2:00PM Water Cooler 1/29/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Yet another Grey Catbird for vocal catbird stans. Dawn chorus!


Lambert here, last Friday: Well, I said “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.” So I have to conclude we’re looking at a genuine fall in the numbers.

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.

Amplifying the variants issue: I am looking at aggregated regional and national data. That doesn’t preclude the idea that there are individual “hot spots” that are doing very badly. And if those hot spots are due to the new variants, and one or more of the variants is either resistant to the vaccine, or eludes current treatment protocols, we could see another rendition of the “stair step” pattern that we’ve already seen in cases. Unfortunately, our data collection is so bad that we have no way of tracing viral lineage in anything like near-real time, so we can’t tell where the variants are hitting. (Cities with direct flights to the UK or South Africa would be places to check the sewage.) We might keep in the back of our minds that the first sign of a tsunami is water withdrawing from the shore — like the decline we are seeing now. It never hurts to have an extra mask or two around the house, or sacks of rice and beans, say I.

* * *

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

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:

Vaccination in the Northeast:

I wondered why the Northeast was lagging. Massachusetts is flat, and New York is down.

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):

There’s that slow rise in the fatality rate again.


“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

Capitol Seizure

How about landmines?

On the bright side, perhaps the fencing could keep the Congress critters in?

Good for Bowser:


‘QAnon Shaman’ willing to testify in impeachment trial, lawyer says” [The Hill]. “A man photographed wearing face paint and a horned headdress during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol said he would be willing to testify at former President Trump’s impeachment trial in February, his attorney told The Associated Press. Jacob Chansley, who is known as the ‘QAnon Shaman,’ would be willing to testify that he was incited to allegedly storm the Capitol by the then-president, according to attorney Albert Watkins. ‘QAnon Shaman’ is a name that references the far right conspiracy theory known as QAnon…. Watkins told the AP that after Trump failed to pardon him or other participants in the insurrection, his client ‘felt like he was betrayed by the president.'” • Jacob Chansley is gonna turn out just like David Brock.


“‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy” [David Smith, Guardian]. “[Yuri Shvets], who has carried out his own investigation, said: ‘For me, the Mueller report was a big disappointment because people expected that it will be a thorough investigation of all ties between Trump and Moscow, when in fact what we got was an investigation of just crime-related issues. There were no counterintelligence aspects of the relationship between Trump and Moscow.’ He added: “This is what basically we decided to correct. So I did my investigation and then got together with [journalist Craig Unger of Vanity Fair]. So we believe that his book will pick up where Mueller left off.” • Blurbs from the Amazon posting:

Praise for American Kompromat

“For the first time a former KGB employee has gone on record to describe Donald Trump’s historic relationship with the Kremlin. It’s a bombshell that must be looked into.”—Robert Baer, former CIA operative and author of See No Evil

“I said in 2017 that Trump had more Russian connections than Aeroflot, and American Carnage documents every flight. Trump’s loyalty to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was deeper and more insidious than merely envying his wealth and power. America has removed Putin’s puppet from the White House, but the KGB man who controlled him is still in the Kremlin, eager to repeat the success of his greatest operation: President Trump. Read Craig Unger to understand why the danger to American democracy is far from over.”—Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Renew Democracy Foundation and author of Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped

Transition to Biden

“‘For Christ’s sake, watch yourself’: Biden warns family over business dealings” [Politico]. “In the midst of his campaign for president, Joe Biden took his younger brother, Frank, aside to issue a warning. ‘For Christ’s sake, watch yourself,’ Biden said of his brother’s potential business dealings, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. ‘Don’t get sucked into something that would, first of all, hurt you.”” • Quite a lead…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Time For Senator J.D. Vance?” [The American Conservative]. • No. No it’s not.

“First Red House, now a new Portland occupation simmers” [KOIN]. “Brenulla White-Bey, a 66-year-old retired Multnomah County nutrition counselor who stopped paying her mortgage five years ago but declines to leave her former house, told the Portland Tribune the authorities have got it wrong. White-Bey, like the Kinneys [of North Mississippi], has been filing legal documents arguing that she is a “Moorish” and an indigenous sovereign citizen, not a subject of the United States. The Black woman also argued that her mortgage was illegal — contrary to how three judges ruled in Multnomah Circuit Court. In court, White-Bey has used documents that ‘are common to the sovereign citizen movement, including Moorish Sovereigns,’ said Cruz, the Southern Poverty Law Center analyst. ‘Individuals who use the documents are often desperate to retain properties they are losing or have lost as a result of non-payment.'” • A vacuum on the left got filled with this nonsense.

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.

Income and Expenditures: “December 2020 Real Income Grew and Real Expenditures Declined” [Econintersect]. “The data continues to be affected by the pandemic. Expenditures declined month-over-month (and is in contraction year-over-year) whilst income improved month-over-month (and is in expansion year-over-year)…. The note from the BEA says it all: “The December estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19. Many provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act continued to wind down before the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act was enacted on December 27, 2020. Additionally, new restrictions and closures took effect in some areas of the United States. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 16 January 2021 – Improvement This Week” [Econintersect]. “Week 3 of 2021 shows same week total rail traffic (from the same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). Container exports from China have recovered, container exports from the U.S. remain deep in contraction. This week again intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year and continues on a strengthening trendline.”

* * *

On GameStop, be sure to read Yves’ post here if you have not already.

Mr. Market: Shorts are the good guys (to the extent there are good guys):

Mr. Market: “BlackBerry execs sold shares as Reddit-driven rally started” [Reuters]. “Three BlackBerry executives, including the chief financial officer, sold $1.7 million of the telecoms technology firm’s stock in the early days of this month’s meteoric share price rise, filings with securities regulators show. BlackBerry and other heavily shorted stocks have soared in the past few days as traders organizing on social media platforms such as Reddit took on the hedge funds making bets against them. The stock sales represent one of the first examples of company executives cashing out on the frenzy.”

