2:00PM Water Cooler 12/31/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I’m being extremely lazy in the run-up to New Year’s. See you next week! –lambert.

Bird Song of the Day


Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.

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:

An enormous holiday drop, far larger than Thanksgiving. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California) instead of the Midwest:

Enormous drops, except in New York.

The test positivity, hospitalization, and case fatality graphs have moved or disappeared (plus all the other URLs changed), and I miss them. The change log doesn’t reflect this. I think this is a volunteer project, so I’m assuming I’m not getting it (but “Don’t make me think”) or that the charts are in a New Years’ shakedown phase.


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

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

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

Election Legitimacy

“GOP senator to object to Electoral College results, forcing Congress to vote on overturning Biden’s win” [MSNBC]. • I thought Hawley was just going to make a speech, and not force a vote. It’s hard to see how forcing a vote is an affront to democracy; the rhetoric on this seems just a little overheated. Everybody who is anybody is hating on Hawley right now, which suggests he is indeed somebody to watch.

Democrats en Deshabille


David Frum signs up for the Communist Party:

“Senate Democrats’ Motion To Concede On $2,000 Checks” [David Sirota, The Dailly Poster]. “The day began with Sen. Bernie Sanders following through on his promise to deny unanimous consent for the Senate to advance a $740 billion defense authorization bill, until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows an up-or-down vote on legislation that would send $2,000 survival checks to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000. Sanders’ move forced McConnell to ask the Senate to pass a formal motion to proceed on the defense bill, which would let Republicans move forward on the Pentagon priority without a vote on the $2,000 checks. The motion created the moment in which Democrats could have stood their ground and cornered the GOP leader. Instead, as Republicans saber rattled about the need to pass the defense bill, 41 Democrats obediently voted with McConnell, allowing him to move the defense bill forward without a vote on the checks. That included “yes” votes from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and vice-president elect Kamala Harris, the lead sponsor on a bill to give Americans monthly $2,000 checks during the pandemic. One day before her vote to help McConnell, Harris had called on the Republican leader to hold a vote on her legislation. Only six members of the Senate Democratic Caucus mustered the courage to vote against McConnell’s maneuver — Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Ed Markey and Ron Wyden. Democratic senators in fact provided the majority of the votes for the measure that lets the defense bill proceed without a vote on the $2,000 checks. It was called a motion to proceed, but it really was a motion demanding Democrats concede — and they instantly obliged.” • Well, I guess there’s no reason to vote Democrat in the Georgia Senate race, because you won’t get squat if you do. Well done, all. The votes:

“Graham calls for stand-alone vote on $2K checks” [The Hill]. “Graham says McConnell is correct in saying that a stand-alone vote couldn’t happen by Jan. 3. However, the new Congress begins that day at noon, and the vote stands a chance there. That would mean, however, that the House would also need to pass its own bill again, as the existing approved measure would die when the current Congress ends. ‘The new Congress, you could get a vote,” Graham said. “I’d like a stand-alone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check.’ Seven Republicans already said they would vote in favor of the increased checks, and five more would need to sign on to get it passed, Graham told ‘Fox & Friends.’ ‘I think if we had the vote we would get there.'”


Somebody should ask Ossoff if he organized “West Wing” watch parties at Georgetown:

Narrator: “That’s what they said at first.”

“Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman relentlessly trolls Dan Patrick seeking $1M voter fraud bounty” [Houston Chronicle]. “The Democratic lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania has been trolling his Republican counterpart for weeks to collect on the $1 million Patrick offered in November for evidence of fraud in the Nov. 3 election. Three supporters of President Donald Trump have now been charged in separate voter fraud schemes in Pennsylvania. Fetterman says they should all count for bounty purposes. The most recent charges came this week — against the second Pennsylvania man to be accused of casting a ballot for Trump in the name of his deceased mother. ‘We hit the jackpot with this last one,’ Fetterman said. ‘There are three documented cases — three.'”

“Why McConnell was ok with Trump losing” [Ryan Grim, Bad News]. “One of the enduring mysteries of the 2020 presidential election was McConnell’s apparent lack of interest in helping to reelect Trump. From the perspective of the White House, the political press corps, Democrats, and effectively everybody watching the race, there was one major thing they thought would go a long way to delivering four more years for Trump, and that was a major round of stimulus in the weeks before the election, complete with checks destined for voters. Given that a swing of fewer than 100,000 votes in the right states would have flipped the election to Trump, it’s fair to say that such a stimulus could indeed have turned the tide for Trump. Yet McConnell stood in the way….. From McConnell’s perspective, he has gotten nearly everything he could out of Trump: three Supreme Court justices, control of the federal judiciary, sweeping deregulation, and trillions in tax cuts. Yet for McConnell, dealing with Trump is also a daily humiliation, like being charged with babysitting a toddler who has been told by his parents that he’s the boss. What could Trump do for McConnell in a second term that would be worth the headache? And aside from the degradation, Trump represents a threat to McConnell’s vision of the Republican Party as a coalition led by billionaires and supported by the white working class. In Trump’s party, politicians like McConnell would not lead, but would be at the whim of the QAnon-inspired masses.”

UPDATE “Hunter Biden’s Guilty Laptop” [Peter van Buren, The American Conservative]. • Worth a read; Van Buren (who is not cray cray) gives a good summary of the story our famously free press suppressed to help Biden win (led by social media monopolies who will be regulated, or not, by that same winner). What amazes me is the penny ante nature of it all. Hundreds of thousands, a million every so often. Hunter Biden is a piker!

Transition to Biden

Biden on the $2,000

Although in publlic Biden didn’t lift a finger to help, I’m sure he was working hard behind the scenes.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Resistance’s Breakup With the Media Is at Hand” [The Atlantic]. “As the White House beat became the biggest story in the world, once-obscure correspondents were recast in the popular imagination as resistance heroes fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. They were showered with book deals, speaking gigs, and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. They got glow-ups to accompany their new cable-news contracts, and those glow-ups were covered in glossy magazines. Along the way, many of them adapted their journalism to cover an unusually mendacious and corrupt president (much to the delight of their new fan bases).” • The writer seems a little confused about the nature of “the popular imagination.”

Obama Legacy

“The Fraudulent Universalism of Barack Obama” [Current Affairs]. “From his debut book Dreams From My Father to the present day, Obama’s tendency to invoke grand, dialectical oppositions then resolve them with abstract appeals to unity or similitude has been a hallmark of his style. Combined with his flair for lofty, even mythical imagery and ability to fuse his thoughts and biography with everything around him, the upshot is a rendering of events in which every strand of history, culture, and ideology appears to realize itself in Barack Obama: a man whose life and presidency represent the synthesis of every strain of American life hitherto in tension.” • That’s not a small-d democratic dynamic to the slightest degree.


“To combat vaccine hesitancy in minority communities we must address past wrongs: Surgeon General” [Yahoo News]. “And studies show African Americans and people of color are leery of getting vaccinated against the disease as the result of past mistreatment, citing the notorious Tuskegee experiment that turned Black men with syphilis into medical guinea pigs. ‘We know that a lack of trust has been a major cause of reluctance, especially in communities of color, and that lack of trust is not without reason as the Tuskegee study occurred within many of our own lifetimes,’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams said last week.” • Filing this under 2024 for obvious reasons (Adams is black, and young).

Realignment and Legitimacy

It’s people like you what cause unrest:

Dore vs. DSA now?

Stats Watch

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 31 at 12:46pm.

Health Care

“Here’s Why Distribution of the Vaccine Is Taking Longer Than Expected” [New York Times]. “States vary widely in how many of the doses they’ve received have been given out. South Dakota leads the country with more than 48 percent of its doses given, followed by West Virginia, at 38 percent. By contrast, Kansas has given out less than 11 percent of its doses, and Georgia, less than 14 percent. Compounding the challenges, federal officials say they do not fully understand the cause of the delays. But state health officials and hospital leaders throughout the country pointed to several factors. States have held back doses to be given out to their nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities, an effort that is just gearing up and expected to take several months. Across the country, just 8 percent of the doses distributed for use in these facilities have been administered, with two million yet to be given. The holiday season has meant that people are off work and clinics have reduced hours, slowing the pace of vaccine administration. In Florida, for example, the demand for the vaccines dipped over the Christmas holiday and is expected to dip again over New Year’s, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday. And critically, public health experts say, federal officials have left many of the details of the final stage of the vaccine distribution process, such as scheduling and staffing, to overstretched local health officials and hospitals.”

