2:00PM Water Cooler 2/26/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

One more Texas bird (from Texas Parks and Wildlife).


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:

South and Midwest head upwards once again.

Biden triumphalism:

As I posited a few weeks ago, I think if swapping in a new administration was a key driver, we’d see the slope of vaccination increase given a decent interval after the Inaugural. We’re not seeing that. I think, instead, we’re seeing collective efforts at improving delivery and uptake all across our Federalized fragmented system. The Biden administration does not get to speak for “we” here.

Case count by United States region:

A little uptick in the South, driven by Texas.

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

Encouraging to see cases in Texas go up, in that at least we know there’s some testing being done.

Test positivity:

Decline is flattening across the board. Weather? Variants? 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.)


Upticks in the South and West. 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):

That rising fatality rate in the West (red) is what worries me. Here is the regional breakdown:

(I used the log scale to pull everything up from the baseline, because Oregon’s early numbers throw the chart off.) It looks to me like the top four Western states naturally separate themselves out. Here they are:

(I’m not implying immigration is the issue; I am saying the four outlined states could well have something similar in their political economies that leads to the fatality rate outcomes.)


“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

Biden Administration

“US-China rivalry: America test-fires Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile” [South China Morning Post]. “‘The operators delivered an on-time, on-target sortie and provided yet another reminder of the readiness and reliability of the Minuteman III weapon system,’ Major Jesse Haskett, commander of the launch task force, said in a press release.” • I don’t want to seem alamist, but (a) this seems more aggressive than anything [warding sign] Trump ever did, and (b) comes at the same time as the Syrian bombing campaign. “America is back,” indeed.

“Biden’s Syria airstrikes are first test of role as world’s police” [USA Today]. • First? Reallly? Anyhow, liberalgasms for everybody:

Silent but deadly, that’s our Joe….

“Biden says US will ‘never’ accept ‘aggressive’ Russia’s Ukraine annexation” [Agence France Presse]. “‘The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts,’ Biden said in a statement marking the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Crimea. ‘The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and its allies and partners today, as it has from the beginning of this conflict. On this somber anniversary, we reaffirm a simple truth: Crimea is Ukraine,’ Biden said.” • Maybe we need to reinstitute the draft…

Biden follows the CDC in suppressing aerosol transmission and reinforcing fomites:

And that “nothing we can’t do” apparently doesn’t apply to cutting $2,000 checks, the $15 minimum wage, and so on and on and on.

* * *

“Biden ‘disappointed’ in Senate parliamentarian ruling but ‘respects’ decision” [The Hill]. • So fire the dude and get another ruling. Dear Lord. “Let us continue to respect the rules that we can change at any time, and have at other times for other reasons!”

UPDATE “The $15 Minimum-Wage Debate Clarifies the Partisan Economic Divide” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “Nevertheless, if liberals’ culturalist account of America’s political divide has its flaws, the ‘populist’ right’s efforts to cast the conflict between red and blue in strictly materialist terms — with Republicans representing the interests of blue-collar workers in the heartland, and Democrats of cosseted professionals in parasitic cities — is infinitely more strained.”

“Team Biden taps Asian American groups to help save Tanden” [Politico]. “President Joe Biden’s aides are urging Asian American groups to mount a last-minute campaign to try to rescue his budget chief nominee, Neera Tanden, as her prospects for Senate confirmation dwindle. Those groups are calling and sending letters to Senate offices and advocating for Tanden on social media to try to combat what they are calling “structural racism” and “institutional racism.'” • The race card never fails….

“Virus Mobilization” [New York Times]. “Later this morning, Biden administration officials and business leaders will announce a plan to change that, White House officials told me. The plan includes some of the country’s largest corporate lobbying groups — like the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and groups representing Asian, Black and Latino executives — as well as some big-name companies. Ford and The Gap will donate more than 100 million masks for free distribution. Pro sports leagues will help set aside more than 100 stadiums and arenas to become mass vaccination sites. Uber, PayPal and Walgreens will provide free rides for people to get to vaccination sites. Best Buy, Dollar General and Target will give their workers paid time off to get a shot. And the White House will urge many more companies to do likewise.” • Good to see Biden following along the public-private partnership road pioneeded by Trump. Heaven forfend we should strengthen state capacity!


“Liberal group targets Republicans who voted to overturn 2020 election” [Politico]. • Why do these groups even exist? Don’t we have a party for such functions?

Republican Funhouse

“A Modest Proposal For Republicans: Use The Word ‘Class'” [Astral Codex Ten]. “Consciously embracing the project of fighting classism would let future Republican politicians replicate Trump’s appeal without having to stoop to his tactics. It could tie together all the fractured constituencies of the Republican party. It could appeal to the white working class. Everyone agreed these people were Trump’s base, but the media insisted on emphasizing the “white”, as in “WHITE!!! working class”. Your job is to get people thinking “white WORKING CLASS!!!” instead. You cannot ethically or pragmatically flatter these people’s identity as whites, but you can very easily flatter their identity as the working class. It could appeal to blacks and Hispanics. They’re mostly working-class, so they hate the elites as much as anyone else. So far the left has kept them voting Democrat by scaring them with stories about how racist the white working class is, and convincing them that only Democratic elites can keep them safe. Your job is to make the Marxist argument that this is the typical ruling class tactic of using racial animus to keep the working classes divided and powerless. If you do this right, you can get a bunch of minorities on your side without driving away any whites; mutual enemies are the duct tape of political coalitions. The pro-Trump shift among blacks and Hispanics in 2020 proves that minorities are willing to vote Republican once someone frames the conflict in class terms. And success stories like Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Nikki Haley prove that white Republicans are friendly to minorities once they’re convinced they share their values. All you need to do is drag both sides to the altar and tie the knot.” • As I’ve said, it’s going to be a neat trick, creating a working class coalition without actually empowering them. OTOH, Republicans like to get stuff done….

