2:00PM Water Cooler 2/9/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

I was hoping for a Parisian swift. Perhaps they are so common nobody has thought to record them.


At reader request, I’ve added these daily charts 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:

Snow makes the Northeast what it is. The South continues to out-perform.

Case count by United States region:

Still dropping nicely. Maybe in a couple of months we’ll be back to where we here in the summer of 2020.

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

Texas going down again. That’s a relief. Florida still heading down. I suppose we’ll have to be watching to see the results of the Super Spreader Bowl…

Test positivity:

The Northeast falls off a cliff, again I assume due to snow.

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.


The South has flattened. Given that hospitalization is probably a more reliable indicator of trouble than case count, I certainly hope that’s the not first sign of B117. 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):

The case fatality rate has markedly increased, albeit slowly. I don’t like that at all. Deaths plateau, and should really be starting to fall at some point.


“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

“Capitol riots: Five takeaways from the arrests” [BBC]. Worth reading in full. Critically: “Far-right insignia was spotted on the clothing, badges and flags of several insurrectionists, but the vast majority of the 200-plus people charged so far are ordinary pro-Trump activists. So far, only about 10 of those charged have been found to have ties to organised far right militias or other right-wing extremist groups.” • That’s a mercy. Long may it continue.


“How to watch Trump’s second impeachment trial like a boss” [Politico]. “House Democrats aren’t expecting the sharply divided Senate to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. They need 17 of the 50 GOP senators to break with the former president — which they know is unlikely. So instead, they’re going to exact as much pain as possible on Republicans, most of whom say the trial shouldn’t even be allowed to happen…. We now know that the House managers and Trump legal team will have 16 hours apiece — beginning on Wednesday — to make their most compelling case to the Senate. For Democrats, that means putting on a production heavy on the increasingly rich body of video evidence showing that the Jan. 6 insurrectionists took their cues from Trump, cited him as the reason they stormed the Capitol and viewed his remarks to them on that day as permission to confront lawmakers. sAn underappreciated fact about the trial: The collection of evidence continues to build daily, with new court filings, social media snippets and videos taken by the rioters themselves surfacing in real time. Democrats plan to knit these together with Trump’s actual call on Jan. 6 for his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ and march on the Capitol. Several of the subsequent participants in the insurrection told judges on Monday that they viewed Trump’s words as authorization, and one even called him an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in the subsequent violence.” • Beware digital “evidence”…..

Transition to Biden

“Biden’s first 100 days: Controversial budget chief pick Tanden vows unity” [Nikkei Asian Review]. “Neera Tanden, during her confirmation hearing to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is grilled by Republicans for her past statements about lawmakers on the opposite side of the aisle. Sen. Rob Portman, the ranking member of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, says: ‘I’m concerned that your personal attacks about specific senators will make it more difficult for you to work with them.’ ‘You wrote that Susan Collins is, quote, the worst. That Tom Cotton is a fraud. That vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz. You called [Senate Republican leader Mitch] McConnell ‘Moscow Mitch’ and ‘Voldemort,” Portman says, asking, ‘How do you plan to mend fences?’… Tanden, a close aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later says: ‘I know it’s on me, to demonstrate to this committee and to Republican members and Democratic members I can work with anyone and that burden is on my shoulders, and it is one that I plan to take on and I will do my best to work with you on any issue where we can make progress.” • Left unsaid:

Also left unsaid:

See the righthand email to Faiz Shakir; it’s not just that Tanden believes that Federal taxes fund Federal spending — which, if there were any justice in the world, would disqualify her for the position of OMB Director — it’s that she thinks it’s OK to invade other countries to collect them, a position worthy of Rome at its most imperial. Oh, and The Center For American Progress Staff Was Shocked After Neera Tanden Named The Anonymous Harassment Victim In An All-Staff Meeting. She’s not a nice person at all, and it’s surprising that nobody from our famously free press is instigating a dogpile.

UPDATE “Biden’s Justice Department to ask nearly all Trump-era U.S. attorneys to resign” [NBC]. “The Biden administration will begin removing all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys appointed during the Trump administration, with two exceptions, a senior Justice Department official said. The process, which is not uncommon, could start as early as Tuesday. They will be asked to resign. John Durham will remain in place to investigate the origins of the Russia probe, but not as U.S. attorney for the district of Connecticut, the official said. He was appointed as a special counsel and given extra protections for the inquiry by Attorney General William Barr last fall. David Weiss, U.S. attorney for Delaware, will also remain in place. Hunter Biden, the president’s son, said in December that federal officials in Delaware were investigating his taxes.” • I remember an enormous bout of hysteria from Democrats when Bush did the same thing the “career prosecutors” Clinton had installed.

UPDATE “As Biden’s son-in-law invests in COVID-19 response, questions of family and ethics could resurface” [ABC]. “When the boutique tech firm Yosi Health developed software aimed at streamlining the nation’s coronavirus vaccine effort, CEO Hari Prasad sought help from one of its earliest investors — a company with a special government connection. The investor was StartUp Health, and that special connection came through its chief medical officer, Howard Krein, who is married to President Joe Biden’s daughter…. A renowned Philadelphia-based head and neck surgeon who married Biden’s daughter Ashley in 2012, Krein helps oversee StartUp Health investments in hundreds of companies, including some hoping to break through with the federal agencies battling the global coronavirus pandemic. Since 2011, when Krein founded the firm with his brother Steven Krein and veteran tech entrepreneur Unity Stoakes, Joe Biden has been an active supporter of the venture — headlining corporate conferences and inviting the company’s executives to the Oval Office to meet then-President Barack Obama.”

UPDATE “Harvard’s Sunstein Joins Biden’s DHS to Shape Immigration Rules” [Bloomberg]. “Former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein on Monday joined the Department of Homeland Security, where President Joe Biden is moving rapidly to roll back Donald Trump’s immigration policy priorities. Sunstein is a senior counselor who will be responsible for making sure that the rules put forward by the department and its agencies are based on evidence and consistent with the law, an administration official said. Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University, was administrator of President Barack Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012. His work with Biden goes back three decades to when Biden was the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Commission and Sunstein weighed in on judicial nominations and constitutional interpretation.” • Ugh. Can Rahm Emmanuel and Larry Summers be far behind? Sunstein is co-author of this interesting article from 2008 (PDF): “Conspiracy Theories.” The Abstract contains this nugget: “Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.” Hmm. Not that I’m foily.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party?” [The New Republic]. • This is very good, worth reading in full. I’ll pull out this one fascinating factoid:

Trump’s administration worked out well for American workers, at least up until Covid hit in the spring of 2020. Unemployment was under 4 percent for most of 2018 and 2019. The good times reached even those to whom prosperity had historically been slowest to arrive. Unemployment among Black men, a whisker under 20 percent in March 2010, had fallen to around 5 percent in November 2019. According to The Economist, gains were concentrated in professions where workers had heretofore faced competition from immigrant labor, such as housekeepers and maintenance workers. The kitchen-table financial concerns of such people are, of course, no more familiar to most American opinion-formers than are the aisles of Sam’s Club. But the economic hand that Trump had to play in last fall’s elections was stronger than almost anyone outside of the working class understood, and the results—at least in terms of the swing-state popular vote—correspondingly closer.

