who read German. Here the Arzenimittelbrief: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345950519_Zur_Entwicklung_genetischer_Impfstoffe_gegen_SARS-CoV-2_-_technologische_Ansatze_sowie_klinische_Risiken_als_Folge_verkurzter_Prufphasen

    translation: about the development of genetic vaccines for SARS CoV-2 and the technological background as well as clinical risks of shortened trials.

      1. drexciya

        The same thing applies to the Netherlands. Mark Rutte (our prime minister) has closed lots of hospitals, thereby reducing hospital and ICU capacity by about 50% over the previous 10 years, and also reduced the number of locations for care for the elderly. The elderly have to be in relatively much worse condition, to be even able to apply to a space there. Even before Covid-19 hit, we had regular issues, when it comes to the capacity of our health care system.

    1. fajensen

      Don’t worry, Sweden will get to 12000 dead around February, 2021.

      The first sacrifices to “Herd Immunity” and stupid discussions about PPE, were mostly old people in care homes plus a few “strays” living there while waiting for a handicap adopted flat. Many were frail to begin with so they died after only a few days of “palliative care”, not really clogging up the hospitals and the ICU’s.

      With the crazy-pants infection rates here, the next “batch” are middle-aged and younger people finding out that, uh oh, they didn’t know that they were amongst the unhealthy, impure and generally weak stock who would end up being hospitalised for Covid-19. Some of those will take 3-6 weeks to die, effectively clogging up “the pipelines”. In fact they are already clogged, hospitals and ICU’s are at capacity – anyone showing up with something serious are going to be in trouble.

      Similar to Chernobyl, “Folkhälsomyndigheten”, FHM, felt that they were not seeing the infection rates needed to prove “Heard Immunity Theory”, so they just kept pulling out more and “control rods” and in the meantime, the virus was growing exponentially, but, nobody was watching because Testing was/is screwed up, like the PPE for care workers was (and the distribution of vaccines undoubtedly will be).

      We are watching a systemic collapse, every system that was supposedly there to keep people safe, healthy, reasonably well fed and not living in the streets is either failing in the execution of its stated purpose or has it’s purpose inverted, like FHM, to do the opposite of “what is sez on the tin”.

      The brown stuff will hit in earnest about mid-2021, when “the numbers” percolate out from all of the backlogs and the government becomes aware of the extent of the disaster.

      This is because Sweden is in some ways an authoritarian country. While everyone can see very well what is happening, no recognition of what is happening will take place until the leadership acknowledges it.

      Then it will all hit at once, and panic ensues. What form the panic will take, one does not know, but, it is probably not going to be good! Especially not for non-Swedish nationals still hanging around, FHM are already warming up that particular barrel of old dreck!

  10. Mikel

    “With unprecedented interest in the normally obscure panel, the FDA broadcast the meeting via Youtube, and thousands logged on.”

    Still no duplication of the experiments ny peers?

    Those thousands are most likely worried about stock prices…not anxious to become test subjects on this shoddy mess. There’s a narrative to hype.

  11. Oso_in_Oakland

    To reach the U.S., they didn’t cross a desert. They traveled business class.” • Oh, wow, class trumped identity. Who knew?
    you literally cannot see this, lambert? seriously? the author explained the difference between the indigenous and white experiences, yet you still only see class.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      I’m genuinely puzzled you’re still in the “identity” bubble. I spent a while there, so I can “identify”, but economic interests are such a juggernaut that I got run over by the better explanation.

      Culture and society are great, but they just get flattened when you don’t eat. Karl Polanyi (“The Great Transformation”) helped open my eyes to how the industrial revolution first ran over Britain, then the rest of Europe, and finally the colonized peoples – all with the same great wheel of “market forces”. Then the exclusion of “class” from polite discourse started to make a whole different kind of sense to me.

      1. Glen

        To be honest I hear you, BUT this has also caused me to think hard about reparations.

        Do I support reparations? Yes I do. Identify who should get them and start by giving the at least a million bucks.

        Slave descendants? Yes
        Indians that got screwed by treaty violations? Yes

        First, it is the right thing to do.

        Second, I suddenly have a lot of people (I am not one of them, by the way) in my local community that have money to spend, and it will do the community a lot of good.

        Third, I am COMPLETELY OVER watching Nancy Pelosi or Jamie Diamon or Amazon or any of the money’ed elites bend a knee and say “we hear and support”.

        I say put some [family blogging] money where your mouth is or just be honest and [family blog] off. Because THEY ARE ALL TALK AND HOT AIR FRAUDS and will not lift one [family blogging] finger to do ANYTHING REAL.

        1. fwe'theewell

          Why would they, when their success depends on this “edge,” or “schism,” in society? If we had a social well-being society, they wouldn’t be lording it over everyone.