“Republican leaders split while CPAC prepares to unite around Trump” [Politico]. “In one camp, there are the Republicans like McCarthy and Scalise who have calculated that getting cozier with Trump and his base is the best way to boost the party’s prospects in the next election. In the other are establishment-minded pols like McConnell and Cheney, who counsel a more traditional brand of conservatism after the GOP lost both chambers of Congress and ultimately the White House under Trump. Yet even McConnell — despite his reservations — told Fox News on Thursday that if Trump were the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, he would support him. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) acknowledged that questions about the GOP’s identity are ‘clearly not settled yet.’ But, he added: ‘the narrative that Republicans are fractured is greatly exaggerated.’ ‘Time is going to heal that,’ he said, because ‘we’re united in the minority.’ For now, though, tensions are undoubtedly simmering as the party argues over its future.”

“Josh Hawley, Senator No” [The Week]. “Back in the summer of 2019, when he was still finding his footing after winning his senate seat the previous fall, Hawley delivered a speech at the National Conservatism conference that I found interesting and noteworthy. In it, the recently elected senator from Missouri made a rhetorically powerful case for transforming the Republican Party into a working-class party that would defend the interests of ordinary Americans against a class of aristocratic overlords whose interests are aligned with elites around the world…. What, according to Hawley, would a more authentically populist Republican Party say and do? It would hold grandstanding hearings and publish a book with an incendiary title about the supposed moral depredations and tyrannical ambitions of tech companies. It would jump on the bandwagon of treating the brief Gamestop stock-buying frenzy of last month as some kind of populist morality play about predatory hedge funds. It would legitimize conspiracies about election fraud, offer a supportive fist pump for insurrectionists gathering on Capitol Hill, and lead the vote against certification of Pennsylvania’s election results even after rioters stormed the building, sending members of Congress into hiding to avoid attack.”

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: “January 2021 Real Income Grew Due To Stimulus” [Econintersect]. “The data continues to be affected by the pandemic. Expenditures improved month-over-month (but is in contraction year-over-year) whilst income improved month-over-month mostly due to the stimulus payments…. The note from the BEA says it all: “The increase in personal income in January was more than accounted for by an increase in government social benefits to persons as payments were made to individuals from federal COVID-19 pandemic response programs. The increase in ‘other’ benefits primarily reflected economic impact payments distributed through the CRRSA Act. Unemployment insurance also increased, reflecting an increase in pandemic unemployment compensation, including supplemental weekly payments to unemployment beneficiaries re-introduced by the CRRSA Act.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 13 February 2021 – A Real Bad Week For Rail” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has been mostly in contraction for over one year – and now is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic…. I must assume that this bad week was caused by the unusually cold weather/storms over most of the country. Also, President’s Day fell in a different week than the previous year.”

* * *

Shipping: “Congestion in Southern California Spreads to Other West Coast Ports” [Maritime Executive]. “The congestion issues at the Southern California ports are also impacting the operations of other ports along the Pacific Coast. The Port of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay, which recently highlighted its available capacity, cited spreading supply chain congestion as a factor contributing to a decline in volumes in January.. At the same time, the San Francisco Bay is also becoming crowded with ships waiting for space at the container terminals.”

Shipping: “Tanker shipping: a tough year ahead as virus mutations and slow vaccine rollout hampers recovery” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “The realities of the pandemic are setting in for the tanker market. The record-breaking Q2 2020 is a distant memory and, instead, the market faces a slow recovery with low demand, stock drawdowns in consuming countries (with products already where they need to be and therefore not being transported by sea) and loss-making rates. Perhaps the most notable example of this is on the benchmark Middle East Gulf to China trade where earnings (voyage revenue – voyage costs) have fallen from USD 250,354 per day in mid-March 2020 to USD -1,056 per day on 15 February; voyage revenues are so low they no longer cover voyage costs, let alone operating and financing costs.”

Tech: “This hydrogen paste has a similar range to that of gasoline and could revolutionize the transport industry” [Business Insider]. “[T]he hydrogen industry is projected to generate $2.5 trillion in revenue by 2050 and to provide hard competition to Elon Musk’s Tesla-produced electric cars. A team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Germany has now developed a hydrogen paste, POWERPASTE, that may be easier to use especially in smaller vehicles…. As the paste only begins to decompose at temperatures of around 480 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers said drivers didn’t need to worry about leaving their vehicles out in the hot sun.” • Good to know!

Tech: “Google Analytics: Stop feeding the beast” [@wrede]. “I believe it is a moral imperative for web developers to think about the “free” tools they are using to provide their products. In the case of Google Analytics, the tool is only very superficially free. We are all paying the hidden costs. If you want to make the world a better place, stop feeding the beast.”

The Fed: “America’s creaky payments infrastructure is showing cracks” [Axios]. “The majority of the U.S. payments infrastructure came to a shuddering halt on Wednesday when a “Federal Reserve operational error” caused a whole slew of services to stop working. ACH went down, which covers most transfers in and out of bank accounts, along with Check21, which covers checks; FedCash; and more. Fedwire — the self-described “premier electronic funds-transfer service that banks, businesses and government agencies rely on for mission-critical, same-day transactions” — also went down. The Fed is unlikely to give much public explanation of what went wrong. CNBC’s David Faber, however, reported that the Fed did try turning the system off and on again — and that didn’t work.” • The whole article is worth a read, especially for payments mavens.

The Economy: “U.S. As Global Growth Engine Risks Igniting Some Old Tensions” [Bloomberg]. “The U.S. economy appears primed to recover from the Covid-19 slump much faster than others, causing havoc on bond markets this week and potentially exacerbating the kind of imbalances that caused trouble after the last crisis. The prospect that the U.S. recovery could decouple from developed-world peers and the implication of that for global currencies and trade is likely to figure high on the agenda when finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 major economies meet online later today. ‘A multi-speed rebound in the global economy continues with a strong U.S., a moderating China and a choppy euro-area,’ said Catherine Mann, chief economist at Citigroup Inc. ‘For 2021 at least, the U.S. as global locomotive is back on track.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 26 at 12:18pm.

The Biosphere

“Microscopic Wrinkles in Leaves Ward Off Insects” [Scientific American]. “The new research, published in Royal Society Open Science, finds that along with the cuticle’s inherently slippery surface, its tiny wrinkles also help discourage insects. The wrinkles most likely become more pronounced as the leaf matures and its cuticle builds up, eventually expanding and buckling. ‘Plants are really good at surviving,’ says Dana MacGregor, a molecular botanist at Rothamsted Research in England, who was not involved in the new study. ‘There are excellent ways by which they can change their structure, their chemistry or their physiology to hinder herbivores from eating their leaves. This is another example of plants changing their shape to make sure they survive.'”