“Some 500 Coronavirus Vaccine Doses Intentionally Destroyed, Hospital Says” [NPR]. “Aurora Medical Center officials had initially suspected the Moderna vaccines, which must be kept between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, had inadvertently been left out at the Grafton hospital on Dec. 26. But an investigation found the [now-former employee] ‘acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,’ officials said Wednesday.”

“St. Joseph’s ER in St. Paul closes Wednesday morning” [Star-Tribune]. “St. Joseph’s ER was seeing a greater share of patients who were homeless and primarily seeking shelter or had mental health or chemical dependency problems. Nicholson said Fairview is addressing that population with new services so they won’t need emergency care — including leasing Bethesda Hospital, the former long-term acute care facility in St. Paul, to Ramsey County for conversion into shelter housing…. While modernized health care that improves outcomes is the goal, it was born of financial necessity. Fairview reported a net operating loss of $152 million in the first nine months of 2020, compared with a loss of nearly $60 million over the same time frame in 2019. Fairview took on the money-losing St. Joseph’s as part of a 2017 merger with HealthEast and hastened its losses by concentrating more inpatient psychiatric services there.” • Oh.

“Obamacare, in Its First Big Test as Safety Net, Is Holding Up So Far” [New York Times]. The deck: “Job losses and the loss of insurance have typically gone hand in hand. This year, more Americans are staying covered.” “More” is doing a log of work, there. Ten paragraphs down: “Mr. Bruenig said he was struck by how many low-income people remained uninsured, a sign, he said, that the new system [(!!!!!!)] was not yet reaching everyone it was designed to help. ‘There’s a lot of uninsurance at the bottom, more than you might think,’ he said. ‘Because for one reason or another, people are not getting on these plans.'” • ObamaCare is not “new.” It was passed in 2009, ffs.

The Biosphere

“Transforming carbon dioxide into jet fuel using an organic combustion-synthesized Fe-Mn-K catalyst” [Nature]. “As this carbon dioxide is extracted from air, and re-emitted from jet fuels when combusted in flight, the overall effect is a carbon-neutral fuel. This contrasts with jet fuels produced from hydrocarbon fossil sources where the combustion process unlocks the fossil carbon and places it into the atmosphere, in longevity, as aerial carbon-dioxide.”

2020 Postgame Analysis

Maybe I filtered it out, but there seems to be a shortage this year of retrospectives, like “Best of 2020,” “2020’s Top Ten _______,” or “2020 in Pictures,” style-of-thing. Herewith a few random items:

Good call. Note the date:

2020’s showrunners were terrible:

The one aggregation that did make it onto my feed:

Salads (1):

Salads (2):

“MapLab: Your Brain on Maps” [Bloomberg]. “We’ve now gathered nearly 450 maps from people all over the world, from many walks of life, showing how their lives have been transformed by the arrival of Covid-19.” Here they are. Hong Kong:

Class Warfare

“Influence of socioeconomic deprivation on interventions and outcomes for patients admitted with COVID-19 to critical care units in Scotland: A national cohort study” [The Lancet]. Scotland. “Patients with COVID-19 living in areas with greatest socioeconomic deprivation had a higher frequency of critical care admission and a higher adjusted 30-day mortality. ICUs in health boards with higher levels of socioeconomic deprivation had both higher peak occupancy and longer duration of occupancy over normal maximum capacity.”

News of the Wired


Women, too? I don’t know from experience; there were no women in the factory I worked in that used pallet jacks.

“New Train Hall Opens at Penn Station, Echoing Building’s Former Glory” [New York Times]. “For more than half a century, New Yorkers have trudged through the crammed platforms, dark hallways and oppressively low ceilings of Pennsylvania Station, the busiest and perhaps most miserable train hub in North America…. After nearly three years of construction, the new Moynihan Train Hall, in the James A. Farley Post Office building across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, will open to the public on Jan. 1 as a waiting room for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers.” Fourteen paragraphs in: “The Moynihan hall caters primarily to Amtrak passengers, who account for just 5 percent of Penn Station’s 650,000 weekday riders and will board and exit trains through the new waiting area. Long Island Rail Road commuters will be able to get to trains from the new hall, but officials expect most of them to continue to use the older Penn Station…. The station’s six subway lines run along Eighth and Seventh Avenues and Avenue of the Americas — a good distance from the new train hall. That leaves subway riders, who tend to be less affluent than Amtrak users, and New Jersey Transit commuters to the bowels of Penn Station.” • So, optimized for Acela riders? I’m shocked. Now do the tunnels under the Hudson before they implode. Meanwhile, in a productive, not financialized political economy:

Fast forward to Basquiat?

* * *

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 (HH):

HH writes: “Pflugerville, TX just just northeast of Austin city limits December 10, 2020. Bitter oranges (aka Seville oranges) are what you might get if you plant citrus trees and then forget about them: The root stock for grafting citrus (lemons, loquats, mandarins, navels, etc.) is often a bitter orange, which is more cold-hardy and disease-resistant. But if you don´t watch out, the bitter orange can take over, and in our case, we now have several two-story trees full of bitter citrus. As you can see, some oranges have fallen off, but the trees are still loaded with fruit. On the upside, they are the preferred orange for marmalade and they are also really good with gin and tonic.” So if you have bitter oranges, make a gin an tonic. Very on-brand for 2020.

I have enough plants in the inventory not to feel nervous now. Coral is an honorary plant, and some of you sent coral; lichen and fungi are also honorary plants, and I don’t have many of those, so it’s not too late to send them in. Thank you!

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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. carl

    Re: Pallet jack riding
    Haven’t encountered one of those, but I do admit to the occasional grocery cart ride in the parking lot. Lots with downhill slopes are the most tempting.

    1. William Sircin

      “Women, too? I don’t know from experience; there were no women in the factory I worked in that used pallet jacks.”

      I do know from experience, and I can say: Yes. Most definitely. My female coworker almost broke her neck riding a pallet jack on at least one occasion.

    2. Keith

      I remember as a kid working retail and playing the pallet Jack’s (it was a now defunct toy store, so lots of playing) and managers trying to enforce the no riding rule. In our defence, we got around a lot quicker on them than when walking.

      1. Tvc15

        Similar to Keith, my first job was at a grocery story. I was 16 and rode the pallet jack in the back-storage area whenever the opportunity arose. Somehow, I managed to never get caught by management over my 3-year tenure.

        This was 1983 and the store was unionized. There were career checkers at that time and if I remember correctly, they topped out at ~$20 / hour. They weren’t rich by any means but could certainly support a middle-class lifestyle especially when their spouse worked too.

        1. Wukchumni

          A few years ago after skiing, a few in our group hit the rental condo jacuzi when the day was done and shared time with a couple from SoCal who were supermarket checkers making $34 an hour, they’d both been at it for over 30 years.

          The task they perform is no different than a checker @ Wal*Mart.

          1. Glen

            Yes, very true, but let’s look at the tradeoffs we’ve made as a country because of that:

            Walton family all billionaires.
            Walton family forces American companies to off-shore manufacturing to China to reduce costs, further wrecking American industrial base.
            Walton family single largest importer of Chinese manufactured goods.
            Walton family funds effort to cut back estate taxes.
            Walton family pays employees so poorly they qualify for aid, but teaches them how to apply for state aid so that we all get to pay for their employees.

            Supermarket checkers have good middle class American job.

            1. Wukchumni

              Supermarket checkers are pretty much the only unionized retail jobs I come across, aside from pro sports.

              1. Glen

                My second job in 1975 was at a Straw Hat Pizza Place. Starting pay was $6.75/hr. It was union.

                My first job, in 1974 at KFC, I made minimum wage – $1.90/hr.

                Looking back, I was 17 years old, and had a good union job that had benefits. I was surrounded by people that worked there full time, and were the sole income for their family (they were making more than me!) I worked part time after school, and full time during the summer. A couple of my friends stayed working there for years.

