2:00PM Water Cooler 3/23/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Most popular bird song audio at eBird today, and very pretty.


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. If we are in “in the eye of the storm” , we are still in the eye of the storm.

Vaccination by region:

Looks like yesterday’s stumble was a data artificact. • Early in February, I said a simple way to compare Biden’s performance to Trump’s on vaccination would be to compare the slopes of the curves. If Biden accelerated vaccine administration, post-Inaugural slopes would get steeper. They have not. The fragmented, Federalized, and profit-driven lumbering monstrosity that we laughingly call our “health care” “system” has not responded to “energy in the executive,” but has continued on its inertial path.

Case count by United States regions:

I helpfully added a black line to show how horrific the new normal we are all so triumphal about just now really is. The curve has definitely been flattening for the last three weeks, and in the last two days seems to have flattered entirely (remember I use one-week averages to smooth out data artifacts). That’s not good, and when we look at the Northeast, it’s flattened entirely. Since these are averaged weekly, there’s some momentum in the train, too. So there’s really no reason to break out the champers.


Wait ’til the students come back to Boston and Cambridge from Spring Break.

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

New York still leads, although with a recent drop. I’m also loathe to give Florida’s DeSantis permission for a happy dance, but there’s no question that in the enormous natural experiment that is our Federalized response to Covid, Florida didn’t do badly, and its case curve looks pretty much like that corrupt crook Cuomo’s, just with a later peak.

Test positivity:

Big jump in the South.


Hospitalization data is the best data we have, because hospital billing is a highly functional data acquisition system (ka-ching). That said, 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):

Good to see those deaths dropping. The fatality rate in the West is where it was last May.

* * *


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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

Biden Administration

“House Democrats demand answers on slow $1,400 checks” [The Hill]. • Plus, they owe me six hundred bucks.

“How earmarks can help fix Congress” [The Week]. “Earmarks grease the wheels of politics, and they help tie the United States together as a functioning society.” • Yep.

“How Biden quietly created a huge social program” [WaPo]. “An unlikely coalition of Democrats across the ideological spectrum mounted an 11th-hour push in the final weekend before the American Rescue Plan for President Biden to go big on tackling child poverty. They prevailed over what one person involved in the process called the “cost police” in Biden’s inner circle, those anxiously warning about the ballooning cost of the stimulus package…. This under-the-radar success created what could be the most consequential piece of the $1.9 trillion package — one that, if made permanent, could approach the impact of the programs established under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.” • I’ve never seen such auto-backpatting for programs that only last a year.

“Texas Democrat Shares Photos Of Overcrowded Migrant Detention Centers” [HuffPo]. “President Joe Biden’s administration has tried for weeks to keep the public from seeing images like those released Monday of immigrant children in U.S. custody at the border sleeping on mats under foil blankets, separated in groups by plastic partitions. Administration officials have steadfastly refused to call the detention of more than 15,000 children in U.S. custody, or the conditions they’re living under, a crisis. But they have stymied most efforts by outsiders to decide for themselves.”

Fundamentally, nothing will change:

Republican Funhouse

“GOP hopefuls crank up the ‘if-Trump-doesn’t-run’ primary” [Politico]. “[W]hat’s truly unique about the Republicans’ pre-presidential primary is the contingent framework that is unfolding around it. It’s a primary — but a wholly conditional one. Prospective 2024 candidates, donors and conservative media outlets — the entire Republican ecosystem — are building strategies and structuring the race around the single question of whether former President Donald Trump runs again.” • Trump’s only 74. So in 2024 he’s one year younger than Biden is today.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Chamber Of Commerce Goes Woke” [The American Conservative]. “Although CEOs may earn light applause here and there for their statements in support of “LGBTQ+” diversity and donations to Black Lives Matter, such actions are inevitably never enough, as the leftist revolutionaries they pander to always demand more. Meanwhile, business leaders gain no meaningful political capital with Democrats, who move to spurn them at the first opportunity. But as long as the Chamber, and the big business community they represent, continue to see leftist causes as their own, Republicans should learn to treat them not as tepid allies but as potentially hostile enemies.”