“‘Unique’ petrified tree up to 20m years old found intact in Lesbos” [Guardian]. “Geologists around the world have described the find as a breakthrough. ‘We have a case of extraordinary fossilisation in which a tree was preserved with its various parts intact. In the history of paleontology, worldwide, it’s unique,’ said the Portuguese palaeontologist Artur Abreu Sá. ‘That it was buried by sediments expelled during a destructive volcanic eruption, and then found in situ, makes it even more unusual.'”

“The Reader of Rocks” [New York Review of Books]. “In 1815 William Smith published the first detailed geological map of an entire country [England, Wales, and part of Scotland]. Smith worked out a table of succession for the sedimentary rocks, listing the series of strata laid down, in chronological order, from the oldest, ‘Granite, Sienite and Gneiss,’ to the most recent, ‘London clay.’ There had been geological maps before, based on rocks found at the surface, but Smith’s breakthrough came with his use of fossils, found in different layers and at different depths, to identify the strata and suggest their distribution below the ground. While others had toyed with this method, he was the first to apply it on such a large scale. The 1815 map was not only innovative and beautiful but also huge, made up of fifteen large sheets and measuring eight and a half by six feet.”

“East African Nations Will Likely Contain Locust Swarms, FAO Says” [Bloomberg]. “East African nations are likely to contain new locust swarms emerging in the region because of continuing pest-control operations and the prospect of poor spring rains, the Food and Agriculture Organization said.” • Good news!

Health Care

“Coronavirus: 11 test positive on New York rescue flight to Israel” [Jerusalem Post]. “At least 11 people tested positive for coronavirus Tuesday after arriving from a planned rescue flight for stranded Israelis originating in New York, according to a Ynet News report. Upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, passengers on the El Al rescue flight were required to undergo mandatory testing, where it was discovered that 11 were infected with the coronavirus. According to the report, some ultra-Orthodox passengers on the flight also bragged about forging documents to show that they were not positive with the coronavirus…. [P]assengers speaking to Ynet also spoke of the fact that some ultra-Orthodox passengers refused to remain in their seats and prayed in groups without masks, which is against current aviation regulations.” • Weird, because isn’t Deuteronomy, among other things, a codification of the public health regulations of the day?

UPDATE “Summit County Public Health switches to lottery system for COVID-19 vaccines” [Akron Beacon Journal]. “After overwhelming demand and scheduling frustrations, Summit County Public Health is switching to a lottery system to determine who gets COVID-19 vaccines through the health department. The health department said the lottery system, which will start Monday, March 1, will pull a computer-generated random sample from its vaccine registry. Those selected will receive instructions on how to schedule an appointment.” • Eliminates the scheduling function from the websites; addition by subtraction!

“Is more simply better? Why Pfizer thinks a booster of its Covid vaccine might work against new variants” [STAT]. “While Moderna and Pfizer, along with its partner BioNTech, have announced plans to test vaccines specifically targeted at variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they are also planning to test the idea of simply giving people three doses instead of two of their vaccines that have already been authorized. Experts say it’s at least conceivable it could work.” • I dunno. Next, four? How about a drip feed?

The 420

“New Jersey Stops Marijuana Arrests, Ends Pending Prosecutions” [Bloomberg]. “New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has ordered an immediate end to marijuana arrests and pending prosecutions while telling courts to set aside convictions before this week, when Governor Phil Murphy signed legalization bills. Weed still can’t be sold legally, as the state must set up distribution, licensing, taxation and other rules, which will take effect in about a year.” • Now do amnesty.


“Twitch Removes Amazon’s Anti-Union Ads After Furious Streamer Response” [Kotaku]. “Earlier this week, it came to light that Twitch was running ads in blatant opposition to the Amazon warehouse worker unionization effort in Bessemer, Alabama. Streamers, who had no say in whether or not these ads appeared during their broadcasts, were outraged. Today, Twitch has removed the ads, saying that they never should have run in the first place. Despite being owned by Amazon, Twitch said in a statement to Kotaku that its parent company’s union-busting ads have no place on the streaming platform. ‘Twitch does not allow political advertising, and these ads should never have been allowed to run on our service,’ a Twitch spokesperson said in an email. ‘We have removed these ads and are evaluating our review processes to ensure that similar content does not run in the future. We are grateful to our community for bringing this to our attention.'”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Harvard Critics Ask Supreme Court to Ban Race in Admissions” [Bloomberg]. “The appeal by Students for Fair Admissions asks the court to overturn the 2003 ruling that let universities keep using race-conscious admissions to diversify their student bodies. A federal appeals court rejected the group’s lawsuit, which contends Harvard is violating federal civil rights laws by intentionally discriminating against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions.”

Our Famously Free Press

“YouTube Rejects Consortium News Appeal” [Consortium News]. “It appears that just reporting on claims that the 2020 election was stolen, without supporting those claims, is enough for either a YouTube algorithm or human reviewer to banish a video.” • Here, YouTube is suppressing Greg Palast (!!!!).

“Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets” [The Verge]. “Twitter announced a pair of big upcoming features today: the ability for users to charge their followers for access to additional content, and the ability to create and join groups based around specific interests. They’re two of the more substantial changes to Twitter in a while, but they also fit snugly into models that have been popular and successful on other social platforms.”

Pulitzer prize winner for commentary:

Class Warfare

“Will Woke Go Up in Smoke?” [Vanity Fair]. “One of my friends is a phone sex worker, and she deals with folk on a pretty primal level. She is always a Black woman but sometimes not, depends who might be calling. ‘I had a guy who had curated his fantasies to make sure I know he’s woke—like I care—and he doesn’t want to do it anymore,’ she told me. ‘Since November he’s just been rage venting. He did everything he was supposed to do. But everyone’s still mad at him.’ Wait. Everyone’s mad at him? Everyone who? ‘I don’t know. The Black lady in his office. She makes him feel castrated. Or something. Now he’s angry. He’s angry at the language. I was like: ‘You know you’re actually in a ‘safe space’ now, right?’And he totally lost his hard-on. Boom. He doesn’t want to hear about safe spaces or talk about this shit anymore. Fuck, I wasn’t making this guy be woke. By the way he’s super dom now.'” • Wowsers….