Mr. Market: “Experts Say Robinhood’s GameStop Fiasco Likely Caused by Lack of Cash” [Vice]. “A dominant theory among some investors was that Robinhood stopped allowing people to buy GameStop stock in order to benefit firms such as Citadel, a company that pays Robinhood for information about its users’ trades and recently helped bail out a company called Melvin Capital from the short-sale positions it had taken on GameStop. Regulatory experts, however, say that this doesn’t seem to be the reason. As they see it, the likeliest explanations for Robinhood defenestrating itself by breaking trust with its user base are less nefarious but perhaps more embarrassing, and suggest that the stock trading platform may not have had enough cash on hand to stay within regulatory rules for brokerage firms. In other words, experts tell Motherboard that a mass influx of people buying tons of GameStop stock likely created a cash flow issue—or the threat of a cash flow issue—that could have put Robinhood out of compliance with very basic regulatory rules that every brokerage is required to follow.”

Mr. Market: “Robinhood raises $1 billion and taps credit lines to make trading of GameStop available to customers” [NBC]. “Robinhood raised $1 billion overnight from investors to shore up its balance sheet as the brokerage app was set to ease restrictions in the trading of certain volatile stocks, according to CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. The money raised was on top of $500 million the broker accessed through credit lines to ensure it had the capital required to keep allowing its clients to trade stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment. Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev told CNBC that tapping the credit lines was a proactive measure and denied it was because of a liquidity issue.” • Oh.

Mr. Market: A self-licking ice cream cone:

Mr. Market: “Analysis: How Wall Street gains from ‘populist’ trading movement” [Reuters]. “Steep gains in shares of GameStop Corp and other stocks this week have been described as populist market revolts. But among those out ahead are some of Wall Street’s largest asset managers, which can realize gains both from their share stakes and from lending out stocks to short sellers. Other beneficiaries include market-makers and trading systems that profit from huge volumes.”

Concentration: “Google salvaged Robinhood’s one-star rating by deleting nearly 100,000 negative reviews” [The Verge]. “It’s not outside Google’s purview to delete these posts. Google’s policies explicitly prohibit reviews intended to manipulate an app’s rating, and the company says it has a system that ‘combines human intelligence with machine learning to detect and enforce policy violations in ratings and reviews.’ Google says it specifically took action on reviews that it felt confident violated those policies, the company tells The Verge. Google says companies do not have the ability to delete reviews themselves.” • I’m sure Google would do that for anyone…

Concentration: “Google threatens to shut down search in Australia” [CNN]. “Google says it will shut down its search engine in Australia if a controversial bill designed to benefit the news media becomes law. At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Friday, Google (GOOGL) Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said the draft legislation “remains unworkable,” and would be “breaking” the way millions of users searched for content online.

“If this version of the Code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” she told lawmakers. “That would be a bad outcome not just for us, but for the Australian people, media diversity and small businesses who use Google Search.'” • I say bring it. We did fine without Google. If Australia wants Search, as opposed to whatever it is that Google is peddling these days, they can set up a public utility.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 29 at 12:35pm. More fear!

Health Care

“Analysis: “Russian roulette” in Europe as needle shortages hamper COVID-19 shots” [Reuters]. “Industry executives say that, while output of needles and syringes is sufficient to meet current demand, chaotic ordering means that they often do not get to where they are most urgently needed. Work is under way to assess future demand and find ways to meet it, they say…. German medical technology industry association BVMed said there were no production bottlenecks and that supplies of syringes and needles were adequate. But muddled orders were complicating distribution, it added, calling for better coordination.”

“More than FIFTY Orthodox Jewish weddings with up to 300 guests have been illegally held in London during third lockdown, investigation claims” [Daily Mail]. “Speaking anonymously, one source involved in the Orthodox weddings industry told Jewish News: ‘These illegal weddings have been going on for 10 months. ‘We’re not talking about one or two. We are talking multiple weddings every day. All have 150 to 200 guests. At one wedding the bride was Covid-positive.'” Madness. More: “Sources added that some organisers are now asking for a £10,000 payment upfront from the wedding party to pay the fine if police raid the ceremony.” • This seems to be an issue with lower-case “o” orthodox globally. I wonder how universal the “I refuse to live in fear” attitude is?

Class Warfare

“6,000 Amazon warehouse workers will hold union vote in Alabama on Feb. 8” [CNBC]. “Amazon warehouse workers at an Alabama warehouse can begin voting by mail in early February on whether to form a union, a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer ruled Friday. The ruling kicks off what will be a closely watched union vote at one of the nation’s largest employers. About 6,000 employees at the fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama will cast their ballots beginning on Feb. 8 to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Ballots must be received by the NLRB’s regional office by March 29, then the board will begin counting the ballots beginning at 10 a.m. CT on the following day. The decision represents a blow to Amazon, which had pushed for the election to be held in person at the Bessemer facility, known as BHM1.” • Under Amazon’s surveillance cameras, yeah right.

“Interview: James Medlock” [Noahpinion]. From Smith’s introduction: “‘James Medlock’ is the pseudonym of a Twitter personality who has been stirring up the left-leaning portion of the internet. But instead of the usual Twitter routine — denunciations, anger, etc. — Medlock has thrilled people with his relentless calm and the power of his simple message. That message is that people simply need more money, and we know how to get it to them: Universal programs, higher taxes, and stronger unions. A self-proclaimed ‘social democrat in the streets, market socialist in the sheets’, Medlock has captured the attention of major Twitch streamers and gathered a Twitter following that spans all ages and walks of life. Often sporting sock emojis (for ‘socdem’, or ‘social democrat’), Medlock’s followers have become the Nice Guys of Left Twitter, subduing haughty libertarians and obstreperous tankies alike with a relentless barrage of cheerful humanitarianism sprinkled with empirical data. Their numbers have steadily grown, and AOC follows Medlock now too. In my opinion, he would make a perfect policy advisor.”