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in the US fifth district including the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia rose to 17 in March of 2021 from a 7-month low of 14 reported in the previous two months. The shipments index increased sharply while the other two components, new orders and employment, held steady. Survey results suggested that manufacturers increased employment and wages in March.”

* * *


* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 23 at 12:48pm. One year ago, just after the Before Times: 5 (Extreme Fear).

The Biosphere

“Why Oumuamua, the Interstellar Visitor, Looks Eerily Familiar” [New York Times]. “In the scenario favored by Dr. Desch and Dr. Jackson, the nascent Oumuamua was knocked from a Pluto-like object that was circling a distant star some half-billion years ago. It would have originally been roundish, but as it traveled through space it was carved away by cosmic rays. By the time it entered our solar system in 1995 or so, it had lost half its original mass, according to their model. During its passage around the sun it likely melted to a sliver, like a bar of soap in the shower, the researchers say. Only 10 percent would have remained by the time it left the solar system, boosted by the rocketlike effect of evaporating nitrogen. Nitrogen sublimates at about 25 degrees Kelvin, Dr. Desch said: ‘We calculate that Oumuamua reached temperatures in the 45 to 50 K range while it rounded the sun, so it was sublimating nitrogen gas like crazy, hence the strong mass loss.’ He and Dr. Jackson concluded in their paper: ‘A key advantage of the proposal we advance here of a nitrogen ice fragment is that it can simultaneously explain all of the important observational characteristics of Oumuamua, and that material of this composition is found in the solar system. We therefore conclude that Oumuamua is an example of an uncommon but certainly not exotic object: a fragment of a differentiated Pluto-like planet from another stellar system.'” • Dang. (Then again, if you’re an alien observer, why not hitch a ride on a chunk of Nitrogen instead of taking a ship? Especially when the chunk doesn’t look like a ship?

Health Care

“‘I was sort of stunned’: Fauci and U.S. officials say AstraZeneca released ‘outdated information’ from Covid-19 vaccine trial” [STAT]. “In an interview Tuesday morning with STAT, Anthony Fauci, the head of the NIAID, said the DSMB raised concerns because it felt the results in a AstraZeneca press release Monday looked more favorable than more recent data from the vaccine study had shown. ‘I was sort of stunned,’ Fauci said. ‘The data safety and monitoring board were concerned that the data that went into the press release by AZ was not the most accurate and up-to-date data. That is what the DSMB communicated to AZ in a rather harsh note. Having seen that letter we could not just let it go unanswered.'” • Wait. A press release? Clearly, whoever is handling AstraZeneca’s public relations needs to be… spoken to. To be fair, Fauci does like to endorse drugs and ramp stocks based on press releases, so clearly the accuracy of press releases would be of great concern to him. But I dunno… From a realpolitik perspective in the United States, Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J are national champions. AstraZeneca, like Sputnik, is not. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask if Fauci is putting the boot into AZ for reasons that have nothing to do with health care. Zeynep Tufecki comments:

I agree. Wait for the paper.

“Variants Rise in Some States, Adding Urgency to Vaccine Push” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. officials and public-health experts are again raising alarms about the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in some regions, and are particularly concerned about the role variants are playing in states including Michigan and New Jersey. The developments could augur a long-feared possibility: That another surge could occur even as states are flinging open vaccine eligibility criteria, trying to get shots in arms as quickly as possible. In Michigan and Minnesota, infections are mounting swiftly and new hospital admissions of confirmed or suspected Covid cases are up about 70% and 32%, respectively, from recent lows, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data. The pace of daily Covid-19 hospital admissions, meanwhile, has stopped its slide in New York and New Jersey — despite the vaccine campaign — and begun to inch higher.”

“Regina schools see rising COVID-19 cases as they move to online learning” [CTV]. ” Public and Catholic schools in Regina have confirmed more than 30 COVID-19 cases in 21 schools across the city since they announced Friday schools will move to Level 4 learning ahead of spring break… On Friday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority confirmed there are 25 Saskatchewan schools dealing with cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, most of which are in and around Regina.”

