2:00PM Water Cooler 2/3/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day


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

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching…. (A reader asked the source of the data: Johns Hopkins CSSE. DIVOC-91 does allow other data sets to be used, like Our World in Data and The Atlantic, and where they provide visualizations similar to those below, a cursory comparison shows that the shape of the curves is the same.)

Vaccination by region:

Step it up, Northeast! At some point, say by the third week in February*, we’re going to need to see these curves going more vertical, or else we can conclude that the vaccination rate is basically a function of our extraordinarily [family-blogged] health care system, and “competence” and “leadership” operate only at the margin. Needless to say, I’d like to see the curves going more vertical. NOTE * “He’s only been President ___ weeks, give him time.”

Vaccination in the Northeast:

An ugly picture.

Case count by United States region:

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

Texas on the upswing. I don’t like that. A cloud no bigger than a man’s hand? (1 Kings 18:44)

Test positivity:

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


I wondered if New England would repeat its earlier, and unique, stairstep pattern; now it has. Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):\

There’s that slow rise in the fatality rate again. Nice to see a little drop in deaths, may it continue.

AZ: “COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations trending down” [KGUN (Arizona Slim)]. “Scientists say COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are trending down in Arizona and in many parts of the country. The Pima County Health Department says hospitals are still straining under the pandemic, but ICU bed availability has improved into the double digits…. While the numbers are still too high, the rate of hospitalizations and cases started to trend down around Christmas. The cause is still unknown, but [University of Arizona Health Services Researcher Dr. Joe Gerald] says there are a number of possible factors. ‘My leading contender is the closure of universities and schools, because culturally all 50 states close school for the holidays to be with our families.” He says it is also possible that the population may have developed some partial herd immunity.” • I dunno about the school vacation theory. Aren’t we well into the Spring Semester already? Perhaps an alternative theory is the prevalance of online classes?

NY: “N.Y.C.’s Covid Metrics Are Dire. Cuomo Is Reopening Restaurants Anyway” [New York Times]. • This guy…. I don’t know if there’s been a study done on administrative effectiveness at the state level, but anecdotal evidence would suggest it’s random with respect to Blue v. Red.

WV: “‘We crushed it’: How did West Virginia become a national leader in Covid vaccination?” [NBC]. “Since December, Ken Reed and his wife Tally, the owners of a small chain of pharmacies in the eastern part of this state, have been waking at dawn to travel to rural counties to vaccinate as many long-term care residents as possible. The Reeds say their familiarity with the people in counties like Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, and Pendleton makes all the difference in gaining their trust. ‘These are your neighbors, your friends, your friend’s parents, and you just treat them like you’d want to be treated,’ Ken Reed said. West Virginia, a small and mostly rural state with a large elderly population, was tagged early on as a place likely to struggle with Covid-19 and any vaccine rollout. But the state is now being hailed as a vaccination success story, with 85 percent of its delivered doses already used, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting it second in the country behind North Dakota as of last week.” • I’m really hoping this has nothing to do with the proven ability of pharmacies to distribute opioids. Sorry to rain on the parade….


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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“How Normal People Deployed Facial Recognition on Capitol Hill Protesters” [Vice]. “But earlier this month, a new use case for Pimeyes emerged: doxing suspected Capitol Hill rioters.Technologists have also deployed their own facial recognition and detection tools on videos and images of the Capitol Hill riots, but Pimeyes is easier to use. David Sebba, 31, of Florida, was one of at least seven Twitter users who posted about using Pimeyes to attempt to identify individuals illegally entering the US capitol. ‘We’ve sat around for four years while no one was held accountable. The idea of getting some justice on insurrectionists isn’t too bad,’ he told me in a message.” • Digital vigilantism will be totally OK as long as our side does it.


I know it’s too soon, but:

Are the Democrats trying to lose? (I did mention that the Capitol Seizure was a civil war between petty bourgeois factions? Taking “college educated” as the proxy).

Idea: Send people the working class money! (Actually, send everybody money, because universal benefits are nicer than nasty means-tested ones.)


“‘Farcical’ to not hold Senate impeachment trial for Trump: Biden” [ABC]. “President Joe Biden said in an interview published Wednesday that it would be ‘farcical’ if the Senate did not hold a trial for former President Donald Trump after the House voted last month to impeach him. ‘He was impeached by the House, and it has to move forward, otherwise it would come off as farcical,’ Biden said in the interview with People.” • FIrst time as farce, second time as not farce?

Transition to Biden

UPDATE “Schumer and McConnell agree to organizing resolution for 50-50 Senate” [Politico]. “McConnell initially asked that Senate Democrats commit to protecting the legislative filibuster as part of the agreement, which Schumer rejected. McConnell dropped that demand after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) publicly reiterated that they did not support eliminating the 60-vote threshold. The new agreement is expected to resemble the 2001 power sharing agreement between former Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle.”

“Watchdogs concerned about some Biden appointees’ opaque consulting work” [ABC]. “A number of senior officials joining the Biden administration have been working in consulting firms with opaque client lists, which ethics experts warn may undercut President Joe Biden’s efforts to ensure Americans have faith in the independence of its leaders. In choosing his cabinet-level appointees and agency heads, Biden has demonstrated a preference for veterans of government service, many of whom are returning to control the levers of power after holding private-sector jobs as Washington consultants for corporate clients. Many of Biden’s picks have passed through the revolving door between public and private work, but have done so without ever appearing on the official registry of K Street lobbying firms, which must follow strict reporting rules that require them to disclose to the U.S. government the names of clients and the government agencies they contact. Instead, ethics experts say many have navigated the murky alleyways of corporate consulting and geopolitical risk management — work that can occur in secret, often protected by confidentiality agreements.” • As usual with liberal Democrats, it’s all about the indirection.

UPDATE That means-testing line is going to be hard to draw, but those on the bubble should just take one for the team:

Oh, and the income figures used for the means-testing would be from 2019, i.e., from before the pandemic. So the point clearly isn’t “targeting,” beause the target already moved, but the importance of means-testing as such. It’s the principle of the thing. I mean, how do liberal Democrat Lady Bountifuls humiliate people if there’s no means-testing? Think, people!

UPDATE “Biden sitting down for pre-Super Bowl CBS interview” [The Hill]. “President Biden will sit down for an interview with CBS News that will be broadcast just before the Super Bowl kicks off on the network Sunday night. The recorded interview is slated to run sometime in the 4 p.m. hour, Variety reported. The president will be interviewed by Norah O’Donnell, host of the ‘CBS Evening News.’ The network said it will release excerpts of the interview during Friday night’s broadcast of ‘CBS Evening News’ and during ‘Face the Nation’ Sunday morning. CBS’s pregame Super Bowl coverage is scheduled to begin before noon and kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is set for 6:30 p.m.” • The headline seems a little deceptive. “Sit down for an interview” implies, to me, a live interview. Otherwise, there’s no need to stress “sit down,” because that’s how most interviews take place. I mean, they’re not going to be doing a West Wing-style walk-and-talk through the White House, are they?