News of the Wired

“Pilgrimages: Sacred Destinations” [Traveling Boy]. “In 1633 the Plague mauled Oberammergau and, in desperation the village counselor pledge to perform a Passion Play immediately, and every ten years forever after, if there were no more victims. The pandemic passed and in 1634 Oberammergau honored their oath and performed the Passion Play for the first time in the cemetery on the still-fresh graves of the Plague victims with the oldest existing manuscript of the Passion Play text dating to 1662/1664.” • Something to try?

“The Old New York Won’t Come Back” [Peggy Noonan]. “In the past year the owners of great businesses found how much can be done remotely. They hadn’t known that! They hadn’t had to find out. They don’t have to pay that killer rent for office space anymore. People think it will all snap back when the pandemic is fully over but no, a human habit broke; a new way of operating has begun. People will come back to office life to some degree, maybe a significant one; not everything can be done remotely; people want to gather, make friends, instill a sense of mission; but it will never be what it was. The closed shops in and around train stations and office buildings, they’re not coming back. The empty towers—people say, “Oh, they can become luxury apartments!’ Really? Why would people clamor for them, so they can have a place in the city and be near work? But near work has changed. So you can be glamorous? Many of the things that made Manhattan glamorous—shows, restaurants, clubs, museums, the opera—are wobbling…. The Partnership for New York City reports 300,000 residents of high-income neighborhoods have filed change-of-address forms with the U.S. Postal Service. You know where they are going: to lower-tax and no-income-tax states, those that have a friendlier attitude toward money making and that presumably aren’t going hard-left. Florida has gotten so cheeky that this month its chief financial officer sent a letter inviting the New York Stock Exchange to relocate to Miami.”

“Vaccine Emoji Comes to Life” [Emojipedia]. “The 💉 Syringe emoji has been updated to remove the blood, allowing this existing emoji serve as a vaccination emoji in 2021.” • Fascinating article for international standards mavens, typography fans, trendspotters, and emoji users.


“More free,” I would say. Freedom demands “the spirit of association,” as de Tocqueville put it.

* * *

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 (dk):

Nature wins!”

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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. JTMcPhee

    On that parliamentarian trick, the filibuster, survival checks, minimum wage, and all the rest of the prancing and dancing in the Imperial capital: It’s just Calvinball, all the way down.

    1. farragut

      Biden: “Here’s the deal: K & I wanna give you guys a $15 min wage. We wanna give you universal healthcare. We wanna stop bombing brown people around the world. Honest Injun! But we can’t…, cause that no good dog-faced Senate Parliamentarian won’t let us! Fer cryin’ out loud! We just can’t catch a break!

      1. a different chris

        >As I’ve said, it’s going to be a neat trick, creating a working class coalition without actually empowering them. OTOH, Republicans like to get stuff done….

        And that’s probably why (although in the other thread I said “give Harris a second or two, would you” I also said I expected it to be dropped) we won’t get a min wage hike.

        Look, the R’s are trying and weirdly succeeding so far to get that working class coalition. But as Lambert says, not “actually empowering them”. This can (hat-tip JMKeynes) go on and has gone on much longer than you would believe but things eventually come to a head.

        Thus Hawley (Yale, natch, a real blue collar guy for sure /s) et. al. can say what they want about how they are great friends of the working stiff. If you can stick a $15 minimum wage in front of the R’s noses, say “sign here” and show them turning away, you have (finally) a really easy way to show said white working class that they are just being jerked around.

        If I were the Dems, I would put this off until the 2022 elections fire up. Sure I would like to see it happen yesterday, but I’m not a politician eyeballing the next election.

        What they could do, if it is dropped, is then vote on the first raise… hmm putting $9.50 on the floor might be a lot of fun. I don’t think that sounds like a lot of money to anybody but the worst employers. My commercials, being a person that *really* is focused on my own interests, would actually be about the “ugh” factor of “who do you think they get to make your food when they only pay this much?”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          We discoverered, under the [makes warding sign against evil] Trump administration, amazingly enough, that writing people checks works really well. It actually reduces poverty, for example.

          The liberal Democrats seem determined to unlearn this lesson, both with the $2,000 that magically shrank to $1400 because reasons*, and with the latest betrayal on the minimum wage. I can’t think why.

          * For the avoidance of doubt: “[Warnock and Ossoff’s 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.” –Joe Biden, on the campaign trail in Georgia.

    2. Tom Doak

      There’s nothing we CAN’T do if we set our minds to it . . . but there are a whole lot of things I WON’T do.

  2. Mikerw0

    As to Powerpaste. It is development by press release. About the time of that article they were a hot news item in multiple places.

    Hydrogen is the logical fuel for heavy transport (rail, ships, heavy trucks and planes). The issue, again, is where does all the Electricity come from to make it?

        1. ambrit

          I once got to look at a local power company natural gas powered internal combustion engine truck back in the 1970s. The engine was a standard gasoline powered model ‘tweaked’ a bit to run on natural gas. No major changes needed. The unit I saw had over 400,000 miles of use on it, and was still going strong. The driver averred that there had been no engine overhauls or internal parts replacement. The tailpipe emissions were H2O.
          I remember the turbine engines used in racing in the 1960s.
          See: https://www.wired.com/2014/10/lotus-turbine-racecar/
          I’m coming around to the view that individually owned automobiles will have to be banned eventually and some sort of workable mass transit built to replace it.

          1. JBird4049

            What about the 80% of the population living in the 90% of the country that does not have a population density good enough for a mass transit system for daily use. Most areas are not like San Francisco or New York. Even if we do build a massive public transportation system, there will be a large part of the population that will be unable to use it regularly. Unless we’re telling that 80% to abandon their homes and community. It would have to be partnered with something like electric cars.

      1. Pelham

        I just skimmed past some study this morning that concluded it would take way too many wind turbines to generate the tremendous amount of power needed to produce a significant volume of H2. The energy requirement needs to be reduced by at least a factor of 4. Might be possible, but I’m not holding my breath.

        1. gc54

          You can do it with nukes but not wind or solar without covering vast areas. Algae has been a dud but there are catalysts to improve the tremendous energy required to dissociate water.

