2:00PM Water Cooler 2/22/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, my weekend haul was unusually high on analysis, and unusually low on events. So I was slow going through it. I will have more shortly, especially in Health, and Politics. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Birds of Texas.


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, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Vaccination by region:

Big drop in the South no doubt storm-related.

Case count by United States region:

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

Big drop in the South no doubt storm-related.

Test positivity:

Regional averages approach 3%, which is what we want to see. (Alert reader TsWkr pointed out it’s time to update my test positivity comment, which I just did.)


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):

Once Ohio’s data is processed, an enormous drop (down to the peak of the first wave).


“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


“Why Didn’t Speaker Pelosi Want Witnesses?” [Ralph Nader, Counterpunch]. “For reasons yet to be divulged, the Democrats, as they did with the first impeachment of Trump, were unwilling to use the full evidence subpoena powers they possess. Trump can now run again, vitiating the rule of law and debasing our democratic institutions. As Republican strategist Kevin Philips noted years ago, The Republicans go for the jugular while the Democrats go for the capillaries.”

Biden Administration

“Biden seems set to pick fight over Rahm Emanuel” [The Hill]. “Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears poised to take on a high-profile ambassadorship for President Biden, a step likely to trigger contention with progressives who’ve balked at him taking a Cabinet role. Emanuel is the front-runner to be Biden’s nominee as ambassador to Japan, sources familiar with the matter told The Hill. He’s also being considered for the post in China, but sources said Japan is the more likely landing spot for former President Obama’s chief of staff. Former State Department official Nicholas Burns is the likely front-runner to end up in Beijing. The diplomatic role in Asia would mark a high-profile return to the federal government for Emanuel, who built a reputation as a brash but effective political tactician in the Democratic Party.” • Emmanuel ran a torture center at Homan Square when he was mayor of Chicago, so he should fit right in.

UPDATE Shockingly, or not, Biden repeats his lie that $2000 checks “out the door” really mean “$1600 checks” + $400 already paid:

Here’s what Warnock campaigned on in Georgia:

And here’s what Biden said then: “[T]heir election will put an end to the block in Washington on that $2000 stimulus check. That money will go out the door immediately to people in real trouble.” Shouldn’t social media be flagging this as disinformation? Shouldn’t liberal Democrats be amping up the hysteria? (And do the Democrats really think people are going to forget that the demon figure, Trump, sent them bigger checks than Biden did?)

UPDATE “Biden’s 1st month was about erasing the mark of ‘former guy’” [Associated Press]. “The test for Biden is whether his stylistic changes will be matched by policies that deliver a marked improvement from Trump, and a month is not long enough to measure that.” • Yes, 30 days is colorably not enough. 100 days, however, certainly is.


UPDATE “Democrats Beat Trump in 2020. Now They’re Asking: What Went Wrong?” [New York Times]. “[A] cluster of Democratic advocacy groups has quietly launched a review of the party’s performance in the 2020 election with an eye toward shaping Democrats’ approach to next year’s midterm campaign, seven people familiar with the effort said.” • Unlike 2016. More: “Strategists involved in the Democratic self-review have begun interviewing elected officials and campaign consultants and reaching out to lawmakers and former candidates in major House and Senate races where the party either won or lost narrowly. Four major groups are backing the effort, spanning a range of Democratic-leaning interests: Third Way, a centrist think tank; End Citizens United, a clean-government group; the Latino Victory Fund; and Collective PAC, an organization that supports Black Democratic candidates. They are said to be working with at least three influential bodies within the House Democratic caucus: the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition, a group of centrist lawmakers. The groups have retained a Democratic consulting firm, 270 Strategies, to conduct interviews and analyze electoral data.” • Ah, I see the word “cluster” was well chosen.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“US Crisis Monitor Releases Full Data for 2020” [Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)]. “Sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in May, the latest wave of protests associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement accounts for 47% [10,330 at 2,730 locations] of all demonstrations in the US last year…. While the BLM movement accounts for the majority of demonstration activity in 2020, ACLED records an increase in right-wing demonstrations [2,350 at 1,070 locations] over the course of the year, and especially in the weeks following the election, with armed militia groups taking an enlarged role in right-wing mobilization ahead of the Capitol riot in January 2021…. The health crisis triggered substantial unrest amid the devastating economic downturn and deep political divisions over an appropriate response. Over 3,990 demonstrations directly related to the pandemic were recorded across more than 1,210 locations in all 50 states and Washington, DC States with the most events: California (708); New York (321); Florida (192); Texas (163); Pennsylvania (158).” • The number of Covid demonstrations is surprisinglly large, to me. Here is the dashboard, which I had a hard time making sense of. And here is a (relatively) handle map:

Big energy:

UPDATE “Our Radicalized Republic” [FiveThirtyEight]. This is an interesting article that I have to think about (I won’t use the word “terrifying”). Here’s a one-liner: “[Lilliana Mason’s] research found that people who saw the opposing party as evil were three times as likely to wish death on opponents within their own party.” • For Republicans, Pence (amazingly enough); and for the left…. Well, mention “Susan Sarandon” in a Clinton consensus cluster if you want to see real hate. What I think the article omits is that the radicalization and polarization to which it points are also very profitable for those who create it professionally, as well as serving the interests of elites in keeping the working class divided. Call me simple-minded, but I think “f*ck nuance,” if this be nuance: For example: “Right now, we’re sitting with a plate of tangled spaghetti — worrisome political trends that knot together in ways that almost ensure if you’re slurping up one of them, you’ll end up with another on the end of your fork. Higher levels of economic inequality, after all, are correlated with an increase in hate crimes.” To the author’s credit, I searched on “economic anxiety” — as if a material condition were a feeling — and it’s not in the piece. So it’s a serious effort, despite the spaghetti.

“People with extremist views less able to do complex mental tasks, research suggests” [Guardian] (original). “A key finding was that people with extremist attitudes tended to think about the world in black and white terms, and struggled with complex tasks that required intricate mental steps, said lead author Dr Leor Zmigrod at Cambridge’s department of psychology…. The study, which looked at 16 different ideological orientations, could have profound implications for identifying and supporting people most vulnerable to radicalisation across the political and religious spectrum. ‘What we found is that demographics don’t explain a whole lot; they only explain roughly 8% of the variance,’ said Zmigrod. ‘Whereas, actually, when we incorporate these cognitive and personality assessments as well, suddenly, our capacity to explain the variance of these ideological world-views jumps to 30% or 40%.'” • I’m not a social scientist, but doesn’t that mean that ideology doesn’t explain 60% of whatever it is they’re measuring? Anyhow, if a study saying non-PMCs were dumb used phrenology as a method, it would still get traction in the press; this sort of study is, in fact, a genre.

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.

Shipping: “Inside container economies” (PDF) [Berghahn Journals]. “This introduction proposes an anthropology of global cargo circulation by placing the maritime shipping industry at the center of global capitalism. With “container economies” we refer to the maritime global circulation of cargo that is sustained by an undervalued labor force, dependent upon unstable logistics infra- structures and driven by speculative capital. Container economies, we argue, are produced by adding, moving, and destroying value through the maritime supply chain. In this introduction, we reflect upon the implications of containerization and its wider consequences for logistics labor. We argue that maritime logistics and labor is best understood by taking into account their wider networks of de- pendency expressed through kinship relations, ethnicity and coexisting regimes of value.” • Fascinating stuff. The entire issue is devoted to supply chain economics, and all the article are free.

Tech: The grift that keeps on grifting:

Manufacturing: “Why Do Boeing 777 Engines Keep Exploding?” [MSN]. Not the sort of headline your PR department likes to see. “There was a fourth incident involving…. Patterns in aircraft accidents can be a sign of trouble. While one-off failures might be attributable to a freak coincidence or just bad luck, patterns suggest that a previously unsuspected danger is lurking…. In the case of the exploding 777 engines, the recurring problem does not come out of the blue. It’s well known that as aircraft and engines age, their mechanical parts are subjected to repeated stresses and strains that can lead to microscopic cracks that grow over time.” • Another case of no training and lots of overtime? Worth reading in full. Meanwhile, I had the 777 as the single item on my list of reliable Boeing aircraft. Guess I have to cross it off, or at least check the age of the plane the next time I do a long-haul. Ugh.

Manufacturing: “February 2021 Texas Manufacturing Index Improved” [Econintersect]. “Important subindices new orders significantly improved (remains in expansion) and unfilled orders also significantly improved (remains in expansion). This should be considered a much better report than last month. Data were collected Jan. 12-20.” • Oh. More: “Of the three Federal Reserve districts which have released their February manufacturing surveys – all are in expansion.”