UPDATE “There is no bipartisanship because Republicans don’t want it” [Ryan Cooper, The Week]. “It is somewhat mysterious why bipartisanship became a sort of fetish object for some D.C. lifers. It probably has something to do with how it obscures responsibility — if you are some kind of lobbyist or part of the imperialist foreign policy “blob,” bipartisanship can facilitate financial deregulation, or yet another pointless increase in the military budget, without it being clear who is to blame. A proper democratic system has clear lines of accountability, so it is obvious what the people’s representatives are doing with their power. Bipartisan compromise is the exact opposite. At any rate, for whatever reason Biden felt the need to pander to this sentiment during the campaign by promising a return to bipartisan comity that was absolutely never going to happen. He duly gave Republicans their opening, and now that they rejected the offer it’s on them. But perhaps now Democrats can try the novel strategy of trying to do a good job all by themselves, and allowing voters to judge them on their performance.” • Well, I don’t know when the bipartisanship fetish started, but I do know that Obama had the Preamble to the Democrat platform rewritten in 2009 to stress that a great nation deserved two great parties.

Democrats en Deshabille

“The GameStop Rally Exposed the Perils of ‘Meme Populism'” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “In a social-media discourse that was demographically representative of the nation as a whole, it seems unlikely that the phrase ‘working-class retail investors‘ would be spoken unironically. But on a platform that drastically underrepresents the supermajority of Americans who have less than $1,000 in savings, it was possible for some progressives to mistake the cause of recreational investors for that of the proletariat.” • Skip the Levitz on finance and read Vlade here and here. But on the silliness of the putative left, Levitz is correct.

Obama Legacy

“3 Million People Were Deported Under Obama. What Will Biden Do About It?” [New York Times]. • Wait. You’re telling me that [genuflects] Obama… sucked? Yes, that’s what I said:

Exactly as with Iraq, everybody who was wrong is still in power (and rich), and everybody who was right is marginalized, unserious, and scratching.

Realignment and Legitimacy

You can see the unique selling proposition, right?

Here it is: “I will show you how to develope a base and raise money without going through Pelosi or the DNC.” As I keep saying, AOC is the most interesting politician around right now.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats.

Employment Situation: “January 2020 ADP Employment Grew 174,000” [Econintersect]. “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth of 174,000 which was above expectations. A quote from the ADP authors: ‘Although job losses were previously concentrated among small and midsized businesses, we are now seeing signs of the prolonged impact of the pandemic on large companies as well.'”

Services: “United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI for the US increased to 58.7 in January of 2021 from 57.7 in December, beating market forecasts of 56.8. The reading pointed to the strongest expansion in the services sector since February of 2019. New orders increased faster (61.8 vs 58.6) and employment rebounded (55.2 vs 48.7). On the other hand, production (59.9 vs 60.5) and supplier deliveries (57.8 vs 62.8) slowed and both inventories (49.2 vs 58.2) and new export orders (47 vs 57.3) came back to contraction.”

* * *

Tech: “As Jeff Bezos steps aside, what comes next for Amazon?” [Financial Times]. “Amazon insisted that Mr Bezos, as executive chairman, would only be involved in what it described as “one-way door” decisions, from which there is no turning back. Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said these would include ‘the more important decisions: things like acquisitions, things like strategies and going into grocery and other things.'” Commentary:

The Bearded One conceptualized “fixed capital” for a reason….

Tech: “The Privacy Spat Between Facebook and Apple Is Just the Beginning” [Bloomberg]. “The recent flareup now centers on the wording of the pop-up prompting iPhone users to decide whether to allow tracking. Executives at Facebook worry that Apple will frame the choice in an alarmist way, effectively pushing users to reject tracking. Facebook Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner told analysts that he expects “high opt-out rates” for Apple’s prompt, and Facebook has said these changes will impact its business moving forward. It plans to front-run Apple’s prompt with messaging of its own, framing advertising as a way to have a better experience on Facebook and support businesses that rely on targeted ads for sales. Whatever the outcome, the dispute points to further tension ahead.”:

Concentration: “Pandemic lifestyle delivers earnings boon for Amazon, Google” [Agence France Presse]. “Pandemic-driven lifestyle changes that have put the internet at the center of seemingly everything proved a financial boon for Amazon and Google in the final three months of last year. Google-parent Alphabet and the Seattle-based e-commerce colossus reported large earnings Tuesday on thriving internet advertising and the booming market for online shopping.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 3 at 12:13pm

The Biosphere

“The Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil” [Consortium News]. “Over a dozen federal cases have now been filed against oil companies, seeking damages for their role in causing climate change. With one exception, the cases have been brought by states or local governments that claim they and their citizens are suffering harm from climate change. …The high-stakes litigation involves issues ranging from whether the companies deceived the public about climate change to fine points of federal jurisdiction. The cases may fail at an early stage, proceed all the way through trial, or, like the earlier tobacco litigation, end up with some kind of global settlement. But beyond wins, losses, or settlements, the most consequential phase of these climate lawsuits may be discovery, where courts require the oil companies to turn over documents and other information relevant to the suits, with the possibility that these disclosures will reach the public.”

Health Care

“The Second COVID-19 Shot Is a Rude Reawakening for Immune Cells” [The Atlantic]. “Side effects are a natural part of the vaccination process, as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written. Not everyone will experience them. But the two COVID-19 vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States, made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, already have reputations for raising the hackles of the immune system: In both companies’ clinical trials, at least a third of the volunteers ended up with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue; fevers like my husband’s were less common. Dose No. 2 is more likely to pack a punch—in large part because the effects of the second shot build iteratively on the first. My husband, who’s a neurologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, is one of many who had a worse experience with his second shot than his first. But much like any other learning process, in this one repetition is key. When hit with the second injection, the immune system recognizes the onslaught, and starts to take it even more seriously. The body’s encore act, uncomfortable though it might be, is evidence that the immune system is solidifying its defenses against the virus. ‘By the second vaccine, it’s already amped up and ready to go,’ Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told me. Fortunately, side effects resolve quickly, whereas COVID-19 can bring on debilitating, months-long symptoms and has killed more than 2 million people.”