  12. Dr. John Carpenter

    I’d be willing to believe Feinstein’s situation isn’t an isolated one. The image of a dottering Feinstein propped up by those who don’t want their rice bowls empty no matter how much damage she causes the rest of us is a pretty good stand-in for America at this point.

    1. Geo

      Read a while back about congressional (or senate) pharmacist saying they prescribe tons of meds for mental decline and other ailments of the sort. Sounded very common amongst our elected reps.

      That said, doesn’t take much mental acuity to merely parrot what a lobbyist told your aids to scribble on a piece of paper for you and sign bills they tell you to sign.

      I mean, would it impact McDonald’s if Hamburglar had dementia and Grimace was sundowning?

      1. edmondo

        Every day will be a new day for her. And, on the bright side, Joe will have someone to talk to during the State Dinners.

        The fact that she’s totally out of it actually could prove helpful in her next re-election campaign. She will finally be able to honestly say that “I don’t remember anything evil that I did during my last term.”

    2. Tom Stone

      Iirc Strom Thurmond serviced the public until he was 90 or so….
      Pelosi is what? 89?
      DiFi fits right in as does
      “good old uncle Joe”.
      Geriatric kakistocrats.
      And the rice bowls Dianne dispenses are deep and well filled, always.

    3. ambrit

      Feinstein’s ‘handlers’ should look up Nancy Reagan’s Court Astrologer. Now there was an “expert” with years of experience at running a country at third hand.
      We need a 25th Amendment for the House and Senate, indeed, all levels of the Government.
      How long before ambitious American politicos start to utilize Caligula’s methods?

      1. edmondo

        You are missing the fun partt. Someone leaked that info to embarass DIFi and get her to pull the plug.

        Since Schiff is probably been promised Kamala’s seat as a reward for the Impeachment fiasco, I’d guess Latina or African-American politician, maybe London Breed since she’s part of the Newsom mafia.

          1. JBird4049

            It has the whiff of “Go Die” but for elite grandmas. I think that both of my state’s Senators have truly earned an extended vacation at Club Fed, but using an Alzheimer’s patient for political power is just loathsome. If Senator Feinstein is really that ill, start the process of getting her out and do it in the open.

            For a replacement, London Breed might do, but she is only the mayor of San Francisco. Further, she is a Bay Arean politician. The south has been trying to get more political power and influence from the north for about a century now. They want the money that comes from patronage and graft and certainly the water of Northern California as well. IIRC, it looked like LA was going to pry more out of the wet north during the 1970s. Missteps like a developer giving permission to build an entire lake in the south while people’s water was being rationed and cut off in the north while in the south not so much. Bad optics there. Then some serious rumbling or very strong rumors about blowing up some of the north-south canals. Fortunately, the rains came before it got serious.

            California has always, always been about water. Gold? Pfft! Water to drink and to farm. Just look at Hetch Hetchey and Owens Valley being destroyed to supply San Francisco and Los Angeles. Both cities would be towns without that water.

            I think that people like the water barons, the California families that control much of the water in the state especially all the irrigation water are planning for the the future. Almost all the state’s water comes from the northern rains going into the rivers and reservoirs or the rivers created from snow melt in the eastern Rockies. However, most of California’s population is in the south centered around LA and San Diego although the whole place has been filling up. Southern politicians would be happy to try again for the water and they have the votes. They just don’t quite have enough political power and money. What happens when the water availability becomes more uncertain? The majority in the south will still need water and and north will always have some water even if the amount declines.

            Getting some compliant tool for senator from LA’s ruling political families would help with that. I don’t have anywhere near the knowledge about the local scene to guess who but the guy described as Mr Garbage on this site sounds good.

  13. Jeff W

    “Del. Lee Carter files for Virginia governor, but says he’s ‘keeping his options open” [Prince Williams Times].

    That’s good to hear. Any time I’ve heard Lee Carter speak (say, on this 2018 Dead Pundits Society podcast), his answers are always perfectly pitched and articulated. So I’ve been pretty impressed with him and, in any case, would welcome his gubernatorial run.

        1. ambrit

          To all and sundry; my main beef with her is that she is too closely associated with a so far toothless “Progressive Wing” of the Democrat Party. #OurRevolution leaves much to be desired. She is still learning the “tricks of the trade” in politics.

          1. richard

            if she joins the people’s party when that’s a possible thing, then i would see her as pretty true. That’s where i stand on it for now, with my eye on her. She doesn’t go in for a s&^% ton of virtue signaling on twitter (like every single squad member does) , i’ll give her that.