Concentration: “The Government Needs to Find Big Tech a New Business Model” [The Atlantic]. “Facebook and Google occupy an unprecedented political role. The closest we’ve come in America is the telegraph monopoly in the late 19th century, when the Associated Press and Western Union joined forces to control both news and the network through which it traveled. Facebook and Google are each like that monopoly, but combined with the surveillance regimes of authoritarian states, and the addiction business model of cigarettes. Not only do they control discourse, surveil citizens, and make money from incentivizing paranoia, hatred, and lies; they also make money by keeping the public addicted to their services. Traditional news organizations are dependent on them, and their profit stream takes directly from those traditional organizations, which, if allowed to thrive, might provide a connective tissue of facts for democracy. And these tech companies lack democratic accountability: A few corporate CEOs decide the shape of modern thought and have become America’s de facto commissioners of information.” • When the platforms start censoring what liberal Democrats want them to censor, will the calls for breaking them up die away?

Tech: Unbundling Twitter:

I’m not sure I agree that Clubhouse “unbundles” the conversation part of Twitter. What it does do is create conversations that it’s difficult to link into or quote in text, making accountability and indeed news gathering even more crapified than they already are.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 59 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 22 at 11:59am. They explained to the intern how to run the meter.

CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 19 at 11:46am. New intern? —>

The Biosphere

Health Care

“Re: Immediate Action is Needed to Address SARS-CoV-2 Inhalation Exposure” (PDF) [Letter to Zients, Walensky, Fauci]. “For many months it has been clear that transmission through inhalation of small aerosol particles is an important and significant mode of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. The gravity of this problem was emphasized this week by an editorial in the journal Nature [4]. Numerous studies have demonstrated that aerosols produced through breathing, talking, and singing are concentrated close to the infected person, can remain in air and viable for long periods of time and travel long distances within a room and sometimes farther [5–7]. Gatherings in indoor spaces without adequate ventilation place participants at particularly high risk, an important component of which is driven by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic viral shedding of infected individuals [8]. In October, the CDC recognized inhalation as a route of exposure that should be controlled to protect against COVID-19 [9], but most CDC guidance and recommendations have not yet been updated or strengthened to address and limit inhalation exposure to small aerosol particles. CDC continues to use the outdated and confusing term “respiratory droplets” to describe both larger propelled droplet sprays and smaller inhalable aerosol particles. It also confuses matters with “airborne transmission” to indicate inhalation exposure exclusively at long distances and does not consider inhalation exposure via the same aerosols at short distances. This artificial distinction needs to be replaced with up-to-date terminology [10], as advocated by the National Academies workshop on Airborne Transmission [11], focused on routes of exposure via a) touch, b) large droplets sprayed onto the body, and c) inhalation of small aerosol particles [12].” • See CDC School Reopening Guidance Suppresses Aerosols Based on Thin Evidence and Driven by Budgetary Concerns at NC.

“New CDC school opening guidelines fail to ‘follow the science’” [STAT]. This ran in Links, but I want to comment. Yes, but not for the reasons I give (above). “The two core pillars of the guidelines — that schools should decide whether to open based on community transmission and that students should strive to be spaced 6 feet apart — aren’t supported by science.” On the first: “To justify this tiered approach, the CDC guidelines cite a ‘likely association’ between community transmission levels and the risk of exposure in the schools. But the evidence for this is flimsy.” • I gave two examples (Montréal and the UK). On the second: “The CDC guidelines say that schools should try to keep kids 6 feet apart. This guidance, however, appears to be based on decades-old research on the travel distance of large respiratory droplets.” • The authors, however (a political scientist and a hematologist-oncologist) don’t seem to understand that aerosols will fill a room. They argue for reducing the six foot distance to three, but don’t argue for ventilation!

The ventilation and air filtration measures that CDC deemed not essential:

So it turns out the big domes at the National Academy of Sciences who were worried that budgetary “stakeholders” might balk at the cost of “updating aging facilities” didn’t do their due diligence.

UPDATE “We’re Just Rediscovering a 19th-Century Pandemic Strategy” [The Atlantic]. “In retrospect, it’s remarkable how long it took to say what should be intuitive: A virus that infects the respiratory system spreads through air.” • I picked out the snark, which burns with a hard, gem-like flame, but the whole article is an excellent example of architectural and medical history. Also: “Science is not a simple linear march toward progress; it also forgets.” Another reason why “trust the science” is such a vacuous and disingenuous slogan.

UPDATE “The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook” [HackMD]. A small sample, from the “Trust in scientists” section: “Heindricks and colleagues (2016) argue that people’s judgments about the trustworthiness of scientific information emerge from people’s evaluations of scientists’ expertise, integrity, and benevolence. Disinformation can contribute to people’s erroneous evaluations of trustworthiness by purposefully attacking scientists’ credentials, experience, honesty, and altruism. Therefore, basing source judgments on a more reasoned and critical evaluative stance can help people increase their trust in scientists.” • I think this is pretty embubbled. I mean, “tobacco scientists” is a phrase for a reason.

Masks, one year ago (note the date):

Anybody who believes or worse, propagates the idea that the virtuous were all pushing masking from the very beginning is at best a food.

“The One Area Where the U.S. COVID-19 Strategy Seems to Be Working” [The Atlantic]. “lthough operation warp speed was successful, at least in comparison with Europe’s efforts, part of its victory came down to luck. If the vaccines that the U.S. scooped up so many doses of, by Moderna and Pfizer, had failed clinical trials, ‘the U.S. would look extraordinarily stupid right now,” [Scott Greer, a health-policy professor at the University of Michigan] says.'” • Contra Greer, there were eight companies developing vaccines, not two. There were also companies developing treatments (in my view, underfunded). Operation Warp’s parallel development architecture and guaranteed market turned out to be a good program design. Who knew, but there we are.

“Why Are Only 3.1 Percent of D.C. Residents Fully Vaccinated?” [Washington City Paper]. “Vaccine providers in the District have fully vaccinated 22,073 D.C. residents and 24,838 non-D.C. residents. Why is D.C. vaccinating so many non-D.C. residents? D.C., like every other state across the country, started vaccinating its health care workforce, which is 85,000 people. Perhaps unlike most other states, 75 percent of D.C.’s health care workers do not live in D.C. Vaccine providers are continuing to give shots to essential workers who are not D.C. residents like teachers, firefighters, and grocery store workers.” Then again: “As of Feb. 20, vaccine providers have administered 92,605 first doses of the 105,575 first doses delivered from the federal government, or 88 percent.”

Class Warfare

“Amazon Offers $2,000 “Resignation Bonuses” to Bust Union Drive in Alabama” [Payday Report]. “Now, Amazon is doing something that labor observers have never seen before in a union election; they are offering $2,000 ‘resignation bonuses’ to quit. Last night, workers throughout the plant received emails offering them bonuses if they simply quit their jobs. The emails offer workers, who worked for 2 peak seasons, at least $2,000 to quit. If workers have been there at least 3 peak seasons, they are offering them $3,000. Some Amazon workers, who dislike their job at the warehouse, may find the bonuses a tempting bridge to quit their job and seek something better. Workers are even being told that if they quit now that they could regain their jobs later after the union election. However, if workers quit now, they won’t be eligible to vote in the ongoing union election. In the meantime, many labor observers expect that Amazon will seek to hire replacements that will vote solidly anti-union. ‘That should be illegal, how can you pay someone to resign,’ says 48-year-old Black Amazon worker Jennifer Bates ‘They are going all the way, they are pulling out all the stops.'” • Given the size of Bezos’s hoard, I think whoever wrote that offer put the decimal point in the wrong place.

“Ice and blood in Texas” [Sick Note]. “The same ideology of bloody ignorance that led to the state’s power grid collapsing in the first place also gave us a country where access to mental healthcare is horribly difficult, even if you have insurance. It’s the same ideology that means the guy who lost his truck in Hurricane Harvey doesn’t get unemployment benefits. It’s the same ideology that says not everyone deserves to have any healthcare at all; that it’s fine if homeless people linger and starve under overpasses, or if people die for lack of insulin. It’s designed to be barer than the bare minimum, to keep you afraid of what could happen, working for a bad boss in case you lose your insurance or can’t make rent and end up living under the bridge. Death and suffering isn’t an accidental outcome or an oversight; it’s part of the plan.”