More beach-shaming, the trope that will not die:

More beach-shaming. Yes, it’s idiotic, and the cameraman making selfies — can videos be selfies? — makes it meta-idiotic. But the beach is outdoors; the real danger is indoors, in bars, restaurants, and accommodations. Yet those are never shown or shamed, presumably because they are businesses.

“The Curious Case of Florida’s Pandemic Response” [The Atlantic]. “But the closer I looked, the more holes I found in the simple pro-Florida narrative….. Yes, Florida is seeing falling COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. But so is just about everywhere else. And its overall pandemic performance is just about typical. (Some have questioned the veracity of the state’s public COVID-19 data, but I’m assuming for the purposes of this piece that its numbers are accurate.) Florida ranks 27th in deaths per capita, with higher proportional fatalities than Washington, D.C., California, and 22 other states. That’s not a resounding ‘vindication,’ even if Florida’s economic performance blew everybody else’s out of the water. As far as I can tell, though, it didn’t. At 4.8 percent, its unemployment rate is 18th in the country, and not meaningfully different from that of the median states, South Carolina and Virginia, at 5.3 percent. Real-time data tracking state spending and employment show that Florida is doing, again, no better than average…. But while I think Florida’s pandemic success has been inflated, the state has surprised people. In 2020, smart media figures and scientists predicted that COVID-19 would especially ravage Florida, given its open economy and elderly population. They were wrong. Why? Did Florida just get lucky? Is this mostly about the salutary benefits of the outdoors, or the coronavirus’s sensitivity to heat and humidity? Do strict lockdowns simply fail the cost-benefit analysis? The answer to all three questions may be yes. But they are important unknowns, and we should investigate them with data rather than political headlines alternately claiming that Florida is an economic heaven and a pandemic hell. If the numbers can tell us anything at this point, it’s that Florida is neither.” • Well worth a read.

Groves of Academe

“The Humanities Have a Marketing Problem” [Chronicle of Higher Education]. “The causes of the precipitous humanities declines? First, a political assault on the welfare state that began by defunding education and increasing student debt. Second, an inaccurate student belief that majoring in the humanities leads to lower salaries and higher unemployment. And third, a 50-year culture war against the academy in general and the humanities in particular. Not a cause of these changes, despite what Tucker Carlson tells you: anything that takes place in the humanities classroom…. What if, then, we reorganized the undergraduate curriculum around a set of concepts that instead of foregrounding training in the graduate disciplines, foregrounded topics, skills, and ideas central to humanistic work and central to the interests of students? What if the humanities were marketed within the academy by the names of their best and most important ideas, and not by the names of their calcifying disciplinary formations? One way to put such a change in place would be to reorganize the existing curriculum into sets of four-course modules. Such modules could come in two types. Skill modules would focus on practices: language learning, writing and speaking, historical, cultural, and social analysis. Theme modules would focus on topics: social justice, migration studies, the problem of God, translation, journalism, wealth and inequality, conflict, ideas of beauty, television, society and technology, and the like.” Not uninteresting. But: “Administrator-faculty trust would be paramount.” • Oh.

Our Famously Free Press

“Want To Serve The Empire? Help Circulate Its Propaganda Narratives!” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “All you have to do to help ol’ Uncle Sam spark off them shiny lil’ Tomahawk missiles and incinerate those goofy foreigners for geostrategic control and Raytheon shareholder profits is this: just go around repeating the same stuff your buddies at the US State Department say about governments we don’t like. That’s it! That’s all there is to it. It really is that simple.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How ‘sex addiction’ has historically been used to absolve white men” [NBC]. ““Historically, the term ‘sex addiction’ has been used by white males to absolve themselves from personal and legal responsibility for their behaviors,’ Apryl Alexander, associate professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver, told NBC Asian America. ‘It is often used as an excuse to pathologize misogyny…. The self-identification of sex addiction, she said, is often seen in individuals who are raised in conservative and religious environments, ‘where there’s a high level of moral disapproval of their natural kind of sexual urges and desires.’ Many of these populations are overwhelmingly white.” • So we’re reducing evangelical Christianity to… whiteness? What about teh intersectionality?