(We might also remember that the CARES Act, passed by a Republican Senate and signed by Trump, actually reduced poverty, proving itself far superior to Obama’s notably small and weak stimulus package in 2009.) Now, to qualify:

It is an open question whether Trump’s policies had anything to do with this.

Fair enough. Key point: Absent a pandemic, Trump wins in 2020. Liberal Democrat triumphalists — now setting themselves up for a midterm debacle simply by being who we thought they were — would be well advised to take that into consideration.

“Rise of the Barstool conservatives” [Matthew Walther, The Week]. “Like many observers, including an enormous number of the president’s loudest detractors, I believe that Trump brought the conservative movement to an end. But what its destruction means is something very different from the prophecies of permanent Democratic supermajorities issuing forth from the former president’s critics. Trump’s greatest achievement, one that speaks far more than his actual record in office to his business acumen, was recognizing that in the 2012 presidential election, the old movement vein had been exhausted and that a much richer one was awaiting exploration… But in the last year, as [Barstool Sports Founder and CEO Dave] Portnoy emerged as one of America’s most visible critics of the lockdown policies instituted by virtually every state governor, it became clear to me that more so than anyone else he embodied the world view of millions of Americans, who share his disdain for the language of liberal improvement, the hectoring, schoolmarmish attitude of Democratic politicians and their allies in the media, and, above all, the elevation of risk-aversion to the level of a first-order principle by our professional classes.”

“Column: What can you do about the Trumpites next door?” [Virginia Heffernan, Los Angeles Times]. “Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job. How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness? Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks? These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in the neighborhood.” • (I’ve helpfully underlined the “check your privilege” aspects of Heffernan’s article, for those inclined to play that game of gotcha.) The plowing looks like Grandmaster-level passive aggression to me, something I don’t typically associate with Trump supporters. More: “I also can’t give my neighbors absolution; it’s not mine to give. Free driveway work, as nice as it is, is just not the same currency as justice and truth.” • Yes, absolution is for religious clerics, not secular ones. And isn’t it lovely to have a spiritual act of forgiveness framed with a financial metaphor (“currency”). Quite… professional.

UPDATE “How San Francisco Renamed Its Schools” (interview) [Gabriela López, The New Yorker]. Isaac Chotiner interviews the head of the San Francisco Board of Education, whose stream of consciousness reminds me a lot of Sarah Palin, albeit with different subject matter. I have to quote a lot of it, for which I apologize, but it’s hard to pin down:

I read that you stated, “This in no way erases our history. It cannot, and we will not forget the past. But we can honor the work that has been done to dismantle racism and white-supremacy culture.” Can you explain what you meant by that?

There’s this idea that because we’re removing the names we’re somehow removing the stories in what we’re learning, and that in fact is not the case. It’s really just sharing in our schools what is and isn’t uplifted. And that’s part of my work as a school-board member. That’s been my work as a teacher. What are we highlighting in our classes? And what are we teaching our students? And what isn’t being uplifted in our time and our public-school system that we’ve seen throughout history?

Is what you’re saying that in practice we don’t necessarily want to uplift, say, Lincoln, but that doesn’t mean we won’t teach the Civil War or the Emancipation Proclamation?

Absolutely. But, even with that, it’s talking about the brutality and the truth that is often not discussed in our classrooms. And I’m thinking even to my own experience and my own learning, all that I got through my college experiences, that we gain through ethnic studies, is not a process that we normally see in our school career. And so it is discussing the history. Of course, that’s not going anywhere.

See Adolph Reed, “The Trouble with Uplift,” from 2018. As usual, Reed made the correct call early.

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: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the US rose by 74 thousand from the previous month to 6.646 million in December 2020, compared with market expectations of 6.5 million but remaining below its pre-pandemic level of 7 million. Job openings increased in professional and business services (+296,000), but were down in state and local government, excluding education (-65,000); arts, entertainment, and recreation (-50,000); and nondurable goods manufacturing (-30,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions. Meanwhile, the number of hires declined by 396 thousand to 5.5 million, while total separations including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations were little changed at 5.5 million.”

Debt: “November 2020 Loan Performance: Delinquencies Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels in November” [Econintersect]. “The Loan Performance Insights Report for November 2020 shows 5.9% of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure), which represents a 2-percentage point increase in the overall delinquency rate compared to November 2019, when it was 3.9%. This is the lowest overall delinquency rate since an initial jump in April 2020.”

Consumer Expectations: “January 2021 Consumers Expect Higher Spending and Home Prices Improvement” [Econintersect]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data January 2021 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which shows that households’ year-ahead spending growth expectations rose to 4.2%, the highest level recorded in more than 5 years. In contrast, earnings growth expectations have remained flat for the sixth consecutive month.”

Small Business Optimism: “January 2021 Small Business Optimism Drops Further Below Historical Index Average in January” [Econintersect]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined in January to 95.0, down 0.9 from December and three points below the 47-year average of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined seven points to a net negative 23%, the lowest level since November 2013. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions has fallen 55 points over the past four months.”

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Shipping: “India Aims to Double its Shipbreaking Capacity by 2024” [Maritime Executive]. “Last week, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the country’s ship recycling capacity will be doubled by 2024. She also laid stress on the increasing efforts being made by the Indian government to woo in more ships from Japan and EU countries. This act could create 150,000 jobs in various shipyards across the country. ‘Efforts will be made to bring more ships to India from Europe aa and Japan. The recycling capacity of around 4.5 million light displacement tonnes (LDT) will be doubled by 2024. This is expected to generate an additional 1.5 lakh (150,000) jobs for our youth,’ said Sitharaman. Like many other South Asian countries, India aims to establish a leading position in the shipbreaking and recycling industry. … Mandaviya hopes that Alang, located in the West Indian State of Gujarat and also the world’s largest shipbreaking hub, will spearhead India’s success in this domain.” • Let’s hope the conditions in Gujarat, India are better than those in Gadani, Pakistan (see NC in 2016).

