2:00PM Water Cooler 1/21/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Somehow, I never expected flamingoes to honk like geese.


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

Lambert here: If these declines continue through the end of the week, I’m gonna have to conclude we’re looking at a genuine fall in the numbers — not the current narrative, I might add — and that we are not looking at a reporting effect from the long weekend. We are also not seeing an explosion from travel over the holidays, now well in the rear-view mirror. We might get a spike in ten days or so, if people were partying on MLK day, but with luck it will be small. Of course, there are those worrisome variants, so a mood of sunny optimism is not warranted. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching…. (A reader asked the source of the data: Johns Hopkins CSSE. DIVOC-91 does allow other data sets to be used, like Our World in Data and The Atlantic, and where they provide visualizations similar to those below, a cursory comparison shows that the shape of the curves is the same.)

Vaccination by region:

The South stumbles. Supply problems?

At reader request, vaccination in the South (as the US Census defines the region: AL, AR, DE, DC, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, and WV):

(I don’t have the option of adjusting for population. It’s interesting the way the curves bunch, with FL and TX tracking each other. Perhaps a planning process? Clout?)

Case count by United States region:

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

Test positivity:

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):


“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


“Bernie Sanders Inauguration Day Bobblehead Unveiled” [National Bobblehead Hall of Fame]. “he bobblehead commemorates today’s viral moment when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was pictured watching the Inauguration ceremony to swear in Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th President. The bobblehead features Sanders with his face mask, mittens and winter coat sitting in a folding chair on the white podium base.” • Thrown over the transom to Yves:

A new product in a single news cycle! I’m not sure what to make of this. The bitter and cynical part of me thinks that people are having fun and being nice because Sanders is a spent force. The more hopeful side of me thinks that he still has a part to play, because of the evident joy people took in making the memes:

There are times when Twitter really is carefee and fun, and — at least this morning when I collected these — the Sanders-and-his-mitte memage was one of those times. (Hilariously, the Reuter Twitter “event”, supposedly about “fashion,” featured Sanders’ mittens in the header photograph. Does this guy know how to steal the show, or what?)

“Amanda Gorman’s nods to ‘Hamilton’ won a ‘Brava’ from Lin-Manuel Miranda.” [New York Times]. • Hamilton. Of course. (Have we put on a special Hamilton Covid relief performance for essential workers yet? No?)

Chaser, shot:

(Wu being a 3D-printing Internet celebrity.) “Shake our foes.” Maybe I should have filed this under “Imperial Collapse Watch”?

“Biden’s Huge Inaugural Donations Would be Banned Under Democrats’ Ethics Bill” [Sludge]. “For companies seeking to curry favor with the new administration, the potential federal government contracts are immense. During the Trump administration, Biden inaugural donors Amazon and Microsoft were locked in a battle for a $10 billion, 10-year JEDI contract to be awarded by the Department of Defense, one that went to Microsoft in October 2019 only to be mired in legal challenges by Amazon and complaints by Oracle. Amazon argued in a December 2019 complaint that Trump personally nixed their bid out of animus toward founder Jeff Bezos, who is also owner of the Washington Post.”

Capitol Seizure

All quiet on the West Wing front:

Transition to Biden

Shots fired:

Metaphorically, of course.

UPDATE Rahm Emmanuel’s mini-me, Mayo Pete. A thread:

This slippery little scut is gonna be Harris’s Vice Presidential candidate, I can just see it.


“Bush to Clyburn: Without Biden endorsement, ‘we would not be having this transfer of power'” [Politico]. • One big happy!

Democrats en deshabille

DNC up to its usual tricks. A thread:

There’s a letter from reformers here. As Nomiki Konst pointed out at the laughingly named “Unity Reform Commission” in 2016: “Under the DNC Bylaws, the DNC budget is not public information; in fact, the meetings and votes of the DNC Budget and Finance Committee are specifically excluded from the DNC Charter section requiring open meetings.” • Fundamentally, nothing will change.

Realignment and Legitimacy

I like the concept that the (so-called) “center” is extreme:

You can’t say “jejunity” without saying “unity”:


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.

Employment Situation: “16 January 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Again Worsens” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 868 K to 990 K (consensus 890 K), and the Department of Labor reported 900,000 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 824,500 (reported last week as 834,250) to 848,000.”

Manufacturing: “January 2021 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Improves” [Econintersect]. “The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey improved and remains in expansion…. Overall, this report was better than last month as key elements improved. This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded of is sentiment-based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive than the others recently.”

Construction: “December 2020 Residential Building Growth Improves” [Econintersect]. “Headline residential building permits improved and construction completions also improved. The rolling averages improved for permits but worsened for construction completions…. We seem to be seeing and bad month, followed by a good month, and then another bad month. The backward revisions this month were small. It is always difficult to understand the trends as the backward revisions sometimes reverse trends month-to-month. The nature of this industry normally has large variations from month-to-month (mostly due to weather) so the rolling averages are the best way to view this series. The rolling averages say this sector is growing but rollercoastering.”

* * *

Shipping: “Inside California’s colossal container-ship traffic jam” [Freight Waves]. “The pileup of ships offshore in San Pedro Bay and congestion onshore at the terminals have reached epic proportions. And the situation could become even more maddening in the weeks ahead. … [Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California[ confirmed that ships have effectively filled all of the usable anchorages off Los Angeles and Long Beach. Ships have also taken six of the 10 contingency anchorages off Huntington, the next town south. If all the anchorages and contingency anchorages fill up, ships will be placed in so-called ‘drift boxes’ in deeper water. These are actually circles not boxes. Unlike ships at anchorages in shallower water, ships in drift boxes would not anchor, they’d drift. ‘When you drift out of the circle, which has a radius of 2 miles, you start your engine and go back to the middle of the circle,’ explained Louttit.” • I left the part about drift boxes in because it’s so cool.