UPDATE “The Inductive Argument Against Wokism” [200-Proof Liberals]. Fun:

A: What do you think of this theory of ideology?

W: Oh, I dig it. After all, the US is a racist country founded on racism, and the ideology behind the power structures serves to reinforce and legitimate white supremacy.

A: Got it. So, what should we make of it that in the span of a few years, Woke Ideology has become the dominant ideology of corporate boards, the party that controls all branches of government, of universities which serve as gatekeepers of elite status, of publishers, social media platforms, and other media which control the media and content of speech, of hiring boards at regulatory agencies, of high-status and elite celebrities, and so on? What should we make of it that these same groups frequently stifle dissent from Wokism when they can? What should we make of it that dissent from Wokism is generally the province of weak, low status, and low power people?

W: Um…

It has occurred to me that liberal Democrats hope to save capitalism, like FDR did, by enforcing wokeness. That’s the ideology their form of class consciousness embodies. It won’t work.

“Race as a dynamic state: triangulation in health care” [The Lancet]. “However, given Asian Americans’ relative position in the health-care social hierarchy, there are strategies that they can use to work in solidarity with Black Americans to fight against institutionalised racism and white supremacy. Asian Americans can acknowledge their status as a privileged minority and the benefits that come with that status. They can consider what it feels like to be the non-model minority and call out narratives that reinforce the ‘model minority’ myth not simply because it damages them but also because it makes life more difficult for other minoritised groups. They can refuse to be used in statistics that flaunt ‘diversity’ gains, recognising that serving such a function inflicts damage on other minoritised groups.” • You know, “Asian Americans,” a single category that encompasses Filpinx, Chinx, Japanx, Koreanx, Vietnamx, Hmongx… In The Lancet, yet.

News of the Wired

Kill it with fire:

These are even creepier than the Boston Dynamics dogs.

“On missing a place while you’re in it” [Nisha’s Internet Tote Bag]. The deck: “I miss Manhattan.” “I miss rowdy bars in the East Village and dark little restaurants in the West Village. I miss the trendy but stupidly-expensive corridor of restaurants around 20th Street. I miss how when you walked around at nighttime it was dark but still incredibly bright from all the lights everywhere. I miss cocktail bars tucked away in hotels. I miss the crushing masses of humanity at the Union Square subway stop. I miss lingering in coffee shops and going to my favorite wine bar where I knew all the staff. I miss that rush you get when you arrive at the subway stop and your train pulls in at that exact moment and you realize you timed it perfectly. I miss. I actually miss the rush of Penn Station! And Times Square is annoying as hell, but walking through Times Square to get to a Broadway show while complaining about the slow-walking tourists is a pastime I realized I took for granted…. Manhattan was once a place I went to nearly every single day for seven years. It’s a whole part of my life that’s now missing, even though it’s still right there.”

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Matilija Poppy buds at Heap’s Peak Arboretum in Skyforest, CA.” Lovely backlighting and depth of field.

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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. zagonostra

    When did getting a vaccine injection turn into a “jab?” I see it cropping up over and over again. Where did it first originate and with whom?

    A small sample:

    UK speeds up vaccinations: All adults get 1st jab by July 31 – AP

    Covid vaccine: When, where and how will I get my jab? – BBC

    Why would anyone get the jab after this?’: AP criticized for saying Covid vaccination WON’T bring life back to normal – RT

    Vatican walks back ‘No Jab, No Job’ decree after – Reuters

    GET A JAB GIVE A JAB – Unicef

    1. Redlife2017

      “Jab” is the British English for “Shot”. I can very much confirm this was in use prior to Covid-19 as my son had to have his “jabs”. Not sure why everyone in the US wants to use it. Maybe it sounds more…fun? I dunno…

      1. Patrick

        To train Americans that we are Anglo Americans ie joined at the hip with Great Britain (same capital enterprise). It helps to explain brexit as well as why we have brits on the Telly from late night comedy with James Cordon to Wilf Frost on the biz channel etc. Symmetrical cultures equal shared identities in the service of a common cause.

      2. Keith

        British TV shows and other media? I have found some instances where I use the British version in written and spoken form without realizing it until after the fact.

      3. zagonostra

        A google search states that “jab” in the conventional sense is of Scottish Origins and it was first used to refer to an injection by heroin users. I guess at some point it became generalized…I only have seen it used in this post CV19 world, here, in the U.S.

        The medical sense of “jab”, meanwhile, has a rather less salubrious origin, as a 1914 dictionary of criminal slang introduces it: “Jab, current amongst morphine and cocaine fiends. A hypodermic injection.


          1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

            “Injection has a lot of syllables. I don’t know if our viewers have that kind of attention span.”

      4. Old Sarum

        “Jabs” because you get jabbed in the arm (usually). It is just perhaps more appropriate slang. Where does the shooting come in?

        I am currently reading HL Mencken’s book on American english. Many of the Americanisms quoted are current in Britain now. We live in a linguistic cross-fertilization wildfire and change is almost impossible to keep out, just like a virus.


        ps If Bill Bryson is correct, keeping a stiff upper lip is an Americanism.

        1. Wukchumni

          ps If Bill Bryson is correct, keeping a stiff upper lip is an Americanism.

          …isn’t it more on account of Botox?

      5. TMR

        Same reason professional-managerial types often end their emphatic statements with “full stop” rather than “period” – they want to signal to others that they’re the kind of person who engages with British media on a regular basis, i.e. cultured and worldly.

    2. marieann

      When I was growing up in Scotland in the 50’s it was a jag- as in prick…to prick or to pierce.
      I had never heard the term jab till a few years ago.

  2. fresno dan


    For God’s sake, we had an insurrection with more selfies than gunshots.
    As I understand it, the one person – participant, rioter, protestor, insurrectionist – what ever your druthers, and I don’t think any outside, died by gunshot.

    I only bring this up (as I have many times before) is that so many things, the moral or correct and/or ONLY way of looking at it becomes the issue, and not the think itself. In this mornings post, the conversation about child tax credit becomes about almost everything BUT the actual amount of the PRESENT tax credits, and nothing about raising or lowering the tax credit and the reasons for doing so.
    When did we become soooo distracted and intolerant?
    Oh, the article has some good debunking of hyperinflation worries…

    1. anon y'mouse

      interesting article.
      i would like to not-so-humbly admit this alteration:
      “more obesity than starvation”
      obesity may actually be a sign of starvation, indirectly.
      one will continue to eat until the body’s need for certain nutrients are met. salt is an example.
      the people are eating calories, but the calories are non-nutritive, so they continue to eat more calories to try to obtain what they are lacking.
      also, poverty—->cheap (non nutritive) calories via bulk commodity “manufactured” foods—>obesity.

      it’s another way to look at the “sin” of being overweight in a culture which finds endless fault with that state of being. of course, we also find fault with poverty as well, so perhaps it doesn’t help to view it that way.
      (not a doctor and don’t play one on TV)

      1. PHLDenizen

        The article is “interesting” only to the degree that it reveals a kind of facile and reductive argumentation, which is nothing more than confirmation bias masquerading as “thinking”. By seizing upon superficial differences decoupled from the larger historical context, the author simultaneously diminishes existential crises in the US as “first world problems” (an erasure of class concerns) and reaffirms his peculiar optimism in the inertia of US hegemony.

        The first cause of the Weimar Republic’s implosion was the Treaty of Versailles. The international community conspired to impose a grotesquely onerous reparations scheme, which is what Naomi Klein would call “disaster capitalism”. To pay back a purely punitive sum, the Republic used the US as a lender — much like the way the IMF works. Instead of payment on demand when the US economy blew up during the depression, the Germans saluted the US with a middle finger and fired up their printing presses. Having had their resources, assets, and industrial base raided by the Allies (see Latin America and post-perestroika USSR for other parallels), there was no domestic industry to absorb the excess currency and hyperinflation showed up, which just made the country more bellicose and desperate. An economy centered around war production suffered catastrophic dislocations when the Allies annihilated it.

        Much like WW I Germany, the US has a massive, global defense industry ready to “project power” at anyone who threatens the empire. What’s more, the series of trade agreements stitching together the avaricious and predatory nature of first world nations function as a Treaty of Versailles, punishing countries like Venezuela, Iran, China, etc. for their economic gain, viewing a civilization of human beings as abstractions for their models and policy frameworks. Locutions are invented to disguise suffering and the barbaric results of US policy. Symbols and their manipulation take precedence over having to confront the awful things you do to other people.