Tech: “Twitter Considers Subscription Fee for Tweetdeck, Unique Content” [Bloomberg]. “To explore potential options outside ad sales, a number of Twitter teams are researching subscription offerings, including one using the code name “Rogue One,” according to people familiar with the effort. At least one idea being considered is related to “tipping,” or the ability for users to pay the people they follow for exclusive content, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are internal. Other possible ways to generate recurring revenue include charging for the use of services like Tweetdeck or advanced user features like “undo send” or profile-customization options.” • Maybe while they’re at it they could give me an edit button.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 56 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 9 at 12:22pm.

The Biosphere

UPDATE “Plume of Saharan Dust Makes Europe Look Like the Red Planet” [Bloomberg]. “A massive plume of Saharan-desert dust has painted European landscapes a reddish-brown hue reminiscent of Mars, reducing air-quality and solar-power production across southern swathes of the continent. … Measurements of air-born particulate matter that can endanger health were several orders of magnitude larger than normal. ”

Health Care

“Aerosol emission from the respiratory tract: an analysis of relative risks from oxygen delivery systems” (preprint) (PDF) [medRxiv]. “Coughing was associated with the highest aerosol emissions with a peak concentration at least 10 times greater the mean concentration generated from speaking or breathing. Hospitalised patients with COVID-19 (n = 8 subjects; 56 measures) had similar size distributions to healthy volunteers…. Although direct comparisons are complex, cough appears to generate significant aerosols in a size range compatible with airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As a consequence, the risk of SARSCoV-2 aerosolisation is likely to be high in all areas where patients with Covid-19 are coughing. Guidance on personal protective equipment policy should reflect these updated risks.” • Note the hospital setting. The study does not confuse droplets (ballistic) with aerosols (floating).

The 420

“Hemp’s (Maybe) Legal High Offers Growing Allure” [Bloomberg]. “Since the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD can be transported and sold freely within the U.S., unlike high-THC marijuana, which can only be grown and sold in states where it’s legal. The rules around delta-8 aren’t yet entirely clear, amid confusion over whether the Drug Enforcement Agency’s rules on synthetic cannabinoids apply to the substance, which is synthetically produced. ‘It’s derived from hemp, so we’re taking the position it’s legal,’ said Dustin Robinson, a Florida attorney and founding partner of Mr. Cannabis Law. He sees delta-8 as a cheaper and more convenient buzz for many people. ‘I can get high by getting delta-8 from a smoke shop or a gas station.’ That could pose a threat to multistate operators who have built their businesses to comply with tight rules around high-THC marijuana, especially after states like Illinois and Colorado last summer began allowing the hemp industry to sell through marijuana dispensaries. But it could also present an opportunity, Robinson said. ‘This could be a means for the marijuana supply chain to reduce their cost of cultivation, if they can use hemp biomass instead of marijuana biomass,’ he said.” • Sounds like the difference between beer and hard liquor to me.

“Detroit’s legal pot reticence spills over to Muslim-majority neighbor” [Politico]. “Detroit’s slow walking of legal marijuana sales is driving the area’s pot market to an unlikely place: a Muslim-majority city best known for its hulking General Motors assembly plant. At first glance, Hamtramck, Mich., is like thousands of other cities across the country debating with whether to allow marijuana businesses to operate within its borders…. [O]ver half of the residents of Hamtramck — historically a Polish-American enclave — are Muslim, primarily people of Yemeni and Bangladeshi descent. That Muslim majority extends to the members of the Hamtramck City Council…. Ultimately the City Council voted 4-3 to ban marijuana businesses from operating in Hamtramck, with the vote split along Muslim and non-Muslim lines… There’s little chance that the current ban on additional marijuana businesses will hold.”

“The Half-Legal Cannabis Trap” [Politico]. “For years, Californians could legally possess medical marijuana, but stores weren’t allowed to sell it—in fact, the whole supply chain bringing it to them was considered illegal. Now, even though the city and the state are licensing cannabis shops, Los Angeles continues to struggle with its legacy of legal confusion and selective enforcement. Businesses can appear legitimate, and even exist for years, without any legal license to operate. Many of the illegal shops are in Black and Latino neighborhoods, with their employees vulnerable to arrest while owners are shielded behind shell companies. So as police and prosecutors attempt to crack down on unlicensed dispensaries, they appear to be reproducing the very social inequalities that legalization was supposed to fix.”

Our Famously Free Press

“The War on Privacy” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. “Taylor Lorenz — a dunce of historic proportions unleashed on the world by the New York Times — attended an invitation-only Clubhouse chat and not only reported that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Andreesson used the word “retarded” in a discussion about the GameStop uprising, but published the names and faces of those who were guilty of being present and silent during the commission of this heinous crime…. Lorenz was wrong on three counts. One, Andreesson never said the word. Two, the person who did say the word was merely relaying that the Reddit users betting on GameStop “call themselves the ‘retard revolution.'” Lorenz was confusing reporting on speech with actually speaking, the same error that’s led to crackdowns on videographers like Jon Farina and Ford Fischer, punished for shooting raw footage of people saying and doing supposedly objectionable things (a story mostly uncovered by these same media priests). Thirdly, WTF???? Private utterance of the word “retarded” is news? As Greenwald points out, this would be joke behavior coming from a middle school hall monitor. Such deviance-hunts however are now a central concern of media reporters like Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy of CNN, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny of NBC, and Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel, and Lorenz at the Times. Somebody, somewhere, is saying or thinking a bad thing, and this crew seeks the rot out, with the aim of publicly shaming those individuals.” • It gets better:

And better:

Nice people. (For more on Jones, see here.) Elevator pitch: “Heathers, but woke.”

“Welcome, Facebook and Twitter. Seriously.” [Substack]. “I genuinely believe that Twitter and Facebook getting into paid newsletters is good for writers and a positive development for the media ecosystem. We need more initiatives that give power to writers and reduce the force of the attention economy, just as we need more electric cars, more solar energy, and less burning of fossil fuels…. Substack is designed to be a calm space that encourages reflection. You read Substack posts in your inbox or on a web page that is free of advertising or any other distraction. There are no addiction-maximizing feeds, autoplaying videos, or retweetable quote-retweets to suck you into a psychological space you never asked to be in. You make decisions about which information to put into your brain based on how well certain writers reward your trust, not based on a dopamine hit gained by refreshing a feed packed with performative posturing. But it’s the calmness of the model that’s the real killer feature. …. There are now more than 500,000 paid subscriptions across Substack, and the top ten writers collectively make more than $15 million a year. It’s still early days, but this thing is happening.”