“Revolution, Reform, and Resignation” [Phenomenal World]. “[B]ecause it left the property structure intact and allowed markets to allocate resources, the social democratic approach fueled the causes of inequality at the same time as it aimed to mitigate their effect. This contradiction reached its limits in the 1970s. As many old ills were overcome, new ones emerged. Indeed, the list of problems to be resolved by socialist programs in the mid-1970s was not any shorter than it had been at the turn of the twentieth century. The constraints of capitalist economy turned out to be inexorable, and political defeats meant that reforms could be reversed. In office in most Western European countries, social democratic governments desperately searched for responses that would preserve their commitment to “ultimate goals” in the face of the economic crisis. During the early 1970s, socialist parties developed new energy policies, workers’ management schemes, and structures of economic planning. But Callaghan’s defeat to Thatcher in 1979, and the departure of Communists from the Mitterand government in 1984, administered fatal blows. Mitterand’s turn to austerity was the final act of resignation in the face of domestic and international constraints. All that was left were successive ‘third ways.'”

“Job Seekers’ Beliefs and the Causes of Long-Term Unemployment” [Liberty Street Economics]. “A robust finding in labor economics is that the chances of finding a job decline significantly the longer a person is unemployed (see, for example, Machin and Manning [1999]). This empirical regularity is referred to as ‘negative duration dependence.’… Our analysis underlines the importance of the heterogeneity in unemployed job seekers’ employment prospects. But job seekers underestimate these differences. Those with low underlying employment prospects tend to be overly optimistic and vice versa. The corresponding dynamic selection drives the optimistic bias among the long-term unemployed. Importantly, the under-response of beliefs can itself induce a higher incidence of long-term unemployment. Job seekers with worse employment prospects discard too many potential job offers, as they hold out for the possibility of a better offer in the future. Workers with better prospects do the opposite. The differences in re-employment thus get magnified through job-search behavior. Incorporating such biases in beliefs into a model of job-search behavior, we find that they may raise the incidence of long-term unemployment by 10 percent—a significant amount.”

“Episode 55 – Night in the Word ft. Scott Benson” [Sh*tty Christians]. “This week Zac and Michael are joined by Scott Benson, creator of Night in the Woods and founding member of The Glory Society worker co-op. We dive into Scott’s past in Christian ska bands, losing faith while you’re in ministry, making games without bosses and the legend of Ska Mom.” • Like some of the Trillbillies, an expatriate from evangelism (it does happen). Benson is a member of Sid The Cat’s staff. This is a long podcast, but I think it’s a great window into a subculture about which I know virtually nothing: Christian apostates who join DSA. Also video games. Also worker co-ops!

News of the Wired

Look on my works, ye mighty:

“How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry” [Nature]. “Once dismissed as the dangerous dalliances of the counterculture, these drugs are gaining mainstream acceptance. Several states and cities in the United States are in the process of legalizing or decriminalizing psilocybin for therapeutic or recreational purposes. And respected institutions such as Imperial; Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; the University of California, Berkeley; and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City have opened centres devoted to studying psychedelics. Several small studies suggest the drugs can be safely administered and might have benefits for people with intractable depression and other psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One clinical trial involving MDMA has recently ended, with results expected to be published soon. Regulators will then be considering whether to make the treatment available with a prescription. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy could provide needed options for debilitating mental-health disorders including PTSD, major depressive disorder, alcohol-use disorder, anorexia nervosa and more that kill thousands every year in the United States, and cost billions worldwide in lost productivity. But the strategies represent a new frontier for regulators.”

* * *

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 (ML):

ML writes: “Coastal Goldenbush, from a few months ago. Tar Pits Park in Carpenteria, CA.”

* * *

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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. wadge22

      Thanks for that. Marlon Craft is the artist’s name. New to me. The guy definitely has some skills (although I personally found the production distractingly lousy on that song).

      Not entirely sure why the surprise that he can figure it all out, tho. There are plenty of examples of smart hip hop that is trying to get a political message across.

      The Coup (led by Boots Riley, a sometime linkee from NC, I do believe)
      Immortal Technique (that Marlon Craft song brought him to my mind immediately)
      Dead Prez

      I’ll digress of course. There’re plenty of others and probably more, uh, current. Those are YouTube links to hip hop songs, by the way, so don’t click them if you’re not interested. I do hate youtube, but not sure where else to dj in this kind of a forum.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I am a big fan of Boots Riley; I just thought, this is some skinny white boy putting out his own stuff and it’s deep! But maybe my ignorance of the contemporary music scene is showing and there’s lots of great stuff just randomly out there. This is the only thing I do remotely resembling social media—oops, except now there’s book club on Taibbi’s substack—so unless someone texts/emails me something or I see it here, I don’t know about it.

        YouTube is Google and I don’t sign in so a lot of the content I can’t get.

        1. wadge22

          If I am trying to stream Music, I have found a Russia based website that still calls it MP3s. I won’t link, but anyone can DDG those keywords.
          They have a very large and diverse library. No ads. Stream anything free. Also can purchase, I think for cheap (I’ve never). Plays with phone screen asleep. Less bw than video. Albums (generally) play thru uninterrupted. One negative… can’t jump around in tracks.

          I also buy used hard media for my repeat listen stuff, and support live music. I’m no pirate, just want to avoid youtube, won’t do spotify or whatever. I so doubt Boots is getting any appreciable ad revenue from them, anyhow.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Thanks for the tip and the Immortal Technique link—I knew Killer Mike was a Bernie supporter but these days I don’t listen to hip hop. I let it play and along came another one from Marlon:

            The kid is firing on all cylinders and then some.