    1. Ankara

      I am junior scientist in Europe. There are many teams of us in microbiology looking to produce bio-fuels and separately H+ from photosynthesising bacteria. Much of sustainability and total overhaul of manufacturing is likely to bio and specifically microbiology based. It is short horizon to derive H from wind, but Scotland communities experimenting it as sink when elec demand low.

  3. zagonostra

    >Biden Was Right: America Is Back – FP

    American exceptionalism has become a dirty word in recent years, but this is that exceptionalism in its best form. Of course, the United States still has an enormous way to go before it can claim to be “back” to the kind of prominence it enjoyed before Trump’s election.

    Tell me this is a joke, a sick joke. I don’t want “America Back” to touting its “exceptionalism” that murders innocent people all around the globe. Do people not remember the My Lai massacre? The Latin American CIA trained death squads. This is seriously troubling.

    I beginning to think I much preferred the cult of Trump’s braggadocio to Biden’s bombing other countries and spineless and immoral twisted personalities lauding his actions.

    1. Hepativore

      Democrats like Biden and Obama have taken bait-and-switch to an art form. It is amazing how we cannot have $15 minimum wage, another meager “stimulus” check even after it magically went from $2,000 to $1,400 and student loan relief, yet Syria gets bombed out of the blue with no questions asked.

      Perhaps we should start a drinking game based on how much of Biden’s campaign promises ended up being “malarkey”.

      1. tegnost

        Perhaps we should start a drinking game based on how much of Biden’s campaign promises ended up being “malarkey”.

        I’d be drunk by 7am every day

      2. John

        Syria was bombed because “America is back”. As JT McPhee said . “it’s all Calvin ball.” This is Calvinball applied to other people. The rules are different each time you play but you have to wear a mask.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      It takes a countermeme to neutralize a meme. It takes a positron to neutralize an electron.

      What would be a good countermeme to neutralize American Exceptionalism with?
      American Okayness? American Ordinarianism? American Okayness Ordinarianism? Perhaps if some people began calling themselves American Okayness Ordinarians, they might begin neutralizing the American Exceptionalism meme in the minds of some onhearers.

      1. Hepativore

        How about American Mediocrity?

        Our glory days are long over, so now we can settle into our current role as a failing state, with the economic prosperity of the New Deal era and the post WWII boom becoming a distant legend. Millennials and the generations following them will regard the time period as being a sort of cultural fairytale, not having experienced anything like it themselves.

        We could also start referring to pre-neoliberal America as the Beforetimes, to borrow a page from the Mad Max series.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Okayness sounds okay, and that sounds like something people will accept or at least settle for.

          Mediocrity sounds mediocre and that it disrespected enough that people won’t settle for it. Mediocre is not as good as Okay, and I was suggesting something that could displace Exceptionalism

          If you want to displace American Greatness Exceptionalism, American Okayness Ordinarianism may do that. American Drabness Mediocrity won’t do that.

  4. kevbot9000

    On test firing the Minuteman III, that’s a routine event. It happens every year (I think, have been outside that world for a bit) to make sure old missiles tick off all the boxes of reliability/accuracy/all that jazz since if you don’t test the assumptions you make about being able to hit targets and all missiles launching reliably get fuzzier and it changes the whole calculus of nuclear war. (There are equations and everything, I remember none of them) It is also totally about reminding everyone that we can obliterate them in 15 minutes or less, but that’s a routine provocation, not a new provocation in this case. (If the B-52s get sent somewhere, that’s a specific provocation)

    1. Tom


      American Airlines pilot reports seeing strange object flying over New Mexico

      “We just had something go over the top of us that — I hate to say this — looked like a long, cylindrical object,” the pilot said. “It almost looked like a cruise missle (sic) type of thing moving really fast that went right over the top of us.”

      Wonder if he saw a test missile? Don’t know what the flight path of the Minuteman was, but probably not looping back over NM from Vandenberg. I don’t know how this stuff works, but it sounds like there are other missiles/systems being tested.

      1. a different chris

        Don’t know what the intended flight path of the Minuteman was

        Fixed it for ya. These were “test flights” they tell us, and maybe they really were! ROTFLMAO. Good thing it missed the airliner.

      2. kevbot9000

        Forgot to check back so this probably won’t be seen. The missiles fire from Vandenberg, and unless something changed, they splash down somewhere unoccupied in the Pacific.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > On test firing the Minuteman III, that’s a routine event. It happens every year

      I’m not sure firing an ICBM over the Pacific, toward China, at the beginning of a new administration, contemporaneously with bombing Syria, would be perceived as routine; it would always be possible to reschedule or redirect, for example. As far as every year, I looked up the SCMP’s “Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles” category, and there’s no similar story at about this time in 2019. So it’s not clear to me how routine the practice is. In any case, it was not perceived as routine. Otherwise, there would be no story.

      So I think the Biden administration was throwing its weight around, and crudely, too.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There isn’t much in the way of low hanging fruit out there on the fp front. Simply not being Trump won’t produce tangible wins, and so I expect the crusades to start faster than Bush or Obama.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Why not? Simply not being Shrub won Obama the [family blog] Nobel Peace Prize. . . .

      2. Alex Cox

        There is no real reason to test the Minutemen as they are currently being replaced by a new system of nuclear missiles as part of the $1.7 trillion upgrade.

        However, bombing Syria and test-firing an ICBM on the same day certainly sends our ‘enemies’ a message.

      3. kevbot9000

        I was a missileer. I was never one of the crew taking part in the test launch, but I worked with people who did. It was entirely routine, planned years in advance, and people tried to get on that crew if only to spend a bit of time in California instead of sunny Minot, North Dakota. The missile is always fired into the Pacific from Vandenberg because that’s where the test launch tube is and the Pacific is big and relatively empty so you’re not going to hit anything. This is the a nothing burger, seriously. (B1s flying over the Baltic, that’s signaling something)

        The last test was back in October according to:


        or a prior one last year with detail:


        I get that SCMP will give a useful outside perspective on something like this, but it’s the wrong place to look for whether it’s routine or not. Military.com or http://www.afgsc.af.mil or some other military news site put out press releases on this stuff all the time. It’s about all they are good for in terms of useful news, but they are useful for that. It’s routine. We know that, the powers that be in Russia/China/wherever know that so in this case it’s people not knowing what they’re talking about, at all.