Sports Desk

“DeSantis on going maskless at Super Bowl: ‘I had to watch the Bucs win'” [The Hill]. The headline is deceptive. “‘Someone said, ‘Hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask,” DeSantis said Monday, according to Politico’s Marc Caputo. ‘But how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.” • You can pull down your mask, take a sip, and bring your mask back up. So the only way this scenario makes sense is if DeSantis was guzzling stadium swill, continuously. If only there were video…

Zeitgeist Watch

“Michigan man killed at baby shower when gender reveal cannon explodes” [Associated Press]. “A 26-year-old man was killed at a baby shower after a cannon being used at the event exploded and sent shrapnel flying… In September, a couple’s plan to reveal their baby’s gender with blue or pink smoke sparked a wildfire that burned thousands of acres in Southern California. And in 2019, a homemade explosive used to reveal a baby’s gender killed 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer in Knoxville, Iowa. The device was meant to spray powder but instead blew up like a pipe bomb.” • I confess I don’t understand why gender reveal parties are a thing in the first place. Perhaps some sort of funhouse mirror reaction to gender “fluidity“?

Class Warfare

UPDATE “Who should get a $1,400 check?” [Claudia Sahm, Stay-at-Home Macro]. “Over a decade of high-quality research shows that about one half to two thirds of the stimulus checks is spent within a few months. Money in the bank, not family income, is the most reliable predictor of who will spend and who will save. But we don’t know people’s bank account balances. From surveys, we do know that half of U.S. families lost income since the crisis began, but we do not know exactly who did in the population. Simply put, the government does not know who needs the check most and who is most likely to spend it. Without that information, lowering the income threshold for the $1,400 check from $75,000 to $50,000 per adult would cut out 40 million people, millions of whom need it and would spend it.” • Worth reading in full, despite the acceptance of $1,400.

News of the Wired

Casino economy:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (SM):

SM writes: “Here is a fantastic fall oak a few blocks away. Rare to see a massive unpruned one in the urban neighborhoods!”

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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. a different chris

    >The plowing looks like Grandmaster-level passive aggression to me, something I don’t typically associate with Trump supporters.

    Oh, man. Lemme explain us country-dwellers a bit… we love our power toys. We buy things generally much bigger than we need (see our trucks) and then cast around for ways to make the exorbitant payments seem worthwhile.

    The reason they plowed the driveway is simple, they had plowed their own with whatever over-kill shiny toy they had. Now whether it be a walk-behind snowblower (I would be disappointed if it wasn’t at least the type with tank-treads!) to a lawn tractor with a blower to a big side-by-side, they were having fun and didn’t want to stop.

    Many, many things transcend politics for 90+ percent of us, all sides of the spectrum.

    1. Keith

      My neighbor, along with his neighbor, will plow our roads for us- private roads the county won’t do. He even gets my driveway (we are pretty friendly). I suspect part of the reason he does it is because his dogs don’t contain well, and so wander around, especially when he rescues ones that are found abandoned, in addition to being very neighborly. That being said, I am pretty sure I don’t know the politics of any of my neighbors, which is nice. No signs/flags or whatever, just deep in the sticks with a collective leave us alone mentality/live and let live.

      1. flora

        A fellow I know uses his snowblower to clean the driveways and sidewalks of 2 elderly (70’s and 80’s) households down the street from him, just to be neighborly. (He also loves using his snowblower. ) Looking out for each other in general in an informal way is a thing in flyover. And I bet it is in coastal cities, too, at least in the older ungentrified neighborhoods.

        As for many, many things transcending politics for 90+ of us: Absolutely right. Thanks.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        There’s a lot of arbitrary neighbors’ sidewalk clearing that goes on here, and even though it certainly could be potentially passive aggressive – and I seriously don’t think you can reach grandmaster level in passive aggression without playing the Minnesotans – it’s mostly a long ways short of that. Mostly just out and in the swing of it, and I bet that neighbor won’t be mad at me if it take care of it for them.

        I certainly hope neighborliness will continue to trump political difference! (Can I use that word again now without intending a pun?)

        After the election I was chatting with one guy who might be a little to the right of the other neighbors, of some whom were being fairly Biden triumphalist-noxious, and I think it really bothered this guy, because he wasn’t that happy with the outcome. And we wound up with a long discussion about how we value each other and the people near us, and that this is really much more important than what happens off in Washington or wherever.

        And, separately, I can hardly get him to keep his snowblower off my sidewalk so I can get some exercise with my snow shovel.

          1. Wukchumni

            We had a blizzard that dumped nearly an inch of snow once upon a day last month…

            Went to New Years party @ our righty neighbors pre-Covid, and now know how Custer felt when he realized that he was surrounded by Trumpers, and it was fun listening to them bounce off tv talking points to one another in a self reinforcing manner.

            I try to not bring up politics with them, as it isn’t how I define our relationship. He’s a retired engineer who can fix anything, has his own backhoe too. I’m in awe of his abilities, plus we are in agreement of the land between us in our care and have taken similar measures in fireproofing it by taking out dead wood. Nice people too, but swayed by Fox news, and here in 50/50 town politically, thats ok.

            Buckeye trees grow from their namesake which is brown and the size of a child’s fist and fall in the fall without fail after a period of dormancy that goes from July onwards where if you didn’t know any better you’d rightly say ‘that tree looks like its dying’ as they shut down aside from putting all the energy into growing those pods to reproduce.

            They are uniformly crooked and the long drought didn’t faze the young ones, but took out the really aged trees 150 to 200 years old. One bigger model died 4 or 5 years ago and came crashing down a fortnight ago by the rootwad, must’ve been windy.

            The trunk was as wide as 15 inches, and its a soft wood, and burns eagerly through slash such as 5 foot long bark sections in sheathes and the usual not ready for fireplace time chaff. It leaves a lot more ash than oak in the post fire residue, the 2 woods being a light welterweight against a heavyweight.

            1. flora

              Wuk, a blizzard is about wind speed as much as snow fall, so a blizzard with 1 inch snowfall would be a short, intense, high wind speed snowfall.

              Love your allegories and analogies in general. Do you think that perhaps the difference you perceive in politics as you describe here is based on the difference between ‘for country’ vs ‘for globalism’ ? No joke. This is a serious question.