        What escapes the article’s author is deindustrialization making the US hostage to other countries as sole-source vendors for the goods that make the “first-world” possible. At some point China, with the tacit approval of their other trade partners like Russia or the EU, will grow tired of humoring us and use economic sanctions to control our domestic policy. They can cripple the military by refusing to supply chips only they supply. They’ve already conscripted our media into a propaganda partner — see Hollywood’s censorship for access to Chinese markets. When consumerism is your deity, the easiest way to cripple a country is grow your market into something so lucrative that your guilty conscience can be paid off.

        The “obesity” non-sequitur smacks of poverty tourism, prosperity gospel, and deliberate ignorance. The phrase “first world problems” is right up there with “smart”, “common sense”, “adults in the room”. Condescending and used to blunt valid criticism on the need to fundamentally restructure life in the US.

        1. fresno dan

          February 22, 2021 at 5:36 pm
          As the article was about BitCoin, what are your thoughts on that?

        2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          The funky three way flow of easy money during the period of the German Republic didn’t begin until the German leaders (including folks the Nazis later slandered at traitors but made German military rejuvenation possible) purposefully inflated the currency to make the money paid to Paris worthless. This led to a French occupation of the Rhineland (an area many in France felt was rightly French territory anyway) and ultimately a US sponsored deal whereby the US would loan money to Germany for rebuilding its economy and they could pay France weregild for being on the wrong side of a losing war. The circle jerk went on as another of multiple finance bubbles until 1929 caused a snag and it all then crashed. I got all that from AJP Taylor, so it’s not just me making stuff up. Interesting trivia: The French were insulated to a large degree from the depression for a couple years. But they were plagued by chronic political insability. If the Germans ha had Bitcoin, Hitler could have been avoided.

          1. Phil in KC

            Thank you for straightening that out.

            A formerly prosperous nation, millions suffering impoverishment through little fault of their own, in search of someone or something to blame for their ills, falls for a leader with this basic pitch: I love you and you love me, and together we hate the same people and things. Together we will restore the nation to its former glory.

            Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    effective political tactician

    How does Rahm keep getting this reputation? He’s been the White House’s point man on House races twice in 1994 and 2010. Half the pickups in 2008 were races he bungled in 2006. As mayor, he had to get the effing sitting president to help his sorry a**. Conning and self promoting…yes, but as far as competent goes, sure, he might be a bit better than Neera but he is woefully inept.

    He didn’t just lose seats. He over saw Team Blue wipeouts.

    1. Pat

      I was going to say that Rahm must know where a whole lot of bodies are buried for most of the Democratic leadership. But that is a scary thought considering how many corpses we know Rahm has, forget the ones we don’t.

      He truly is one of the Democrats we need to “kill with fire” and even more considering how many times he has risen from the ashes. Rahm is one of the reasons I figure Cuomo can survive.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Like Obama, Rahm plays a part that asks absolutely nothing of anyone in power. In Rahm’s case, he plays a “tough guy” who isn’t going to challenge the status quo. Then elected Dems can go to the local committee people who carry around copies of “Why Mommy is a Democrat” and say, “trust us, we have tough guy Rahm Emanuel in our corner”.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, it would get him out of the country, and if he tried to play the tuffguy in Japan, they could just kill him with politeness.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Half the pickups in 2008 were races he bungled in 2006

      Rahm was extremely successful in 2006. He got a lot of Blue Dogs into the House, who crippled such slight instincts as Obama might have had to….. accomplish anything.

    3. JohnHerbieHancock

      It makes more sense to me when I assume Rahm is just an actor in our “guided democracy,” a term I can’t believe I just learned last week.

      On a personal level, I ran into that troll twice while he was mayor of Chicago, both times while he was positioned in a EL stop so as to be in your face for an awkward handshake as you came down the stairs.

      Also: both of those times, horrible things happened during my commute, resulting in long delayed trains. I resolved to be ready for the next time I saw him at the station, so I could curse or make some nasty comment to him, but I never ran into him again.

      1. zagonostra

        Thanks for the “guided democracy” link. I see they mention Sheldon Wolin and “Inverted totalitarianism.” You might be interested in reading up on Carroll Quiqley. The Wiki article below is safe (blue pill?), but if you want to venture into some radical territory(red pill?) G. Edward Griffin has some good lectures on Y-tube on the “Quigley formula” that is directly related to “guided democracy.”


  4. Howard Beale IV

    Good luck finding out whether you have a GE, RR or a P&W engine on any 777’s, as the article states that after repair, it may not go back on the same aircraft.

    Goat Rodeo, anyone?

    1. rowlf

      The individual engine removed often does not get put back on the aircraft unless the aircraft is being returned to a lessor. The type of engine (GE, P&W, RR) stays the same as the mounts, cowlings and pylon hook-ups are different between engine types.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I don’t think you can blame the engines exploding on Boeing.

      In the mid-90s, I was working for a software vendor and supported a few engineering teams who were finishing up the “Triple 7” as they called it. These were “old school” engineers (pocket protectors and the like) who struck me as very competent (rarely asked “dumb questions”) and supremely concerned about safety. Safety came up repeatedly in many contexts and conversations. In my mind, the 777 was the last true Boeing commercial aircraft before the MD merger that crapified everything.

      With no evidence, I’d point to GE as the culprit as they’ve done as much as any other US manufacturer in terms of leading down the road to crapification via financialization. I suppose it’s equally possible that it’s an airline maintenance issue (who has the time/money for proper maintenance now days). I plead ignorance about P&W and RR. However, I don’t think United 777 use RR engines – could be wrong.

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        With this kind of company in charge, the USAF is in trouble if there’s ever a real war. It’ll be like all those torpedoes in WW2 that sank or didn’t explode. It’s one thing to beat up on small nations but a great power conflict requiring multiple sorties and heavy use will show all those failures quickly.

  5. maplesugar

    As I was wandering thru/to the water cooler this mini-“film” passed my eyes/brain……I was passing thru the graphs, noticing the downward trends re case #s & I saw a picture of water rushing away from a beach, of a super-low tide from a tsunami forming out of view….hmmm….head for high ground they say……ahhh..
    where’s high ground?
    Just a dream.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Between the recent surges, people at home, vaccines, masks, and just in general three months of immunity for the fall and winter, there are simply less transmission points.

      So yeah, I mean I would be worried about people going nuts next months if the numbers keep dropping.

    1. fresno dan

      Howard Beale IV
      February 22, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      The unique thing about this sport is that the stones and the ice are actually changing all the time,” says Scott Arnold, head of development at the World Curling Federation, which was not involved in the research. (And which, by the way, does not seem to be threatened by our new robotic curling overlords.) “As a stone progresses through its life span, the bottom of it is actually polishing itself out all the time. So the interaction between the stone and the ice is changing every time you throw it.” Each stone—being a natural product made out of … stone—has its own quirks, too.
      Holy Cow – way more intricate and involved than I ever would have imagined. The game itself and the robotics to play it. Having said all that, they named their robot “curly” OK than…
      Really people, you should read this – much more interesting than you would think.

  6. Laughingsong

    “Biden seems set to pick fight over Rahm Emanuel”….

    Japan is not far enough… how about making him the ambassador to ISS?

  7. Carla

    Re: Nisha’s Manhattan. I miss my rust-belt city, too. I miss walking to all my local lunch places, where the wait staff greeted me often as not with “How’s it going, Carla?” I miss the folks at the local public library — they actually just re-opened but removed the tables and chairs so people wouldn’t linger, whereas that used to be at least half the point. I miss attending in-person city council meetings where our local elected officials could see and hear us laugh when they said particularly lame things, or give them a thumbs-up when they nailed a point. Video conferencing ain’t at all the same. Man oh man, I miss going to movies and concerts and plays — and just out for pizza with friends. Hell, I miss friends! Right now, on this very grey February day, it feels as if nothing will ever be really FUN again. And yes, I know how very fortunate and privileged I am. And how spoiled.

    1. fresno dan

      February 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm

      I knew in my old age years I would become more isolated – I just didn’t think it would happen this quick…
      My biggest social interaction today was handing my tax information to the reception. BTW, did you know the 600$ that you got in 2021 is included in 2020 income? News to me…
      And just to rail at the universe, I have been sick this last week (I’m better now) and didn’t eat anything (except 4 half glasses of milk to take medicine) FOR SEVEN DAYS. I lost 10 pounds, and it seems to me I should have much, much, MUCH more. 7 days – c’mon body – you can do better than that!