Class Warfare

“Because of Monopolies, Income Inequality Significantly Understates Economic Inequality” (PDF) [Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis]. “In social science research, household income is widely used as a stand-in for, or approximation to, the economic well-being of households. In a parallel way, income-inequality has been employed as a stand-in for inequality of economic well-being, or for brevity, “economic-inequality.” But there is a force in market economies, ones with extensive amounts of monopoly, like the United States, which leads income- inequality to understate economic-inequality. This force has not been recognized before and derives from how monopolies behave. Monopolies, of course, raise prices. This reduces the purchasing power of households, or the value of their income. But monopolies, in fact, reduce the purchasing power of low- income households much more than high-income households. What has not been recognized is that, in many markets, as monopolies raise the prices for their goods, they simultaneously destroy substitutes for their products, low-cost substitutes that are purchased by low-income households. In these markets, then, while high-income households face higher prices, low-income households are shut out of markets, markets for goods and services that are extremely important for their economic well-being. It often leaves them with extremely poor alternatives, and sometimes none, for these products. Some of the markets we discuss include those for housing, financial services, and K-12 public education services. We also discuss markets for legal services, health care services, used durable equipment and repair services. Monopolies that infiltrate public institutions to enrich members, including those in foster care services, voting institutions and antitrust institutions, are also discussed.” • Pretty amazing, for the Fed. Maybe one day they’ll write about the workplace.

“Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America” (PDF) [Barbara Jean Fields, New Left Review]. From 1990, said to be a classic. “One of the most important of these absurd assumptions, accepted implicitly by most Americans, is that there is really only one race, the Negro race. That is why the Court had to perform intellectual contortions to prove that non-Negroes might be construed as members of races in order to receive protection under laws forbidding racial discrimination. Americans regard people of known African descent or visible African appearance as a race, but not people of known European descent or visible European appearance. That is why, in the United States, there are scholars and black scholars, women and black women. Saul Bellow and John Updike are writers; Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison are black writers. George Bush and Michael Dukakis were candidates for president; Jesse Jackson was a black candidate for president. Moreover, people in the United States do not classify as races peoples of non-European but also non-African appearance or descent, except for purposes of direct or indirect contrast with people of African descent; and even then, the terms used are likely to represent geography or language rather than biology: Asian or Hispanic. Even when terms of geography designate people of African descent, they mean something different from what they mean when applied to others. My students find it odd when I refer to the colonizers of North America as Euro-Americans, but they feel more at ease with Afro-Americans, a term which, for the period of colonization and the slave trade, has no more to recommend it. Students readily understand that no one was really a European, since Europeans belonged to different nationalities; but it comes as a surprise to them that no one was an African.”

“What we lose if we stop travelling on business” [Financial Times]. “[W]hen I do see water shortly after landing, it never fails to exhilarate: the vaporetto into Venice, the evening stroll along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, Seattle’s waterside Pike Place Market. A few years back, as I walked in brilliant sunlight across the white-painted Cavenagh Bridge over the Singapore River, I said to myself: you were lucky to have done all this (and lucky, too, to be going back to a cloudier country where I can say what I like). Even when the first sight is the airport metro station or a rainy street, I’m lifted by the thought of being somewhere different… Travel not only broadens the mind, it deepens understanding — business travel most of all. Interactions on a work trip, unlike those on holiday, are not just with those serving you. You deal with people as equals. You go into their workplaces, you talk about what they are making and doing, you enter their lives. I have been into aircraft factories in Seattle and Toulouse, a financial services company in Bogotá, luxury watchmaking workshops in Geneva. Even other countries’ offices have their fascinations: how people greet you, how they are with each other, what pictures they have on the walls. Each told me something.” • In my experience, all this is true; it’s the humanists argument for travel. I’m not certain, however, how much business travel has made the “business class” more humane, based on outcomes.