              2. Carla

                Most supermarket employees (produce, meat dept., stockers, etc.) were unionized for decades, until Walmart took 1/3 of the grocery market in the U.S. Now Amazon is intent on taking the rest.

                Get rid of Amazon, Walmart, Google, Facebook — and nationalize the banks — and you get rid of most of the problems in this country.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            If they deserve no more money than a checker at Walmart, then why do you deserve any more money than a checker at Walmart? If they don’t, then you don’t either.

            The bed you choose to make for poor people is the bed you deserve to get poor yourself and lie in.

            1. tegnost

              the working class’ wages have to be anchored to zero so the other side can rise to infinity. The leisure class needs those rising asset values to fund their self actualization donchaknow…it’s a spiritual thing…

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                And in fact, Walmart checkers deserve more than a Walmart checker.

                People who think Walmart checkers deserve to be poor deserve to become as poor as they think Walmart checkers deserve to be. If I had the power to make it happen, I would make it happen.

    3. HotFlash

      Women riding pallet jacks? But of course! When I worked in a warehouse, early/mid ’70’s, women were not allowed to drive reach trucks, we could only use the pallet trucks. It was a *huge* warehouse (biggest in Canada at the time) and we would ride when dead-heading. Strictly forbidden, of course, but done anyhow. We were deLIGHTed when our neighbour, a Cdn Tire warehouse, put ladies on their 3-stage Raymond Reach trucks and set a record for lift-truck operation safety.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      We had pallet jack races in the warehouse I used to work in. I can say from personal experience they aren’t much for turning if you’re using them like a scooter and you also better hope your path is fairly clear of debris or uneven surfaces.

      1. HotFlash

        In another place, biog-box hardware and bldg supplies, there was a tool rental. After hours we would race belt-sanders down the aisles. Good times, as they say. We did our jobs, though, which is more that the head-office people did. Co went bankrupt.

      2. jr

        I seem to remember riding one and coming to a near dead stop because I ran over a small, flat piece of wood and the wheel couldn’t hack it.

  2. fresno dan

    Detweiler, a nine-year veteran, said she and her partner arrived separately to the scene and saw Hill near a car and then go into an open garage. Detweiler told investigators that Coy requested that Hill come out of the garage and when he did, things got “weird.”
    Detweiler said she heard Coy scream Hill had a gun in his other hand. She told investigators she couldn’t recall if her partner gave Hill an order to drop a weapon.

    Detweiler said she did not see a weapon on Hill, and no weapon was found.

    Coy and Detweiler did not appear to administer any aid to Hill as he lay on the ground, according to the body camera footage, and he died a short time later in the hospital. Coy was fired Monday, and an investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
    So, as best as I can time this, the officer walking from the street to rather close to the person shot was 2 to 3 seconds (seconds are longer than people think – look at your watch). There is no audio initially, so one can’t know what the officer said and how far away when he first spoke. Speaking only for myself, someone I don’t know yelling at me at night, as I turn around and am walking toward them – it would take me a second or three to process what is going on and to formulate a response…
    Its not like Hill didn’t say anything for a minute.

    1. HotFlash

      When read about situations like this, I always think of the side-effects of anabolic steroids. Paranoia, anxiety, depression and more (look it up using a source you trust). I heave read that it has been made illegal to test cops for all? some?? drugs, Should be std procedure, IMO. Regular drug tests for cops, plus the occasional surprise test. Goose, gander, yeah. If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.

      1. JBird4049

        What I really do not truly understand is WTF did they not give aid to the victim? Most people do survive getting shot especially if they get help to slow the blood loss and to keep breathing until the EMTs arrive.

        It seem to be happening more that I am reading of the police not doing so, which is not only immoral, it is stupid as while most people are likely to give the police a pass for the shooting, just leaving someone to bleed out and die, not so much. Not always true, and not even most of the time, yet kids to little old ladies to hardened criminals are likely to be ignored as they die right in front of the officers.

    1. Rtah100

      Plant of the day – Seville oranges are great. Italians make a nice soft drink (cedrata) out of the bergamot orange and that’s usually considered inedible.

  3. anonymous

    “If I had but one bullet and were faced by both an enemy and a traitor, I would let the traitor have it.”

    ― Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, For My Legionaries

          1. LawnDart

            Haven’t been there since 2009, but I’m hoping to stop in next Summer if I can get out that way.

            Grainey’s and Toads have a lot of history behind them, and a lot of work went into making them what they were.

            1. The Historian

              True, but they too have changed. They stopped providing live music in 2019 – it seems the live indie music scene in Boise was dying even before Covid. I’m not sure they will ever return to what they used to be.

    1. John Zelnicker

      In Mobile, Alabama, we drop a mock-up of a Moon Pie. One of the favorite Mardi Gras parade throws.

      It looks like the Mardi Gras parades are going to be cancelled this year; many of the Krewes have already announced cancellations of their parades and balls. Thankfully.

    2. albrt

      We just found out about Show Low dropping a deuce (of clubs) on New Years. That is the best. I think we will be going there next year, or maybe the year after if the Covid jackpot is still going on a year from now.

  4. Mark Dempsey

    FYI, Eugene McCarthy endorsed Reagan in 1980.

    Other puzzling passages from Rick Perlstein’s latest, Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980

    1. Big Tap

      McCarthy also took until the end of October 1968 to endorse Humphrey. If he endorsed him earlier as some Democrats wanted him to do that may have made the difference in Humphrey beating Nixon.

  5. Keith

    Regarding the bike attack, as soon as that ruffian lifted his bike, the driver should have hit the gas and sped away. That looked like a legitimate fear for life and bodily harm scenario.

    1. bob

      Yes. The person in the 3000 lb SUV should be afraid of a 20 lb bike.

      “That looked like a legitimate fear for life and bodily harm scenario.”

      Someday you’ll get the chance to be scared and start shooting. Just keep waiting for it, it”ll be so worth it!

      1. Keith

        That was the opportunity to flee as the path cleared of debris. The fear comes from the hoard smashing the windows on the vehicle.

        1. Jr

          The driver had absolutely no reason to slam on the brakes because some stupid kid was hitching a ride. It happens all the time, dumb but rarely a problem. That was pure malice. And if the driver was from NYC he has even less ground to stand on. You should never start something with a mob of bicycle kids when you can only get a block or two ahead of them when you attempt to flee. Poor tactical thinking on his part.

          Plus, they smashed a BMW. What’s not to love?

          1. kareninca

            What are you talking about??? I had never in my life heard of someone on a bike “hitching a ride” on a car before I read this. And the first thing I would think to do would be to stop, since usually if you are driving a car and something bad is happening it is safest to stop. To the extent that someone would think about this – not that they would have time to think – why wouldn’t they assume that car-dragging someone on a bike would greatly imperil them?

            I’m amazed that you would think someone would naturally know about this practice, and how best to cope with it. Bizarro world.

            1. jr

              Welcome to NYC! I see it pretty often here. It’s not at all safe, it’s super stupid, but slamming on the brakes is even more dangerous to the twit hanging on. Not to mention on a city street you have nowhere to go. He put himself and his elderly mother their mercy. Kids know this, they can zip off in a second on a bike, cars are stuck on the street. Kids also know that no matter what you can’t just bat them around without being called before the Man or the Woman. Assaulting a kid isn’t the same as assaulting an adult no matter the circumstances. You had best have your story straight. I would have let the nitwit ride and chalked it up to urban life.

          1. Keith

            Referring to bikes on the road that could get caught under the vehicle. As for the person, could care less about a savage. What’s the old saying, “he who makes a beast of himself relieves himself the burden of being a man.”

              1. JBird4049

                Or perhaps the saying is about being not an adult instead, which could be correct in this case?

      2. Yves Smith

        I don’t agree at all. I hardly ever drive (still have not owned a car, main car driving occurs when I rent cars on vacation in Maine and use family car in Alabama, in tame upmarket suburb). If that happened to me, I would have hit the brakes too. Not out of fear of safety, out of “WTF, this is out of band, no way am I letting this continue.” Although if my reflexes were better, I would slow to a stop.