  1. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: The former KGB Book

    Its nice the ghost writers for the former Secret Service agents who brought Hillary’s dates have found a new job.

    And a book blurb from a “new chronologist”! Was there no one from the Spaceology Department of Tampa available?

      1. Wukchumni

        Of all of the hooligans in the rumble in the rotunda, the mockdanavian guy was a peacock amidst jackdaws.

        He had see me-dig me down pat.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Don’t knock the viking guy. The way that he was turned, do not be surprised if ten years from now he will be wearing a $5,000 business suit and you will see him presenting news on MSNBC or CNN ad talking about white privilege. Stranger things have happened.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        No. Trump obsession will never die. After Trump physically dies and goes to heaven, several million of his most devoted followers will start a new religion which could well be called Trumpistianity ( or Trumpianity)..

        These millions of Trumpistians ( or Trumpians) will be a politically lucrative and much-sought-after voting base for somebody or other for decades to come.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Wherever he goes, Trump obsession will never die.

            Trumpistianity will be a decades-long political religion with tens of millions of militant followers.

      1. km

        Take a look at the defendants in some of the court filings.

        Names like “Moorish” and “Black Israelite” and similar give a general clue.

  2. Randy

    LOL at Robinhood giving its demoralized employees 40 bucks for food delivery. First: they couldn’t make it an even $50??? Second: while I personally would be insulted and even more mad, I bet it freaking worked.

    1. polecat

      40 quatloos?? That don’t buy much these daze. I suppose they could instead parlay those stale chips … and LARP away – to their better’s discontent!

    2. griffen

      It’s Wall Street adjacent, so the tired or exhausted should recognize the potential and the risk to their long term employment prospects with such an employer.

      Beats a pizza party.

  3. fresno dan


    And if you figure out how to make a lot of money and if you’re like Donald Trump and you figure out how to get elected, you figure out how to beat the deep state, they’re gonna come out and they’re gonna wipe you out; they’re gonna destroy you. That’s what’s happening with GameStop. A bunch of people on Reddit figured out how to game the system. They figured out how to turn the system into a profit-making device for themselves.
    So I did a word search for “elite” or “elites” and it is used 27 times in the article. One could, if so inclined with modern computer editing, substitute “rich” for “elite” and it would read the same. Except being critical of the “rich” would be socialist (gasp while being against “elite” is being against “liberals” I guess…
    Reading it, one almost gets the impression that Limbaugh doesn’t think American is that shining city on a hill – its like he is starting to think a good portion of American is run by grifters and scammers (gasp!) …Why, EVEN some republicans are in on it. (triple gasp!!!) Makes me wonder how a country as wonderful as American got into such a situation…
    I guess the Kochs and the Adelsons are the good rich, (of course, mining, oil, and gambling are wholesome and virtuous occupations) while Wall Street and Silicon valley are the bad rich.

    1. Wukchumni

      I had a friend who had a card store in the 80’s-90’s, and sometimes i’d hang out behind the counter for a hour and watch the parade of boys, some young men and exactly zero women, all caught up in the baseball card bubble.

      The white heat of the moment lasted a year I guess, and then went into hibernation. The bubble was way underfunded, and then a host of different baseball card manufacturers came out diluting a dying market. It was fun to watch, a kids financial bubble.

      It was tantamount to Wall*Street/Lottery for children, they’d buy an unopened pack, make a beeline for the Beckett magazine (monthly pricing info) on the counter, rifle through their cards in search of a winner, and about half the time they’d leave the commons on the counter, no need apparently to affix them to a bicycle wheel with a clothespin to make a clickety-clack sound, I guess.

      Probably some 12 year old then, was involved in the GameStop charade yesterday.

      We started em’ young!

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I love your story. I own an unopened white poly-bag “Death of Superman” comic. My then new wife* actually stood in line for three hours at a Bellevue, WA card and comic store to get it.

        I think its worth about 5 bucks.

        * currently my old wife

    2. Adam Eran

      I’ve got to the point that any time I read accusations of racism (or religious intolerance, or xenophobia) without any reference to economic class, I’ll conclude it’s purely self-righteousness propaganda. The target races, religions, foreigners, etc. are convenient scapegoats for the “smug patricians” Trump was elected to disrupt.

      This simplifies things.

    3. Phillip Cross

      Kochs and the Adelsons play a part, but they just people like anyone else.

      We did it to ourselves. Human nature, given our system of incentives, yields this culture.

      1. fresno dan

        Phillip Cross
        January 29, 2021 at 3:35 pm

        Kochs and the Adelsons play a part, but they just people like anyone else.
        NO, they have much, much, MUCH more money than anyone else. And with that money, they have much, much, MUCH more political power than anyone else. Every day, thousands of K street lobbyists are paid to advance the interests of rich people, and these interests are diametrically opposed to the interests of those without so much money.
        For fifty years, wages have been stagnant while the productivity of this country has risen significantly. That is not to to geology, nature, or evolution. It is due to decisions made by humans, and humans who have an inordinate influence upon the rules, who use their influence over the rules, to advance their own interests.

        1. Phillip Cross

          Yes i agree with you.

          My point is that all the actors in this production, including those odious examples, are humans. If it wasn’t those a$$holes, then I have a strong suspicion someone else would have figured out a similar exploit to get ahead, based on the incentives our subconscious minds have evolved as a species.

          Immiseration of other humans and ecocide are constant emergent behaviors of large human societies throughout history.

          Check out that movie Apocalypto for more details.

          1. Patrick

            Anthropologists tell us that once humans started living in groups larger than 150 (when egalitarian hunter gatherers morphed into farmers) we lost our ability to shame the selfish actors (sociopaths) – we lost much of our social nature (our better angels). Today’s capitalism arguably rewards the sociopaths.