              1. Wukchumni

                It snows once every couple years and I might’ve taken liberties in describing the recent climatic event, heck I don’t even remember it being windy as large flakes wafted down…

                Always Trumpers here are very pro military and thus pro country more so than any aspect of globalism, they’re about projecting power.

                A couple years ago after a months long stretch of no F-35 overflights, we had a few flying and I related to my neighbor that it had been quite awhile since we had a visit, and he remarked ‘That’s Trump building up our military’ which was totally not my anticipated response from him.

      3. rowlf

        When I lived in several houses in Michigan:

        In a more rural area a neighbor would plow my driveway with his tractor all winter for a bottle of his favorite whisky. I also helped him on vehicle repairs.

        In an old factory suburban area my tool-and-die man neighbor would loan me his snowblower after he was done with his driveway.

        In a new subdivision I would snowblow my driveway, the sidewalk to the school bus stop, and my neighbors’ driveways because it was easier than turning the snowblower around tightly in my driveway. If the topic of compensation came up I’d suggest a good six pack of beer.

        Maybe the person who got bunched up underwear doesn’t know about the dangers of snow snakes.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If that woman got so triggered about people – the wrong sort – doing nice things for her, what would happen if she had teenage kids? And that her kids started dating the neighbours kids? If she is already equating her neighbours with mafias and Hezbollah, would she go into a meltdown over the thought that her kids might eventually marry into those families? Come to think of it, that would make a plot for a pretty good film that. It would have to be an indie film that as Hollywood is no longer capable of doing such a film.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good grief. I just realized. This is all the plot line to Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” – but hopefully with a better ending.

    3. RMO

      “>The plowing looks like Grandmaster-level passive aggression to me, something I don’t typically associate with Trump supporters.

      Oh, man. Lemme explain us country-dwellers a bit… we love our power toys.”

      Not just country dwellers, my suburb here outside Vancouver has plenty of people like this too. Down the cul-de-sac across from us there is a guy who runs a small yard care business and he has a plow for his truck. He always does a bunch of the neighborhood well before the city gets around to it when he’s out on his way to a job. The guy two doors down has a snowblower which actually works in the snow here (most just choke, cough and die because the snow is like a big vanilla Slurpee the rare times it comes) and he does the sidewalk for dozens of houses when he gets it out to do his. I frequently continue on and shovel my neighbors sidewalks and they sometimes do mine in between the snow blower runs. Nothing passive-aggressive about it in my opinion.

      I’m just amazed at the writer apparently being able to even consider the possibility that her neighbors, their political views notwithstanding, may actually have some redeeming qualities and that perhaps she could try treating them as, you know, people. talk to them maybe.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > country-dwellers

      The leap from “pandemic getaway” to “country dwelling” is not one I am willing to make. Yes, in Maine the neighbor who hasn’t spoken to you for thirty years will still help you when your boiler fails, but I’m not sure we have that condition here.

      1. Procopius

        I haven’t read the original article, and don’t intend to, but the excerpts I’ve seen, I thought it was a parody. Like something from The Onion or Duffleblog. It just seemed like a parody of a Coast Liberal Karen. Is there really any reason to think otherwise? I mean, “The plowing looks like Grandmaster-level passive aggression to me…” Who talks like that? Who writes like that? C’mon, man, that ain’t real.

    5. farmboy

      Neighbors, being neighborly, allow acts of generosity for no reason. In times of emergency someone who you’ve been feuding with will often join in with assistance. Volunteer fire fighting with standby emergency capabilities and school activities allow people to put aside their differences. It’s because we are all we got. Unspoken is you could be next to need an ambulance ride to the hospital.

  2. John

    I remember when the New York Times was considered the paper of record. Now, I do not know what it is nor why there is a war of words among its staff. Most curious.

    1. Greg

      It’s like that LA Times article about snow plowing neighbours – you know there are people in the world who care about these things, but who they are and how their lives got that way is a complete mystery

  3. Another Scott

    I just read (or tried to read) the New Yorker article. How did she get elected to head the school committee? Her colleagues must have voted for her, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and this is an interview where she knew the topic ahead of time.

    Also, is every California state organization like this? I know from Yves writing that CALPERS is a complete disaster area and the legislature seems completely dysfunctional, but my opinion of the state and local governments there drop lower and lower each time I read about it.

    1. JBird4049

      From Bluest California, it sure seems so and no don’t ask for the Republicans. The more irrelevant they have become the more batbleep crazy they have become. Southern California was/is the stronghold for the John Birch Society. They truly make the California Democratic Party look like the sane and competent party they are not.

      I don’t know what to say, really. When I was a child this was the Golden State with its schools, the massive water system, and the Golden Gate. Today, we have Bidenvilles, human waste, Identity Politics and con artists like Governor Newsom, and for national enjoyment, have inflicted the cruel, empty souled Vice President Kamala Harris on the Empire.

      1. a fax machine

        It could be worse, at least Newsom’s not the President which is what his ambitions were and what the CA Dems wanted. See Willie Brown not endorsing her as Biden’s VP from a few months ago. And Newsom himself is now subject to a recall election, one that has the potential to pit himself against someone competent.

        1. Wukchumni

          I think were in the 5th or 6th poorest county in the state so less is expected in this corner of one of the many Californias intrastate where you’ll be an outsider initially, but not yet another equity refugee interloper to another state rich with ex-pats from the left coast, bottom corner pocket subject to ridiculenvy.

          Any old SF home in the city worth a million would be $350k here.

          A nice place to be retired, but not so much for working unless you’re doing it all online and use UPS/USPS.

    2. a fax machine

      The legislature can at least (occasionally) produce good things, and the dysfunction is a result of poor leadership: Newsom doesn’t want to govern because the act of governing is hard for him. By that, I mean it’s one thing to just delegate tasks and tell others to do things it’s another to step in and make phone calls and orders when it’s clear that everyone under you needs help and needs direction. This is Newsom’s failure and the failure affects the rest of the state govt’s ability to operate.

      Just look at his attempt to talk about High-Speed Rail a few years ago: what should have been an easy, slam dunk 11 words (“We are building high speed rail and will complete the project”) became a mush of nonsense that appeared to claim that the project was suspended or dead. This wasn’t the case and suddenly the legislature had to step in and do damage control while Newsom made himself absent. Pathetic. Same for the power crisis, Covid shutdowns and Covid vaccine distribution.