Shipping: “FedEx Shipping Damage Creates Fractured Artworks” [Kottke.org]. Neat:

Since 2007, artist Walead Beshty has been cleverly using FedEx’s shipping infrastructure to create a series of artworks. He constructs glass objects that fit exactly into FedEx’s shipping boxes and then ships them to galleries and museums without any protection against damage. Any cracks or breaks in the glass became part of the work upon display at its destination. According this interview, part of what interested Beshty about doing this project related to the proprietary sizes of FedEx’s boxes:

As for the corporate dimension, I was aware that standard FedEx boxes are SSCC coded (serial shipping container code), a code that is held by FedEx and excludes other shippers from registering a box with the same dimensions. In other words, the size of an official FedEx box, not just its design, is proprietary; it is a volume of space which is a property exclusive to FedEx. When thinking about the work, its scale and so on, it made sense to adhere to that proprietary volume, because, as a modular, it had a real and preexisting significance in daily life, it was common, specific, and immediately familiar. That is, it had an iconic resonance that a more arbitrary form or shape wouldn’t have.

FedEx’s proprietary box dimensions are the most amazing form of hysteresis/friction I’ve ever heard of. I only wish that the genius of whoever thought that up had been put to better use.

Tech: “There’s Still No Sign of Privacy Labels for Most Google iOS Apps” [MacRumors]. “As of December 8, Apple has been requiring developers submitting new apps and app updates to provide privacy label information that outlines the data that each app collects from users when it is installed. Many app developers, such as Facebook, have complied and now include the privacy labels alongside their apps, but there’s one notable outlier — Google. Google has not updated its major apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and YouTube since December 7 or before, and most Google apps have to date have not been updated with the Privacy Label feature…. On January 5, Google told TechCrunch that the data would be added to its iOS apps “this week or the next week,” but both this week and the next week have come and gone with no update. It has now been well over a month since Google last updated its apps.” • That’s odd. Some agreement between ginormous monopolies, as with Google and Facebook? (Of course, I’m not crazy enough to use a Google app. But still.)

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 21 at 12:40pm


Class Warfare

“10.42- The Stolypin Reforms” (podcast) [Revolutions]. • I should have reminded people that Mike Duncan’s wonderful podcast is back. He’s said he’s going to stop with the Russian Revolution (having started way back in 1625 with the unfortunate Charles I of England). Since he started in 2013 (!!) I can understand the impulse, but I think it’s a shame and a terrible mistake not to cover China’s revolution, especially when we need to understand China so much. I wish somebody would talk some sense into him.

“Insane Clown Posse Says Story Comparing Juggalos To Trump Is ‘Off The Mark'” [HuffPo]. “On Tuesday, Atlantic writer Graeme Wood published a piece titled ‘What to Do With Trumpists’ in which he invoked Juggalos ― the affectionate name for fans of ICP ― in his commentary about the Trump administration, which he referred to as “‘he political equivalent of the Insane Clown Posse.'” • A thread on the Juggalos:

Kim Kelly is the labor columnist for Teen Vogue, a sentence I could never have imagined myself writing.

“Left” vs. “Right”:

One might urge that all Alex has proved is that — unsurprisingly — fascists can adopt idpol; but I’m not going to urge that, because I don’t want to go down the “what is fascism” rabbit-hole today..

News of the Wired

How to gain followers on Twitter, a thread:

(If that is what you want to do.) There are many, many tiny verticals like this on Twitter. That’s one reason I like it, besides its timeliness; the Twitter is not entirely a cesspit.

The idiocy of rural life?

What a landscape! And she has a good woodpile, too. It’s not easy being a peasant, though.

“Science and Culture: At the nexus of music and medicine, some see treatments for disease” [PNAS]. “When physician Babar Khan started studying delirium seven years ago, he set out to find a drug that could sooth the agitation, inattention, and hallucinations that characterize the disorder. Delirium is common in the intensive care units (ICUs) where Khan works, most recently as an ICU physician at Indiana University School of Medicine and a researcher at Regenstrief Institute, both in Indianapolis. Some 70–80% of ventilated patients in the ICU experience episodes of delirium that not only prolong their stay in hospital but can also lead to long-term cognitive decline. In the mid-2000s, Khan led two antipsychotic drug trials, neither of which worked for delirium…. He recently co-led a 2020 pilot trial using music to alleviate delirium in mechanically ventilated ICU patients. Encouragingly, he found that relaxing, slow-tempo classical music reduced patients’ number of delirium days.” • Interesting! For the delirious among us, then:

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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 (BS):

BS writes: “Buckwheat flowers with small native bee. Please help stop Republicans from privatizing VA Healthcare.” I knew nothing about this Republican effort. Can readers provide more information? (I really like the depth of field in this photo; which is the second reason I’m running it, but for readers who don’t know: 600px minimum width is the NC standard unless, I suppose, your cellphone is very old. 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. Samuel Conner

    Re: Sanders’ “shots”

    I feel pretty confident that the D party has already vaccinated itself against those.

    Hoping I’m wrong.

    1. dcblogger

      the future belongs to the Sanders wing of the Democratic party. Almost everyone south of 40 voted for Sanders. Almost all the new Democratic members of congress are Berniecrats. Schumer is scared AOC will primary him. Sanders is chair of the budget committee. I am optimistic.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m currently resisting optimism, which while uncomfortable, i think is entirely prudent.
        you’ll like this:

        ….which begins with the now trope-like post mortem of trumptime, but ends with Richard Rorty.
        a takeaway is that the Big Center is as terrified of the Actual Left as ever…but doesn’t really have the stones to apply the usual vermifuge of threats about a rabid gop—being engaged so fervently, after all, in this all out condemnatory exorcism—so they’re wide open for coordinated attack… their quiver is empty, what with all the catastrophes, and such…
        Bernie’s op-ed…which i’ve seen in at least 2 mainstream places(guardian and cnn)…also almost lit my revolutionary fire.
        but like i said, i’m resisting optimism.
        (nevertheless, primary the geronts and erstwhile moderate republicans(with a D) everywhere)

      2. Glen

        He certainly is one of the few people with new (old) ideas that we can implement.

        But I think the irony is that both political parties, and the MSM have been taken over by the elites, and the vast bulk of Americans has no representation.