“The best-known street in the city is Evergreen Point Road. Because the road runs along the water, it is a who’s who of luxury real estate. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and several Microsoft executives live on the street.” [Business Insider]. From 2019, still germane. “The Bezos family, which is the richest in the world, lives in the tiny waterfront city of Medina, Washington, located just outside of Seattle. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is perhaps the most famous fellow resident, although the town’s inhabitants include numerous other Microsoft bigwigs, tech entrepreneurs, and telecom magnates.” • There are not very many of the Shing.

News of the Wired

Any results yet?

* * *
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 (EMM):

EMM writes: “This is a mushroom, I don’t know what it’s called, found in Ireland. Keep up the good work!”

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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. ambrit

    The writers at the ‘American Conservative’ must live in a John Birch Society “Pocket Universe.” To assert that Black Lives Matter is a radical leftist organization is delusional. I wonder what will happen to all those ‘conservative’ talking heads if and when they ever meet a group of real leftists. Better yet, when they meet Madame la Guillotine.

    1. Geo

      It’s always fascinating to hear what people consider to be the “radical” left. Most I know actually believe Bernie is a radical. My neighbor, a public school teacher, thinks Biden and Gavin Newsom are radical leftists turning America communist.

      Yet, the social media circles i pollute my brain with can’t seem to agree on where this mythical radical left exists in America. Some have hammer & sickle icons on their avatars and long for the days of Mao. Some are happy with “The Squad”. And some are DSA types putting in the work in their local communities. The actual radical left just seems like a medley of squabbling factions of identitarians and clicktavists feuding over nonsense with a small faction that actually puts their effort into enacting whatever modest local change they can.

      I wish the radical left was as big of a deal as the media, right wing, and mainstream culture constantly fear mongers to us. Maybe one day it will get over the petty squabbling and unite to become the threat to our systemic institutions those same institutions fear monger about? We can hope. :)

      1. ambrit

        My thinking here is that the continued decline of the ‘Middle Class’ in America will eventually deliver ‘opposition’ politicians a mass of converts to a more radical agenda. All it would take is a bout of national food “insecurity.” Similar food related situations have triggered ‘revolts’ in the past. When looking into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of America’s food production and distribution systems, the fragility of it all leaps out at one.

        1. km

          I suspect that we will see former middle class persons gravitate towards both the far left and far right.

          Unfortunately, the far left seems intent on running away from power.

          1. neo-realist

            I’d say that the center runs from power, and with the right wing (in some cases the opposition party) works like crazy to keep the far left out of power, e.g., democratic party warfare. If the people with the gold hate you and it owns the press, the center and right politicians, and the voting machine companies, it’s hard to get power.

            Then again you have disenchanted left – the Green Party, that doesn’t seek power, but is content with being a lefty peanut gallery that sits on its hands and criticizes left and center democrats while not building its brand (run candidates on the local and state level) so that it can be eventually be a competitive national party. It appears to be content with running its usual vanity presidential candidate every 4 years that gets 1% just to give the impression that it is trying to effect change and doing absolutely nothing in between national elections to get serious about the change it supposedly seeks.

        2. tegnost

          “…a bout of national food “insecurity.””

          yeah it’s going to take a crash…you only know if you’ve gone too far when you’ve gone too far, and it’s wrong to stop until you’re sure you’ve gone far enough, and you can only know that if you’ve gone too far….it’s a genetic safety valve of sorts…

        3. Procopius

          Speaking of “food insecurity,” near the beginning of the pandemic there were stories about food banks and mile-long line-ups of cars of people asking for food. Whatever happened to that story? Are the lines still there? A few months ago I read that 20% of Americans have gone without at least one meal in the last month, or something like that. Is that still going on? How can we track that information? How bad is the homeless situation this month? These stories are simply ignored by the media, so they aren’t happening. Meanwhile I have this marvelous recipe for an arugula quiche, which unfortunately requires Himalayan pink sea salt. /s

      2. Pelham

        For a true radical left to be born its proponents would have to begin by loudly jettisoning every last bit of their hated idpol baggage.