      As for the state as a whole, no. SF’s schools are such a mess and have been such a mess with the lottery where it drives sprawl outside of SF. Hence why San Mateo Co keeps trying to develop Bair Island and why there’s a lot of attention given to Redwood City in general. Pre-Covid this sort of insanity drove home, condo and apartment sales down there. Same for Sonoma Co and even faraway lands such as Gilroy and Fairfield.

      This is also where this issue intersects with transit and Prop 1A. The more awful 415-area politics get, the more people want to live in other area codes. This drives demand for new rail service: ACE especially, and ACE’s new Central Valley service will likely eclipse the peninsula’s Caltrain by the end of the decade. This heralds large changes for CA’s rail network given the current track’s owners… and a smarter governor would be stepping in to manage this problem now rather than gifting it to a future and more visionary leader.

      My point is that Newsom, like most of the 415’s political class right now, is unable to really imagine anything. This is not shared elsewhere, even a dump like Newark is seeing gold in the abandoned bridge they got. There is something that can be built, even if those at the top don’t recognize it yet.

  4. Adam1

    It drives me nuts when I hear pols talk about better targeting of the stimulus money to the people that need it. If you only send money to people who need it, it’s not stimulus money it’s rescue money. Rescue money just keeps the economy from dying, it doesn’t get us anywhere near full employment. Additionally, not all of that “savings” of the money is anti-stimulus either. It is a pandemic remember… I don’t blame someone from staying home and not having anything to spend that money on right now. However plenty of those people will spend once the pandemic is behind us and we’ll need that dry powder then just as much as we need help now. And… anyone paying down debt is likely freeing up income to additionally support that post pandemic economy. So shut up and just start writing those checks if you know what’s really good for your re-election.

    1. flora

      This Forbes article is interesting.

      After days of infighting, House Democrats on Monday night released details of proposed coronavirus relief measures that would put the ceiling for full $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans at the same income levels as previous payouts, rejecting calls from more centrist Democrats to lower the threshold.


      “Centrist”: what a euphemism. ;)

      1. Procopius


        “Centrist”: what a euphemism. ;)

        Hey, I’ve seen more than two publications call Joe Manchin a “moderate.” I’ll bet some work (which I’m not going to do) could find at least one reference to him as a “centrist.” I don’t get how they think people are not going to see this as an act of bad faith. The $600 came from President* Trump. So now Biden is trying to take credit for it? Get out. Also, too, Biden and Warnock both said (and there are videos to prove it) “Vote for me and you’ll get a $2,000 check immediately. $1,400 != $2,000 and immediately is a long time ago. I’m against means testing just on grounds of keeping things simple. In this case they’re “means” testing on what people earned two years ago, in 2019. They don’t know who’s in need now. These people are so awful.

  5. cocomaan

    Regarding Barstool Conservatives, the author does pick up on the undercurrent of ideas regarding what can be described as an anti-liberalism movement, anti-government, even.

    This line: Like many observers, including an enormous number of the president’s loudest detractors, I believe that Trump brought the conservative movement to an end.

    I’m not even sure what this means. There’s a strong conservative movement out there and it’s strong in places you wouldn’t expect. There’s a rising group of black men who are conservative out there, believing in business and of the opinion that government intervention in low income areas has been counterproductive. In fact, Generation Z looks more conservative than their elders. I know two Gen Z kids, both under 25, really well. Both of them are way more conservative than I was at their age.

    The difference is that a lot of these conservatives, esp older ones, don’t spend time on any social media. None of my conservative family members are active on social media whatsoever. Many don’t have Facebook accounts at all. They have a healthy distrust of social media, so they appear invisible.

    These woke liberal folks really need to watch that they don’t create a cultural shift to conservatism in the youth. Making something forbidden creates a lot of interest in young people.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It was something you could predict back in the 2000s when the big to-do was examining how liberal the millennials were going to be. If wokeness was going mainstream, then the obvious question is “so then where does that leave the counterculture?”

      Like clockwork, the next generation swung conservative. I can only wonder if this means we’re going to also see a religious revival in the next decade or so as the evangelicals rotate out, their doomsday predictions unfulfilled.

      1. cocomaan

        That’s something I’ve suspected too. Plus, corrupt empires tend to produce religious revivals. Christ, Muhammad, etc.

        Weber was the one that pointed out it is charisma that cuts through bureaucracy like a knife, given the chance. Bureaucracy is allergic to it.

    2. Grant

      I would love to hear how those conservative young folks plan on dealing with the environmental crisis with that worldview. Seriously, how would such a thing work? What about the fact that we have increasingly moved to the right on economic policy for decades now, and the disastrous impact of doing so? Does the actual impact of policy matter? It also helps that there is only barely a national leftist infrastructure in place, one that is building too slowly. So, there are few avenues to change much of anything. If the state puts in place policies that have made things worse, if the state is the police brutalizing my community, if the government steps in to accelerate gentrification, I probably wouldn’t be a huge fan. But, then again, what exactly has capital done? After all, capitalists control the state and have it do what they want, so in this failed state, what the government has or hasn’t done is a huge reflection of the very interests that libertarians and conservatives want to give more power to; private capital.

      I don’t think the data on young people reflects what you are saying. That may be your personal experience, doesn’t mean it is the norm.

      But again, objective reality is going to make a turn towards conservatism all but impossible, unless people are cool with things pretty quickly collapsing. Now, if someone could explain how you deal with an environmental crisis that involves dealing with actual limits to growth and environmental impacts that are massive and growing in scale and cannot realistically be monetized, I am all ears. What is more likely is that when it becomes obvious that pretty comprehensive economic planning is needed, that people could try to create a democratic and bottom up planning that seeks to take power away from corrupt politicians. Why assume that people will react to woke liberals by jumping to the right? There is plenty of room to the left of them, and at least the left proposes actual solutions and seeks to empower people. It is a big mistake to think that people are going to take wild swings independent of the objective reality they exist in. The swing to the right was extremely complex, and part of it was that generation benefiting from policies that they dismantled for the following generations and accumulating wealth that their kids and grandkids aren’t accumulating.

      1. cocomaan

        I know what you’re saying here, Grant, and I’m not saying it’s necessarily going to happen. But I think this part gets to the crux of your argument:

        There is plenty of room to the left of them, and at least the left proposes actual solutions and seeks to empower people.

        The problem with your points is that they’ve never seen this demonstrated. They have never seen, for instance, unions doing good work. They’ve never seen a left leaning politics that isn’t just using social media to destroy people’s careers when they misstep.

        If the solutions are going to come from the left, these kids will need to see it.