  5. zagonostra

    Walking through a county park in Oakland Park, FL I was happy to see that they put back up the basket ball backboards and nets. I slowed to watch some young men, black and white, play 3 on 3. They were pretty good, I think they were of high school age. No one was wearing a mask and I was glad. The fresh air and the sun, the exercise and the friendly court competition and socialization were encouraging and brighten my day.

  6. clarky90

    Re “America is back,”

    I, “clarky90”, seek to nominate President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the 46th president of the United States, for The Nobel Peace Prize.

    After a mere handful of weeks in command, President Biden has more than surpassed, the exacting criteria for this highest of all awards, for Service to The Peace and Righteousness of the World.

    hear hear………

  7. cocomaan

    Today’s water cooler is a rollercoaster ride!

    Magnesium-base hydrogen fuel paste that looks like baba ghanoush, petrified trees, and ex-woke phone-sex ranters.

    Lambert, always curating the best afternoon reads.

      1. cocomaan

        I’ve long told my wife that any suspicious drones entering my airspace are getting a few rounds of birdshot until they crash or clear out.

        Guess I need to pack buckshot for the dog robot

  8. km

    Russell Brand is trying to address cognitive dissonance. The problem is that too many of us like our cognitive cages and fight tooth and nail not to leave them.

    1. Petter

      Or we’re not even aware of them. Wasn’t it Krishnamurti who said, “If you want to know who you are, pay attention to how you react to the world” ( or something along those lines.)

      1. Jason

        I hadn’t heard that one from Krishnamurti. I like it. I constantly refer to another quote of his in my head whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed:

        “It’s no sign of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.”

        Back when I gave sitting across from psychologists a try, I used to start “therapy” sessions with this. If the “therapist” wasn’t dumbfounded, I’d stick around.

        1. Petter

          Which reminds me – back in the Sixties, radical therapists said, “The poor don’t need therapy, they need money.”

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Money will get you through times of no money better than no money will get you through times of no money.

              1. Petter

                Aha – a variation of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers line – dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.

            2. Procopius

              I think it was Etta James (I’m probably wrong) who said, “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.”

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Back when I gave sitting across from psychologists a try, I used to start “therapy” sessions with this. If the “therapist” wasn’t dumbfounded, I’d stick around.

          One of the Trilbillies was talking about this. He raised the “sick society” issue with them, and they said. “That’s self-actualization. Nobody achieves that. Let’s talk about your family.”

  9. km

    The sad part is that those Team D cultists praising Biden’s unprovoked attack on Syria are doing so without the slightest tinge of irony.

    1. jr

      “such a quiet attack”

      A “quiet attack”. This stuff writes itself. Truly emblematic of the disassociation of the PMC. Unless it was ninja’s HALOing into Syria, the attack was probably quite loud.

  10. km

    Wake me up when Hawley makes specific policy proposals and tells us how he is going to accomplish them.

    So far, all I have heard from the man is vague and sappy speechifying about “we need an America of values” or some such other farfel.

    1. Jason

      He plays the game well. Note how he very selectively calls out big tech, but not big ag or big oil or…

      1. Tom Doak

        He’s a Republican. If he was a Democrat he’d very selectively call out Big Oil and never mention Big Tech. But both parties are afraid to call out Big Ag.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      OK. I’m calling the next election: Kamala/Buttigieg vs Hawley/whomever.

      Hawley will win. The Dems, as usual, will be astounded.

      Check back in 3 yrs, 9 months.

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              A reversed currant flow, perhaps . . . or maybe Zante gravity is involved?

    1. The Rev Kev

      If somebody told you about this plant, you would never believe them without photographic proof. Yeah, life finds a way.

  11. kareninca

    I am about to start doing our taxes, so I just read an article in the Washington Post on the topic. I couldn’t cut and paste it, and I don’t want to go to the link again since I fear losing free articles, but I typed up the info that I thought might interest people and the date and the name of the article so it is easy to get to. It sounds like a mess this year, especially for people who are eligible for stimulus payments. It seems crazy to withhold money from people who owe (e.g.) student loans, if the point of giving them money is that then they can eat and pay their regular bills.

    WA Post, Feb. 12th, 2021)(Tax Season 2021: A Tornado is Coming
    “Many taxpayers will be shocked to find that because they owe back taxes or student loans or have other state or federal liabilities, they won’t get a stimulus payment.
    The IRS can offset or take a person’s refund to satisfy these debts. This issue has created a group of haves and have-nots. People who received the first stimulus payment didn’t have to contend with offsets unless they owed back child support. For the second round of stimulus payments, there were no offsets – even for child support. However, because of delays in processing returns from last year or other glitches, people who won’t get their stimulus payment until they file their 2020 return will be subject to offsets if they owe the IRS or other government entities or have past due student loans.
    There’s been some confusion over whether young adults can claim a stimulus payment. If they are self-supporting and eligible for a payment, they can claim the credit. But they can’t if, for example, parents are providing more than 50 percent of their expenses.”

    It also explains that unemployment benefits are taxed, which many people don’t realize.
    The article says to electronically if possible, since the IRS is still working its way through a huge backlog of mailed returns from last year; mail is handled as it comes in, so new mail is placed at the back of the line. About ten percent of taxpayers file a paper return. “Those filing on paper and expecting a refund need to be prepared for a potential lengthy wait.”
    The accounts management team phone lines are only handling 14 percent of calls, down from 61 percent for the same period last year.

    1. John

      You did not have the money to pay your taxes or student loans or child support so in the interest of something or other, the money you were counting on to, I don’t know, pay a bit of the back rent, buy food, you know that sort of frivolous expenditure, will be snatched by the IRS with the left hand of government and placed in the right hand of government completing the circle. Now I understand: the system was designed by morons.