“Vaccinating Children against Covid-19 — The Lessons of Measles” [NEJM]. “Since nearly a quarter of the U.S. population is under 18 years old — and the percentage is significantly higher in many other countries — effective herd immunity will require pediatric vaccination. Vaccinating children is likely to have benefits both direct (protecting children against rare severe pediatric cases of Covid-19 and postinfectious conditions such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children [MIS-C]) and indirect (protecting others by reducing spread).1 Those “indirect” benefits also reduce the family toll of parental illness, failing economies, and chronic stress. So we need to think creatively and empathically about what motivates parents to accept vaccination for their offspring. How do the conversation and the stakes change when children are not themselves at highest risk? What do we owe children and their families for helping to protect the rest of us? Robust safety data, including pediatric-focused studies and postlicensure monitoring for potential rare outcomes such as vaccine-associated MIS-C, are a bare minimum, as is ensuring just and equitable access to vaccination. Societal decision making that prioritizes children’s needs, including keeping schools open and safe, would be another step in the right direction. Flexible sick-leave policies, widespread access to testing, and financial support for parents, teachers, and other caregivers would help protect families in this stressful time. We must minimize children’s risk, maximize their chances of returning to school, and mitigate the pandemic’s effects on their families.”

“How Rich Hospitals Profit From Patients in Car Crashes” [New York Times]. “When Monica Smith was badly hurt in a car accident, she assumed Medicaid would cover the medical bills. Ms. Smith, 45, made sure to show her insurance card after an ambulance took her to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. She spent three days in the hospital and weeks in a neck brace. But the hospital never sent her bills to Medicaid, which would have paid for the care in full, and the hospital refused requests to do so. Instead, it pursued an amount five times higher from Ms. Smith directly by placing a lien on her accident settlement. Parkview is among scores of wealthy hospitals that have quietly used century-old hospital lien laws to increase revenue, often at the expense of low-income people like Ms. Smith. By using liens — a claim on an asset, such as a home or a settlement payment, to make sure someone repays a debt — hospitals can collect on money that otherwise would have gone to the patient to compensate for pain and suffering. They can also ignore the steep discounts they are contractually required to offer to health insurers, and instead pursue their full charges.” • Who says America has lost the ability to innovate? (Also, on “assume.” Be a “smart shopper” and “assume” they’ll screw you, unless and until proven otherwise. That is the world we live in!

“The Definitive Case for ‘Medicare For All'” [Current Affairs]. “M4A simply gives the United States what these countries already have: a financing system that is proven to work. At the moment, health financing is a mess—a mixture of Medicare, Medicaid, employer-based private insurance plans, and plans purchased on the public exchanges. M4A would simplify the system, funding the whole system through progressive taxation rather than a mixture of taxes plus insurance premiums, copays, and deductibles. At the moment, Americans pay a fortune for healthcare, but a large amount of that money is wasted, siphoned off by the shareholders of private insurance companies or gobbled up by administrative costs. (El-Sayed and Johnson note that in an average year, health administration costs amount to $2500 per American, versus $550 in Canada.)” • That’s a lot of rice bowls to smash…

Sports Desk

“Large Gatherings” [CDC]. “Attending large gatherings like the Super Bowl increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. The safest way to watch the Super Bowl this year is at home with people you live with. If you choose to attend the Super Bowl or a large Super Bowl event, like a watch party this year, follow these steps to make yourself safer…” • Nothing explicit on airborne transmission; only by implication (masks, no chanting or cheering). What about ventilation? This borders on criminality.

Guillotine Watch

“The story behind ‘Blue Check Homes’: How an SF artist created a fake company that fooled thousands” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “On Friday, a viral Twitter thread announced the unexpected rollout of “Blue Check Homes” — a new service allowing Bay Area residents to apply to have a “Verified Badge crest” (read: blue check mark) installed on the facade of their homes to essentially identify themselves as an authentic public figure in real life…. Danielle Baskin, the SF-based artist behind the prank, had no idea the website she crafted to back up the fake service would receive 495 applicants, all hoping for a crest of their own….. Scrolling down the page, the qualifications to obtain one of these crests seem to grow increasingly absurd. You must be a homeowner who is also a “thought leader,” for instance, or identify yourself as an athlete or member of a professional esports league who has been featured in gaming publications like Kotaku, Polygon or IGN. Are you a famous actor desiring to own one of these crests? Well, unless you have at least five production credits on your IMDB profile, too bad.” • What is increasingly absurd about any of this? And the kicker: “Personally, I wanted to know how Baskin came up with all of these made-up credentials. But to my surprise, she pointed out these are all the same qualifications the actual Twitter app requires of its users requesting verified status. And that’s kind of the point of the prank.”

Class Warfare

Act I, Scene 1:

News of the Wired

“What Is Applied Category Theory?” (PDF) [Tai-Danae Bradley]. • Just leaving this here in case I ever want to find it again, but the mathematically inclined may want to delve in.

Rather like a medieval QR code:

Because of course:

Does have a little bit of an edge to it, though…

* * *

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ED writes: “Seen in Stanford, NY this September. Thought of Water Cooler right away.

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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. Arizona Slim

    Up there ^^ Lambert asked this question:

    I dunno about the school vacation theory. Aren’t we well into the Spring Semester already? Perhaps an alternative theory is the prevalence of online classes?

    Down here, I’ll answer it:

    The University of Arizona has been back in session since January 12. But I’m still noticing a lot of “for rent” signs, even at the most popular student party apartment complexes.

    That being said, the kids are here, and, yes, they’re doing what kids do. They’re partying.

    During the King holiday weekend, there was quite the bash near the Arizona Slim Ranch. A riled-up neighbor posted a photo — with indignant commentary — on Nextdoor. From my Nextdoor duckblind, I noticed quite a bit of irate commentary from other neighbors.

    Well, the Tucson Police Department got involved, and now the big bash complex is sporting what’s called a red tag. It’s actually an orange tag, and it means that the partiers have been fined, the university has been notified, and they’d better not have another party for six months. If they do, they are going to be hit with some HUGE fines.

    Since then, the kids in that part of town have been very quiet. And we neighbors like things that way.

    1. upstater

      Really like the TPD approach with orange tags. Almost as good as the blue check marks! Wife says concertina wire would be good, too.

      Have not been to Syracuse University hill, but a couple feet of snow put a damper even on the frat boyz. Having said that, the police would probably get sued by rich parents or frat alumni for discrimination.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          when i lived in a trailerpark barrio in south austin(toddlin town, toddlin town), i would “clean” my inherited antique(1850, not shiny) double barrel 10 gauge on the porch on saturday afternoons.(i was and still am afraid to fire the thing, even if i could find/create ammo…it was my great granddad’s, and hangs in the living room, close to his (still functional) crosscut saw.)
          it was very effective, given that at least half the neighborhood was accosted/robbed at some point by dissolute youth, but i never was.
          my glaring prolly helped a bit, too.

          there’s often a germ of truth , even in righty arglebargle.