        I hope that Sanders, AOC, the left Democratic side and even the right/far right on the Republican side realize that the CENTER is the problem. The CENTER are the sell outs that have sold our country to Wall St and the billionaires. The CENTER of the Democratic and Republican party have worked TOGETHER to screw average Americans at every opportunity.

        I am NOT looking forward to a Patriot Act II put forward by the CENTER. It’s going to further erode the rights of the people and make corporations and billionaires untouchable.

        1. s

          Consolidating the “center”of American politics is also another way to solidify our atrocious foreign policies. We need to open up the political debates and parties if we believe in achieving any real progressive changes in our society.

      3. Thistlebreath

        Interesting. As a certified codger, I’m braced against rising expectations about what might come next. Yet, whenever I’m mixing it up w/the younger krewe, there are fewer prissy, self absorbed right wingers than progressive types of some ilk. Anyone still read “Cultural Creatives” from ca. 2000? The book asserts that within the USA, there’s about a group equal to France’s population who share humanist, generous, socially kind beliefs.

      4. freebird

        That’s sweet. Did you miss the part where all the new ‘bernicrats’ lined up to vote for Nancy “no M4all, ever” Pelosi? Or the part where they all lined up to vote for the Republican budget? And nobody sided with Bernie’s efforts? The ‘squad’ has all been swept into line just like the good little PAC monsters they replaced.

        1. Anthony Noel

          I wouldn’t be putting all that much hope into the squad, or the berniecrats, or whatever you want to call them.

          So far they’ve been either ineffectual, if you’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, or, if you’re a cynic (like me) extremely effective in bleeding off pressure from the normal DNC power brokers.

          I suppose AOC might primary Chuck but the idea that she would be doing it to wrest power away from the Republican wing of the Democratic party, and not to expand her growing power base, is at this point appearing more and more a pipe dream.

          As far as I can tell she’s the new heir, not to Bernie, who for all his flaws, at least walked the walk as best he could for 40 years in politics, but Obama, and I’ll admit she’s learned from and surpassed him in his schtick at an extremely young age.

          She really leans into IDpol in away that Obama was hesitant to do and effectively wields it as a cudgel against critics in a way that Obama was unwilling or unable to.

          And she’s mastered the optics of “caring” about the plebs in away that blows Obama out of the water. I mean Obama just talked about putting on those soft soled shoes and hitting the streets with the people, while actively working against them and using federal powers granted by the patriot act to co-ordinate the break up of occupy wall street. AOC actually does hit the streets with an authentic bullhorn to yell slogans into for a few hours with the plebs before slipping the knife in, re-electing Nancy Pelosi, providing cover for Biden for his alleged sexual assault, effectively killing the momentum for medicare 4 all, shaming people for calling out Biden’s corrupt cabinet picks because, oh gosh, they’re women. Hell, I’m pretty sure she’d actually chug some Flint tap water if she thought it would benefit her performative resistance to the powers that be.

    2. DJG

      Samuel Conner: All of the repostings of memes that I am seeing hold him in high regard and are highly affectionate. In some respects, this shot is like the iconic (iconic even in the religious sense–charisma) of Bernie and the Bird in Portland, Oregon.

      The Democrats are already up to the usual: Somehow, $2,000 doesn’t mean $2,000.

      Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti posted–and commented pointedly–on a conversation from Hillary Clinton’s podcast in which she and Nancy Pelosi speculate on Trump and the riot and how it was all caused by the Russians, with Hillary Clinton speculating on who “pulls the strings.”

      One might argue that the U.S. oligarchy isn’t even as intelligent as the French aristocracy before the Revolution.

      Bernie Sanders still matters. The populace has figured out the DNC maneuvers, even though the DNC types still think that they are dazzling all of us with their bloviations and fancy footwork.

      1. Phillip Cross

        “The Democrats are already up to the usual: Somehow, $2,000 doesn’t mean $2,000.”

        The golden giveaway that this might happen was when those 41 D senators voted to end the filibuster, that was being used to try to force a vote on the $2000 check matter, so they could rubber stamp money for more wars more quickly.


        I don’t know what anyone is in the last bit surprised.

        I get the feeling that if you actually need a check, you are in a sub set of the population that just does not matter to them, or for that matter, anyone with the power to help.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a conversation from Hillary Clinton’s podcast in which she and Nancy Pelosi speculate on Trump and the riot and how it was all caused by the Russians, with Hillary Clinton speculating on who “pulls the strings.”

        Am I gonna have to listen to Hillary’s podcast? Please don’t make me.

  2. Alex

    1. The Boogaloo Boy gave a great speech.
    2. After 4 years of hysterical shrieking, what does “fascist” even mean anymore? Great job, MSNBC!

      1. urblintz

        I prefer this take: “Neoliberalism is Fascism with Better Manners”

        “…The unwillingness of liberals and the self-described left to come to terms with the political violence that the neoliberal political center is responsible for is ultimately deference to power. Madeleine Albright starved half a million Iraqi children to death for the Clinton administration, but she still has credibility to call other people fascists? George W. Bush killed between 400,000 and three million people in the misguided U.S. adventure in Iraq, but he can show his face in respectable society. Joe Biden is, according to his own words, uniquely responsible for destroying millions of lives through mass incarceration, but he has plausibility to ‘restore decency?’”


          1. The Rev Kev

            But were they competent fascists? No. Just reflect what would have happened if you had had a platoon of professional, trained soldiers among them fully equipped to deal with the capital police. That means then that they were incompetent fascists. And of course the only reason that they got as far as they did was that the Capital’s defenses were manned by equally incompetent forces. So what you saw in that riot was two incompetent forces facing off against each other with one side having an edge simply because of numbers.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              What shows of incompetence did the Capitol Police make? Or did they do rather well for how very understaffed and outnumbered they were?

              Somebody decided to understaff them on purpose, and keep other forces away or uninvolved on purpose, in order to leave the door open for any Trump mob which might want to push on it.