        1. The Rev Kev

          In most countries in the world, Joe Biden would be regarded as a hard right-winger due to his policies.

      3. Dave

        My concept of ‘radical left’ is redistributing the trillions from the oligarchy which funds and directs Black Lives Matter.

    2. Jessica

      In the conservative universe, there was violence associated with many of the BLM protests* last year and that by itself makes BLM radical.
      *This is a complex issue and much of it was by opportunistic looters, agents provocateurs, very much by the police or caused by police going on unofficial mini-strikes and standing aside to allow criminals to commit violence so as to discredit BLM criticism of the police, but there was more violence than the near-universal elite raising of the BLM flag would make one think. And conservatives lump all that violence together as leftist violence. I think that they also lump together stores boarded up because the lockdowns destroyed the businesses that had been there and stores boarded up because of violence.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If armed business citizens had shot looters, it would have been opportunistic looters, false-flag antifas, false flag police provocateurs, etc. getting shot.

        And the official police would have gotten involved instantly to shoot the citizens to make sure to keep the looting going.

        So armed citizens facing opportunistic and false-flag looting situations have to think about that too.
        They might find themselves in a local civil-war combat situation with the police who are undercover-supporting the looting in order to “fake the case” about why you need your local police.

  2. ambrit

    Zeitgeist watch:
    I bopped on over to The Weather Channel’s site to check up on the line of heavy thunderstorms transiting our region today. (Back and side yards presently under an inch of water.) Zounds! Usually, I have to click through pop up demands for my acquiescence to the sites adware, or participation in an “enhanced membership.” Today, the site, (owned by IBM,) has a ‘Kiss of Death’ three-quarter screen pop up demanding that I do either, period.
    I’m going to miss them.
    I’ve migrated to a local television station weather site. Evidently, they make do with the revenues they get from selling the meta data.

      1. Glen

        Yes, NOAA does a fantastic job. I’m surprised there isn’t a billionaire out there trying to force them to fund retirement for employees not yet born like the USPS so they can swoop in and buy them.

      2. ambrit

        Bookmarked! It pays to have backups nowadays. Thank you.
        This progression by the Weather Channel site to full on Command Financialization makes me wonder about the coterie running IBM today. Is the ‘Octopus Central’ that strapped for cash that it has to embark on a program that will surely drive viewers away?

        1. tegnost

          if you really want to know whats going on, get to your forecast page and scroll down to forecast discussion that’s where they explain what the models are predicting. I’m a fan of weather.gov, didn’t like the new radar as much, it doesn’t load as easily as the flash version but whaddayagonnado? I need to know if it’s raining in seattle, not portland and boise so why the huge map? Weather.gov is also the best because where do you think those platforms are getting their data from? Might as well go right to the source, while you still can…

          1. bob

            The new radar is evidence to me that the CEO of accuweather was doing his job when he was appointed to head NOAA by Trump.

        2. flora

          The NOAA weather radar loop videos are great. Easy to see which way and how fast storms are moving.

          1. bob

            Have you seen it lately? They changed the site and the new radar stinks. Everything it used to do very well it does more slowly and with less information.

            1. flora

              wow. you’re right. just checked it now. there are still loops but you have to hunt for them, and they are national not local. the old system had better information directly at one’s fingertips and much easier to use.

      3. freebird

        Amen. Give NOAA some well deserved clicks, or Windy, which transmits the source data with max info and minimum BS.

      1. ambrit

        Weather Underground is owned by The Weather Channel, and thus by IBM. Under their Terms of Use is a section titled “No Charge Subscriber Agreement.” It specifically states that you will accept ads as part of the agreement.
        I am a notorious Anti-Ad A—hole. Sometimes, I atone for my “sin of omission.” At other times, I must adapt and accept lesser “services.” Welcome to the Neo-liberal Dispensation.

      2. marcyincny

        Me too and ditto the 10 day forecast. It’s the site I visit most frequently and having been an annual subscriber back in the day, we can still sign in and avoid ads.