        You are crazy if you think this doesn’t put the driver and others on the road as risk. Once the driver notices the kid, he’s preoccupied with watching that and has much less than full attention on his driving. This is at least as risky as having a driver texting. Not letting fucking kids involve me in their risk-taking. I find driving to be stressful and I don’t need idiots adding to it.

        1. ShamanicFallout

          Yep. This has happened to me here in Seattle with my truck (so lots of good places to grab on to), always with skaters though- I’ve never had a bicyclist hitch a ride- so probably more dangerous. And sometimes I have my little daughter in the car so it’s a little sketchy to let them ride. I usually just slow down and then stop, give them the look, and then take off. At the very least, it’s very annoying

          1. Wukchumni

            I was like 12 and the cool neighbor up the street had a Jaguar XKE convertible, and he encouraged us kids to hitch a ride on our bikes holding onto the door handle, and it nearly sucked me under the chassis, scared me half to death, and never did it again.

        2. bob

          “…as soon as that ruffian lifted his bike, the driver should have hit the gas…”

          This happened in the video when the car wasn’t moving. It would be hard for a person to pickup a bike they were riding on. Keith is advocating for running over people with a car. “hit the gas”. On purpose. Not by mistake, or lack of attention. In his opinion homicide would have been justified because-

          “legitimate fear for life and bodily harm”

      3. Mason

        Yes and no.

        These were punks who might of assaulted a cab driver earlier and oddly were damaging their own bikes to damage cars. I really appreciate the driver’s restraint. Two teens didn’t get run over today.

        I hated seeing folks plow through crowds at the BLM protests. It seems to be more of panic than malice in most cases when they drive through crowds. It also looks like the folks at the edge of crowds are a mix of trouble makers wrapping or hitting cars or trying to get them to turn around for crowd safety (There’s been alt-right lone wolf car attacks before, also the Nice terrorist attack in france.)

        I think there should be rules of engagement for drivers at protests. Cars at a protest are as dangerous as assault rifles. They can kill dozens in a minute or less.

        So if you find yourself in a car in or infront of a crowd… think carefully. You are about to become a mass murderer. ‘I was scared’, yes but you ran over like 12 unarmed people to get through the crowd and most of them had nothing to do with attacking you.

        Now if they come after you with baseball bats and other weapons, alright. Wipe em’ out. Kid in your car and they are breaking in? Wipe em’ out.

        Most of the time though, it’s like a few people punching or kicking the car like in this case. Back up or wait it out. Sorry your car got smashed a little. If they had crowbars or were breaking the driver’s window, go ahead.

        Treat your car like a gun in a situation like this.

        1. JBird4049

          Good advice, but in San Francisco, the “protest” group Critical Mass would swarm drivers who had accidentally gotten in the way of the stream of bicyclists; the bicycling jackasses would always assume, sometimes understandably, that it was a deliberate attack or something and attack the car.

          It has not happened often, but seeing a self righteous mob attack some tourists or a family made me angry. The movement does not announce their planned route and sometimes the usually effective and efficient guides/car blockers would have a mistake. It would result in a terrified and very confused driver having his car being damaged. Thinking on it, I am surprised nobody has been killed or at least I have never heard of it.

    2. Frank


      In complete agreement, although the driver should have gently hit the gas to allow biker to get out of way. Putting the car in reverse, a more powerful gear, then hitting the gas, would have allowed a quicker escape, as long as no one was behind him. A car can be fixed, your teeth and face cannot. Why the fool just sat there and waited for them to break in, then beat him/her to death, is beyond me. Was it a racial hate crime? Driver white, attackers black. Imagine the opposite, white bicyclists, black driver.

      Remember Reginald Denny? He stopped and was nearly beaten to death. Never again.

  6. Michael Stover

    re: The Biosphere

    While admirable the process is not carbon neutral unless the power to transform the CO2 is from a carbon neutral source (should such a thing truly exist).

    1. Synoia

      It cannot be true, One cannot get more energy out than is input.

      They must consume energy to crack the CO2.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Where does the energy come from to forcibly re-reduce CO2 back into hydrocarbons? Maybe they are really writing about how their catalysts lower the amount of energy needed to re-reduce the CO2 . . . but surely not to zero? Surely this re-reduction is not itself an energy-yielding reaction with yet more chempotential energy in the oxidizable chem-bonds?

        Maybe they are just telling us to ” assume a can opener” of outside energy to drive the process.

        I can think of a simpler way. Grow plants which produce jet-fuel quality oil or jet-fuel precursor oil.
        And extract and refine and/or work up the oil.

  7. Daryl

    > Not exactly holiday material, but it has to be done. Drops across the board, which I assume is entirely a holiday-driven reporting issue.

    TX just reported 26,990 cases, presumably catching up on the lapse in reporting.

    In response to this, Texas AG (who should be in jail) has sued the city of Austin over restrictions in restaurants.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that guy,lol.
      sad that the Radio Preacher(Lite Gov) has competition for who makes me more ashamed of Texas.

      Texas Lege starts on the 12th, and should be a hoot.
      finding comprehensive coverage will be an issue, as always.
      might be the year for movement on weed, given the pandemic induced budget problems likely to be discovered(they manage to find budget problems in boomtimes, too)
      various Gop critters are already yelling about banning abortion…because there’s really nothing else we need to be worrying about right now.

      as for slack jawed paxton…um,mm…”Lock him up!”.

      1. Amfortas the hippie


        meanwhile Paxton is spending mucho taxpayer dollars on looking for his keys under the lamppost.

        in unrelated news…it’s snowing like crazy, here.
        we went and walked around in it.
        i don’t really know how to measure snow(it doesn’t appear to like the rain gauge)..but it looked like maybe an inch in 20 minutes.
        NWS says we could get 6-9″ by the morning.
        ice all over the trees and bushes already.
        i expect the scanner to be active tonight.
        this is rare for here…and people don’t know how to behave.
        add in NYE, and the usual drunken mayhem that entails.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          hour later and a full 3″ on the flat, and already 4 wrecks on the scanner , in under an hour and a half.
          one they can’t find, because it’s a traveler passing through and they don’t know where they are…so ems, fire and cops and texdot are roaming all over trying to locate.
          from our one little town, you can go in 4 directions for 40+ miles before you find another outpost of civilisation, and that’s not counting the small, endless country highways, let alone all the dirt roads.
          ems boss called for all hands on deck.
          i went out walking again…taking pictures.
          i don’t know how y’all northerners do this every year.
          once every other decade is enough for me,lol.

          1. jr

            When I was a lad living in the mountains of NE Pennsylvania, we had winters normally reserved for upstate NY on the regular. By October there was usually at least 2 if not 3 feet of snow on the ground. We usually lost about a week to snowdays, minimum.

            Sometimes, it would rain one day and that evening there would be a serious cold snap. The trees would become coated in a centimeter or so of ice, transforming the woods into a crystalline maze that dazzled the eyes when the sun hit it. It was breathtaking.

            Personally, I need snow and winter to thrive. I get bummed that it only snows a few days a year in NYC. Heat crushes my spirit, as does an unhealthy overabundance of sunlight. I could happily live out my days in a snowy clime…

              1. jr

                That brings back some memories, to be honest. Where I grew up the wind was strong enough to make breathing hard on some days, you literally couldn’t catch your breath. Perhaps it’s a bit more than I would care to deal with these days though. The knees, you see…….

          2. curlydan

            I was shocked when I saw that mass of snow perched over central Texas on the radar. Kind of a rare sight. Enjoy!

            By the way for all future generals, rebels, or revolutionaries: I decided long ago that the best day to invade Texas is right after a snow. The state SHUTS down and drivers go about 5 miles an hour on the freeway.