      1. Carla

        Very glad to hear you’re better. I never lose weight when I’m sick. I did lose 10 lbs. last year when I stopped eating lunch out every (or any) week day. But then I learned to fix my lunch at home, and to load up on comfort food for supper and … I’ll skip reporting the predictable outcome…

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that Nisha is slightly confused. The buildings are still there as is Manhattan. What she really misses is the people. Check out the heart of what she says-

      I miss rowdy bars in the East Village and dark little restaurants in the West Village. I miss the trendy but stupidly-expensive corridor of restaurants around 20th Street. I miss how when you walked around at nighttime it was dark but still incredibly bright from all the lights everywhere. I miss cocktail bars tucked away in hotels. I miss the crushing masses of humanity at the Union Square subway stop. I miss lingering in coffee shops and going to my favorite wine bar where I knew all the staff. I miss that rush you get when you arrive at the subway stop and your train pulls in at that exact moment and you realize you timed it perfectly. I miss the weird not-a-neighborhood neighborhood around Penn Station. I actually miss the rush of Penn Station! And Times Square is annoying as hell, but walking through Times Square to get to a Broadway show while complaining about the slow-walking tourists is a pastime I realized I took for granted.

      It is the people in those places that she misses but confuses them with the effect that they have on those places. Maybe just New Yorkers too as would those places work the same way if they were from, say, Los Angeles instead?

      1. RMO

        It’s an indication of how widely personal preferences diverge that when I read that piece all I see are examples of things that make large cities raise my anxiety to “run like (family blog) away!” levels. I miss the people and personal interactions I had before the pandemic – more than an introvert hermit such as myself ever would have expected – they just involved much, much smaller and less dense concentrations of people.

        When we took our trip to Scotland and the north of England in 2019 (the only time I’ve ever been across the Atlantic in my life) I loved Mull the most and was in a jumpy state of near panic in the day and night we were in the middle of Glasgow. I can only imagine what being in the heart of a really big and busy city for very long would do to me.

  8. tim

    I would like to direct your attention to this very important video from Paul Jay news site.

    I used to think COVAX was a UN organization/initiative. However it stems from WEF World Economic Forum and is an example of the new multistakeholder organizations. Organized by corporations.

    In addition UN has made a strategic deal with WEF, enabling them to gain access to internal UN cmte. as advisors. I find it remarkable that this has never been mentioned in mainstream media


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In addition UN has made a strategic deal with WEF, enabling them to gain access to internal UN cmte. as advisors. I find it remarkable that this has never been mentioned in mainstream media

      Well, that’s interesting.

  9. Louis Fyne

    Why no witnesses?

    Exhibit A has to be the official autopsy of Officer Sicknick, which still has not been completed.

    And of course this unconscionable delay only fuels fringe ideas.

    whether by incompetence or intent, House Dems. are flat out the Keystone Congress

  10. Gary

    Texas used to be a kinder place to live. When you passed someone else driving you always raised a finger to say hello. If you had car trouble just about everyone stopped to see if they could help. Even smaller cities owned their own power plants. My doctor came in on Saturdays and treated anyone that came to see him FOR FREE. I think it was hate radio that started changing things. But I could be wrong.

      1. pjay

        You beat me to the “raised finger” response (I live in upstate NY. People are pretty nice up here – but they do sometimes take on a “downstate” persona on the roads).

        I think talk radio was both cause and symptom. Ending the Fairness Doctrine, which happened under Reagan, was a definite factor. But two key developments with monumental effects occurred in 1996: creation of Fox News, and the Telecommunications Act (thanks again to the Clinton administration for that one). Pretty much downhill from there.

          1. Phil in KC

            I agree concerning the Fairness Doctrine. Rush Limbaugh, Levin, Savage, Hannity, et al would not be possible. Nor would Maddow and her ilk, though they seemed to come later in response. Without the blowing up of every little poisonous triviality, we might still have a semblance of civil discourse in this nation. Without them, the name calling, the fabulations, the baseless accusations, and the tribalism would hardly exist, at least not to the extent we experience today.

    1. curlydan

      Having grown up in Texas and now just an occasional visitor, I see the same trends. Texans were extremely friendly but a bit iconoclastic as well. Unfortunately, beginning in the early 80s with the Republican takeover (i.e. Bill Clements–the state’s first Republican governor in about 150 years) and large migrations into the state, that iconoclasm morphed into ignorant stubbornness that seems to pervade the state now, especially among its leading politicians.

      Give me the days of 1970s Texas outlaw country music–when Dallas and Houston seemed like the only big cities in the state, and Austin wasn’t an overrun, traffic-jammed sprawl between hills.

  11. Jeotsu

    A small note regarding aerosol spread — it is a central part of discourse in New Zealand regarding Covid-19 measures. During the Auckland outbreak it was mentioned repeatedly by Dr Ashley Bloomfield (director general of health) during his briefings (in regards to updating HVAC in the managed isolation and quarantine hotels), and during the 5 AM news program on Radio New Zealand this morning they had an aerosol-chemist on for a lengthy discussion on the subject.
    I wonder if admitting that aerosols are a thing is a simple and valid check for functional governments?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      “Anybody who believes or worse, propagates the idea that the virtuous were all pushing masking from the very beginning is at best a food.”

      in this Darwinistic dog-eat-dog world, yes…

    2. Ayron

      Meanwhile NY Times – you know, that newspaper with a shit ton of reporters in Asia – slavishly acted as CDC/Fauci stenographers running stuff like this until end of February beginning of March 2020 while subways were jam packed with people.

      “What’s not recommended for everyone? Face masks. If you’re sick, they may help prevent you from spreading the virus, but they don’t do as much to help keep healthy people from getting sick”
      Feb 10

      They ran dozens of articles and COVID info pieces all February with the same deadly advice.

  12. Lambert Strether Post author

    For some reason, lots of people in the various beats I cover decided to write long-form pieces from Friday onward. So I added a good deal of material, especially under Class Warfare, Health, and Politics. Please refresh your browser.

    And yes, Biden really did promise $2000 checks out the door immediately; it’s in a CSPAN transcript ffs.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      well, no, and this willful misrepresentation is gonna make great fodder for Rs in the midterms.

      The $1400 figure originated with legislation AOC introduced after Trump came out with $2000 to bring the $600 up to that figure. The $1400 passed the House immediately but the Senate declined to take action and the $600 checks went out without incorporating the additional $1400 (which was advocated for as a “$2000 check” since this was its purpose).

      In retrospect they shouldn’t have kept referring to it as such, but please consider what the net effect of this endlessly repeated misplaced “gotcha” is likely to be. Nothing good for the midterms, that’s for sure. Self-inflicted by the Biden team maybe, but also by those endlessly hammering on this instead of starting the conversation about the next check, because far more important than the size of this one check is that they need to be a series

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        far more important than the size of this one check is that there need to be more of them

        (ran out of editing time and didn’t express myself clearly)

        1. flora

          yes and yes. Thanks. ( If people think it’s bad now – and it’s bad – just wait until all the delayed rents and mortgage payments come due all at once with only 1 or 2 measly checks not even in the bank anymore… )

          1. Pat

            With few exceptions, most of America could use assistance at this point. The wealthiest did okay, but even they should get multiple checks largely so some arbitrary cut off isn’t used.

            Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get any version of adequate relief because we are ruled by sadistic sociopathic narcissists (donors and officials). So we have a fight over one check that won’t even pay one months rent in most cases.

      2. flora

        Unfortunately, all the Rs have to say is “you got more covid financial relief under T than you have under B, which will at least feel true unless B and the Dems do something about that perception with meaningful concrete material benefits for voters. imo.

      3. lambert strether

        Please read the transcript, to which I provided a link. It’s right there. This has nothing to do with AOC.

        Idea: If Biden doesn’t want the Democrats to lose the midterms, he shouldn’t lie. This will be hard for him, as we saw in his one debate with Sanders

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          okay, Lambert, yes, I am not disputing that Biden and others kept talking about a $2k check even after the $600 had gone out. That doesn’t mean the $1400 figure didn’t originate with AOC in the house. It did.

          Anyway my main point is there needs to be a next check and it’s time to start creating space for that conversation. You’re well positioned to do so. (this is not an assignment!)

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I wrote:

            “Biden really did promise $2000 checks out the door immediately; it’s in a CSPAN transcript”

            You wrote:

            this willful misrepresentation is gonna make great fodder for Rs in the midterms

            I wrote:

            Please read the transcript, to which I provided a link. It’s right there

            When I write a phrase like “willful misrepresentation,” I don’t mean it lightly (and I wouldn’t expect it to be taken lightly). Were I to be proved wrong, my response would not be a heavy sigh, but a retraction. Your mileage may vary, of course.