              1. The Rev Kev

                That’s it what you said. The people in charge did not monitor all the plans being made for that day on social media (so no secret), no real warnings from the FBI/CIA/NSA, etc., no proper plans of their own were being made, the DC National Guard were not there or immediately on call, the 4,000 odd members of the DC Metropolitan Police were not there in full force, there were no layered defenses of the Capital Building so once they were breached they were in the building, there was no mass of tear gas to disperse that mob, etc.

                My own idea is that a calculation was made. So somebody decided to understaff them on purpose hoping for the chaos that you saw. You now have all those frightened legislators ready to pass Patriot Act 2.0 and anything else that certain elements want. You just now had a huge chunk of Washington DC sealed off into a Green Zone just like in Iraq with tens of thousands of troops in garrison and nobody was blinking at that and if it was made permanent, people would just accept it. So for some people, that Duck Dynasty Riot was a very successful affair.

                1. Rodeo Clownfish

                  The Capitol Police are not a division of the DC police or of the executive branch. They are a force that is provided by Congress to protect itself. And the House
                  of Representatives was under Democrat control. So the understaffing and otherwise ill-preparedness should be laid right at Nancy Pelosi’s feet.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > everyone in the mob that stormed the Capitol were fascists.

            I don’t think fascism is an aggregation of fascist individuals.

            And if you accept — I don’t — the concept that fascism is a merger of the corporate and the state, what exactly does that make Democrats, especially when they’ve constructed a Dolchstoßlegende for themselves in the form of RussiaGate?

        1. Synoia

          Fascisti: that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

          That’s not quite the US yet. However is seems close enough for Government Work.

    1. phenix

      The meaning has not changed. The merger of capitalism and the state. The Democratic party is a fascist party. However, they are the good fascist party that insists on equality for all as long as you adhere to their ideology.

      Not all Democrats are fascist some are actually antifascist but their leadership is leading a fascist party.

      1. Mikel

        I was just reading about the proposed broadband infrasctructure subsidy that will help rural America (a good thing for those who aren’t in a rural setting to get away from the grid).


        I was thinking of all the money spent by telecoms and internet companies on stock buybacks.
        It was considerably more than $115 billion over the past years.

        And the article questions how “we” are going to pay for it. Who’s going to own it?

        Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

      2. Samuel Conner

        > insists on equality for all

        It might be more accurate to affirm that the (mainstream) Ds insist that the prevalence of precarity be equally high, regardless of race, gender, etc, etc.

      3. Sierra7

        No fascist party is coherent in the US until they are able to place their “private army storm-troopers” in the streets. So far that has not happened. What we have so far is “fascism light”. “When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a bible”. We came close.

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The meaning has not changed. The merger of capitalism and the state

        First, is not impossible that the meaning has changed from 1933 (Germany) or from the Reconstruction South (in my view, the first case of fascism).

        Second, I think that definition is not only ahistorical, but wrong; see Robert IO. Paxton here

        Third, I like the slippery slope metaphor because it is three-dimensional (a field) and not two (a line). There are multiple endpoints at the bottom of a fascist slippery slope. And by “multiple” I guess I mean two, one for each party.

  3. Carolinian

    You can’t say “jejunity” without saying “unity”:

    LOL. I looked it up and the actual noun is “jejuneness” which itself is very jejune. Your version is better.

    The only time I’ve ever heard anyone actually say “jejune” was in a Woody Allen movie.

        1. albrt

          made by Microsoft so may not be the best

          Can understatement be both sly and extreme at the same time?

    1. Adam Eran

      The word showed up in a few episodes of “Frasier”… making the point that Frasier was a stuffed shirt.

    2. eg

      I had an English prof in the early/mid-80s that used it, and heard one fellow grad student around then who did as well — that’s it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m not so wild about this meme as too many aren’t socially distanced. The image of Sanders should replace Waldorf and Statler’s spot in the balcony. He really shouldn’t be in a theatre.

      1. Laughingsong

        I’m not certain that placing Sanders among a couple of muppets, even the well-loved curmudgeons in the balcony, would not be misconstrued….. unless that’s what you mean? Hope not….

        Although I would think that his expression – and flyaway hair – in the photo does fit the curmudgeon stereotype …

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          What I mean is the crowd is socially distancing or supposed to be in the original shots. I was just trying to think of a seated figure separated from the others which is why he should replace them in the balcony, not be seated next.

          In one of the pictures, he’s sitting on the ibeam above New York City. Why aren’t they socially distancing? The Keanu Reeves meme worked because it was from pictures of Keanu being perfectly mundane in his daily life. Given the current situation, not social distancing and removing people from the pictures is a missed lay up.

          1. John Zelnicker

            January 21, 2021 at 4:44 pm

            You may be aware of this, but I suspect some others are not.

            That picture of workers eating lunch while sitting on the I-beam was taken during the construction of Rockefeller Center in 1932. Archivists say it was staged, but I still think it’s a great picture. I mean, how many commenters here would be willing to sit several hundred feet up in the air on a foot-wide shelf and eat lunch and discuss the events of the day? Not Me.

      2. skippy

        I view the memes outside the social distancing framework to appreciate a much broader framework of social optics and how that reflects the kaleidoscope of macro sociological opinions E.g. these are humans at play or displaying their core selves.

        Me personally, per se, I would have Bernie next to the cat in the python skit – Confuse a Cat … and all that means …

      1. marcyincny

        Helpful reminders of what’s real, Lyubov Morekhodova and Nadia Sablin’s aunties. Thank you all.

    1. Jessica

      Thank you for that Siberian skater. My new hero.
      I have skated on lake ice with a thin cover of snow to cover all the imperfections in the ice. Even good skaters fall. I am impressed with her confidence.
      I had a good fortune to visit Lake Baikal in winter. The ice was amazing. There was no snow then and you could see deep into the ice. Different shaped points, lines, and planes of whiteness amidst the transparency of meters thick ice. It was beautiful.
      We got to go swimming – maybe 30 seconds for the most hardy – then ate the most delicious fish.
      The Russia I experienced was a far more human place than what is portrayed in US media.