        1. Felix_47

          Somehow the notion that child support is sadistic to the man bothers me. Why should anyone get a check from the government if they owe child support? Child support is too little to raise a child on and too much for the majority of people to pay. Does anyone think that a man in arrears on child support is going to take his 2000 check and use it for food for his kids? If we are to allow unbridled child production the taxpayer needs to stand up and pay a government issued universal child support to all women or custodial parents. The US is like a deadbeat dad. We have unlimited childbearing without penalty but we do not provide for support of the children. More than 30 percent of child support payments aren’t made, and less than half are paid in full and only about half of couples who have children and then separate even have a custodial order governing who’ll pay for the kids. That means that only a very small proportion of children even get child support. (less than half paid in full but only half of kids even have an order…..so less than 25% of all kids get what was ordered which is usually quite low and not enough to raise a child.) If the government provided a healthy child support check to all women we could eliminate much of poverty and improve outcomes. And it can easily be financed with a significant targeted tax. And think of the money saved by letting thousands of men out of jail who have not paid. In fact, one could raise the tax rate based on the number of children one has to finance the universal payment. So a billionaire with six kids is going to have to pay up and a leaf blower with six kids won’t pay much and a dishwasher with no kids won’t pay anything.

  12. fresno dan

    “A Modest Proposal For Republicans: Use The Word ‘Class’” [Astral Codex Ten]. “Consciously embracing the project of fighting classism would let future Republican politicians replicate Trump’s appeal without having to stoop to his tactics. • As I’ve said, it’s going to be a neat trick, creating a working class coalition without actually empowering them. OTOH, Republicans like to get stuff done….
    Democrats • As I’ve said, it’s going to be a neat trick, creating a working class coalition without actually empowering doing anything for them.
    As far as I can ascertain, we have two parties that advertise that they represent working class people with precious little evidence, and who really complete only in providing goodies to the 1%. It would be interesting to see a table of supposed working class policies of Trump versus dems according to themselves.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It would be interesting to see a table of supposed working class policies of Trump versus dems according to themselves.

      I’m too lazy to find the link, but IIRC, Trump counties did better under the Trump administration. He delivered for them…. Nothing systemic, of course.

    2. grateful dude

      Is there any reachout from the left – minority, poor, downtrodden – to the right – white, poor, left behind and scared? Seems to me that we have a lot in common. Check AOC in Texas! Nobody cares about party, left or right when that kind of sh*t hits the fan. If we let the right take that away: ay yi yi.

      1. Alex Cox

        I entirely agree. A left-right fusion party would scare the pants off our masters. But who will organize and pay for it?

  13. John A

    “‘The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula, and we will stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggressive acts,’ Biden said in a statement marking the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Crimea.

    Sotto voce, Biden added, ‘the whole point of all the billions ‘Toria’ spent on cookies in Maiden Square was because Crimea is going to be a US naval base. How dare the locals think they know what is best for them’.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Russia’s purported annexation

      My bolding. What? I’m not sure what this means. If the Russians are in control, either they annexed it or the Crimea left when the Kiev rump government dissolved the state. Its not “purported.” Russian Federation claims to be legitimate in the Crimea could be “purported”, but I think Biden’s team is picking words that feel good.

      I have a hunch the rigors of office are getting to Biden. He’s over a month in, and he can’t even manage an emergency covid legislation.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be funny if Putin, on the anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on 2nd February, came out with a statement saying ‘The Russian Federation does not and will never recognize America’s purported annexation of northern Mexico, and we will stand with Mexico against America’s aggressive acts.’

      1. caucus99percenter

        Hawaii is an even more obvious case, seeing as the Hawaiian people, almost as one, vocally and visibly opposed annexation by the U.S.



        Not to mention the questionability of purporting to annex Hawaii, an independent country, by passing a mere congressional resolution, instead of ratifying an actual bilateral treaty.


  14. Daryl

    An unasked for observation: Among my social group (20s 30s software developers), stock trading has reached a fever pitch. Not a day goes by without me hearing about the latest calls/puts/what have you. The “shoeshine boy indicator” is now a blaring warning klaxon.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Hell, I’m old enough to remember the old geezer who worked at the horse track coming into my bookstore really excited about buying Cisco at something like $75 dollars in 2000.

      With in weeks, he was crying “It’s gone!”

      Yeah, this is gonna be a very, very interesting year….

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Florida has gotten so cheeky that this month its chief financial officer sent a letter inviting the New York Stock Exchange to relocate to Miami.

      I was thinking Orlando would be a better choice.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I hope the New York Stock Exchange is cheeky enough to take up the offer. Let it go under the waves of a rising sea along with the rest of Miami.

  15. Pelham

    Re the Smith College incident: Tucker Carlson had a good segment on it last night. Why is this the only TV venue that merits mention?

    As for Noonan’s take on office work not resuming in volume in a post-pandemic New York, I think she’s on to something. But I’ll diverge from her counterpoint about people missing the ability to schmooze in person. Given the hyper-sensitivity and cancel culture that has (it seems to me) blossomed to monstrous dimensions just in the course of the pandemic, workers may prefer to remain isolated at home and minimize the chances of being flagellated or fired over perceived micro-transgressions.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      One of the markers the IRS uses to determine if you are an “employee” versus and independent contractor is whether or not the “employer” provides a workplace and set hours per week. The WFH phenomenon is going to end up making gig workers of everyone. Look at all that social security contributions they just saved, There’s also no reason to provide health care benefits for people who are “contractors,” is there?

      Thank God we have a government that’s on top of all these changes.

      1. RMO

        Remote work will make a big change to things but I just looked up the 50 most common jobs in the US: 35 of them aren’t jobs you can do remotely. 4 of the top 5 are jobs that can’t be done remotely.

  16. Mikel

    RE: “Biden’s Syria airstrikes are first test of role as world’s police” [USA Today]. • First?

    Amensiac Propaganda?

    Really, no words for such unrepentant BS, so I’m making them up.

  17. marym

    Today a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge ok’d the AZ Senate to subpoena ballots and machines for another audit. The link includes an overview of past performance by the firm they appear to be proposing to do the audit. (Link)

    Maricopa has already had a 3rd party (2 firms) audit of the voting machines requested by the county Board of Supervisors, and was one of 10 AZ counties which had a hand recount of a sample of ballots conducted by the political parties.

    The AZ legislature is also preparing bills to allow the legislature to review and override election results and pick electors themselves. (Link)

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Leave them alone. The more time they spend counting fantasy election returns, the less time they spend coming up with ways to require fallopian tube inspection centers.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s really too bad — and a symptom of liberal Democrat hegemony — that issues with digital voting (terrible public policy even leaving hackability aside, as shown by LA’s VSAP system) are only entering the discourse with Republican cray cray at the thin end of the wedge.