        2. Daryl

          Heard it snowed all the way out in the desert. Here we got 4.5 inches of rain or so. Just as well I don’t have anywhere to be, and the fireworks are less likely to set something ablaze.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            at 4am, i went on a (definitely non-naked) jointwalk.
            clouds tattered, and near full moon illuminating it all.
            never seen anything like it.
            the open spaces on the hills gleam, 4 -6 miles away….and everything is covered in snow.
            stuck my entire index finger down vertically into the snow on the trunk of eldest’s car….so, 4″?
            thankfully, it’s only 30 degrees(26, tonight…for long enough that i’ll turn off the water at the wellhouse–i hate being a plumber when it’s cold, and we’re not set up for this)
            15 mph north wind, 25 mph gusts.
            it’s frelling beautiful out there…but i need not see it again for another 15 or 20 years.
            scanner was so quiet last night that i climbed the ship’s ladder in the kitchen(roof access) to check that it was still on…i expected much more activity than none,lol.
            but the cell service was down in the southern half of the county….and landlines and the 911 system were down county-wide….unknown if this still persists, or if it made calling for help problematic.
            sometimes heavy rain, like night before last, causes the ems/fire radio system to fail…so maybe that’s down, too….which would be symbolically perfect for where we are, at the birth of the new year….where everyone assumes a return to normality, now that we’ve added a digit.
            global connectivity, suddenly shrunk down to having to physically go somewhere to find out what’s going on.

            wife had a sore throat…likely due to the annual cedar fever…but still causing much anxiety in the boys and i.
            covid has invaded our orbit, with her brothers, mother, and aunts all in quarantine, waiting for a test….and her uncle in the hospital in san antone to get antibody infusions(!)…and the banks and stores we frequent all under quarantine.
            and all of these latest and closest victims and potential victims being among the most conscientious and careful regarding masks and distancing in this far place.

            i wish you all well, NC People.
            let us endeavor to do better.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Good luck Amf and I hope that all goes well with your family. Helluva way to start the year but it does sound beautiful where you are.

  8. Wukchumni

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
    Why was Mitch dismayed?
    Not though the people knew
    Someone had blundered
    Theirs not to make reply
    Theirs not to reason why
    Theirs but to make it out alive
    Into the valley of debt
    They spent their last six hundred

      1. flora

        Meanwhile, the small US distillers that stepped up to make hand sanitizer early in the pandemic and continuing… the FDA has just hit them with a $14000.00 fee normally reserved for drug manufacturers… for producing scarce OTC hand sanitizer during the pandemic. The next time there’s a critical need for something in short supply I’m sure the private sector will again jump in to fill that need on their own initiative. /s
        You can’t make this stuff up.


    1. fresno dan

      December 31, 2020 at 3:24 pm
      not nearly as good as yours, but just to let you know we appreciate your poetry a small homage to your writings

      Half a paycheck, half a salary,
      Half a living wage onward,
      All in the valley of Debt
      dispensed only six hundred.
      “Forward, to the destitute!
      Charge for the groceries!” he said.
      Into the valley of Walmart
      only six hundred.

      “Forward, to the no longer paid!”
      Was there a man dismayed?
      Not though the unemployed knew
      Someone had blundered.
      Theirs not to make reply,
      Theirs not to reason why,
      Theirs but to do and die.
      Into the valley of Debt
      with only six hundred.

      Rent to right of them,
      Groceries to left of them,
      Utilities in front of them
      bills and charges sent;
      Stormed at with evictions and repossessions,
      Boldly they protested,
      Into the jaws of Debt,
      Into the mouth of hell
      with only the six hundred.

      Flashed all their cupboards bare,
      Flashed as they contained only air
      holding the bills there,
      Charging on Visa, while
      All the world wondered.
      Plunged over the credit limit
      Right through the limit they are broke;
      Restauranter and waiter
      Reeled from the covid stroke
      Shattered and sundered.
      Then they sat back, but not
      Not able to make it with only six hundred.

      Rent to right of them,
      Groceries to left of them,
      Utilities in front of them
      bills and charges sent;
      Stormed at with evictions and repossessions,
      While cars repossessed and employee immobile
      They that had labored so well
      Came through the jaws of Debt,
      Back from the mouth of hell,
      All that was left of them,
      Left of six hundred.

      When can their income grow?
      O the wild charge they made!
      All the world wondered.
      Honour the charge they made!
      Honour the poor,
      who live on six hundred!

        1. juliania

          My sister loves to send photos of how well they are doing in NZ – get to celebrate the New Year first too,doncha know? So thanks to Wukchumni and Fresno Dan, as my Mum’s best friend used to say, “You have to laugh!”

          Happy New Year all.

  9. Glen

    So the Senate just overrode the President’s veto and passed the DoD budget. We’re now spending EVEN MORE on “defense” than during the invasion of Iraq which we invaded because of 9/11.

    But we now have a 9/11 EVERY DAY.

    How much more are we spending on “defense” against that? Fixing America’s broken healthcare system? Beefing up public health? Getting ready for the next pandemic?


      1. The Rev Kev

        And that is the whole idea of the forcethevote campaign by Dore. Flush out who really votes for who. Dore has noted how whenever there is corporate-friendly legislation that ‘needs’ to be passed, just enough Democrats are found to cross the aisles. Not always the same ones note, but there will be sufficient numbers found. This vote they went all in to make sure that $2,000 bill was killed off and now their names have been taken. Activists now have their targeting list. And nobody should be surprised at Harris voting against it. Remember this little episode from a month ago? Just like best buds-


        1. ambrit

          One of the Tea Party’s biggest ‘weapons’ against the Corporate Republicans was the grassroots primary challenge. For the Tea Party, that challenge came from out of right field. For the Democrat Party hacks, the challenge will come from out of left field. Either direction promises similar results.
          I remember several years ago, 2014, when a Tea Party challenger stood up to fight for the Mississippi senate seat held by Thad Cochrane (R) MS. At the end of play, the Mississippi Republican Establishment made a deal with the Mississippi Democrat Party elite to flood the Republican primary with erstwhile Democrat Party voters. Mississippi has a “mixed primary” system. One party can do mischief in another’s primary if it wants to. In 2014, they certainly did. The extra Democrat voters “saved” Cochran from losing.
          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_United_States_Senate_election_in_Mississippi#:~:text=Runoff%20election,-Runoff%20results%20by&text=Despite%20trailing%20in%20most%20of,advantage%20of%20the%20mixed%20primary.

  10. marku52

    Regarding McTurtle being happy with No Trump. I had little fear about the Supremes overturning the election for pretty much the same reason. They’ve got everything they wanted, and now he’s just an annoyance, and can go away.

    1. Keith

      A comment on another forum mention that McConnell may want to lose the Senate, as hearding 5 or so Republicans is a lot easier that 51. He also gets to extract a pound of flesh from Schumer to reward himself and contributors. Seems quite plausible.

      1. edmondo

        If the Dems in Georgia can’t hang the lack of stimulus money around their opponents’ necks, they have no right being in politics. But they were hired to be sacrificial lambs, not real senators. Stacey Abrams woulda won.

  11. hunkerdown

    Sean, to whom Dore was responding, is well on their way to mastering the “dry powder” discourse.

    2020 was an exquisitely clarifying year.

  12. jr

    Im not getting the Dore v. DSA tweet….why are they at odds? She is saying her roomie and/or partner are uninsured…Dore wants to cover them. Someone seeing what I’m not?

    1. IMOR

      2nd this. Probably have to open the thtead(s) to get it, and I don’t tweet o go any further in than the splashes on this and another site.

    2. TBellT

      Dore is not trying to get them covered, he is trying to get them to use a hashtag. It’s pure slacktivism.

      1. Jr

        Thanks but isn’t Dore attempting to organize as well? They had some big shin-dig or something advertised the other day….

        1. TBellT

          90% of which was personalities gabbing for a few hours, is that organizing?

          Look Dore and Company perfectly fine to do there own thing, but if you are going to snipe those who won’t back your efforts because they find them lacking substance and then imply they are in the thrall of corporate power, you should not be surprised when they snipe back.

          I think the best solution is each group to do what they decide works and ignore each other but Dore makes it personal and it’s reasonable for people to react negatively.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Ah yes! Exactly. Each groupload of people should do their own thing and ignore eachother. Or at least not criticize eachother. Each group has its own Theory Of Change (TOC). Each TOC group has its Plan Of Action ( POA).

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I remembered my other acronym.

              TAG. for Theory Action Group. A particular group acting on a particular TOC ( Theory Of Change).

              TAGs and TOCs.

            2. TBellT

              Or at least not criticize each other.

              Dore is free to say what he wants it’s a free country, all I’m saying is it’s not terribly surprising that people would attack back.