    2. Wukchumni

      Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, and to have an octogenarian gliding on top of it, what a sight! Her skates look to be from the 80’s, 1880’s that is.

      I know her equal here, a sprite young 81 year old named Jody, I had a devil of a time keeping up with him on an off-trail hike lasting 6 hours, it was as if he was the energizer bunny.

      1. Janie

        Nic Fiore, who ran Badger Pass ski area and the Hugh Sierra camps in Yosemite for decades, was quite remarkable.

    1. skippy

      For some reason the term – extreme center – pops the visage of the small piece of pure ev’al at the end of the Gilliam movie Time Bandits in my head.

      Its potential should not be ignored, let alone the diabolical nature of its assumed* reasonableness[tm], and thus it’s outcomes E.g. what if its all the bad from all sides concentrated and consecrated.

      That it could be wrapped up as a toaster oven door prize is the insidious aspect ….

    2. Zack Blabbath

      Extreme Center is better described as Malignant Mediocrity.
      Imagine a sickening saccharine beige-like color. Like a nothing pretending to be something.

  4. polecat


    …. Annnnd he’s gone ….. All gone – to bobblebubbleland! He has performed his underdog role-play to perfection. Enjoy your twilight in that Demoncrat Desert you’ve hitched your wagon to, Bernard.

    Hope my @$$

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > twilight in that Demoncrat Desert you’ve hitched your wagon to

      Block that metaphor! How does one hitch a wagon to the twilight or a desert? (Or both, if they be considered a pair or team.)

    2. bassmule

      I prefer to think of Bernie as Banquo’s Ghost: There to remind MacBeth of what it means to have a clear conscience.

      1. Matthew

        Unfortunately, if you’re in the play instead of in the audience it would be better if Macbeth were less bothered about that thing he did.

  5. FactBased

    Since we’re getting all serious about the Insane Clown Posse, I have to bring out my favourite quote, from the song “Miracles” which became a huge meme at the time.

    “Water, fire, air, and dirt
    F- magnets, how do they work?
    And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
    Y’all motherf- lying, and getting me pissed”

    So yeah… not hard to understand how certain dots got connected, rightly or wrongly ;)

    Speaking of music – the idea of playing classical music while I’m prone and delirious in an ICU fills me dread. Classical music seems to function like innocuous relaxing background music for a segment of the population, when it was intended to be something emotional and evocative, and many people still experience it that way. It also strikes me as very Eurocentric. Are people from other cultures really going to find that calming? Why not try for nature sounds and something more ambient, which by the way has also been shown to calm people.

  6. Jim Hannan

    Years ago I was in downtown Tucson when an Insane Clown Posse concert was about to begin at the Rialto Theatre. The Juggalos were streaming in, I was totally amazed. It made me listen to a few videos of the group, not my cup of tea.
    A few years later Trump was speaking at the Tucson Convention Center and again I was amazed at the costumes, theatrics, etc.
    Juggalos and Trumpistas are not the same demographic, but there are some similarities for sure.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I was in Downtown Tucson for both events. Was amazed at the police presence for the Trump rally. On the ground, in the sky, everywhere.

      The Juggalos? I don’t recall seeing the TPD on heightened alert.

  7. remmer

    “Amanda Gorman’s nods to ‘Hamilton’ won a ‘Brava’ from Lin-Manuel Miranda.” [New York Times]. • Hamilton. Of course.

    Another link to Stoller’s hit piece on Hamilton calls for another link to Christian Parenti’s Jacobin piece, “Reading Hamilton from the Left”: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/08/reading-hamilton-from-the-left/ And also to Parenti’s interview last month with the Boston Review: http://bostonreview.net/class-inequality-politics/christian-parenti-michael-busch-what-we-still-get-wrong-about-alexander

  8. Jessica

    (I don’t have the option of adjusting for population. It’s interesting the way the curves bunch, with FL and TX tracking each other. Perhaps a planning process? Clout?)
    Lambert, when I pull up the Divoc pages, there are four charts. The first two are raw numbers and the next two are the same charts but population adjusted.

  9. Pavel

    I saw a photo of Biden working away in the Oval Office signing papers (ostensibly) — and wearing a mask that was barely covering his nose.


    Is there no way they could (a) test Biden and those who enter the OO properly and (b) ensure he has a covid-free office to work in?

    If he is in fact wearing a mask all the time he is there, at age 78 or whatever that will not be doing his own health any good (assuming the office is covid-free). His cognition is already impaired enough without a lack of fresh air.

    I understand that if he didn’t wear a mask in the photo a lot of people would be upset. So perhaps this is just Mask Theatre and he takes it off when not being photographed. But this is just absurd. I am reminded of one of the “vows” articles in the NYT a few weeks back. The couple were photographed on the biggest day of their lives (in theory, at least) standing 6 feet apart with masks on whilst the priest or whoever conducted the ceremony, also yards away and masked. They cut the cake with masks on for the photo. Then there was a photo of the two embracing each other *unmasked*. It’s just the illogic of it all that hurts my brain.

    1. Mikel

      He must be trying not to risk spreading it? It was said he already took the vaccine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still spread the disease.

    1. Wukchumni

      Best of all was Bernie’s $600 parka, bought with the proceeds from a Government Visa debit card.

  10. Sailor Bud

    Eighty-year-old Siberian ice skater, livin’ life:

    See ‘Happy People – A Year in the Taiga’ if you want a deep dive into Siberian living and its charms. Werner Herzog made a 1-hour version, but Dmitry Vasiukov’s youtube channel has the entire documentary, one episode per season, with English subtitles.

  11. Gulag

    Concerning Mike Duncan and his podcasts on particular revolutions:

    “…but I think its a shame and a terrible mistake not to cover China’s revolution, especially when we need to understand China so much.”

    Someone who has a fascinating take on the Chinese revolution is Branko Milanovic.
    He argues quite persuasively that “…communism is a social system that enable backward and colonized societies to abolish feudalism, regain economic and political independence and build indigenous capitalism. Or to put it another way, it was a system of transition from feudalism to capitalism used in less-developed and colonized societies, Communism is the functional equivalent of the rise of the bourgeoisie in the West.”