    1. Geo

      With internet lag time, compression artifacts, and connection dropouts I imagine a group of singers banded together through Zoom to sing carols would create some sort of glitch-wave noisecore anti-music remix kind of vibe. Sounds pretty awesome.

      1. RMO

        I’ve been taking my bass lessons over Zoom since spring. It works alright but the latency means that playing together is impossible.

  14. Geo

    Was talking yesterday with a friend about how much I miss the little theaters in NYC like Anthology, Film Forum, and others. So many great films that I’d never hear of in entertainment media were available at those theaters. Being in LA now, a place of Hollywood idol worship, even the “indie” theaters only show films with stars in them. Really miss those places.

    On a related note: my new lil’ indie is out and getting some love. It has a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.4 out of 5 audience score on Amazon. I know some of my fellow NC comrades checked out and enjoyed my last film. Would love if any of you could check out the new one and let me know what you think. It’s free to watch on Roku, Tubi & Prime.
    (Moderators: Hope you don’t mind me sharing my personal work here?)

    It’s been a crap year but, for me at least, this has been one small ray of light seeing a four year project finally enter the world and actually be appreciated. Yay. Something positive. :)

    1. neo-realist

      Not to mention the Elgin, the Thalia (now the Leonid Nimoy Thalia), and the St. Marks Cinema. Went to school on foreign and independent film at those theaters.

      Now one must stream those films that you used to get at those theaters. Not the same enjoyable aesthetic experience:(.

  15. Mikel

    Yashar Ali- Twitter – utilities, and other burdens….

    I’ll bet all Congress wanting is for alot of people to become desperate enough, with all the overdue bills, to get on this constant vaccination regime while they rake in profits from stock positions they have.

    1. edmondo

      Congress has shown zero regard for 99% of the American public. The fact that they are not all hanging from lampposts on The Mall and The Capitol bulldozed to make room for an Amazon Distribution Center is just a reflection of the population’s lack of direction.

  16. Molon labe

    Clinton was not impeached for [family blog]. He was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. The underlying act may not have been a high crime or misdemeanor, but he should have owned it. Of course, in retrospect, many of his previous supporters now acknowledge that his behavior was unacceptable, if not an employment law violation, in government or business.

    1. Geo

      To be fair, he got impeached for perjuring himself about a [family blog]. If he’d perjured about starting a war, torturing people, illegally funding death squads, insider trading, or anything that actually matters in our lives and the lives of all but himself, his wife, and his mistress, (and a dry cleaner) then he’d have never been impeached and no one would even remember.

      1. ambrit

        What’s really sad here is that the poor young woman never rose to the status of “mistress” in the technical sense. I get the feeling that Bill Clinton views all women as {family blog} receptacles.
        The man is a classic case of everything wrong with a male ego.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          I love forum ‘automatic bad word replacers’. Once, years ago on a WWIIOL game forum, I just could *not* figure out this word/phrase that kept getting used:

          ‘cirbody fluidstances’

          It was often used in long conversations about game physics, flight envelopes, and all that…so i figured it must be some kind of obscure game designers/wargamers slang about the fluid nature of…well, I just couldn’t figure it out.

          Then one day I posted about some “…odd circumstances leading up to the Allied win yesterday…”, and presto…when I read my post, the word had been changed to the mysterious ‘cirbody fluidstances’.

          And then, like a perverted light dawning across my consciousness…. i realized…. :)

    2. km

      Not perjury, but before Lewinsky, it was an article of faith among goodthink liberals that any sexual contact between a male supervisor and a female subordinate was ipso facto sexual harassment, if not outright rape. Because power relations.

      Of course, as soon as L’Affaire Lewinsky hit (and it was entirely foreseeable to anyone knowing anything about Bill Clinton’s well-publicized proclivities), those same liberal goodthinkers twisted themselves into knots trying to justify Clinton’s actions.

  17. Art Vandalay

    The two articles you mention from USA Today:

    UPDATE “President-elect Joe Biden selects Susan Rice as director of White House Domestic Policy Council” [USA Today]. • Biden wants to start his own wars, I guess….

    UPDATE “After years of denial under President Trump, experts expect Joe Biden to confront domestic extremism” [USA Today]. . . . • Oh, a task force.

    . . . strongly suggest to me that Susan Rice is actually qualified based on her prior body of work to head up domestic policy for Biden despite having no professional experience that seems on point for a domestic role. And that should concern us.

    Go long surveillance and slave markets. The IPO market is lavishly rewarding the latter.

    1. ambrit

      What bothers me is that, under the Blowback Doctrine, we will be seeing domestic paramilitary death squads here in America. It was a cornerstone strategy of ‘regime change’ and ‘friendly authoritarians’ policies overseas.