          2. HotFlash

            90% of which was personalities gabbing for a few hours, is that organizing?

            Well, what do you suggest? They could, of course, have twitter followers and marches and grass-roots leaders for the DNC to co-opt. Would you like that better? Please elaborate.

            1. TBellT

              I’ll just note that the DNC does TV blitzes all the time instead of investing in ground games, to much failure. Bernie did well in initial states were they invested in ground games, but in later states this ground game fell off because the campaign believed an earned media strategy would work after initial liftoff.

              We need to be turning voters into single issue voters on M4A. There is a lot of soft support that needs to be solidified. Media personalities largely preaching to a bunch of people who already die hard support M4A is not doing that.

              Look if the Peoples Party wants to run against the Squad in 2 years go ahead. Just consider me skeptical that they’ll actually pull it off… given they actually have no electoral results.

              DSA has several wins under it’s belt, min wage ballot measures, local and state candidates. Maybe it’s small ball but it’s actual electoral success.

          3. Oji

            90% personalities? Did you watch it? Much of the show was just people telling their healthcare horror stories. Most of the rest was guests like Cornel West and BJG explaining the need for Med4All, and addressing the arguments for and against. Krystal Ball, Kyle Kalinsky, and others did the same. Katie Halpert hosted.

            Calling this “personalities gabbing” is pure gaslighting nonsense.

            Further, it was the liberal opposition who made it personal by trying to make it about Dore and his tendency towards “righteous indignation,” as BJG calls it. Cenk, Ryan Grim, and David Sirota have all be taking the ad hominem road. Sirota, Cenk, and AOC, in fact, have been outright lying about both Dore and the strategy he is proposing.

            1. TBellT

              Yes 10% was horror stories. Count the minutes they had regular ppl on talking about stories vs the rest of the cast.

              Once again this was part of Bernie’s strategy and he LOST! A bunch of you want to charge in and try the same thing all over again while the rest of us are demoralized or trying to figure out how not to lose.

              1. Oji

                You are free to give up, if that is your decision.

                It was 70 years between the first Women’s Convention/Declaration of Sentiments and the right to vote, and you can ever trace the earliest public fights back to the 1600s in N. America. The early Labor actions date back to the 1820s, the young women in the textile mills, and progress took generations. I get it.

                But this fight isn’t just for me, or my parents, sibling, and friends who have all been through medical bankruptcy. I want healthcare for my kids, your kids, and everyone else’s. And I don’t care if it takes the rest of my life to get it.

                It’s demoralizing, yes. Take a break, I’m sure you’ve earned it. But then come back. We need you.


              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                Bernie’s primary loss was engineered by DemParty conspiracy and collusion. As long as the DemParty exists it will conspire and collude against a Bernie-figure advancing through its primaries.

                Probably a “path to victory” for an M4A movement and Bernie-figures would involve the absolute extermination of the DemParty from existence first, and the functional extermination of all its active members from politics and public involvement and public view.

        1. TBellT

          Ok make your calls, and get your 50k digital signatures, and then rest of us will be stunned when you succeed.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Yeah mate, because what America is doing is working out so well. You do realize that the US is the only developed country in the world to not have a public health system don’t you? And you do know that 45,000 Americans are killed every year as a direct result of not having any health insurance coverage – and that is only a regular year. And that about 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills as well. And that this lunatic idea of having your job tied to your healthcare does not work at the best of times but does not work at all in a pandemic. And that sixty years ago, health care was 5 percent of the US economy but is now heading for 20% and gives some of the worse outcomes outside of Mozambique. But I am sure that if you wait long enough, your Democrats and Republicans will give you healthcare – eventually. /sarc

            1. TBellT

              Ok, yes we should have M4A. We should have a lot of things in the country. But we’ve failed to get it for the last 30 years. Explain to me why I should have hope anything will get us there.

                1. TBellT

                  Well unless you’re willing to get Vanguard-y, you’re going to need a whole lot more people demanding.

                  1. ambrit

                    We can start with all the newly “impoverished” people in America. Newly poor people make excellent foot soldiers for revolutions. they are so new to the poverty game that they remember what it felt like to have “normal” lives. All that fear and anger is a potent force.
                    I’m waiting for some local police forces to begin refusing to be a party to the immiseration of their fellow citizens.

                    1. Alternate Delegate

                      Depends when the National Guard refuse to shoot. That’s the breaking point, long before the cops refuse. The cops think of themselves as separate. The Guardsmen do not.

            2. a different chris

              And the best thing about the American “healthcare” system is that when anything really bad happens, everybody gets laid off and loses what healthcare they have, good or bad!

              Genius, really.

          2. jr

            Aaaaand use those signatures and the energy they imply to bring pressure to bear on the Squad and whoever to bring pressure to bear on Pelosi. And it goes beyond just succeeding in a M4A vote. Anyone who obstructs it is branded as an enemy. Clarifying the options available. Sounds like standard politics to me

            1. TBellT

              The current signatories of this petition is less than the total primary votes than AOC got in her last race. The reason the Squad isn’t entertaining this is because they don’t view it as a career ending and factually they seem to be right. So how exactly are you going to get the required numbers to force them to listen to you?

              Over 130 million people voted for one of the two major party candidates for president who do not support M4A despite a majority of Americans supporting M4A. Not supporting M4A is not a career ender in politics, it should be but it’s not. How are were going to change that?

              1. The Rev Kev

                Seem to recall hearing about two polls. One was for Democrats which showed that about 90% of them were in favour on M4A. The other one came from Fox News which showed that well over 70% of Republicans polled were also in favour of M4A. So it appears that it is not the voters standing in the way of this happening.

                1. TBellT

                  Yes overwhelming majorities of Democratic voters support M4A and yet voted for Joe F’ing Biden who literally said “NO I will not sign it”! Why didn’t Democratic voters punish him for this!? That is my point. They need to be made into single issue voters on this issue.

                  1. ambrit

                    How to punish a doddering old fool for being exactly what he always was? The people to really ‘punish’ are the DNC honchos and donors who forced this travesty of a moral person on us.
                    Perhaps a longer term strategy would be to discern what economic interests the Democrat Party donors represent and begin boycott campaigns against those interests.

                    1. TBellT

                      I don’t buy that he was “forced” upon us. Only that in the sense that basically many people were brainwashed into thinking Biden could win and Bernie could not. But they accepted this brainwashing and deprogramming people needs to be the goal.

                    2. ambrit

                      I disagree about the “forced upon us” meme. Sanders was doing very well up until the Super Tuesday primary elections, held mostly in the South. As such, those states were pretty much locks for the Republican Party in the general election. So, the Democrat Party insiders used the few Democrat voters in those states to stab Sanders in the back. How was this done? The ‘morning line’ on this phenomenon was that the Black Misleadership Class in South Carolina worked the traditional Democrat gatekeepers there. They being the church pastors and ministers in the black Protestant churches. In a socio-religious setting, those “Men of the Cloth” wield a disproportionate level of political power in the Southern states. Through Jim Clyburn, the ‘faithful’ were motivated by appeals to authority in the person of Barak Obama to “turn back the tide of godless socialism, embodied by Bernie Sanders. Do also consider the fact that Sanders is a Jew. Don’t fool yourself into believing that there is a perennial love fest going on between Black Protestants and Jews. I have seen more than enough anti-semitism coming from all quarters of the socio-political compass here in the South to seriously consider this bias as a significant driver of anti-Sanders voting.
                      All this happening in states which all concerned know will go Republican in the General Election.
                      It’s Cynics all the way down.
                      I’ll go out on the rotten bough yet again to predict that, if there are no additional stimulus cheques this winter or spring that the Democrat Party will lose control of the House in 2022.

      2. dcblogger

        Dore is not trying to get them covered, he is trying to get them to use a hashtag

        precisely so. Where was Dore in 2020 when dozens of candidates were running on a Medicare for All platform? Where was he during the Democratic congressional primaries when this was all getting sorted out? And if he has given up on the Democratic Party, why not interview Green Party candidates? Dore is a troll.