  4. dcblogger

    That fence could post a danger to members of congress and their staff as much as protection. suppose there was a massive explosion in the capitol and they had to run away, not just out of the building, but away. The fence could serve as a trap.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It would be worse if by then that metal fence has been electrified because of demands of legislators for their “security”. Think of one very, very long bug zapper.

    2. Stephen C.

      New requirement to “serve the people. Learn Parkour.

      That would bring the average age down quite a bit.

  5. Wukchumni

    Wow, look how far Cali has fallen in new confirmed Covid cases, dude.

    Add in the idea our graph has the look of a peak we’re descending somewhere in the High Sierra, this will give a much needed break to hospital staff et al.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Perhaps the subset of our population with poor risk assessment skills has reached herd immunity?

  6. JWP

    RE: Ecstasy and psilocybin:
    While I support and voted for these efforts, the depression and anxiety epidemics might have another, drugless route to help that is not being talked about, emotional eduction, an idea i first heard proposed in conversation with a therapist. Nowhere in schools pre-k-12 are kids taught how to deal with potentially dangerous thoughts of fear and social anxiety that lead to deeper anxiety and depression. Most of it is a biological hangover of fear from before civilized society so there’s undue stress put on menial situations and we are never taught coping mechanisms besides paying for pills.

    Teaching kids first how to understand their feelings, then how to manage and control their thoughts and minds would go a long way in shaping a more cognizant society. Parents often do not have the time, nor experience to accurately teach this, but the education system does.

    I can see where such a discipline, like any is easily corruptible, but given the high financial barrier to even access therapy and the present alternatives being costly medication, it seems worth a try.

  7. allan

    The sound of gravitational waves crashing:

    Cosmic Ringtones in Pulsar Data? [Physics]

    Imagine a gravitational-wave detector stretching over a sizeable chunk of our Galaxy. That, in a nutshell, is the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), which monitors distances in our cosmic neighborhood using a network of clock-like stars, called pulsars. In late 2020, the NANOGrav team reported seeing fluctuations in the timing of pulsar ticks, which could be evidence of gravitational waves at nanohertz frequencies [1]. The source of such slow-cycling waves could be black hole mergers, but several new theoretical studies—all appearing in Physical Review Letters—propose that other, more exotic objects could explain the data. …

    The 2020 NANOGrav result, based on the analysis of 12.5 years of data, shows timing fluctuations over multiyear timescales. These fluctuations happen in all the pulsars, which argues against this being some intrinsic noise in the pulsar emission. “There’s no way for the pulsars to talk to each other to coordinate their behavior,” Simon says. Instead, the common fluctuations could come from a random background—or “hum”—of gravitational waves. “The detection of a stochastic background in gravitational waves is one of the most anticipated and important milestones in gravitational-wave astronomy,” says Kai Schmitz from CERN in Switzerland. …

    In the short term, the NANOGrav team plans to verify whether its signal is real. The collaboration suffered a setback this past December, when the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed. “Arecibo made up roughly half of our sensitivity, so its loss is really impactful,” Simon says. NANOGrav is working with international partners to find telescopes that can fill in for Arecibo. …

    Deficit hawk narrator: We would love to, but, as for families sitting around the dining room table,
    tough and painful choices need to be made.

  8. Phillip Cross

    Someone told me that they thought a large infusion of MDMA into The White House and Pentagon’s drinking water would solve many of the world’s problems.

    Do you think they would ever allow it OTC?

    1. John

      I would include all of Congress and Wall Street in that MDMA solution.
      WS, the WH, Congress, and Pentagon are an obvious manifestation of crack cocaine and meth in their drinking water.

    1. HotFlash

      My father-in-law, of happy memory, grew up in Hamtramck, a suburb of Detroit. His father had died when my f-i-l was a teenager and the older kids had to work to support the family. He graduated high school but college was out of the question. He got a job on the production line at Ford Motor Co, known to everyone in those days as Ford‘s (not Ford). Henry Ford was still around and appeared from time to time. My f-i-l, being a bright, industrious, and ambitious young guy, applied for the in-house machinist training program. He was accepted and told me it was the hardest school he’d ever been in. “When I complained about all the math, the trigonometry and that, they explained it to me: Pass or go back on the line.” He studied hard and passed that course! He ended up being not only a machinist but upgraded to tool and die maker and eventually to gauge maker, the aristocracy of machinists. Training all provided by Ford’s. When he tried to join the army in WWII they told him no, they needed good machinists more than soldiers and he ended up in Wash DC (Defense Production Act?) where he made made tanks. More good stories there, too.

      When I started working in Canada in 1969 it was a given that your employer would reimburse you for work-related courses (continuing studies/nightschool, college level, or professional) provided that you passed, and also that you would get an annual pay increase. All that stopped in the late 80’s and the only way to get a raise was to change jobs. It’s as if, when Big Biz discovered that we would pump our own gas, the world changed.

      1. wadge22

        I work as a machinist, non union. Pay is good (I’m over $25 now), health benefits, turkey at Thanksgiving (thanks…). I started there knowing nothing about it, although I was friends with the owner’s son. We do hire and train people without experience, although many of those don’t make it too long.

        On your feet on the concrete, all day. Coolant spray all day. Chips in your hands and in your hair and in your eye and everywhere. Air nozzles spraying holes out whistling at 100db+ all day. Heavy stuff, greasy stuff, stinky cast iron chelate you have to scrape out of the sump. Smoke and mist in the atmosphere, with seasonally hot or cold outside air the only remedy. No music or magazines allowed for your brain. Phones are a sometimes kinda okay, sometimes you’re fired, type of deal. No stools allowed for your feet. If your job runs fast, it’s hurry up and hump those parts, keep that light green. If your job runs long, stand there like it’s prison.
        If parts are bad, it’s your fault. If you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that because nobody taught you anything, you may just learn this time by being fired. Or maybe you’ll just be ridiculed for that mistake as long as you work there. Maybe it’s your nickname now with the boss. Or maybe they like you and they don’t say anything, and maybe that makes the other guys jealous.