    2. mcstrafe

      Interesting observation w/r/t Rice. I noticed in the extremism article the proposed task force is fixated on online threats … whereas the article itself emphasizes a real life Proud Boys-esque, right wing terrorist threat. Surveillance is due for a come back!

  18. Geo

    Thank you! I’m not sure actually. I think it is in the U.K. but probably not in the E.U. Maybe Roku, but probably not.

    If you want, I can send you a “press screener” version. Same movie but with a watermark every so often to supposedly prevent piracy.

    Here’s my email: geoff (at) sporkproductions (dot) com

    For any one who is curious to see it for free and doesn’t want to support Jeff Bezos (Amazon) or Rupert Murdoch (Tubi) just email me and I’ll send the private screener version.

    1. Geo

      Oops. This was a reply to the comment asking about my film in Europe. Not sure what happened. Sorry for the error. And for the additional shameless self-promotion.

      1. ambrit

        You have already shown contrition, so, consider the “self promotion” as appropriately ‘shamed.’
        Working on the principle of ‘doppelganger erasure,’ we pair the “shameless” with the “shamed” and resolve the conflict into a neutral nullity.
        All fixed!

  19. LawnDart


    Not sure whose department this is (Yves, I think).

    CALPERS made a million+$ additional investment in Qiwi Plc three days ago…

    QIWI stock is tanking. Why? Oh, you’re gonna love this…

    I guess CALPERS loss now is a tax write-off?

  20. Keith in Modesto

    “The best thing the Democrats could do, for the sake of their continued functioning as a party, would be to investigate Obama.”

    That’s dangerous talk, right there, Lambert.

  21. Amfortas the hippie

    oh, look, instead of the usual reach across the aisle self-amputation:

    “Indeed, it may well be that the Biden administration’s only practical option to counter these unprecedented midnight appointments will be to fire these appointees after he takes office. And, when the newly unemployed federal officers seek judicial review of Biden’s action, the administration should quote the Federalist Society judges back to themselves in the legal briefs. In fact, were Biden to signal that he will remove illegitimate lame-duck appointees after taking office, it might persuade McConnell to cease and desist trying to saddle the Biden administration with a federal bureaucracy committed to seeing his administration fail.”

    back during that brief period when i still thought obama really wanted to be fdr, i hoped that he would be as muscular as the gop is.
    as it stands, with both parties shamelessly playing remora to the big boy’s shark, i reckon this is just another step towards that authoritarian future we’re all supposed to stop worrying about, now that the pear shaped carrot is defeated.

  22. VietnamVet

    The rushed vaccine development and reality seem to be finally aligning. Simply put, by placing money first and avoiding the restoration of a functional government to control the virus by the Western ruling class; the unknown vaccine risks are starting to play out with more to come.

    The reign of greed has culminated with the Texas Attorney General’s lawsuit to the Supreme Court to invalidate the 2020 election. The three Trump appointees + two have a binary decision; keep Joe Biden’s inauguration on track or let the Trumps continue living in the White House. Other than sending the mess back to a lower court for fact finding, there isn’t a good outcome. Either of the Sophie’s Choices will split both coasts from the heartland. Unless democracy and the nation public health system are restored; peaceful transfers of power will cease.

  23. skippy

    On the MMT thingy ….

    As far as I can determine heaps of firms are abandoning the legacy risk evaluation institutions due to endemic failure pre and post GFC – own goal as it were E.g. why would you hive off that responsibility out of house, even if in the past some short term dynamics might make it attractive ***too a few*** in the firm – its not like the time line of some of these people is akin to my fav reference of a fruit fly and with the same drivers = eat all you can and root anything that moves.

    This also, as of now, seems to dovetail with various shifts in Orthodoxy making concessions on the edges of mainstream economic platitudes, which in, they on one hand give up some ground to MMT/PKE theory, but at the same time, are more than not, attempting to shield their most sacred axioms and ex ante isms – general equilibrium theory, rational-expectations-robot-imitation-representative-agent models, heterogeneity, loanable funds, and a few other I’m rich your not sux eggs poor people stuff.

  24. michael99

    From an AP story on the latest impasse in coronavirus aid bill negotiations:

    Democratic leaders had wanted far more in state and local aid, but were accepting of the lower $160 billion.

    But many Republicans have long viewed the state and local aid as a bailout they would have trouble supporting, despite the pleas for funds coming from governors and mayors nationwide.

    What is with the Republicans? Is there no spirit of pulling together in an emergency between the federal and state and local governments? A lot of these state and local governments are led by Republicans, ffs. They are also among the biggest employers in many regions. The dollar amount in question isn’t much compared to what has gone to businesses through the Fed lending programs and the PPP loans. And why do they refer to it as a “bailout”, as if the state and local governments somehow brought this on themselves?

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