  12. Dr. John Carpenter

    Regardless of why he’s become the viral hit of the inauguration (and I’m tempted to believe it’s Yves’ former reason, not the later) there’s something I really like about the plain and ordinary image of Bernie being the meme du jour rather than some cringy “yass queen” or “restoring the soul of the nation” moment. I know the event was dramatically scaled back, but they still tried to have their stage managed TV moments, as they always do. There’s something about Bernie in a folding chair looking cold and grumpy that sums the moment up much better than any of that empty posturing. Plus I’ve seen dozens of hilarious memes. (My personal favorite caption for the original picture is “This could have been an email.”)

  13. Wukchumni

    SAN DIEGO — San Diego officials on Wednesday began discussing potential budget cuts and the possibility of burning through city reserves to help close a projected $154 million deficit, which is nearly double the $86 million shortfall projected in November.

    The spike is the result of a nearly $50 million increase in San Diego’s annual pension payment and the realization by city officials that their predictions of a post-COVID-19 tourism and convention revival this spring were too optimistic.


    The new normal for cities and counties. A big cut back in services and more.

    All the vacation rentals are full of tourists here despite in theory only being rentable to essential people, as there’s a 10% TOT (transit occupancy tax) that the county needs more than ever now.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Maybe cities and counties will get as vicious as they need to and tax rentals/ABnB’s like hotels…

      Seems like low fruit to fund-starved cities…

  14. upstater

    Here is an example of politicized distribution of COVID vaccine. The Onondaga County Executive (upstate NY, includes Syracuse, population 460K) tweeted at 4:00 pm availability of 900 doses of vaccine:


    Now, who follows this guy? Do we suppose that the the general public subscribes to his tweets? NOT! It most likely is Republican faithful, county contractors, attorneys, a bit of the remaining “press”. But obviously not the generic 65+ demographic.

    Needless to say, well before it was even publicized by the media, the 900 doses were gone:

    Gone! 900 appointments snapped up for Covid vaccine Thursday at Oncenter in Syracuse

    Only cronies would have been aware of this opportunity. Business as usual. Politicization of public health.

    1. marcyincny

      Thanks for the update but I’m so confused. I went through a NYS website and all the local vaccination sites were booked into April. Does this mean people who made appointments for the next three months get bumped?

      I know, why do I even ask…

      1. upstater

        You know, it would seem people may have been bumped or at least put on hold…

        I should have added that NYS Department of Health has an “official” website for finding access to the vaccine. We lucked out through my wife’s persistence a week ago and got the first shot today at a drug store. But it was open and shut for more than a month within an hour. Everyone we know that didn’t jump on it have months long waits.

        What McMahon did was to clue in his cronies well before the proles would ever know.

        Welcome to Brazil…

  15. Alphonse

    I like the concept that the (so-called) “center” is extreme

    The preferred term on Stupidpol (a “subreddit primarily focused on critiquing identity politics from a Marxist perspective”) is “radlibs,” as in “radical liberals.” I think that’s about right, although in practice Stupidpol seems to have quite a bit of support for liberal practices like free speech and due process.

    One might urge that all Alex has proved is that — unsurprisingly — fascists can adopt idpol; but I’m not going to urge that, because I don’t want to go down the “what is fascism” rabbit-hole today.

    A recent comment I read somewhere (on a Greenwald piece I think) advocated eschewing labels. Say what you mean without saying “fascist,” “liberal,” “idpol,” “radlib” etc. The commenter said that many people are tongue-tied when they try to do this. Labels sure are handy, but they are all over the map (quick – are “liberals” pro-war or anti-war? for free speech or against?). I think it might be a very good practice right now.

    My view is that, in practice, for the vast majority of people, politics is not about policy. It’s not even about ideology. Interest is closer, but even that is subordinate to group belonging – “identity,” though the term itself has become confused. People commit to identity groups – classes, nations, religions, parties, etc. Their priority is membership in the group. If you see the labels they choose for themselves as referring to ideas, they will seem inconsistent and incoherent: but if you see them as referring to a group, they will make sense. When a school of fish changes direction, it is still the same group of fish.

    Different groups also contest ownership of the same labels, further muddying the waters.

    The confusion of labels is a natural consequence of the need for a myth to resolve the appearance of inconsistency. The greater the contradiction, the greater the need to demonstrate continuity by emphasizing the label. We should expect to see labels become stronger in proportion to the inconsistency of the ideas they purport to represent.

    1. Basil Pesto

      My view is that, in practice, for the vast majority of people, politics is not about policy. It’s not even about ideology. Interest is closer, but even that is subordinate to group belonging – “identity,” though the term itself has become confused. People commit to identity groups – classes, nations, religions, parties, etc. Their priority is membership in the group. If you see the labels they choose for themselves as referring to ideas, they will seem inconsistent and incoherent: but if you see them as referring to a group, they will make sense. When a school of fish changes direction, it is still the same group of fish.

      Different groups also contest ownership of the same labels, further muddying the waters.

      I agree with this, have thought it for a while, and it’s why I have eschewed subsuming myself to any label, as I gain nothing by it, and don’t need or want group acceptance.

      I believe Arendt at least hints at this line of thinking in Eichmann

  16. Wukchumni

    50 years ago one of the selling points of a new Ford Maverick was it was under $2,000, and now we’re contorting ourselves trying to get a couple grandidos from the government to keep the country keeping on, while the cheapest new car in the country is about 15 grand.

    When I was in business I noticed with older people, they were kind of locked in mentally that $5 was a LOT of money, that sort of thing, despite it buying not much in say 1990. They were back in 1938 or something.

    Its as if our government is that older person, oblivious to the worth of money, what it’ll buy.

    1. Glen

      I do remember being a bit pissed when $5 didn’t fill up the gas tank about 1977 or so. I think gas had gone up to 28 cents/gal.