            That the $1400 figure originated with AOC in the House has nothing whatever to do with the clear promise Biden made on the campaign trail, which “kept talking about” hazes over. It’s a red herring. The Democrats, Warnock and Ossoff, were both saying. Biden went down to Georgia and amplified their talking point, as the transcript (and they won, too). Then he reneged. It couldn’t be more clear. Biden didn’t even use the typical liberal Democrat “fight for” dodge!

        2. Tom Stone

          I don’t think Trump would have stiffed the rubes and then rubbed their faces in it.
          Why renege on paying a bribe when you are using OPM to pay it?
          And that picture of a $2k check with the phrase “Want a $2K check, vote for Warnock” seems a bit more definite than the words Steve Bull.once directed to me
          “So far that looks like a pretty definite maybe, but I’m not entirely sure”

          1. The Rev Kev

            Trump would have wanted his name to appear on a $2,000 cheque so people would remember it. Trying to stiff people with a $1,400 cheque with his name on it he would never have gone for.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Criticizing this abject stupidity from the Democrats and advocating for more are not mutually exclusive though.

        People saw how easily business got its bailout, pretty much no questions asked, and they’ve also seen the associated fraud. Some company near me got $1 million or so, except it turned out no such company existed.

        I pay fairly close attention to current events, and my recollection of last fall was both parties in Congress fighting to see who would be able take credit for NOT giving us an already greatly delayed stimulus check. Clearly neither side wanted to help Trump by delivering checks pre-election (Pelosi said so explicitly), so I stopped paying as close attention, figuring there would be nothing coming any time soon. I vaguely remember a deal being struck for a minimal means tested amount, assumed I wouldn’t get anything, and was somewhat surprised that my wife and I each later received $600 checks.

        But I do remember the Democrat party saying loud and clear “vote for us and get $2,000 right away”. I assumed that meant a new payment for that entire amount.

        With some of the new means tested proposals being run up the flagpole, my family would receive only $1,400 and not $2,800, and definitely not the $4,000 I expected based on the quite clear statements from the Democrats. If that turns out to be the case, Trump will have delivered for my entire family, while Biden decided my better half was undeserving this time around. We also just forked over a hefty tax bill and that’s after spending a couple grand to keep our decade and a half old car running. I’ve had my salary reduced for nearly a year now. We are also among the very fortunate during this pandemic and aren’t struggling badly. If we could use the money, I can only imagine how much those who really are struggling could use it.

        They need $2,000 and they need it yesterday. Keeping this simple promise, especially in light of the largesse thrown to the donor class, is about the easiest thing the Democrat party could do to ensure midterm re-election, and they are just not doing it. It doesn’t get more craven, or much stupider than that, and until they wise up I see no need to take it easy on them. What was it we heard over and over pre-election? Vote for Biden and hold feet to the fire later. Well this is it and if the Democrats can’t take the heat I’m sure the Republicans would be happy to take over in a couple years and [family blog] everything up themselves.

      5. Lynne

        I just got a letter telling me that I had been sent a $600 check. No check, however. The last administration deposited money into my checking account, which has not changed. So it doesn’t much matter whether it was supposed to be an additional 1400 or 2000. The Democrats have done absolutely nothing for me. To me, however….

        I doubt I’m the only one with this experience.

      6. Procopius

        I have to respectfully disagree. The AOC proposal may now be getting the blame, but Biden (and Warnock) said $2000. They did NOT say, “… and we’ll add another $1400 to the $600 Trump already gave you, just as Trump asked for.” I would really like to know who decided that was what they should do. It’s straight, bald-faced bad faith. I admit I would be grateful for either, but it’s by no means certain we’re going to get either one.

  13. Peter VE

    That robot sneaking under the car reminds me of the scene in one of the Dirty Harry movies where the bad guys are trying to kill Harry with a remote control model car with a bomb.

    1. The Rev Kev

      For some reason when I see robots like that flippy robot, I want to reach for my M41A Pulse Rifle.

    2. hamstak

      It reminds me of the Savage bot from episode 4, season 5 of The Expanse — like an embryonic version of the latter.

      I would post a link to the scene, but there is some violence involved — for anyone interested, a quick search on “Zmeya Smash & Grab at Tycho” should do the trick (part 2 of 2).

  14. Tom Swift

    Speaking of aerosols. I have long wondered if the aerosol exhaust of the standard CPAP machines used for patients in nursing homes could be a contributor to viral spread. I have not been able to find anything yet in the literature that addresses this issue. The only references I have discovered are to using the CPAP as a substitute for a ventilator.

    1. marku52

      I’ m pretty sure I saw this early in the pandemic, they were low on ventilators, substituted CPAP machines, and spread quite a lot of virus.

  15. Terry Flynn

    People with extreme views less able to do complex tasks. Old news. Us choice modellers have observed this since the 1980s. If you take random utility theory as a reasonable approximation to human choice behaviour (and its predictive power solves lots of economic nonsense as well as winning McFadden the “economics nobel” then what is effectively a “zero inconsistency/error rate”) – extreme view – has always been observed to be highly correlated with socio-economic factors observed among lower educated groups. There are exceptions – MDs who work in ICUs have extreme views – they generally want the “plug pulled asap” in their own end of life care plan – knowing if you are dealing with very uninformed people (due to educational impairment) or very informed people is important.

    Thus low education itself; membership of organisations (like certain religious groups) that discourage thinking about “complexities in life and the need for moral trade offs) etc often goes with inability to do complex tasks.

    Ironically those with low education but who don’t exhibit extreme views exhibit the exact opposite issues in choice models: the “noise” in their data can virtually crowd out the “signal” making their trade offs very hard to pin down. These people can be good at other skilled tasks. Maybe street smarts.

  16. Keith

    Consultant: Mr. President, the masses are clamoring for the stimulus check you promised. You have two choices, stand firm of a $2000 check, keep your word to the people and browbeat the GOP and any other Senator who opposes this very popular idea. Or, you can claim that what you really meant was a $1400, potentially upset your voting base and start your term with a capitulation. Which hill do you choose the die on?”

    POUTS: I like the second one. We can always spin on Facebook and Twitter to baffle the ignorant masses. They will believe whatever we tell them.

  17. Mikel

    RE: “People with extremist views less able to do complex mental tasks, research suggests”

    I’m looking at it like this:

    What’s extremist? Is taking over another peoples land because they have a resource that you want considered extremist (especially when they were willing to barter, trade, or share the resource with you)? Is enslaving a peoples considered extremist? Is war extremist?

    And wouldn’t the planning of those types of things be a complex mental task?

    1. John

      You have something I want. I have the means, sword, gun, thugs, to take it from you by intimidation or action. Seems pretty simple to me.

  18. cocomaan

    Anyone have good solutions for bird strikes on windows? Our sliding glass door has become like a politician’s promise: transparently deadly.

    Hah, jokes aside, I feel horrible. Little white throated sparrow got bonked hard today. He flew off but it’s probably not a good prognosis in this weather.

    There’s a product recommended by allaboutbirds, CollidEscape, but their website is complete crap. The amazon reviews are pretty good for the tape they sell. They also have a more expensive whole window covering, but I don’t want the window to be totally opaque.

    I tried to draw on the window with a UV reflective pen, but that didn’t seem to do much.

    1. MP

      Use a highlighter and draw a grid pattern on the window. Should eventually be able to wipe it off, but it works pretty good.

    2. steve

      Look for “Window clings” at your preferred retailer. Easily applied and removed. They work inside or out.

    3. wadge22

      There are static cling on decals that are semi-transparent, and come in leaf or bird shapes. Glancing at amazon’s prices they don’t seem too costly, mostly under ten for a package. My mother has used such things for years, and I know she thinks they at least help.

      1. cocomaan

        Thanks to all, going to try some of these. I am not a huge fan of the window clings but they seem to work. They also have them in boring shapes like squares. I don’t know why those appeal to me more than bird shapes, who knows.

        Here’s to our feathered friends.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Stick on googly eyes worked on the cardinal that tried to bash his brains in on my car mirror. Strangely, only the passenger side. Their bird brains see a larger predator, I guess.

      2. Alex Cox

        The IM Pei building, NCAR, in Boulder, has these issues. They’ve stuck black cutouts of predator birds on the plate glass.