        More substantively, I will always work for the boss here. I cannot imagine how I could one day open my own shop. Machines are expensive, tooling is expensive. Red tape and sales and financing are within few machinist’s wheelhouse.
        I can go somewhere else, meet the new little Napoleon, earn a new nickname.

        They do %100 match %3 of our income into a simple IRA, which I think is not bad. Who administers the plan? Well, it was Wells Fargo, but we ditched them. Now it’s none other than JPMChase. I’ve got close to 20k in there after almost 10 years in the trade, but I’m not sure my feet will take another 20 years like this, and would that be enough? And I would certainly be dead of despair before even that, no joke.

        I’m lucky. I will get out soon. My situation is a little closer to my friend, the boss’s son, than most machinists.
        These other guys are lucky they have good paying jobs and can support their families, I know they will tell you. But we are none of us living with dignity. The old timers are either at least a little nuts or odiously angry at the world. The younger guys are either telling themselves this is just a J O B, or are already depressed and discouraged like myself.

        I know people in other trades, millwrights, electricians, ironworkers. Everyone has the same sort of attitude. They hate it, but the money can’t be beat, so it’s what you do. That’s what matters.

        1. Pelham

          Great comment! I keep running across all this stuff about the great prospects in blue-collar jobs with rising pay and lots of openings. But you capture nicely the oppressive grind and the extreme physical cost of such work, all of which is not really compensated.

          If we had a decent labor policy, it would be possible for workers in such industries to retire comfortably after about 20 years, just before they go lame and arthritic and have to resort to addictive drugs to relieve the misery or, alternatively, just suffer in agony for another 20 years. (And this doesn’t even touch on the mind rot and Stalinistic aspects of working under such conditions that you describe so well.)

          Thank you.

      2. rowlf

        In the mid to late 1990s when I was in the Detroit Michigan area many of my classmates in the electronic technology classes I was taking in a community college were from the auto factories. Their classes were covered by the company as a path to the skilled trades positions. I helped several on subjects as they had to keep a fair grade to stay in the program and they had an interest in getting into a better work position.

        What gave me a giggle was when some of the foreign auto companies tried to set up in the south they couldn’t find enough skilled trades people to hire even at UAW pay levels. I never heard how they solved their problem.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > My f-i-l, being a bright, industrious, and ambitious young guy, applied for the in-house machinist training program. He was accepted and told me it was the hardest school he’d ever been in. “When I complained about all the math, the trigonometry and that, they explained it to me: Pass or go back on the line.” He studied hard and passed that course! He ended up being not only a machinist but upgraded to tool and die maker and eventually to gauge maker, the aristocracy of machinists. Training all provided by Ford’s. When he tried to join the army in WWII they told him no, they needed good machinists more than soldiers and he ended up in Wash DC (Defense Production Act?) where he made made tanks. More good stories there, too.

        How it’s done in China, now…

  9. a different chris

    > ‘combines human intelligence with machine learning

    Human intelligence and machine “learning” — did anybody else hear Tom Petty’s voice in the back of their head “…and I can’t decide which is worse”.

  10. fresno dan

    Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to altering an email that he used to apply for a FISA warrant against former Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page, was sentenced to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service on Friday.
    U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said that Clinesmith’s behavior had undermined the integrity of the FISA Court.
    “Courts all over the country rely on representations from the government, and expect them to be correct,” Boasberg said.
    However, the judge said he agreed with an earlier finding by the Justice Department Inspector General that Clinesmith and other FBI officials’ actions were not caused by political bias and that he believes Clinesmith’s claims that he thought that the information he was adding to the email was accurate.
    I have a difficult, difficult time believing in the honor, integrity, and common sense of that judge.
    other FBI officials’ actions were not caused by political bias
    It has been a couple of years now, but the inspector general report about this whole scandal, was that the inspector general FISA court report was not in a position to evaluate the idea of the 17 errors that all by SHEAR COINCIDENCE were against Trump WERE DUE TO POLITICAL BIAS.
    That he (THE JUDGE) believes Clinesmith’s claims that he thought that the information he was adding to the email was accurate is absurd.
    The judge would have been better off stopping while he was ahead, or not so far behind. Why in the world would the judge believe Clinesmith’s claims of changing the email made it accurate? Did Clinesmith call the CIA and ask, “hey, did you guys mean to say Cart was NOT a source, instead of saying he WAS a source? So much for the vaunted US legal system.

    We identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and
    many additional errors in the Woods Procedures. These errors and omissions resulted from case agents
    providing wrong or incomplete information to OI and failing to flag important issues for discussion. While we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted OI in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems we identified.
    In our view, this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and
    supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command. For these reasons, we recommend that the FBI review the performance of the employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers and supervisors in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, including senior officials, and take any action deemed appropriate. In addition, given the extensive compliance failures we identified in this review, we believe that additional OIG oversight work is required to assess the FBI’s compliance with Department and FBI FISA-related policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons
    Absence of evidence in not evidence of absence. OR you won’t find what your not looking for…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wow. That’s amazing that. If I recall correctly, Clinesmith’s rants to other FBI agents was littered with talk about working against Trump making him an actual political actor. Its all there on record. It’s always nice to have a judge that will take your side in a court of law.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Oh yeah, can’t agree more with this recommendation…for anyone even remotely interested in history its a major keeper.

      Another really good aspect of this series is that it is big…many books + anthologies (Grantville Gazette series) and more being written. Been out on the shelves long enough that older copies can also be found pretty readily at used book stores, if turning actual paper pages is your kink..

      I would also make a pitch for the Belisarius series by David Drake + Eric Flint. Set in Byzantine/Roman alternate history. Not as many in the series, and it is now complete as far as I know…but its also really enjoyable!