      Now, the funny thing is my 1972 VW Bug from back then got better gas mileage than the 2020 Ford F-150 I just bought – but just barely, the truck is getting 21.7 mpg so far.

      Mavericks were a great little car. My wife had one with a 302 V8 which she regrets getting rid of to this day.

      And I don’t think our government is oblivious or dumb, they are saving those trillions for their downer/owner class.

      1. Synoia

        1977 Was my first stay in the US, and Gas was about $0.60 to $0.70 per gallon. I believe 29 cents per gallon was before the Oil crisis in 1973/1974.

        Gas (petrol) in the UK was about 5/- (Five sh9llngs or $0.60), per Gallon in 1966.

        Gas prices in South Africa in 1977 were about $1.50 per gallon.

  17. Sutter Cane

    I think Bernie looking like he didn’t want to be there struck a chord with people because the reactions of the Democratic/media/PMC class to the dismal and empty spectacle of the inauguration are just too hard to take with a straight face. Anyone not part of that class can look around and see that we are living in a miserable dystopia, and that a fossilized Biden is unlikely to improve our lot. Yet we’re expected to react with joy and enthusiasm to banal slam poetry as a gaggle of war criminals and celebrities huddle together to congratulate themselves behind a garrison of troops in the middle of a pandemic that’s killing thousands. At least Bernie didn’t pretend to look happy about it.

    1. Acacia

      This pretty much nails it.

      If I can shorten it: the inauguration for the party that sucked (with apologies to Thomas Frank).

  18. Tom Stone

    Politics is the Art of the possible, Bernie is still a member of the club and now in a quite powerful position.
    I think he can get 1/2 or 1/3 of what he proposes here done.
    Single Payer is not on his agenda because given the political situation it can’t be passed, even though 90% of Dems favor it.
    I do hope he soon comes to the realization that his time on earth is short and that he has little or nothing to lose by going for it, full bore.

    1. Jen

      I think he has a lot to gain by staking out moral positions, using his position, and forcing people to take sides. In some ways, he might actually get a lot more done in the senate than he could accomplish as president. He’s quite good at explaining exactly what’s going on.

  19. Glen

    And here we are with the Democratic party being the Democratic party:

    ‘A Betrayal’: Georgia Voters Enraged After Democrats Promise of ‘$2000 Checks’ Becomes $1400 Under Biden Stimulus Plan

    I think I heard on the radio that they are going to try and get this passed in March. We are gonna have at least 100,000 more DEAD by March, but hey, no rush…

    1. JBird4049

      That’s plan. Apparently, they haven’t even written, as in at all, this new supersized stimulus plan, and bless their hearts, they don’t want to be mean and all to the Republicans by using either Reconciliation or passing a clean bill on the stimulus checks, which could be done in a few days. Maybe less.

      Hey, I am all for comity and bipartisanship, but how about some care, empathy, even compassion, and actual work done for the bulk of the American population that is suffering and not for the well off, privileged twits on the other side of the chamber? They did promise repeatedly that $2000 would go out immediately if they won control of the Senate. A clear quid pro quo.

      Normally, I would state why they are not doing so by imprecating their intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, common sense, decency, and class, but this continued self destruction just baffles me. Even the Republicans are starting to have a case of “Ready, Fire, Aim!”

      1. Pat

        Well, they have been busy impeaching the guy who is no longer President.

        I’m pretty sure our Democratic overlords will be shocked to find out that
        1.) people feel mislead about the $2000 check. It might be most pointed in Georgia, but it was all over the news.
        2. that people fully expect said checks to be approved in the next few days and to start going out in the next week or so.
        3. that this is more important than the impeachment or increased “terrorism legislation” or pretty much anything except vaccine access to a huge portion of the populace.
        4. that ignoring 1-3 is going to alienate voters.

        Well that is it will when they leave their bubble and start asking people to vote for them.
        Our elected officials are far too removed from their constituents, and unfortunately the riot will allow them to not only keep it that way, but to make the distance even greater. Both parties need to take care, not just the Democratic Party. The norm is not going to hold despite the apparent reset, even with every protection they can install.

        1. notabanker

          While it may alienate the people who stand in line at precincts to vote, I doubt it will have any effects on the electronic tabulated voters that are actually counted. And if anyone thinks they are one in the same, I’d like to see them prove it.

  20. TsWkr

    Watched the Buttigieg confirmation hearing today in entirety (I’m in the transportation biz so did it on work time, not leisure). Only time anyone tried to nail him down was when Cruz tried to get him to say whether those put out of work by the Keystone XL being shutdown would be the ones getting the new jobs.

    Most of the Q&A was a format of “do you commit to working with me on X issue or X project in my state”? And Buttigieg would answer in the affirmative, receive a thank you, or give a broad brush overview of issue such as something like “Flexibility is important, but we must remember that rules are there for a reason and follow through on the goals of those rules”.

    The D senator from Montana (Tester) was beside himself on how well Buttigieg was performing and said he was a model for all the rest of the cabinet nominees’ hearings. Even Klobuchar talked about how much she liked him and looked forward to spending more time with him.

    I think the writing on the wall is that he’s been chosen to ascend further and there’s no point trying to knock him down right now.

    1. Pat

      Some one I was with today commented on how obvious the talking heads were about their excitement for President Kamala. After I shocked them with the only question was whether they would try to keep Joe going for the couple of years in order to let her run in 2028 as well as 2024, I went in for the kill. I told them there was no question in my mind that the agreement is that the Clintonistas got Kamala but the Obama crew get Buttigieg so he will be her VP unless he screws up entirely.

      Amy will only discover she got played when it happens.

  21. al

    Q: What do Joe Biden, Rick James, Charlie Murphy, and “True Hollywood Stories”, all have in common?

    A: “UNITY”!

    Now all Joe Biden has to do is go forth and find some ‘darkness’.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Even in the typical buy-partisan context, “unity” is having to do quite a bit of heavy lifting. It’s been years since more folks identified themselves as either D or R than as neither one:


      I wonder if there could be a tipping point when the “independent” figure — ironically in the center of the table — hits or tops 50%. . . .