          1. ambrit

            Most definitely do take care with that ‘working’ antique. At that age, it was designed for black powder charges, weaker and infinitely ‘smokier’ than today’s propellants. The image of barrels split out like steel flowers is not “artistic license.” It is the honest to g– truth about what happens when you ‘over power’ a barrel. Plus, ten bore! What did great granddad hunt with it back then? The last of the mastodons?

            1. Wukchumni

              About a decade ago after Obama didn’t veto a bill allowing guns into our National Parks, I was taking a hike and shortly after setting off couldn’t help but notice a buck with a deer rifle with me in the crosshairs, thank goodness he didn’t have an opposable thumb & forefinger I thought, brushing off the encounter as a one off, but then about a half a mile up the trail was a coiled western diamondback rattlesnake ensconced around a Ruger with silencer attached, was this some sort of inside joke I wondered?

              Not long after off to the side of the trail was a squirrel with a Sharps Buffalo rifle that was simply too much gun for the rodent, I felt.

              How had the denizens of the higher climes gotten armed & dangerous so quickly after the bill passed?

              Turns out the Marmot Cong were not only a danger to the well being of automobiles, but they were also arms merchants, one of them manning an old Maxim machine gun on the periphery of the parking lot. I went way out of my way to get out of range, and luckily nothing happened, and i’m here to tell the tale.

              1. ambrit

                An old friend had the tee shirt with the motto; “The right to arm bears.”
                Not exactly my idea of a “well regulated militia.”

  2. Seth Miller

    Re: Idea: Send people money!

    We already are sending people money. I think you mean “send working people money!”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Are disabled people, some of whom are getting government checks already, and every month or other period, to be considered “working class”?

          How about Social Security recipients?

          There’s a nicely complex spectrum of persons in various degrees of ”NOT selling their labor power to survive” who could give the Dem PMC hours of fun work breaking them down into categories of worthiness or de-intersectionalitization.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My mom is on disability (does that phase out for regular social security? I should know, but I don’t). She worked before and after the onset of her disability, paying into Social Security the whole time.

            Then when I would get SS checks because mom was legally blind (I guess they were for us), but then again, my mom’s disability meant us kids were doing more labor than would have happened if mom wasn’t blind or at least different labor.

  3. Phillip Cross

    COVID-19. It is interesting to compare what is going on in Portugal (11m pop) vs. Alabama (5m pop).

    According to news stories I have read, Portugal has been suffering from a very serious outbreak. Like Italy last year, the volume of cases is stretching their health system to breaking point. Alabama is suffering a similar number of deaths to Portugal at the moment, despite having half the population and half the number of cases 3 weeks ago.

    The Alabama CFR vs cases from 3 weeks ago is ridiculously high. 4000 cases then, 300 deaths today.

    Does anyone know what is going on there, isn’t that where Yves lives?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I heard that it is so bad in Portugal that they are having to transport some of their patients to other less stressed countries for treatment.

      1. Phillip Cross

        The point I was trying to make was that Alabama’s absolute numbers are just as bad as Portugal, but Alabama only has half the population. So it’s twice as bad on a per capita basis.

        Portugal making global headlines, whilst Alabama gets *crickets*.

        1. ambrit

          Well, compare that with Portugal getting *crickets* about it’s solving most of it’s drugs problems peacefully.
          It’s all about the ‘clicks.’ (Crickets do still go ‘click,’ right?)

    2. Yves Smith

      Yes, not remotely enough people wears masks, except at the Jewish Community Center, which is actually run by doctors (membership is 70% goyim) and just about no one is there anyhow with their super strict attendance limits. Even here where there is a mask mandate, no one will enforce it and half the people who wear masks wear them below their noses.

  4. Mikerw0

    Sometimes one shouldn’t overthink things. Post election analysis as reported by the Rs seems to boil down to one issue –> pandemic. If come summer 2022 the country is clearly on the mend then the Ds will do fine in the mid-terms. If not they will get deservedly shellacked (within the bounds of gerrymandering, partisan safe districts, etc.).

    So, while right now QANON and things like it are the flavor of cable and MSM, based on what I hear around me, such as at the gym, people just yearn to return to something resembling normal and critically they want economic assistance to get to the other side. That means kids in school, business fully opened, etc.

    One last piece of anecdotal evidence is this being Super Bowl week no one really seems to care. They just want their shot and to be able to go see grandma. People are worn out. They seem to be keenly aware of just how screwed up vaccine distribution is (NYC suburbs) and everyone has a story of the crazy gyrations people are going through to get one. And they know who to blame (Gov. Cuomo).

    1. Pelham

      Yes, people are worn out. So if a return to normal is what Biden voters were seeking, I suspect they’ll have little tolerance for Dems whining about some weirdo theorizing most of them probably haven’t heard about.

  5. clarky90

    Re; “Digital vigilantism will be totally OK……..”

    Moscow Trials. The Case of Bukharin

    Interrogation of accused Bukharin – Evening Session March 5, 1938


    ………… “THE PRESIDENT: And so, if you want to say anything about your criminal anti-Soviet activities, you may do so.

    Bukharin: I want to deal with the subject of the restoration of capitalism. May I?

    VYSHINSKY: Of course, that is your chief speciality.

    Bukharin: I want first to deal with ideological positions, not in the sense of declining responsibility for practical, criminal counter-revolutionary activities. I have not the slightest desire that the proletarian Court should conceive such an opinion. I want to reply to the question which Citizen the State Prosecutor put to Rakovsky, namely, for the sake of what did the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” carry on such a criminal struggle against the Soviet power? I realize that I am not a lecturer and must not preach a sermon here, but that I am an accused person who must bear responsibility as a criminal, facing the Court of the proletarian country. But just because it seems to me that this trial is of public importance, and because this question has been dealt with extremely little, I thought that it would be useful to dwell on the program which has never been written down anywhere, on the practical program of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites,” and to decipher one formula, namely, what is meant by the restoration of capitalism, in the way it was visualized and conceived in the circles of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.” I repeat that in desiring to dwell. upon this aspect of the matter I have no wish to disclaim responsibility for various practical things, for my counter-revolutionary crimes. But I want to say that I was not one of the cogs of counter-revolution, but one of the leaders of counter-revolution; and as one of the leaders I play and answer in a far greater degree, bear far greater responsibility than any of the cogs. And so I cannot be suspected of wanting to wriggle out of or repudiate responsibility, even if I were not a member of the Right and Trotskyite organization. The Court and the public opinion of our country, like the public opinion of other countries, as far as progressive mankind is concerned, can judge how people sank to such depths, how we all became rabid counter-revolutionaries, traitors to the Socialist fatherland, and how we turned into spies, terrorists and restorers of capitalism, and what, in the end, were the ideas and political standpoint of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.” We embarked on treachery, crime and treason. But for the sake of what did we embark on this? We turned into an insurrectionary band, we organized terrorist groups, engaged in wrecking activities, wanted to overthrow the valiant leadership of Stalin, the Soviet government of the proletariat.