        1. Wombat

          Hashtag or not. His outrage slacktivism, or whatever description is appropriate, has garnered more support and collective movement to this issue than all the grass-root and authorized movement leader quests of recent times. What does that say about the effectiveness of existing strategies and authorized ™ movement leaders? Perhaps we need to complement their “working on it” strategy with a bombastic, possibly compelling foray?

          1. The Rev Kev

            That first swing may be enough. Don’t quote me on this as I cannot source it but I think that in ancient times, a besieged city could negotiate with the besiegers about surrendering the city on terms but once that battering ram him those gates the first time, it was game over. It would be up to the besiegers to decide what happened to that city if they took it which could include no quarter for anybody inside.

        2. Oji

          Are you kidding? Dore has been promoting Med4All for decades. Watch his stand-up comedy from 20+ yrs ago, or any number of episodes of his show over the years. He has been banging the drum for decades, even more loudly during the pandemic, which coincided with the election cycle. Where have you been?

          Dore was the first to give AOC a platform during her first campaign. Ro Khanna is a frequent guest, as are many other left and left-leaning activists, such as Cornel West and BJG. He had Jill Stein, and then Howie Hawkins. He has standing invitations to Bernie and all members of The Squad.

          This is a gross misrepresentation of Dore, and I have to wonder why. You are completely misrepresenting the facts, to put it mildly.

  13. crittermom

    Regarding healthcare, my daughter-in-law began working in the produce dept of a major grocery chain some months back.

    She was just promoted to full time and dept manager beginning this new year–but her health insurance won’t kick in until May! (and her pay isn’t that high)

    My son lost his job earlier in the year but quickly secured another (at lower pay, ‘contract’ labor, and no benefits), while putting his 3 months severance pay from previous job into savings for emergencies.

    He soon began looking for another, as the managers refused to wear masks, to which my son was none too happy, lacking the health insurance they had.

    He just started another job (more money, but still not equal to the pay, benefits of the job he lost), and hopes to have health benefits within 3 months. (He also stated at least he’s no longer working for “anti-mask warpigs”, either, as an IT who was involved in sending satellites into space).

    Meanwhile, he and his wife remain nervous about their lack of health care.
    When he looked into a private plan, the cost was ridiculously high, so they’re just keeping their fingers crossed while the pandemic rages on.

    1. albrt

      The cost is indeed ridiculously high. I pay $12,000 per year for an Obamacare policy that covers literally nothing. Fortunately I can afford it, but for the rest of my life I will never miss an opportunity to screw over a democrat who voted for Obamacare. Or even mentions Obamacare.

  14. Glen

    Microsoft says Russians hacked its network, viewing source codehttps://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/microsoft-russian-hackers-source-coce/2020/12/31/a9b4f7cc-4b95-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html

    So the last I had read/heard was that the hackers had checks to see if it was in Microsoft (by checking IP addresses) and not activating. So I’m not sure what this means when it’s now reported that they did access files at Microsoft.

    But let’s face facts, IT has off shored massively. I’m sure Microsoft has people working around the world including in Russia. If you pay people a couple of bucks a day and then give them access to your networks, why are you surprised when your networks get penetrated?

    So one weekend where I worked, some engineers hired via H1B visa were found busy faxing drawings off to who knows where. Today? No faxing required! No on site access required! Progress!

    1. Alternate Delegate

      A brilliant strategy! Russia is doomed. Finally the deep state comes through for the U S of A. I can see Putin putting the finishing touch on a dastardly stroke when he is foiled – by a surprise Windows 10 update that takes over his laptop when he least expects it!

  15. freedomny

    “The Fraudulent Universalism of Barack Obama” [Current Affairs]. “….

    TBH, I didn’t read the book myself but thought the article spot on in terms of my personal opinion of the man. A genius – but of what I can’t decide. One minute I think he’s just your average brilliant, narcissistic snake oil salesman (like so many CEO’s). And in the next I’m reminded of the TV series Mindhunter….with the serial killing being done by drone.

    1. jr

      Please help me to understand what is qualifies Obama as a “genius”. I’m not coming at you; I’ve heard this from a great number of people. In real life, not just in the media. Did he create something completely new, never before seen? Has he displayed intellectual abilities well above and beyond the average? I cannot think of any instances. I remember that article about his college reading list he designed to try to score and how he was a bit of a B.S. artist in the classroom. Yet I am constantly told how brilliant he is. Credentialed? Sure. Well composed and well spoken? To a fault. A savvy politician. Apparently. A smart guy? Sure. But a genius?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I feel this Obama is a genius is an attempt at justification for never really questioning Obama’s rhetoric. His 2004 DNC speech is largely feel good pablum that claims our problems can be solved with prayer. The visual performance had an appeal, but nothing Obama ever said in any of his “soaring” speeches ever challenged mores, represented a call to action, or was even remembered. The story of the biracial kid who made good made people feel good, but can of his speeches not be filler on the background of a political drama?

        About the only interesting thing he’s ever said was he was a blank canvass people projected their own values onto. Certainly, he was clever in that he would often use language to avoid talking about real problems. Take his vaunted 2004 speech. Despite well real problems, his argument was it was something about red states thinking blue state people didn’t play little league.

        Listening to this in the moment is a cheap thrill, but as written, Obama always came up short. There is a reason he isn’t quoted, even by the centrists who still worship him. There is no there there.

        1. jr

          Yeah, it’s like he’s some kind of political ghost in that there is this image of a man of some species of substance in the corner of your eye but when you look at him closely he fades away into nothing. Since no one looks at anything closely anymore, except the readers of NC of course, he sails along serenely, an elder statesman no less.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        “the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve” (inaugural speech)

        Only thing he ever said that matters. He was lying, of course. But that’s the one that will come true.

  16. Grant

    First off, happy new year and thank you to this wonderful site for all it does.

    Anyone notice Krugman calling the stimulus checks “divisive”? He also said the economics aren’t very good (they aren’t means tested enough), but good political economics. Okay. He is way off on a lot that matters. His ISLM, loanable funds takes, his critiques of MMT, his arguments against Galbraith years ago on trade, among other things.

    Manfred Max Neef had an epiphany when he was researching poverty in South America. He realized that the economics he was taught and the economics he was teaching wasn’t of much use to working class and poor people. What would he say to a poor person in Peru, that their poverty was okay because GDP grew by X percent? He developed his barefoot economics with that in mind. Seems like a lesson that people like Krugman need to learn. Max Neef said that reading about poverty is one thing, living in poverty and experiencing systemic injustice and exploitation is another. I don’t think he has the makeup to even have that epiphany though, and he would be too wedded to neoclassical economics to be able to make sense of it anyway.


    1. chris

      Thats the most Krugman post ever. Ditto with Yglesias further down the thread.

      A couple well off people who haven’t had to go through the nightmare process of getting UI in recent years think it’s a great thing. It would be a great thing…if people actually got the money in a timely fashion and weren’t grievously penalized for filling out complicated forms incorrectly when the funds weren’t also being held up by the arbitrary and capricious nature of the state agencies involved. The beauty of a check is you get the money and you don’t have to grovel for weeks on end before you can spend it.

  17. epynonoymous

    A definition of Gnosis, from some dude who read up on Jung in Greek. Okay, really more of a response.

    I learned today that Herman Hess, he of the Stephenwolf and the Siddhartha and the … unspoken… What was the one where his hero had been banished to a greenhouse by his wife in favor of a DJ with one leg? Hrmmm.

    Anyways, Jung proposed different lives for all of us. I think he was Swiss and so was Hermann Hesse, his patient. This last I learned today.

    2) The space force is in flux, but let us not forget that alot of space literature is religious in nature. Clarke, Bradbury, even the ‘anti-clericalist’s like Huxley.

    3) I’ve been watching old New Years celebration with an online audience of 5. 1 of whom is doubtless a robot, but let us consider this rare and sacred effort similar to that of the demiurge, and only as good as we make it.

    Man, (Gendered Pronoun Alert) is made to be in the image of God, they say. However, they say it is the world that… constrains us. Ok, so back to the title. Gnosis – they say in greek – is part of the life experience you can choose to learn by touching and, in a sense, experiencing the lives of others. It is an intuitive process that, what must be translated from the German, springs forth from not divine inspiration, but a true recognition of the self.

    Happy New Years.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor, und bin so weis als wie zuvor.