    4. marieann

      We tried lots of things but what seems to work better is ribbons hung in front of the window. We attach them to the eves so they are about 18″ from the window. We have 6 of them hung about 2 feet apart and they come half way down the window……. I think you could hang anything, string,cord etc. we just happened to have ribbons on hand
      It has decreased bird strikes to 1or 2 per year

  19. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Government Needs to Find Big Tech a New Business Model

    Well, no, actually they don’t. The government needs to set the rules that all businesses operate under. They do not need to be business consultants for squillionaires.

    What the government needs to do is recognize that big tech has an outsized economic and political influence and use the existing anti-trust rules created by government to break up these monopolies.

  20. Parker Dooley

    “Operation Warp’s parallel development architecture and guaranteed market turned out to be a good program design. Who knew, but there we are.”

    Manhattan Project, maybe?

  21. Riverboat Grambler

    Oh man, something tells me that “Chinx” isn’t going to catch on as a woke term.

    On a related note, I asked my Mexican-American girlfriend what she thought of the term latinx, and she said she approved because it’s a term made by Hispanics/Latinos for themselves. However according to Wikipedia the term’s origin is a bit hazy; it was first observed in activist academia and LGBT chat rooms in the 90s before first appearing in a Hispanic academic journal in 2004. Anyway, I’m a honkey from Wisconsin so what am I going to do, argue with her about it?

    It’s worth noting that while she approves of the term, I’ve never heard her use it, and she’s never corrected me when I refer to someone as Hispanic or Latino.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Chinx has a derogatory homonym

        You don’t say…

        Now that I think of it, a more consistent term — that’s all I’m asking for, a little consistency — for Bronies would be Bronx (self-identified as “the Bronx”).

        Spanish, Spanx.

        I don’t know how to handle the inhabitants of the Isle of Man, however. Right now we call them Manx, which is doubly micro-aggressive. Perhaps Personx?

        1. Old Sarum

          Spanx: underwear surely?

          Any thing can become a pejorative: even “cactus”.

          You say morbidly obese, I say extravagantly malnourished,
          Lets call the whole thing off.


    1. km

      Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that the person who came up with “Latinx” was a Latin-American person.

      So what? Was there a vote afterwards or something?

      1. Alex Cox

        I suspect white wokesters at a university came up with it. The MSM have enthusiastically adopted the form: instead of typing ‘filipina’ they can write ‘female filipinx person’.

        Doesn’t that make us all feel better?

        1. Riverboat Grambler

          It’s just as likely it was a young activist Hispanic person who came up with it. We’ll probably never know.

          The MSM can embrace it all they want in an attempt to beat people with the identity stick but if the people the term was made to describe reject it (as it seems they largely are) it will be quite difficult. Then again, the media has yet to reckon with the Hispanic community’s increased support for Trump in the 2020 election, so perhaps they will get dumped into the basket of deplorables too.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > the media has yet to reckon with the Hispanic community’s increased support for Trump in the 2020 election, so perhaps they will get dumped into the basket of deplorables too.

            No true Latinx….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Serious question – how is ‘latinx’ supposed to be pronounced? Does it rhyme with ‘minx’?

        From the little I know of its origins, I thought the choice of ‘x’ was supposed to reflect the use of the ‘x’ sound in central American native American languages, but I don’t think Spanish speakers find those any easier to pronounce than English speakers do.

        1. larry

          Good Q, PK. It is an awful neologism that should be relegated to the dust bin. I don’t know of anyone who can pronounce the word, if that is in fact what it is, non-technically speaking.

          I have heard of it but wouldn’t think of using it.

        2. Basil Pesto

          I thought it rhymed with ‘minx’ but on the rare occasions I’ve heard it, it’s been pronounced Latin-X. Which is great, if you’re amused by self-parody.

          I’m surprised no one’s done the counter-woke ‘Latinx is linguistic-imperialism directed against latinos with no understanding of the Spanish language’ etc. and so on, which has the additional benefit of being pretty close to the truth.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            As the Chinx example shows, its so easy to parody it could have been invented by a Tatiana McGrath type comedian.

    2. mwbworld

      I always wondered wouldn’t just using the existing term Latin have worked? Neutral – Latin, male – Latino, female – Latina. Would that have been so hard?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Dismissing all of the SAFETY! talk from officials it comes down to higher heating bills…

      Overloading the boiler, too, to be fair. Another example of disintegrating infrastructure.

  22. boydownthelane

    My weekend was espcially long on sleep (I tend to hibernate more in the winter, but maybe soporifics are part of the weather engineering systems now in play) and also long on curiosity (since I tend toward Eric Booth, George Leonard, Michael Murphy, H.D. Thoreau and Robert Heinlein), so I am grateful for your map of demonstriations (sic).

  23. Pat

    Dear lord, Garland is saying that the January 6 riot will be his first priority. And it is tops on the House list of priorities as well.

    Must be nice to know that your concerns will get the attention of the Justice Department. Too bad that so many other long standing problems have to take a back seat. Voter suppression, bribery, conditions of prisons and immigration detention centers, bank frauds, bribery, corruption…

    What do you want to bet that once that loses steam we will be back to investigating Russian interference. Wash…rinse…repeat

  24. marym

    Some recent voter suppression proposals (emphasis added)
    GA currently has no-excuse absentee voting. HB71 “…would restrict absentee voting to people who are over the age of 75, are observing a religious holiday, have a physical disability or are out of town.” (02/17/2021 Link)

    “HB 531 proposals include: only allowing mobile voting buses in emergency circumstances, cutting the time voters can apply for an absentee ballot, stopping elections officials from sending absentee ballot applications directly to voters, reducing drop box hours, striking out-of-precinct voting and restricting early voting times.” (02/18/2021 Link)

    Video: “In today’s hearing on #HB531, Republican Rep. Alan Powell admits there is NO evidence of widespread voter fraud, and that it is “just in people’s minds.”” (02/19/2021 Link)

    “Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate are quickly approving bills that would shorten the state’s early voting period by 11 days, limit absentee ballot collection and create new criminal charges for county auditors who fail to follow state rules.

    Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said he believes that Iowans were disenfranchised in 2020 ‘by some shady dealings in five cities around the country’…He did not provide evidence.” (02/17/2021 Link)

    Gov. Ron DeSantis, “wants to make it harder to vote by mail after a record number of the state’s residents utilized the voting method during last year’s election.

    …DeSantis said Florida had “the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country” last year, while advocating for more restrictions he said were necessary to “stay ahead of the curve” and improve confidence in the system.” (02/20/2021 Link)

  25. Martin Oline

    Lambert, I liked your comment in the 2020 piece. Yes, cluster it is, and ever more shall be, cluster without end.
    I was also fascinated by the Big Energy video. Collecting samples of lava while wearing lace up tennis shoes. What could go wrong? I watched raptly to the very end, expecting tragedy. I’ll bet he is working on his master’s degree.

  26. chuck roast

    So, the Dems are hiring 270 Strategies to do their post-mortem. Sounds like they got this one right. My binnacle had 360 degrees on the dial. That was a good thing since there are 90 degrees between dead W and true N, and I did have occasion to steer between 271 and 360. It would have been a wicked deadly blind-spot. But the Dems, particularly the PMC Dems appear to view blind-spots as a virtue rather then a hazard. My best guess is that 270 Strategies will read the wake, and recommend that the Dems make a course correction somewhere between one degree N and 270 degrees W.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So, the Dems are hiring 270 Strategies to do their post-mortem

      I didn’t do any research on 270 Strategies because I was sure I didn’t need to, but for the avoidance of doubt:

      270 Strategies is a progressive digital strategy firm founded in 2013 by Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. Bird and Stewart both previously worked as field organizers for President Barack Obama in 2008 and had senior positions in Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election.[1] 270 Strategies focuses on “helping organizations engage everyday people in their work.”[2] Some of 270’s previous clients include Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D), Pennsylvania State Sen. Anthony Williams (D) and Ready for Hillary—a super PAC in support of Hillary Clinton (D).

      They were the digital strategy team for Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that encouraged Hillary Clinton to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

      So I was right (“progressive,” oh yeah).

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Why did Nancy not want to call witnesses? My guess is she wanted to keep Trump in reserve as a viable Republican nominee in 2024. She probably thinks that a Harris v. Trump election would assure a Harris victory.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If she did, then the Republicans would probably have the right to cross-examine them. But what scuppered the whole thing was when the Republicans had their own witnesses to call and that there were over a hundred of them. As the Democrats wanted a quick show trial for political purposes, this would have turned the whole thing into a grinding Senatorial session that would have gone for months which they did not want. So they folded.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But what scuppered the whole thing was when the Republicans had their own witnesses to call and that there were over a hundred of them.