        1. Grant

          I am sorry, but I don’t see the unions are being leftist what so ever. Maybe in 1932, not in 2021. In fact, most of the union leadership is rich and very much part of the neoliberal Democratic Party establishment. The radicals were kicked out of union leadership a few generations ago. If you want signs of the left growing, the growth of open socialists winning office across the country (unheard of just 15 years ago) is a far better example. Of course the left will have to present solutions, but they already do, and they can see that the right (who you think they will jump to) has had power for decades, everything is worse because of their policies and they have no solution to much of anything. Don’t make an argument about needing to prove something if the actual impact of the right’s policies is what it is. As far as demonstrating things, the youth of today are far more leftist than their parents and grandparents, so you basing your argument on your personal experiences doesn’t really hold for me personally. Not just polls on issues, look at the recent primary between Biden and Bernie. The youth overwhelmingly went with Bernie. Biden won almost entirely because of older voters. The left’s policies are already popular (given that the actual left is only now slowly emerging speaks to the power of the ideas), the issue is putting that in place. As you may know, many studies showing the massive gap between popular opinion and government policy. There are also many experiments now going on regarding things like municipally owned enterprises, cities supporting worker owned enterprises and in places like California possible pushes towards things like public banking. You can point to unions, I would point to worker ownership and self-management.

          As far as challenges, well, we aren’t alone, the neoliberals have been in power for decades, their ideas are horrible and are actively making things worse. But, the biggest damage is the overt ways in which they undermine democracy and have convinced people to not even consider alternatives

          And my other point on the environmental crisis stands, if you cannot explain how “conservative” capitalism can effectively deal with the environmental crisis (which it cannot), then how exactly should it be assumed that they will be able to ignore this reality? If, IF, we are to effectively address the environmental crisis, we need comprehensive planning. The actual debate will be over whether than planning will be authoritarian (which is what the right and neoliberals will push for) or if it will be democratic. But what you call “conservative” has zero chance of doing anything other than speeding up the collapse.

    3. HotFlash

      From cocomaan: I know two Gen Z kids, both under 25, really well. Both of them are way more conservative than I was at their age.

      From Ranger Rick: Like clockwork, the next generation swung conservative.

      I wonder if we don’t need to re-think (re-understand? re-name) the definitions conservative and liberal/progressive (or whatever). I agree with cocomaan, the young people I know, and I know a fair number, I volunteer with them and they just, you know, talk as they work. It strikes me not that they are more conservative than I was at their age, but more pessimistic. YMMV.

      1. cocomaan

        I think you and Riverboat are right in questioning what is conservative/liberal here. IMO the two parties have flipped on many issues, like American projection of power/war, individual liberties, etc.

        There’s always a distrust of authority in youth. Indeed that’s what makes them youthful and it’s a good thing. How that manifests as their ideas and careers and wealth matures will be interesting to watch.

    4. Riverboat Grambler

      As a millennial I’ve been observing that dynamic in action since my teen years. Though I unreservedly support movements like MeToo and BLM and scorn how terms like “SJW” and “woke” have become basically meaningless aside from meaning anything that opposes conservative thought, it’s undeniable that liberal Democrat’s idea that “demographics are destiny” was always full of crap.

      They expected a whole generation of young people and (especially) minorities to flock towards their side by default, and instead their contempt for the working class, lack of focus on policy while obsessing over identity, and increasingly school-marm rhetorical tactics have resulted in two whole younger generations shot through with reactionaries.

  6. Keith

    Regarding DeSantis and pulling down one’ mask for a drink, I just do not think that is realistic. Even up here in WA (the eastern side at least), dining means you no longer where your mask, unless you get up from the table. I have only been out once recently, for a work function. It was about three to a table, so we had a couple of table brought in closer to talk. The restaurant filled up the same way (outdoor but walled and covered patio with heaters). No one wore masks at the tables, only the servers bringing in food. I can see this being similar at a drinking event, like the Super Bowl, were you will be drinking, cheering and talking. It just is a reality, especially as cases go down while vaccination increases. Heck, in a month, spring weather will abound and you can expect more and more of the same. It is just kind of the reality of where we are. (The above was about a month ago).

    On Super Sunday, I traveled up to the Spokane area, where I ventured into ID. Masking did not even appear to be a thing there, aside from the employees. In fairness just went to one store, but there were plenty of WA tags in the parking area, too. Masking did occur in the Spokane side of the house, with the usual issues, heavy beards, below the nose/mouth, choosing a faceshield instead, etc. I think people are viewing this time as the end game being near.

    1. HotFlash

      I think people are viewing this time as the end game being near.

      I think ‘people’ will be unpleasantly surprised.

    2. Yves Smith

      Michigan did have a reg that diners were to keep masks on until food arrived at the table. That would help protect servers. My Michigan brother complies (the very very few times he goes out, like 2X in the last 8 months) but I doubt he’s typical now.

  7. Cuibono

    “So as police and prosecutors attempt to crack down on unlicensed dispensaries, they appear to be reproducing the very social inequalities that legalization was supposed to fix.”

    you don’t say

  8. chuck roast

    Twenty years ago when The Atlantic Monthly was becoming weak tea, William Langewiesche wrote an article about shipbreaking in Alang, India. It was astonishing by my reckoning and memorable in many ways. Most memorable was Langewiesche’s assertion that the laborers expended more calories on a daily bases then they could replace with their monetary compensation. The shipbreakers were literally working themselves to death. No mention of caloric intake in The Maritime Executive article.

    1. fresno dan

      chuck roast
      February 9, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      I remember that article (well, vaguely). He also did a good one about the crash of two jets (one commercial and one private) over Brazil. What would have been a careless ground control aircraft miscommunication was a disaster because modern satellite positioning had put the two aircraft at EXACTLY the same altitude.

  9. Sardonia

    On the Taylor Lorenz saga, et. al.: ” ‘Heathers’, but woke.”

    Oh, Lord. This is a movie just DYING to be made….

    1. Judith

      Given the Hannah Jones story as well, I was thinking a staging of The Crucible in a well-known newsroom.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Biden’s first 100 days: Controversial budget chief pick Tanden vows unity”

    With both Kamala Harris and Neera Tanden sharing Indian descent, I suspect that India’s Modi is going to have a clear run in the same way that Netanyahu did under Trump. In fact, it said on that page ‘Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agree in a call to work closely to fight COVID-19, renew their partnership on climate change and defend democratic institution and norms around the world, including in Myanmar.’ so there might be a closer alignment with India itself, particularly if they can be used against China.