      Can’t go without a shout out to L Sprague de Camp’s ‘Lest Darkness Fall’ too.

      1. ambrit

        The good ‘cycle’ series allow you to ‘lose yourself.’ Not just a “suspension of disbelief,” but also a “suspension of objective reality.”
        Ward Moore’s “Bring the Jubilee” is probably the earliest example of this genre I can think of. A very good stand alone Alt Civil War book.
        Harry Turtledove basically made his writing career out of such series. Almost too many to mention now a days.
        S M Stirling is one of the best practitioners of this art. He was kicked off of a website dedicated to his own writing for heretical comments using an avatar identity. [You can’t make this stuff up.]
        Then there is steampunk….
        I have learned the hard way that no matter how hard one will attempt to ‘screen out’ reality, it will sneak up on you and smack you hard ‘up the side of the head,’ just to let you know that it’s still there.
        I hope that when reality sneaks up on the elites that it choses to use guillotines to deliver the requisite “smack.”

    2. BobW

      I read a good part of the early Ring of Fire series, but lost interest in it, can’t really say why. I have just finished rereading Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, that’s something you can really get your teeth into. 17th-18th century covering a good portion of the globe.

  11. Left in Wisconsin

    Highly recommend the Przeworski piece at Phenomenal World. Most of it is reflections on/by 3 European leftist leaders from the 1970s-80s (German Prime Chancellor Willy Brandt, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme) about how the oil shocks and associated economic changes of the era presented a challenge to social democrats – including ending the belief/fantasy that reformism could be system-changing – that they (we) were not then, and I would argue still are not, able to address.

    Palme spells out the difficulty:

    “We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems.… [But the new situation] presents a much more difficult task to fulfill. Because from the moment there is no longer a constant surplus to be distributed, the question of distribution is appreciably more difficult to resolve.”

    Brand echoes these concerns, noting that it is essential to prevent inequality from increasing as growth resumes. Eighteen months later, during another in person meeting on 25 May 1975, Kreisky makes the fiscal constraint even more explicit: “It is precisely now that reforms should be made. It is just a question which. If we strongly develop social policies, we will not be able to finance them.”

    Also included an amazing graph of declining electoral support for left/SD parties in Europe.

    1. John A

      Bruno Kreisky escaped to Sweden as a refugee from the nazis in WW2. Spoke Swedish and was close to Palme. Palme tried to introduce a system of so-called employee funds, a kind of tax levied on companies to buy shares in the company that would then ‘belong’ to the employees, a kind of gradual union ownership takeover of the companies. The proposal was fiercely opposed by the private sector, the right of centre parties and most of the media. The whole concept limped on for a while until the social democrats lost power. Even when they subsequently regained power, Palme had been assassinated and the new generation of social democrat politicians had bought into the ‘third way’ of Clinton/Blair. Any thoughts of worker power and union control were dead in the water. Today, the social democrats poll in the 20s percent, as opposed to 40s pre the third way.

  12. pjay

    I would like to respectfully suggest that “she’s an expert and deserves that money” be made the official motto of the national Democratic party. I can’t think of a more succinct and fitting mantra for that organization.

  13. fresno dan


    The chameleon is Brookesia nana, abbreviated to B. nana (if you squint, it does kind of look like a banana). Females of the species are larger than males, at about three-quarters of an inch from snout to vent. The new record holders are the adult males, which are less than an inch including the tail. Oh, and the males also have huge hemipenes (genitals) in proportion to their size.
    good to know…

    1. VK

      When as a child I first time caught a newt larva by chance, I thought I had caught a tiny swamp dragon. Couldn’t believe that vertebrates living on their own could be that tiny. And those gills ;-)

  14. petal

    I’m attending a talk tonight by Glenn Greenwald on “Authoritarianism in the United States”. If anyone might be interested in what he says I’d be happy to post a comment. I guess let me know.

  15. chuck roast

    Gray Catbird, Washington, VA

    When I lived in DC I used to regularly walk by a Depression Era apartment house called The Broadmoor. Every spring the catbirds would show up on the street side of the building and get to know one another in the small trees. I figured they had to seriously get acquainted because they had such a giant vocabulary. Wonderfully entertaining.

  16. Trixiefromdixie

    While doing some research on the reliability of the PCR test I came across a couple of different sources that said the day ole joe was inaugurated, and the vaccine started to roll out, that the WHO quietly changed their recommendations on the cycle rate the test should be run from 40-45 down to 30-35. This might explain the drop in positive cases. Has anyone else seen this?

  17. Arizona Slim

    Speaking as the victim of bad Google reviews from people I’ve never done business with — or ever heard of — I can tell you that the appeals process ain’t worth it. I tried to get Google to remove them, but they’re still there. The only thing I could do was post what I just posted here.

    Wishing I had Robinhood superpowers.

  18. chuck roast

    So, the genius-boy “shaman” is willing to testify to the fact that he, the shaman, was incited to “allegedly” committed a crime. I want this case to go to the Supreme Court! I can see the headline now…”Nine Justices Die Laughing”

  19. Jen

    From the Groves of Academe…a certain Ivy League college that cut several sports teams earlier this year due to budgetary constraints and admissions challenges has reinstated them having failed to meet Title IX requirements. Oopsie.


    If you’re going to do an unpopular thing, it behooves you to not [family blog] up the details. So now whatever savings might have been achieved by cutting a few coaches will be consumed with legal and consulting fees. I feel really bad for the kids in these programs.

    1. petal

      I started laughing out loud when that was announced. Made for some lively conversation. Oops is right.

  20. chuck roast

    OK. So, it’s time to tell my short-selling story.

    Back in the mid-aughts, a very high fever gripped the housing market at the same time that all of these interesting blogs were kicking off…including our own fave. One of these blogs was called the “Tank-o-Meter” or something like that…things are gettin’ a bit fuzzy. They discussed banks and S&Ls that were doing NINJA loans and the like, and the blog denizens would chat about which of these scammers would be next to sink like a stone.