    One of the very widespread replies Is that through the logic of the struggle we were forced to become counter-revolutionaries, plotters and traitors, that we were led to the shame, to the crime, that has brought us into the criminal dock. I need not say that such things do not happen in public life; here there is a logic, the logic of the struggle is combined with the methods of the struggle, with the platform.

    I want to dwell on these facts, although I am convinced that actually such a terminology may sound rather strange in relation to such criminal activities, but nevertheless it seems important to me to dwell on this.

    It has been proved many times, and repeated tens of thousands of times, that the Right deviation, from the moment of its inception, when it was still in an embryo, from the moment of its inception set itself the aim of restoring capitalism. I do not intend to speak about this. I want to speak of another aspect of the matter, from a far more important standpoint, from the objective side of this matter, because here there arises the problem of accountability and judgment from the standpoint of the crimes revealed in Court, all the more so because I am one of the leaders in the dock. We must here start from the beginning.

    The Right counter-revolutionaries seemed at first to be a “deviation”; they seemed, at a first glance, to be people who began with discontent in connection with collectivization, in connection with industrialization, with the fact, as they claimed, that industrialization was destroying production. This, at a first glance, seemed to be the chief thing. Then the Ryutin platform appeared. When all the state machines, when all the means, when all the best forces were flung into the industrialization of the country, into collectivization, we, found ourselves, literally in twentyfour hours, on the other shore, we found ourselves with the kulaks, with the counter-revolutionaries, we found ourselves with the capitalist remnants which still existed at the time in the sphere of trade. Hence it follows that the basic meaning, the judgment, from the subjective standpoint, is clear. Here we went through a very interesting process, an over-estimation of individual enterprise, a crawling over to its idealization, the idealization of the property-owner. Such was the evolution. Our program was-the prosperous peasant farm of the individual, but in fact the kulak became an end in itself. We were ironical about the collective farms. We, the counter-revolutionary plotters, came at that time more and more to display the psychology that collective farms were music of the future. What was necessary was to develop rich property-owners. This was the tremendous change that took place in our standpoint and psychology. In 1917 it would never have. occurred to any of the members of the Party, myself included, to pity Whiteguards who had been killed; yet in the period of the liquidation of the kulaks, In 1929-30, we pitied the expropriated kulaks, from so-called humanitarian motives. To whom would it have occurred in 1919 to blame the dislocation of oureconomic life onthe Bolsheviks, and not on sabotage? To nobody. It would have sounded as frank and open treason. Yet I myself in 1928 invented the formula about the military-feudal exploitation of the peasantry, that is, I put the blame for the costs of the class struggle not on the class which was hostile to the proletariat, but on the leaders of the proletariat itself. This was already a swing of 180 degrees. This meant that ideological and political platforms grew into counterrevolutionary platforms. Kulak farming and kulak interests actually became a point of program. The logic of the struggle led to the logic of ideas and to a change of our psychology, to the counter-revolutionizing of our aims.

    Take industry. At first we raised an outcry about over-industrialization, about over-straining the budget, and so on. But as a matter of fact this was a program demand, it was the ideal of a kulak agrarian country with an industrial appendage. And psychologically? Psychologically, we, who at one time had advocated Socialist industrialism, began to regard with a shrug of the shoulders, with irony, and then with anger at bottom, our huge, gigantically growing factories as monstrous gluttons which consumed everything, deprived the broad masses of articles of consumption, and represented a certain danger. The heroic efforts of the foremost workers…

    THE PRESIDENT: Accused Bukharin, you have again not understood me. You are not making your last plea now. You were asked to testify to your anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary activities, but you are giving us a lecture. In your last plea you may say whatever you like. I am explaining this to you for the third time.

    Bukharin: Then permit me very briefly..

    VYSHINSKY: Tell me, accused Bukharin, how all this took shape in practice in your anti-Soviet activities.

    Bukharin: Then permit me to enumerate certain points of program. And then I will immediately pass on to relate my practical counter-revolutionary activities. May I, Citizen the President?

    THE PRESIDENT: Only more briefly, if you please. You will have an opportunity to make a speech as your own Counsel for Defence.

    Bukharin: This is not my defence, it is my self-accusation. I have not said a single word in my defence……….”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      But it has been firmly promised that the dictatorship of the ̶p̶r̶o̶l̶e̶t̶a̶r̶i̶a̶t̶ Twittersphere will drop away once C̶o̶m̶m̶u̶n̶i̶s̶m̶
      Full Rainbow Enlightenment has been achieved and toxic whiteness consigned to the dustbin of… oh wait, history is a white patriarchal construct and we don’t bother with that anymore. This is the Year Zero, Clarky, and nothing has gone before!

      This must be the place I waited years to leave

      (Speaking of which, has anyone heard from Chief Academician Olga in a while? I send her fraternal greetings and hope she is well!)

  6. cocomaan

    Was reading Lambert’s articles on vaccination, problems with vaccination, and children getting vaccinated.

    Still not getting any kind of data on how long immunity lasts. Fauci speculated that it would be a year rotation (https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/dr-fauci-says-the-covid-vaccine-will-only-keep-you-immune-for-this-long/ss-BB1bsOiD).

    Wouldn’t this be the kind of information you’d find in animal trials? And be able to model off of? I guess they were using immune correlates (like they do with flu vaccines) in monkeys: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03041-6

    Anyway, I understand the limitations (Covid has been around for a year) but isn’t length of immunity a major step in understanding how to flatten the curve? I see almost nobody talking about it. Maybe they are avoiding it.

    1. Cuibono

      too many unknowns…new strains, local epidemiology changes, age effects, dosing schedules..

      what you really want to know imo is not how long immunity lasts for but how long you are protected against severe disease

    2. Pelham

      Maybe they are indeed avoiding the subject.