    1. flora

      Then there’s this:

      ‘ “CONFIRMATION: Sen. Josh @HawleyMO
      lists donations to Neera Tanden’s Center for American Progress: “$665,000 from the personal foundation of Mr. Zuckerberg. Millions of dollars from Wall St. financiers, big banks, foreign govts, Silicon Valley… $2.5 million from the UAE.” ‘
      -Forbes magazine



      1. John

        Part of an email to one of my Senators: Neera Tanden? My god have you lost your minds? She was instrumental in orchestrating the Ukraine debacle along with then Vice-President Biden. She never saw a war she did not like. She is slavish in her devotion to Israel. She comes out of the Hillary cult. I suppose her cycling through the private sector, the ‘think tank’ waiting room for out of power apparatchiks, further swelled her bank account. Other than that, I imagine she is a fine human being.

    2. Keith

      Modi got along well with Trump, too. There wa the joint appearance at Howdy Modi in Houston. The bureaucracy may view India as a hedge against China, and vice versa plus Pakistan.

  11. Phil in KC

    The BBC article with five takeaways on the 1/6 Riot is indeed worth a read. I recall a few weeks ago Lambert was doing some demographics on those arrested. It looks like a more detailed study is underway headed by a Dr. Robert Pape at the University of Chicago. Will be interesting to see the results. One takeaway that is worth noting is the age of the crowd. Two-thirds of the rioters were over 35. In other words, two-thirds of the mob were of an age that should know better.

    In a different news story, Dr. Simone Gold was one of those arrested at the1/6 Riot. Dr. Gold was one of the doctors who formed the hastily-organized group America’s Frontline Doctors who promoted during the summer hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID. One of her colleagues was the illustrious Dr. Stella Immanuel who promoted bizarre conspiracy theories involving alien DNA in medical treatments and that having sex with witches and demon that appear in dreams can cause real STDs. Good memories.

  12. marym

    Re: Biden asking US attorneys to resign

    It’s customary at the beginning of their terms for Presidents to ask for the resignation of US attorneys appointed by their predecessor. The scandal during the Bush years occurred when 9 were asked to resign in 2006 for (as critics and an eventual DOJ IG investigation saw it) making decisions that were politically disadvantageous to Republicans.


  13. rowlf

    Beware digital “evidence”…..

    … and this is why this website heart punches nonsense whichever direction it comes from. Truth, Justice, and the American (Common People) Way.

  14. allan

    Axios: Colin Kaepernick forms a SPAC

    … The SPAC is called Mission Advancement Corp., and designed to acquire a company at “the intersection of consumer and impact.”

    Kaepernick is the SPAC’s co-chair and co-sponsor, and is working in partnership with venture capital firm The Najafi Companies.

    Directors include Attica Jaques, Google’s head of global brand consumer marketing, and Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and CEO of Birchbox.

    Taking a knee for Peak Froth.
    We’re about to see a market at “the intersection of investor and impact.”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Is it just too much reading with noplace to go? or does Colin seem like a figure right out of the Iliad (“Huge Telamonian Aias”)? Insufferable hubris, hamartia and all.

      ….But maybe as reinterpreted by Tom Wolfe:

      “So he used his Yiddisheh kop and applied for a minority scholarship to law school,” said Kovitsky. “His Yiddisheh half applied for a minority scholarship for his Puerto Rican half! Is that One World or isn’t it? It’s using your f£k!ng kop, anyway.” Kovitsky looked at Sonnenberg until he smiled, and then he looked at Torres until he smiled, and then Kovitsky beamed at both of them.

  15. ObjectiveFunction

    Sam Kriss strikes again:

    This wasn’t the plan, exactly, but you held the line even when everyone else sold, and now you’re the majority shareholder in GameStop Incorporated. It’s all yours: five thousand stores to play with however you want….

    This is not a ruin. You saw ruins, as the worried-looking executives drove you from mall to empty mall. The great wide belly of America, blistered with bedsores. Wet rotting houses, potholes in the roads.

    It’s getting bad out there. First they gave out Fentanyl, now it’s the vaccine. For what? Haven’t you seen the weather? Better to stay inside and play video games. Better to stay inside and play the stock market. Build vast imaginary kingdoms from some warm mildewed pit of a home.

  16. Jason Boxman

    Pharmacy chain update per a pharmacist contact; In Raleigh at one of the Walgreens, they’re starting COVID vaccinations. And 4 pharmacists quit this week. The schedule calls for:

    – 250-400 scripts a day
    – 60 shots a day
    – Usual questions about COVID shots
    – 20-30 COVID tests a day
    – Plus phone calls and counseling

    Sounds like a train wreck.

    Shots are scheduled every 10 minutes.

    And techs can’t do any of the things that pharmacists must do, so having additional techs available for this isn’t helping at all. The lack of pharmacists is the bottleneck here.

  17. Phil in KC

    The BBC article with five takeaways on the 1/6 Riot is indeed worth a read. I recall a few weeks ago Lambert was doing some demographics on those arrested. It looks like a more detailed study is underway headed by a Dr. Robert Pape at the University of Chicago. Will be interesting to see the results. One takeaway that is worth noting is the age of the crowd. Two-thirds of the rioters were over 35. In other words, two-thirds of the mob were of an age that should know better.

    In a different news story, Sr. Simone Gold was one of those arrested at the1/6 Riot. Dr. Gold was one of the doctors who formed the hastily-organized group America’s Frontline Doctors who promoted during the summer hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID. One of here colleagues was the illustrious Dr. Stella Immanuel who promoted bizarre conspiracy theories involving alien DNA in medical treatments and that having sex with witches and demon that appear in dreams can cause real STDs. Good memories.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      What strikes me about this story is that nobody uses the word ‘bullying’. It seems to me that the NYT has such weak management that it is permitting a rancid culture of bullying, one where they bullies can get away with it by claiming to be woke. The obsession with policing language has created an environment in numerous organisations where anyone – low or high – can relentlessly bully someone out of their position, simply by appointing themselves the guardian of anti-bigotry.

      I don’t honestly see any difference in this from bullying justified by ‘toughening people up’, or ‘weeding out the weak’. It is the perfect mirror image of ‘hey, it was just a joke, its not my fault if he can’t take a joke’. Its all bullying pure and simple. And it is particularly shameful that Unions haven’t stood up to it.

  18. Jeremy

    Although I do think Glenn is precisely right on this one, I’m worried by the large number of right wing tweets that were recommended in relation to his tweet via the “more tweets” section of the mobile web.

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