        I still miss the wunderphotos feature though…

      3. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        Hey Moe . . . . the “Weather Underground”??!!! . . . . Mostly forgotten history . . . . Lots and lots of DANGEROUS ideas . . . . I know . . . . I know . . . .

        BORING!! . . . .

        “Following the convention, the Weatherpeople held a War Council in Flint where they made plans to go underground. Their last above-ground action was the “Days of Rage” in Chicago, October 1969, where they smashed windows and fought the “pigs.” Since then they have claimed responsibility for some 18 bombings, whose targets have included such symbols of exploitation as the headquarters of United Fruit and ITT, the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. The Weather Underground also busted (temporarily) Tim Leary out of prison, has issued various communiques and political statements, and has now published a book.”


        “How the Weather Underground Failed at Revolution and Still Changed the World”




        Now, everyone can go back to sleep, because it:


        Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck!

    1. Lee

      I’m a fan of Ventusky.

      Although, living in the SF bay area we don’t really have what most others would call weather. It’s mostly just nice outside most of the time.

  3. occasional anonymous

    I find it interesting that there were attempts to cancel Adolph Reed, but no one seems to have targeted the Fields sisters.

  4. ambrit

    Am I living in a “pocket universe” of my own? Forty-fife minutes in and I’m the first and only two comments?
    That’s not like our commenteriat.
    Wake up joe!

      1. ambrit

        My money is on the ‘Wall Street Sharks’ circling around.
        Oh, and where, pray tell are these basking platforms? Lake Havasu? Hmm… A Dune style of Sea Lion.

  5. Geo

    The War on Drugs is escalating and reverting back to horrific policies Biden once pushed for. Colombia to resume spraying Monsanto chemicals on farms. The same practice Paul Wellstone was protesting when he had the chemicals dumped on him.

    “Joe Biden said “I’m the guy who put together Plan Colombia”.

    Personally, I feel it should be mandatory that every time they spray a farm in Colombia they should also be made to spray Hunter with Round-Up.

    Seriously, Biden’s hypocrisy on his crusade against drugs compared to his support for his fail son is disgusting. That he is unable to see in others what he sees in his son is a clear sign of a man who has mastered the art of acting empathetic to appease the press and voters while clearly being unable to truly empathize.

    “I have no empathy.” – Joe Biden

    Link to Paul Wellstone incident: https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/monsanto_and_the_drug_war/

    1. Isotope_C14

      Great links Geo,

      Rest in Power, Paul Wellstone.

      Of course his airplane naturally crashed with no outside help from the “Mafia Industrial Complex” that calls every one of their hits a “Conspiracy Theory” until 30 years later when enough information comes out because the people responsible for the hit admit it on death’s door. MLK, Malcom X, Fred Hampton, how many examples of our best people on the planet have to be put into the ground before the masses wake up to the fact that “Conspiracy Theory” is just a lazy person’s way to intellectually accept the will of the sociopaths and psychopaths.

      When they sprayed Senator Wellstone with Roundup, one of the key carcinogens in it is 1,4-Dioxane, the LD50’s *for that* are listed on the internet, but not on a barrel of this poison. Some places claim that this is an unintentional contaminant, but my Environmental Science professor stated clearly that this “contaminant” was present in 2002. This was *well known* in the scientific community for nearly 20 years. I randomly searched one site that says it’s concentration is around 350ppm. Certainly not something you’d like to take a shower in.

      1. Alternate Delegate

        Please allow me to recommend the NTSB accident report about the Paul Wellstone plane crash on 10/25/2002. This is a good example of the right kind of accident investigation, and it goes far to convince me that this was, in fact, an accident. The pilot was below average skill and had probably inflated the experience reflected in his logbook hours. He had also moonlighted at his nursing job the night before the crash.

        I was out in the woods that day, and I well remember the heavy overcast and light snow. I can easily believe they got lost and dropped below the very low cloud cover to look for the airport, failed to watch their airspeed, and stalled out.