      Join the club. I keep wondering why long Covid with possibly lifelong, devastating damage to major organs occurring in (possibly) quite large percentages of patients who suffer even mild cases isn’t getting more daily attention. The focus on deaths is understandable, but long Covid may be a threat of far greater consequence.

      In the past I’ve chalked up such media lapses to a phenomenon I’ve observed for decades: the repeated and apparently innocent failure to ask glaringly obvious questions or explore glaringly obvious subject matter. I’ve since come round to the idea that these lapses may not be so innocent.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Media aside, time and resources are a factor. I have no faith in elite msm, so until Tom Hanks suffers from Long Covid, they won’t care.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i only remember seeing mention of “long covid”, here, on NC.
        given i’ve been keeping my distance from the news cycle,but still.
        from what i’ve gleaned, “long covid” could well be a long term, and gigantic, problem…and a perfect rallying cry for MFA.
        the people who matter are totally against MFA, of course…and they happen to run the Narrative…so, “long covid” doesn’t make the cut.
        i reckon becoming comfortable in Hypercynicism is an adaptive trait, at this point…and is the last ditch for staving off utter nihilism.

      3. HotFlash

        long Covid may be a threat of far greater consequence.

        Indeed. Disease, which is sometimes (often?) asymptomatic, has diverse long-term effects, so, a retroactive, pre-existing condition? I’m sure health insurers have a position on this.

  7. fresno dan

    How Rich Hospitals Profit From Patients in Car Crashes” [New York Times].

    ….she assumed Medicaid would cover the medical bills. Ms. Smith, 45, made sure to show her insurance card after an ambulance took her to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. She spent three days in the hospital and weeks in a neck brace. But the hospital never sent her bills to Medicaid, which would have paid for the care in full, and the hospital refused requests to do so. Instead, it pursued an amount five times higher from Ms. Smith directly by placing a lien on her accident settlement.
    Parkview is among scores of wealthy hospitals that have quietly used century-old hospital lien laws to increase revenue, often at the expense of low-income people like Ms. Smith. By using liens — a claim on an asset, such as a home or a settlement payment, to make sure someone repays a debt — hospitals can collect on money that otherwise would have gone to the patient to compensate for pain and suffering.
    Generally, law is that if a medical provider accepts medicaid, it has to accept that as full payment.
    HOWEVER, the link below (I think the most recent and applicable policy statement on the matter) explains that medicaid will allow liens in some situations. What is interesting is that was written in 1997
    of course, medicaid beneficiaries (as well as most people) do not understand the nuances of liens and tort law, and can’t afford an attorney to check to see if the conditions are being met that permits liens to be undertaken…

    1. Mikel

      So something else that the heavily touted ACA didn’t “fix” or that we are supposed to keep voting for them to “fix” while they take big donations not to “fix” it.
      Total institutional ROT.

    2. TMoney

      How can they get your pain and suffering money ? That’s supposed to be over and above the medical bills. The settlements will need to be written to cover the medical bills directly and then payout to the sufferer separately. Let Big Accident Insurance fight with Big Health Care.

      How low will these people go ? No don’t answer, it’s lower than I can imagine.

      1. LifelongLib

        I don’t know if this is an example of something similar, but the last couple of times my wife and I sought treatment for minor injuries (me for a dog bite resulting from my own carelessness, her for a fall at home) we got paperwork asking if the injuries were car accident or work-related, if we’d hired an attorney to represent us, or somebody else might be liable. Sure seemed like our health insurance provider (a Blue Shield member) was setting up to palm off expenses…

        1. Librarian Guy

          So, in late April, 6 weeks into Covid shelter, I had a serious tooth abscess over the weekend and woke up on Monday morning with the right side of my face swollen to double size. I have had Kaiser Permanente coverage (live in NorCal) for over 20 years and not needed it often.

          Kaiser gave me outstanding treatment, & I was out of the hospital 32 hours after checking in . . . 4 or so months later, I got a mailed document from some Kaiser overseer of liability. The form advised me in barely veiled threatening language that I was legally obligated to respond to questions regarding the source of my health condition. E.g., might my dental provider have been at fault?, Something else?, etc. . . . I went online and answered honestly, it only took 15 minutes or so. . . . Evidently they were setting somebody up for a lawsuit, though in my case it never came to fruition.

        2. Sue insSoCal

          Hi LL, they always send those to see if there’s a third party involved who might be liable. It’s called subrogation. I used to either call them or just write “this case doesn’t involve subrogation. There is no third party involved” on their pain in the butt form.

          (Same I think for Librarian Guy below. Standard procedure. But pretty weird for an abscessed tooth!! Imho.)

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    I’m adding Reality Czar to my accomplishments, although I’d rather spell it Xar.

    Today, a dose of reality from the ABC article, “Watchdogs concerned about some Biden appointees’ opaque consulting work.”

    WestExec, which produced Antony Blinken and Jen Psaki, also has curiously employed Intelligence Asset Avril:
    “Haines reported that JP Morgan, Microsoft and Open Philanthropy were her clients at the firm. She said during her confirmation hearing last week that she worked for WestExec less than a day per month on average. She also said that she did not consult on behalf of any foreign entities through WestExec.”

    This is fan-club politics. Was she on call, just in case Microsoft required some intelligence? Was she padding her résumé, like Trains-and-Planes Czar Buttigieg the First? Or is the whole thing a club that has membership requirements we don’t know about?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      shit like that is why Frazzledrip is believable in some quarters.
      or alien lizards in human suits.
      Boss Class is so far out of touch with the rest of us, they may as well be a different species, on a different planet.
      I recall a comment of mine that Lambert hoisted into a thread, regarding my PMC Stepmom, and her disbelief in how hard it is to be poor…regarding medicaid, and such.
      and she’s well below the denizens of bubbles like Westexec.
      if she finds it difficult to relate…having grown up in poverty, and still having close relatives in poverty(me)…i imagine that the truly enbubbled have no clue at all.

  9. Lee

    Vaccination anecdote:

    Talked to my 74 year old buddy who works at Trader Joe’s today and as usual asked him if he’d managed to schedule a vaccination through Kaiser, his healthcare provider. Kaiser’s response to his queries, can be characterized as “we’ll have to get back to you on that.” Also spoke with a neighbor, also a 74 year old Kaiser member, who has been checking every day for weeks and getting the same no news/ no vaccine response. This is Kaiser ffs!

    Operations. As of 2019, Kaiser Permanente had 12.2 million health plan members, 218,297 employees, 22,914 physicians, 59,127 nurses, 39 medical centers, and 706 medical facilities.