      I would need to know the entire chain of custody for the ballots and the technical details of the sampling to have any judgment of the Arizona vote at all. Sadly, if the entire chain is digital, the only way to know the count is truly correct is with a digital forensic audit, including both the source code and the database. That’s difficult to do, and may not be possible if the Dominion and tabulating software is proprietary.

      As I keep saying, the only unique selling proposition for digital voting is election fraud. Unfortunately, that general rule doesn’t translate to individual cases, something the Republicans have spectacularly failed to do. Even more unfortunately, YouTube suppressing Greg Palast’s Consortium News means that even the topic of election fraud is to be rendered undiscussable and off limits. To my suspicious mind, that indicates that the reasons to discuss it are very real indeed.

      1. marym

        There are possibilities for fraud at many points – manual and automated – in the electoral process. Much of the 2020 cray cray in courts and the media actually related to manual procedures. None of these potential points of failure, and existing procedures to mitigate and audit them can be properly publicly evaluated in the current atmosphere. The performance has provided more fodder for the next round of voter suppression (not a bug).

        Links describing the machine audit: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/02/links-2-25-2021.html#comment-3513860
        Hand count results: https://azsos.gov/election/2020-general-election-hand-count-results
        AZ election procedures manual: https://azsos.gov/sites/default/files/2019_ELECTIONS_PROCEDURES_MANUAL_APPROVED.pdf It’s huge and not easy to search. Way toward the end are sample forms which include chain of custody forms for ballots. See forms on pages A228 and A230 if you scroll back from the end.

  18. Rodeo Clownfish

    Interesting call of the Eastern screech owl. Very different from our local Puerto Rican screech owls (Megascops nudipes). I recommend that one for next water cooler, for comparison.

  19. Ping

    Re: “Is more simply better? Why Pfizer thinks a booster of its Covid vaccine might work against new variants” [STAT]. “While Moderna and Pfizer, along with its partner BioNTech, have announced plans to test vaccines specifically targeted at variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they are also planning to test the idea of simply giving people three doses instead of two of their vaccines that have already been authorized. Experts say it’s at least conceivable it could work.” • I dunno. Next, four? How about a drip feed?”

    The proposed vaccine hamster wheel is ludicrous and like nothing that has ever been introduced to a population. Now being discussed is constant boosters for variants with new modified rna that does not require testing per FDA.

    Here is an idea: Why not address factory farming of animals whose immune systems have been decimated in the process of intensive confinement and where most of the recent pandemics/epidemics have originated (swine flu, bird flu etc) in this pietre dish environment while the the overconsumption of animal products is the cause of many degenerative diseases.

    Richard Engel’s special report on variants touched on factory farming of animals calling them bio-weapons citing Denmark where 15 million mink were killed and the industry shut down after the mink virus jumped the species barrier and sickened hundreds of people with transmission risk to broad population.

    Why not address a major cause? Or is vaccine drip-feed for pharma and big ag profits preferred?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The proposed vaccine hamster wheel is ludicrous

      Not to deny the vaccine’s successes, but if you want to build a natural business model on top of the mRNA platform, that is what you would do.

      You end up with something very like our software upgrade cycle, or worse, “Vaccines As A Service.”

  20. Mikel

    “The Old New York Won’t Come Back” [Peggy Noonan]. “

    And Cali workers, in the land of freeways, also are cuttting back on the tyranny of the commute and high priced office space.

  21. flora

    Great Zaid Jilani quote. Thanks. I also wondered in what world an old janitor could be seen has having more power than a young, healthy, private college student.

    Maybe in the world of Tumblr and Twitter idpol groups this “power” could seem true, I suppose. How old is the Smith College student? 21? 22? Is her world social outlook almost wholly comprised of what she reads in her online Social Justice groups? I don’t know.

    I came across this June, 2020, Michael Tracy interview of a 21 year old woman about her identity issues at 13 and 14, and the online groups she fell into for several years. What interested me was not so much her particular issue but how well she explains what the ‘new civil rights’ movements are built on (nothing like what the old civil rights and feminist movements were built on), intersectionallity, and the big rise in online Social Justice groups in 2011-12. (There’s that 2011-12 time frame again, at the same time of Occupy Wall St. Were there any youth oriented online anti-neoliberal economic groups then? / ;) )

    The video is ~1hr 30 min. I only listened to the first 30 minutes.


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I tried listening just now for a few minutes and I quit. Michael Tracy ( or whoever that guy is) talks too much. And then talks too much more.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “The Reader of Rocks”

    Oddly enough, or perhaps not, there is a bit of a romantic imagery to do with this map. Remember at the time that geology was a relatively new science. And the way that it was done was by going out into the field. So you would have years of work by men like this, staying in inns at night and spending the days with some basic tools wandering the lonely hills and dales. They would stop occasionally to examine an unusual formation, perhaps to hammer off a sample. They would take extensive notes & observations as wel as drawing what they saw like the pieces of a puzzle. So Kudos to William Smith. Not bad for the son of a village blacksmith-


    1. Procopius

      I think smiths of all sorts, including farriers (people who put shoes on horses) were skilled craftsmen. There probably wasn’t much money being used, but some of what there was would go to them. I don’t remember the status of smiths being described in the economic history books I’ve read, but I would think they were in the top 10% of a village society. The aristocracy regarded manual labor with contempt, but what they did was vital to the economy.

  23. Wyatt Powell

    My head hurts after reading the Vanity Fair article…

    I thought “Surely the whole article isn’t like the exert, and I’d like to see what a phone sex worker and this ladies POC freinds think of “wokness”

    Ohh god… no, the whole “article” is… horrible. There was a rough flow to the whole thing, but im convinced by the end of it not a single piece of information was actually conveyed. Maybe I had a stroke while reading it, I’m unsure. Something about an avocado, and a sex worker, and sexist (or racist… maybe) TV (or streaming) producers.

    If anyone can explain what that article was trying to say, I’d much appreciate it. And no this is NOT sarcasm, I truly don’t understand a single thing I read.

    This is really what it takes to be a “journalist” today? A full frontal lobotomy?

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