        To anybody gaming this out (I wasn’t) surely that was an obvious riposte. So the whole project was unserious from beginning to end. Except of course for the fundraising and a video that will be useful as campaign fodder.

    2. Carolinian

      Nancy’s not much of a chess player. This is an interesting Alastair Crooke re whither the parties. He notes that impeachment seems to have helped Trump’s status with the Republicans while the Dems look vulnerable due to their neglect of a younger generation.


      Daughter in law Lara Bush says today that she thinks Trump will run in 2024. At any rate it’s probably a safe prediction that he’s not going to step away from the spotlight any more than he can help. Narcissists gotta narciss (may not be a word).

      1. Phil in KC

        I would be interested in the state of his health in 2024, when he turns 78. A lot easier to pull strings from Mar-a-Lago than to have to govern. Wonder if Melania has any input on this?

    3. c_heale

      Since Trump wasn’t far off winning against Biden and Harris was really unpopular among Democrat voters, and Biden has already turned a vote winner (the $2,000 dollar checks) into a vote loser, I can see the Republicans winning next time. Especially since I think the economy is going to crash before the next elections.

      1. Pat

        If they grow a spine, tell the donors they are saving their asses and to suck it up and pass real relief and stimulus bills, MFA, and some comprehensive job and trade reform that not just kills globalization in favor of making it in America but also the Uberization of work, even Harris could get elected. If they do a good half of that they might survive. If they don’t and continue as they are, we will have Trump or even Haley.

        Sadly, they will pretend Manchin has all the power and do little or nothing that will help people or clean up the mess decades of neoliberal/neoconservative cooperation has wrought. Because identity politics will save them not making sure people have roofs and food and futures for their kids…

  28. Eureka Springs

    Here in N.W. Arkansas I hear people are now buying hose and clamps at the auto parts store as make fix pipe repair. Plumbing supply stores are out of everything. I know people who have been in the same home for nearly forty years with their first ever pipe freezing of any sort. They have so many busted pipes they think they will just replace their entire home plumbing. Same thing happened to me for the first time in seventeen years.

    This is much bigger than Texas. And a whole lot more people need more than one check now.

    1. Wukchumni

      I wonder how the supply chain is here for piping and related sundries, i’m headed to Home Depot later in the week and will inquire.

      Surely some Cali sharpies have figured out how to make bank out of misery?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They have so many busted pipes they think they will just replace their entire home plumbing. Same thing happened to me for the first time in seventeen years. This is much bigger than Texas. And a whole lot more people need more than one check now.

      Holy moley, and you’re quite right; plumbers aren’t cheap (rightly. And anybody that made the decision to become a plumber during the last downturn, say, is looking pretty good right now).

      It’s not only the cost of the plumbing, either. The house needs to have an energy audit done, and then insulated, with any drafts plugged that led to the pipes freezing, so the same thing doesn’t happen again.

  29. Geo

    “This is how Geologist collect Lava sample from an active volcano”

    That water started boiling in no time! Would cut down my morning coffee brewing time by about 90%. Any inventors out there want to figure out a volcanic coffee maker will be billionaires overnight. :)

    Seriously though, that was awesome to watch. Who knew geologists were such maniacs?

  30. fresno dan

    So I finally get around to registering my EIPCard so I can transfer the funds to a real bank.
    And the whole experience just enrages and disgusts me.
    The rigamarole to transfer the funds teeth grindingly tedious, but at the end of it there is something that is happening more and more. A question about do I want to be transferred to Money Network. Uh, no. EXCEPT THERE IS NOT ACTUALLY THAT OPTION. There is no “NO” to click
    That’s not all. Going back and forth between the “Money Network” and the EIP network, there are instructions that just don’t exist – I mean by this that words or links on the one site that the site says to click to accomplish a certain action are not at the other site (e.g. “transfer” – I did a “find” command to double check myself)
    Now, it really is no surprise to me or most NC denizens that the government sets up a web site to dispense stimulus is designed to enrich and profit a bank. But MUST they also torture the recipients?

      1. fresno dan

        Long, Long story short – after finally getting registered, Money Net sends me through email a validation code to START the transfer process. Entering this code gets me a “Oops – wrong code entered” (really) – the code was copied and pasted into the code window so I don’t understand how it can possibly be wrong. This happens three times, I decide to restart the computer. Try it again, and get a message that my computer browser is not registered.
        Calling the phone number is impossible because you need to enter the 16 digit pin number, birthdate, a portion of your SS number and a few other things. My consumer cellular phone is incapable of taking my keystrokes and recoding them accurately (another long story…). Any error in the entry of the required numbers renders the whole input invalid.
        So I have written Diane Feinstein, only because my local democrat congressional representative does not do email, as well as wants me to provide which Federal agency handles the problem of my complaint.
        I imagine the question of how much of this “money” got used will never be answered because the question will never be asked…

  31. a fax machine

    Canada Matters

    Non-binding memorandum declaring China’s treatment of Uighurs to be a genocide passed without any dissenting votes. Members of Trudeau’s own party voted for the motion, but none against. Notably, his entire cabinet was absent save for one who voted to Abstain.


    A new blockade was put up against a pipeline:


  32. jr

    Re: Wokeness as an ideology

    I’ve long said that whatever IDpol is, it isn’t an ideology. Ideologies assume a common intellectual ground between themselves, you have to agree on something to fight about it. Ideologies want to engage with one another, if only to war upon one another. IDpol’s epistemic claims of “lived experiences” as a basis of knowledge allows for no such common ground. This writer agrees:

    “Identity politics tends toward an excessive particularization and partitioning of knowledge, but now along the lines of race or ethnicity, for example, as well as gender. For such experience-based accounts of knowledge imply an epistemology of provenance: that is, the claim that knowledge arises from an experiential basis that is fundamentally group-specific and that others, who are outside the group
    and who lack its immediate experiences, cannot share that knowledge.”

    with the upshot being:

    “However, the implications of an epistemology of provenance, if consistently pursued, threaten to undercut
    coalition politics or other forms of solidarity among women. The unintended end-point of an epistemology of provenance can be an acute and politically debilitating subjectivism, which belies the possibility of communication and common action across differences.”

    This stuff is made to divide people. I’m no expert on cults, despite having known a few, but I suspect that term applies here. What other organizations/mindsets cut off their members from others, literally declare themselves to be the sole source of knowledge, create their own (clumsy) language, and demonize almost everyone who isn’t a member of the in-group?


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > However, the implications of an epistemology of provenance, if consistently pursued, threaten to undercut coalition politics or other forms of solidarity among women.

      It was, and it did, and it is.

      1. jr

        “[E]pistemology of provenance” is the finely grained stone I’ve been looking for with which to hone my scythe. Now the purges begin. Constructive purges that contribute to the discussion, of course. :)

  33. Darthbobber

    Extremism and cognitive tasks. Clicked through to the article summary in the Philosophical(!) Journal of the Royal Society B
    “Conservatism and nationalism were related to greater caution in perceptual decision-making tasks and to reduced strategic information processing, while dogmatism was associated with slower evidence accumulation and impulsive tendencies. Religiosity was implicated in heightened agreeableness and risk perception. Extreme pro-group attitudes, including violence endorsement against outgroups, were linked to poorer working memory, slower perceptual strategies, and tendencies towards impulsivity and sensation-seeking—reflecting overlaps with the psychological profiles of conservatism and dogmatism. Cognitive and personality signatures were also generated for ideologies such as authoritarianism, system justification, social dominance orientation, patriotism and receptivity to evidence or alternative viewpoints; elucidating their underpinnings and highlighting avenues for future research. Together these findings suggest that ideological worldviews may be reflective of low-level perceptual and cognitive functions.”

    Can’t help noting that this is a rather arbitrary hodgepodge of things getting lumped together as somehow ideological. Dogmatic? Isn’t that an adjective? Can’t you be a dogmatic pretty much anything? Crammed with the buzzwords. Bayesian, data-driven. Half a step above woo, maybe.

    1. Darthbobber

      In material and methods, one gets a tabular summary of the 16 different “ideological” questionaires. Many of which don’t correlate to what one would normally call ideology at all. They use a standard 4-factor measure of intellectual humility and a modified version of a scale commonly used for dogmatism. You could of course fare well or badly on either of these regardless of your views. Then there are some that seem specifically designed to pathologize aspects of social conservatism. Frequency of prayer, importance of religious services. And a scale for measuring “authoritarian” attitudes generally. Another for measuring emphasis on social order maintenance generally.

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