    Meanwhile, my aforementioned, resourceful, locally well connected and well-off neighbor managed through some intricate set of personal and professional connections, to work around Kaiser, and did manage to schedule a shot at some little clinic some 50 miles away on Super Bowl Sunday. Nice for some.

    I’m currently scheduled for the first of two shots on March 21 at a Stanford clinic an hour’s drive away. How is it that Stanford Healthcare, a much smaller organization than Kaiser, is currently delivering vaccinations, and has knowledge of what its supply will be months down the road, while Kaiser is offering its members bupkis?

    “May we look forward to the day when life-saving vaccines will be as ubiquitously available as Viagra”, quipped my buddy from TJ’s.

    1. Skip Intro

      Apparently 80% of the vaccines the state gets go to the counties, and 20% go to the 9 multi-county entities like Kaiser, Sutter, UC, Corrections Dept. etc.

      Kaiser sent out he following on 1/30:

      At Kaiser Permanente, we care for more than 9.3 million Californians — and we’ve received only a fraction of the vaccine needed to vaccinate our health care workers and our members. At the time of this writing, we’ve received approximately 300,000 doses across the state and we’re acting quickly to vaccinate those who are eligible as soon as we receive the vaccine.

      The shortage of vaccine doses and the uncertainty about the timing of vaccine availability worries everyone. The state of California must allocate the limited COVID-19 vaccine supply it receives from the federal government to 58 California counties and 9 multi-county entities, including Kaiser Permanente. We’re currently receiving a total of approximately 40,000 vaccine doses per week in California. We, like the state, are not permitted to purchase more vaccines directly from the manufacturer.

  10. chuck roast

    “I will show you how to develop a base and raise money without going through Pelosi or the DNC.”

    Why on earth would an incumbent want to do that? The DNC would simply turn around and primary such and incumbent with an ex-military/CIA gay woman of color from an acceptable country club. A winning combo in the ‘burbs.

  11. Cuibono

    seems to me the Dems know full well means testing is a guaranteed fail. Hence the desire to go that route.

  12. cuibono

    “The body’s encore act, uncomfortable though it might be, is evidence that the immune system is solidifying its defenses against the virus.”
    could be. funny it doesn’t happen with measles shots or with tetanus shots or with polio shots. All of which give even better immunity

    1. voteforno6

      It does happen with the shingles vaccine, though, which also requires two doses. Those other diseases also don’t have nearly the amount of variance that COVID and influenza have.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Last time I had a tetanus shot was, oh, too long ago. But my worst pain was self-inflicted. At the time, I was in the habit of leaning on my left elbow. My shot-tender left arm didn’t like that.

  13. Cuibono

    “What about ventilation? This borders on criminality.”
    Combined with their position on better masks for the general public and one begins to wonder

    1. Wukchumni

      If I was one of the 25,000 attending the Superbowl, the bathrooms would kinda frighten me a bit, as its the one place everybody goes indoors.

      Luckily i’m a cheap bastard and will watch it on tv with a much better view than that venue.

      Yeah, I would have preferred the Bills to be in it, but it looks like potentially a game for the ages, the best QB of all time versus the best young QB.

      I like tails, for the coin flip.

  14. Lambert Strether Post author

    This looks interesting:

    Readers may wish to submit more pointedly systemic questions than the ones I read…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Probably find that only those with verified accounts will be permitted to ask him any questions. They already know that any embarrassing questions that they ask could lead to their verified status being yanked so they won’t push him.

    2. Hopelb

      You do know they won’t answer the pointed questions right? But it will be a public service if others can read through them.

    3. drexciya

      Most likely this will of the same level as the press conferences in The Netherlands; the questions in that case are so inane, and obviously pre-approved, that it’s becoming even more of a farce. That is one of the things that really makes me frustrated; the media is really in cahoots with the politicians to drag out this crisis and keep on doing the wrong things, and no one who is even remotely critical is allowed any platform.

      My questions would be:
      Why the familyblog are we not doing anything when it comes to vitamin D (very good reports from Andalusia recently, on top of the heaps of evidence, and knowledge about vitamin D in general).
      Why no interest in Ivermectin, or first-line treatments in general?

      1. jonboinAR

        My anecdote: I was exposed fairly significantly, I’m pretty sure, back in early December. Right along, for months, I had been taking supplements of Vitamins D, C and K; Zinc; Magnesium; and a regular old multi. By sheer happenstance, a couple of weeks before exposure, I had increased my dosage of D to 4,000 IU(?) and of Zinc to 200 mg(?). Several around me got sick (luckily, all mild cases!). I never showed a symptom. I got tested. It came back negative, I did quarantine for 10 days…

  15. Expat2Uruguay

    There is this quote in the article regarding vaccinating children against covid and past experience with measles, “Vaccinating children is likely to have benefits both direct (protecting children against rare severe pediatric cases of Covid-19 and postinfectious conditions such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children [MIS-C]) and indirect (protecting others by reducing spread).1 ”
    I wonder about this Assumption of indirect protection, because nowhere have I seen it asserted that the vaccine protects against contagion and spread by vaccinated persons. Please advise me of any information to the contrary

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I wonder about this Assumption of indirect protection, because nowhere have I seen it asserted that the vaccine protects against contagion and spread by vaccinated persons. Please advise me of any information to the contrary

      The data are just beginning to come in. From the AP

      Oxford’s study, however, found that the vaccine not only prevented severe disease but appeared to cut transmission of the virus by two-thirds. The study has not been peer-reviewed yet.

      Makers cannot make explicit claims that their vaccines prevent contagion until there is data to support those claims. The data to support (or refute, obviously) any such claims will begin pouring in. It’s reasonable to expect that the efficacy at preventing contagion will be similar to efficacy at preventing infection, but that claim cannot be made yet. Either way, we’ll probably conclusively know by the end of the year.

  16. Terry Flynn

    Re: vaccine side effects – anecdotal. Saw my GP today about some auto immune issues (discussed with PlutoniumKun among others in last 48 hours). He told me 7 out of 8 GPs at this practice had nasty side effects to the Astra-Zeneca (Oxford) vaccine akin to a “flu vaccination”. Same symptoms as my sister – primarily extreme fatigue starting within 24 hours and lasting anything from 6 to 72 hours. 8th GP had Pfizer vaccine – some side effects but “very mild”.

    Older patients (in his experience) seem LESS prone to these A-Z side effects as he believes their immune system is less primed. He told me my mother definitely needs to contact her GP tmw if her (now 6 day) post vaccination symptoms persist…. unfortunately she is at different practice to me…..

  17. bob

    “I don’t know if there’s been a study done on administrative effectiveness at the state level, but anecdotal evidence would suggest it’s random with respect to Blue v. Red.”