      And yet the universe is made of matter, not Wille.

      1. ambrit

        There are those who propose that matter is but the manifestation of will.
        The Quantum theory has three possible weaknesses, from my admittedly inchoate perspective. First, there must be a quantum to be ‘measured.’ Second, there must be an observer to do the ‘measuring.’ Third, there must be a ‘box’ within which to perform said ‘measuring.’ Any one of these three ‘states’ can be null, and thus void the theory.
        Welcome to 2020, 2.0.
        Stay safe.

      2. Ronald Grissman

        The universe is made up of energy and matter and back and forth they go. At a deeper level the universe is made up of particles of waves.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The Resistance’s Breakup With the Media Is at Hand”

    Should have thought about it but we will probably see a return to the Obama White House Press Pool. When Trump came in he opened it up to more publications and newer reporters instead of the same old tired regular media reporters like CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc. with a token minor player or two as window dressing. I would expect that there will be a winnowing of the Press Pool so that the only ones that will be in it will those from the main stream who can be counted on to give stories the right spin and not to shout at & insult a sitting President. But it won’t report much news nor will it embarrass the Biden administration unless forced to. And reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta will just be another face in the crowd that is left.

  19. rowlf

    Watching the evening news on over the air television from the Atlanta area and seeing a new Raphael Warnock ad, whoever is making these ads has a lot of talent and I’d like to see them make ads for progressive positions after the Georgia senate campaign.

  20. Wukchumni

    “Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman relentlessly trolls Dan Patrick seeking $1M voter fraud bounty” [Houston Chronicle].

    What’s good for the wild goose chase is good for the gander.

  21. a different chris

    >of the story our famously free press suppressed to help Biden win

    Sigh. Give it up. Everybody hates Hunter, but again he’s not running for office.

    Not a single vote would be changed by even a daily publication of Hunter’s misdeeds.

    1) Nobody who was going to vote against Trump would do it, as his crimes make Hunter’s look like speeding in a school zone. They (me) decided to hold their nose and once you do that… well that’s it.
    2) Joe is no prize himself. Again usual-crap-evil vs Trump’s ending of everything. Which I only had a feeling for at the time, but his post-election shenanigans shows what a (an immediate) danger we were facing.
    3)And of course there were dozens (/s, I think) of people who actually thought Joe would make a good President, so Hunter wasn’t going to change that either.
    4) Fox News barely touched it. They are far and away the eyeball leader in cable news. Why not? Print: We have the Toledo Blade/Post Gazette right wing nightmare here — same “here’s a story read it if you want we’re moving on”. You need to answer that if you think banging on this drum should make any noise at all.

    Count your own links. Just wasn’t much out there. Nobody cared.

  22. a different chris

    Happy New Year, everybody!

    And thanks to our gracious hosts (ps: Lambert I tend to comment against things mostly because if someone says something I agree with I don’t see the point of “ditto’ing” unless I can flesh it out, so despite or because of our Hunter Biden tussle, a special HNY to you!)

  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘#NewYear preparations in #Russia are underway. It is the largest flashmob of the year: millions of Russians are busy with, what is called, “doing the salads.” #EatLikeARussian #DoTheSalads’

    Dear god, that is all the food in Russia. I have read a few articles about life in Russia and a common thread is a warning about what to expect if invited to a big Russian meal. No use turning up and say I’m vegan or some such. You are expected to eat and eat well and as it is not polite to not finish your meal in Russia, you will have to deal with. God help you though when the vodka comes out and people watch how you handle it. It sounds like a blast!

  24. ambrit

    Quick end of year Zeitgeist Watch item.
    I was checking out at the local Winn Dixie grocery store today. The place was packed, and, almost everyone was masked. Someone ahead on me in the line remarked to the twenty-something cashier that; “2021 has to be better than 2020 was.” The cashier replied, “I’m thinking that this upcoming year is going to be a replay of the last. Call it 2020B.” Several of us in the lines laughed at this sally.
    However, the general mood of the crowd was glum. Except for the cashier’s joke, no other laughter was heard in the place by me.
    All stay safe and be vigilant.

  25. chris

    Happy new year! I wish our hosts and all the commentariat (and their families) a year filled with hope and good health. Peace :)

  26. HotFlash

    Well, happy new year to all y’all. Just checking the weather here (Toronto), got this ‘special weather statement’.

    Freezing rain possible late Friday evening and overnight.

    A brief period of freezing rain or ice pellets is possible Friday evening. Freezing rain may be mixed with rain or snow. Some ice accretion is possible. Precipitation will transition to rain or snow later Friday night or early Saturday morning.

    This precipitation is associated with a low pressure system moving north from Texas. There is still some uncertainty with the exact track of the system as it approaches Lake Erie, which will affect the exact timing and duration of the freezing rain.

    Freezing rain warnings may be needed as the event draws closer.

    amfortas and all you Texans, I hold you personally responsible! Beyond that, please have as happy a new year you can manage, and to all a good 2021. Me, I am sooo done with 2020.

    To Ms Yves, M Lambert, Ms Scofield, M Jules, and all the behind-the-scenes people that keep things working; best, *BEST* wishes for the new year and beyond. XOXOX to all the NC commentariat, even the ones I disagree with. NC is the best place.

    1. Daryl

      Grim…but it makes sense. Particularly with the very lapsed way these vaccines will be rolled out, and the fact that natural immunity doesn’t seem to last all that long.

  27. VietnamVet

    2021 is here. Like all of last year, I am not sure if I heard fireworks or not. Nothing to celebrate. Government failed us and is continuing to do so. Why? It is Simple. “It’s the money, honey”.

    Corporations regulatory captured the NIH, CDC and FDA, not to mention FAA, or the FED. Coronavirus testing must be done by corporate laboratories and diagnosis by hedge fund owned clinicians. A functional US federal government was finally flushed down the drain to end regulation and corporate taxes. The 50 state Public Health Systems failed. PPE stockpiles weren’t restocked. However the connected had quantitative easing. mRNA vaccine research was financed by DARPA to counter bio-warfare. Billions of dollars were given to Pfizer and Moderna to produce their vaccines at warp speed. But millions of Americans are being used to test if the coronavirus vaccines are safe and efficacious.

    Being old, I continue using analog checks and the US Postal Service to pay my bills. Today I got a credit card bill today with a late payment fee. I mailed the check weeks ago and it has yet to be deposited. I will have to go to digital bill payments in 2021. With the pandemic, I can no longer use real money, cash or checks. This has to be intention. Our financial masters are pulling every trick in the book to keep the current system afloat.

    The SS United States will sink when everyone not just those in steerage are drowning in debt with no money.

    1. furies

      Hi VV
      I would like to wish you a “Happy New Year” and to say I always look forward to your succinct posts. I hope the next year isn’t worse than 2020 but I’m a glass half empty kinda gal…

      Regarding automatic debit payments; I’m about to break up with Triple A for tacking on a ‘installment fee’ of 7 bucks per auto-payment, on top of what’s owed.

      F*** that. Now I just have to spend the mental/emotional energy to find a less adept bloodsucker.

    2. BrianC - PDX

      I mailed a rent check to Tucson AZ from Wilsonville OR (S of PDX on I-5) on December 17. It was sent certified mail so I could track it.
      – Entered system Dec 17 (USPS in possession)
      – Arrived PDX Dec 18
      – Departed PDX Dec 18
      – In transit Dec 22 (Flagged for late arrival
      – Arrived Tucson Dec 31
      – Out for delivery Tucson Dec 31
      – Delivered Dec 31

      USPS delivery map shows normal transit to Tucson from PDX is 4 days. For first class letter.

      I started noticing abnormally late arrivals with letters starting in November. Which is why I am using Certified Mail now. At least I can track.

  28. Richard H Caldwell

    “Transforming carbon dioxide into jet fuel using an organic combustion-synthesized Fe-Mn-K catalyst” This is more like it, though still think it would be more honest to use “jet fuel precursors” or better “high energy density long-chain hydrocarbons” to avoid the “jet fuel from thin air!” vibe. This article provides a lot more context and some mention of necessary hydrogen and energy inputs, and so a much-more complete and persuasive presentation. Thank you for posting the link.

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