    Anyway, every once-a-week they would give a listing of banks that the Feds had walked into and shut down. Of course it was all a big laugh-riot, except that there were a few bucks to made here. I began getting the 8-K’s of this California S&L called Downey S&L. They gave NINJA mortgages in CA, AZ and NV. Their real-estate-owned…popularly known as “jingle mail”…was pretty miniscule at 0.0018%. However, this number was almost doubling every month…0.0032%…0.0045%. In the immortal words of Everett Dirksen, “Pretty soon we’re talking about real money.”

    So I did a naked short Downey stock. Every Friday the money would clear in my account. The stock keeps going up…64…70. Of course every time it goes up a buck, a dollar disappears from my account…72…74. Man, this getting painful, and it might never stop. After a few months the stock price stabilizes and quickly drops to 60. Yikes! I’m makin’ cash. After very little hesitation the stock price drops to 50.

    By this time out trying to borrow more stock…no can do GI…the knuckleheads are wising-up, and there is nothing to be had. Somebody posts a video of Cramer. There is his naked arm reaching for a big red button and himself saying, “This is wonderful company! Buy this stock now…what a bargain.!” I am literally laughing all the way to the bank.

    The stock price plummets even more precipitously…it falls to 20. Should I get out now? Hell, I made a nice bundle. Somehow my more rational side kicked in…these chumps are bankrupt…ride it to zero. So, I rode the thing to 1 3/8, bought they shares back and give them to the lender.

    I am currently trying to salvage the price of a cup of coffee from an ill-conceived market short of a few months ago. Saints preserve me.

  21. al

    [“How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry” [Nature]. “Once dismissed as the dangerous dalliances of the counterculture, these drugs are gaining mainstream acceptance.]

    It is the stuff that scientific revolutions [See, Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, available online as pdf] and the “3 stages of truth” of Arthur Schopenhauer [First, an idea is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”] are made of, possibly social, moral, and ‘spiritual’ revolutions as well, but that may be overly optimistic overreaching. We are still at the early stages.

    Currently, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.” according to the DEA.

    Historically, it has taken at least 70 years to go full circle and then arrive back at the point; where, certain researchers first began, that is,

    “In the 1950s, researchers in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan began treating alcoholics with d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and achieved significant rates of recovery. Psychiatrists,including Humphry Osmond who coined the term ‘psychedelic’ while working in Saskatchewan,believed that the successful treatment of alcoholism with biochemical means would scientifically prove that the condition was a disease and not the result of a weak or immoral character. Initial experiments demonstrated unprecedented rates of abstinence among alcoholics treated with LSD.”

    “Despite subsequent efforts to demonstrate that the success of psychedelic therapy relied on both medical and non-medical factors, the treatment failed to satisfy current medical methodology, embodied in controlled trials. By the late 1960s, LSD had become a popular recreational drug and gained media attention for its association with counter cultural youth, social disobedience and anti-authoritarian attitudes. All this served further to erode support for its clinical status.”

    “Hitting Highs at Rock Bottom’: LSD Treatment for Alcoholism, 1950–1970”


    Moving forward, it is hoped that the egregious errors and gross mistakes of the past [MKULTRA for example] will both not be repeated and/or resurface.

  22. Keith Newman

    Southern Namibia: very eery scenes. The photos take me back to last January 2020, driving from Swakopmund to Victoria Falls in a Toyota Hilux 4 by 4. Desert everywhere. Vast salt flats. The north is much more lush. I have remarkable photos if you want some Lambert.

  23. RMO

    Here in BC we’ve vaccinated 125,000 so far – only 4,975,000 to go…

    Health care workers, long term care homes and small isolated communities are first priority. A Vancouver casino owner and his lady friend chartered a plane to Beaver Creek (hundreds of kilometers north west of Whitehorse), went to the mobile clinic, said they were working at the hotel and got their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Since they got caught he’s been fired and they won’t be able to get the second dose any time soon enough for it to do any good. He’s in my age range so his turn wasn’t scheduled to come up until July/August at the earliest and she’s in her 30s so she won’t be eligible until much later than that.


    1. eg

      I believe the Ontario schedule is similar, though I’ll be astonished if the vaccination program can be completed in less than 10 months.

      Which makes the political squabbling about Federal vaccine supply all the more tiresome, since it will be going on for so long.

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    The only way that Bowser could force the “non-acceptance” of permanent fencing around the Capitol Building is by forcing the forcible reJECtion of such permanent fencing.

    And realistically, the only way that Bowser and DC itself can FORCE the reJECtion of such fencing is by secretly organizing a group ( not a mob) of several hundred thousand people to march on the Capitol and destroy the fencing and remove the destroyed pieces. It would have to be several hundred thousand all secretly organized to show up with all the needed tools all at once because that would be too many to shoot or tear gas or water cannon before they had the fence torn down, destroyed and removed.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an interesting captioned meme-picture I saw on the reddit. Interesting because it seems to reveal some category confusion on the part of the meme-maker.


    It is a photo of 2 police officers each with a knee on a detained person’s neck. It is offered as an illustration of “white privilege”. The only problem is that the under-knee person is as “white” as the officers. And I can’t tell what country this is happening in. Does anyone recognize the patches on the officers’s uniforms?

    Perhaps this picture could be used to illustrate “blue privilege”.

    1. Massinissa

      You’re misinterpreting it. Its not White Privilege, but ‘White Privilege’, according to the name of the Reddit post

      They’re being sarcastic. The joke is basically “As part of White Privilege, he gets TWO knees on his neck instead of one! What a privilege!”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have a severe irony deficiency which also renders me hard-of-seeing when presented with sarcasm. So , yes, I did miss the irony and the sarcasm.

Comments are closed.