    Cuomo is a very effective evil

    1. CGKen

      Illinois is very blue at the state level and is doing very poorly so far. I had been relatively happy with Pritzker’s COVID performance, but he has not been able to get shots into people at nearly a fast enough rate. When asked by reporters he’s said that he’s told Walgreens and CVS that he is concerned, but nothing sterner than that.

  18. Carla

    That is a divine plantidote, especially as I gaze out my window at a snow-covered world. Thank you so much!

  19. Wukchumni

    Things could’ve been worse on January 6th if Cue Anon had showed up demanding billiards, sticking it the man!

    1. ambrit

      Well, jumping the fence definitely ended up in a ‘bridge’ to nowhere. There were so many ‘curves’ thrown, it ended up a very masse situation. We still didn’t find out which ‘pocket’ those pesky politicos were in.

  20. LilD

    Thanks for the category theory link. It’s incredibly well written in a “ I’m trying my best to communicate “ style, rather than the typical bland “ I’m going to put reviewers to sleep so they don’t reject it “ style

  21. Mikel

    Why don’t they come out and say what “means testing” will be.

    People will have a ton of paperwork to do in order to apply. It will be on crappy, glitchy systems with no human customer service help. Or hours, days, weeks of assitance. A lot like state unemployment systems…

    How long does it take to set up this “means testing”?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Mark Blyth was making the point in an interview that whenever the wealthy get a bailout, that the way that the system is set up they get their money into their account like the same day – bam! Here it is. No waiting, no phone calls to make, no forms to fill out, no waiting. It is just deposited in their accounts for immediate use. Probably to be invested overseas but that is another story.

      Maybe the government could simply set up a free bank account via the US Treasury for every holder of a social security number so that money can be dropped in straight away. You need only prove your social security number to withdraw it. It may not be a perfect method but I think that it would work. But we all know that it will never be allowed to happen.

    2. Daryl

      I wonder if the money saved by means testing is eclipsed by the cost of the machinery required to perform means testing.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “The story behind ‘Blue Check Homes’: How an SF artist created a fake company that fooled thousands”

    Danielle Baskin is brilliant and I was surprised to learn that she was also responsible for the free stuff on Craigslist listing on anti-homeless boulders some time ago. And that page on Twitter on how to be a holder of a verified account should be saved as a future historical document. But it is just as well that this was a prank. I mean, can you imagine?

    So you have an upmarket suburb in a place like San Francisco. Then one day one of these crests appear on a home. Neighbours quickly go online and find it to be true that they are a verified account holder. Escalation starts immediately. Suddenly, everyone on that street is racing to also become a verified twitter user. Consultants are hired from a new cottage industry that springs up. People shift jobs in order to qualify.

    Someone mounts a verified check crest but with the tick reversed as a ‘sinister’ joke but neighbour are not amused. People find it necessary to move but others are keen to move onto that street because you have a high concentration of verified people on that street. Friendships are broken and people are divorced because their partner cannot become a verified account holder. It would be chaotic and it would be glorious all at the same time.

    1. Kfish

      If Ms Baskin has access to a 3-D printer and a friend with the necessary skills, she could make a quick killing by charging $1,000 each for these things.

  23. Mikel

    RE: Class Warfare – Interview

    Really cringe worthy was a post about an incident further down the thread:

    “There was no need to ‘surprise’ them with a job interview call. They need to prepare. That’s poor planning on the interviewer’s part & a bullying tactic.
    Expecting unemployed people to be ‘ever ready’ for you is not OK.
    Never mind not knowing what time the person slept & why.
    Quote Tweet

    Themba Gwejela
    · 17h
    Honestly 8:51 is work hours and you should be ready if you are serious about your search.

  24. Wukchumni

    I’m a World War 2 film fan, if you’re listening in Hollywood.

    You’ve come to the end of your tether in finding new old fare to film, I find.

    This amazing tale needs to be told, and you’d only need to do CGI for the dive scenes, and the rest would largely be done by humans.

    It involves hiding a great deal of money in Manila Bay before the Japanese took over, and then stealing the money back from under the eyes of the Japanese by U.S Navy POW divers.

    In the late summer of 1942, when the Japanese had been in control of the Philippines for several months, their occupation currency suddenly began to collapse. Japanese soldiers found that a month’s pay wouldn’t buy so much as a glass of beer. The cause was a mysterious flood of silver Philippine pesos that began turning up in the markets of Manila. Somehow the silver was reaching even the prisoner-of-war camps American prisoners were bribing demoralized Japanese guards for food clothing, medicine. Next, they would start buying freedom! If the source of the silver wasn’t found soon, it could corrupt the whole structure of Japanese control.

    Where did the silver come from? The Japanese knew the MacArthur forces had dumped millions of peso into the deep crater south of Corregidor before surrendering. There was $8,500,000 of it down there, lying at a depth of 120 feet. A diving crew of seven American prisoners of war had been put to work salvaging that fortune — it would be a gift from the army to the emperor. Japanese security police were watching the American divers, guarding every peso recovered. It seemed inconceivable that any of this silver could be smuggled into Manila. Nevertheless, the Japanese decided to tighten the guard over the Americans. (The guards may or may not have known that the U. S. Navy divers whom they were forcing to recover the silver were the same ones who had dumped it there in the first place.) It had all started in the early months of 1942, when defeat in the Philippines had become inevitable.


  25. Synoia

    The Cistercian monks invented a numbering system in the 13th century which meant that any number from 1 to 9999 could be written using a single symbol.

    Very clever, until one tries any simple arithmetic.

    The power of the current numbering system is its capability of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

    1. LifelongLib

      My understanding (welcome correction) is that the Romans got around their clunky numbering system by using the abacus for calculations. Maybe the monks did too? That said, I found the example numbers a little hard to decode, although I guess with practice it would get easier.

  26. Dan

    “Instead, Parkview pursued an amount five times higher from Ms. Smith directly by placing a lien on her accident settlement.”

    How did the hospital know who here accident insurer was? She told them. That is why you never share any financial information beyond what is absolutely required.

    “Non of your business” is the line you use when anyone asks for your information. All she had to do was give them her Medi-cade number. Assume everyone is a fraudster, until proven otherwise.

  27. GeoCrackr

    I don’t know if there’s been a study done on administrative effectiveness at the state level, but anecdotal evidence would suggest it’s random with respect to Blue v. Red.

    That’s a category error: plenty of “Blue” governors are (at best) Rockefeller Republicans who only took on the D mantle to win election. Cuomo definitely fits that bill (see also: Biden/Harris, Bloomberg, Emanuel, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, etc, etc).

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