  22. The Rev Kev

    Something for the end of the day. Biden has just ended a White House tradition – the small red button on a box atop the president’s Resolute Desk. What was it for you ask? To summon the nuclear football? To bring in a squad of Secret Service agents in case of an emergency? No. To summon for Trump a Diet Coke on a silver platter. And before you roll your eyes too far, it was also used by Obama – to summon a drink of tea. My guess is Biden dispensed with it as it is unnecessary clutter on his desk, is a trivial item to have on public display and because Biden at age 78 now only has a small bladder-


    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Or maybe Biden’s a fan of Cheerwine? (Since Delaware Punch was actually born in Delaware County, Ohio. . . .)

      1. ambrit

        Cheerwine, which I have partaken of many times, will give “Creepy” Joe’s poor bladder a work out. That is somehow comforting.

    2. Paradan

      “If you press the button, you will receive one million dollars, and someone whom you don’t know will die.”

      1. jr

        That’s when he picks up the line from Raytheon.

        Biden doesn’t need any red button. They know he wants pudding before he does. His world-class team of “first responder” gerontologists probably have him wired to six different kinds of scanners for real time monitoring. Auto-injection of whatever upper or downer the moment calls for. Joe’s our first cyborg president. Watch for stories of Kamala “accidentally” stumbling over wires backstage…

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Gotta ask . . . does anybody here know whether the Jason Kottke of kottke.org has any connection (beyond coincidence of name) with that artist in another medium, Leo Kottke?

  23. ambrit

    Zeitgeist item, political division.
    Yesterday, the DCCC sent Phyl a begging letter. Supposedly sent from the Office of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House; it has to be true, it says so right up in the top left hand corner of the envelope!
    The bulk of the letter was an appeal to fund the continuance of the “clear mandate from the American people” that buoys up the victorious team of Joe and Kamala.
    The following was bolded in the original: Our Democratic House Majority, working in partnership with the Democratic White House, will now have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress.
    That sentence alone reeks of the oily scent of a boilerplate factory. “…the opportunity to deliver..” says exactly what?
    The screed promises that contributions sent in before February 15th will be quadrupled by a Matching Gift Challenge. Where this matching money comes from is not stated. I would be interested to find that fact out.
    The letter also promises to “..expand eligibility and lower costs under the Affordable Care Act.” Hmmmm…. I detect the sulfurous stench of means testing there.
    Veiled references to Trumpist Bitter Enderism were rife within the body of the missive. Nasty old Republicans were duly trotted out to do their turn of Mephistopheles seducing the chaste Democrita.
    The biggest of the Big Lies deployed here was the perennial appeal for more money being the source of salvation.
    Now, I am but as a babe in the woods here, but even I can see that an organization ostensibly devoted to the public good shows questionable provenance when you notice that donations to it are not tax deductible. In other words, it’s a plain old grift.
    I am also piqued at the observation that the DCCC, an “insider” organization if there ever was one, is worried about keeping the Democrat Party majority in the House of Representatives in 2022. This suggests to this cynic that the Democrat Party insiders know full well that their agenda this year is going to piss off a lot of Americans.
    Is there such a thing as preventative damage control?
    Everyone stay safe! With this incoming administration, I fear that will be harder than usual to achieve.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That letter is like one from those massive churches rolling in wealth and run by televangelists but still wanting even the poorest members to keep on coughing up money. Even though some of that money is being used for stuff like private jet planes and to install air-conditioning in a dog-house (true fact that) owned by that televangelist. I would expect this to ramp up over the next few years. After all, every dollar given to mobs like the DCCC is one dollar less that might go to a progressive cause or candidate. Stay safe where you are. It’s going to be a rough few months.

      1. ambrit

        Having been a plumber in a previous life, I have installed jacuzzi tubs in the “tiring rooms” of two big evangelical churches. One of the places was in the back rooms of a church that sat 1200 “worshippers” in the main hall. The “bathroom” for the ‘regulars’ plus for visiting bigwigs and other sorts of snake oil salespeople had, beside the expected amenities, the jacuzzi, men’s and women’s shower rooms, and a steam room. The other place could hold over two thousand people at a single service and had a built in heated pool in the front middle of the main venue for baptisms. That little pool was equipped with better than average heating, circulating, and automatic cleaning systems for the water used in it.
        There’s money in religion. Lots of it.
        I am not sanguine about the next year either.

      1. ambrit

        Ca ca! A longish reply was eaten entire by Skynet!!! It also did not save as I had supposed!
        Short form: Yes, it has lots of caps and multiple mentions of contributing embedded in the text. All caps were 17% of the word count. A slick card stock insert had a “Members Card” with the smiling faces of Joe and Kamala emblazoned thereon. The matching funds offer was mentioned numerous times.
        A slick piece of work, and I do not mean that as a compliment.
        Time to self-medicate.

    2. skippy

      Is that anything like the starving Marvin episode of South Park where the esoteric do a fundraiser for galactic star ship options … never ends btw …

      1. ambrit

        I haven’t seen clips from that episode, but do consider the missive to be similar to a version of a sermon at a Scientology meeting. All the “best sort” are there. You know you are one of the “best and brightest” because you are there! The Worm Ouroboros eats it’s own tail.
        I enjoy E. R. Eddison; another “forgotten master.”

  24. boydownthelane

    Thanks for the YoYo Ma, always welcome… I actually prefer Keith Jarrett and his Trio; I discovered of late he’s had a double stroke that killed his left hand and finished his exemplary career; I just downloaded one album from Apple and bought a double album through his German recording company, which informs me it will require weeks to arrive. It’s worth the wait. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIec-IAjc2U

  25. jr


    Re: Press freedom

    Interesting interview between Dore and Jordan Chariton, whose Youtube show “Status Coup” had a video of a peaceful gun rights rally taken down due to “firearms policy”. Of course, Youtube has (probably lucrative) videos that literally demonstrate how to use firearms by the score but an independent news source covering a rally is an imminent threat to public safety.

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