        “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover.”

        1. Isotope_C14

          Interesting that the “official” statement leaves out the co-pilot. You’d think if the NTSB statement were complete, that they would include all people at the controls of the airplane.


          Or is this article a lie? From what I can tell, normally you’d have a co-pilot on this configuration. Admittedly I’m not an aircraft expert.

          The NTSB report would be much more plausible if the names of all these anonymous people who claim the pilot was bad or mediocre had provided contact information. Seems a bit suspicious that a pilot with over 5000 flight hours would be so bad at his job.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And who picked that low-grade a pilot in that low-grade a condition to fly a Dissident Senator around?

            1. Alternate Delegate

              1. The Dissident Senator himself picked that pilot (Richard Conry). From page 10 of the NTSB report: “The pilot’s logbook indicated that he had flown Senator Wellstone at least 12 times. According to the pilot’s wife, he got along well with the Senator, who would often call her husband at home before scheduled trips.”

              2. My reading is that wsws.org suggests it could have been murder, but presents no evidence.

              3. Yes, there was a copilot, Michael Guess, as mentioned at the wsws.org link. The report says he had 701 total flight hours.

              4. The pilot claimed 5,116 total flight hours, but probably fabricated around 3,200 of those hours. See section “The Pilot’s Logbook History” on page 12, and Figure 4 “Reconstruction of pilot’s reported flight hours” on page 13, and draw your own conclusions.

              1. John Emerson

                A trusted friend of a trusted friend of mine spent several months investigating the crash and concluded that it was an accident. As I temper, wing icing in bad weather conditions was a major factor. The pilot was a buddy of Wellstone’s.

                All politically aware people on MN suspected foul play, I’m sure, and the accident did not go ininvestigated. It couldn’t have come at a worse time,

          2. Basil Pesto

            huh? The NTSB report mentions the co-pilot repeatedly. The statement quoted above speaks of ‘the flight crew’, a term which encompasses the pilot and co-pilot.

            It’s not clear to me why NTSB investigators would want to doxx their sources in their final, publicly available report. That strikes me prima facie as a terrible idea.

            The WSWS article is childishly frothy and trivial in and of itself, let alone in comparison to the NTSB report supplied above.

    2. cocomaan

      Seriously, Biden’s hypocrisy on his crusade against drugs compared to his support for his fail son is disgusting. That he is unable to see in others what he sees in his son is a clear sign of a man who has mastered the art of acting empathetic to appease the press and voters while clearly being unable to truly empathize.

      This has always been fascinating to me. On the one hand, Joe Biden has to constantly pivot to protect his deadbeat, burnout son. On the other hand, he’s allegedly the drug warrior that stopped the Obama administration from pursuing marijuana legalization.

      With this glyphosate dumping operation, he’s refusing to address the problem his son faces (addiction) by practicing the equivalent of supply side economics, tinkering with the supply of drugs instead of dealing with the demand, which is a much thornier problem.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Biden always did work for the major banks. As long as various drugs were kept illegal, the price could be kept up, and the cartels could be guaranteed their kilo-billions of dollars. And since all that money had to be laundered to make it safe to show in public, the major banks made their billions laundering the tens of billions.

        So Biden was and still is doing his part to keep the illegal drugs illegal in order to keep the prices up in order to guarantee big money laundering profits for the major banks he still works for.

        In my opinion, of course.

  6. Carla

    “‘House Democrats demand answers on slow $1,400 checks’ [The Hill]. • Plus, they owe me six hundred bucks.”

    Me, too. Odd thing is, my life partner received both payments in good order. Both of us are WAY under the maximum income limits.

    1. John Zelnicker

      March 23, 2021 at 3:10 pm

      If you haven’t received the full amount for which you qualify of the first two stimulus payments you can claim them as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. You’ll need to file a return even if you are normally are not required to file.

  7. Fireship

    > Recent mass shootings in USA! USA! USA!

    Apologies in advance, this is a rage posting. Please do not read any further if you still maintain hope that the US can ever become a decent society.

    Eh, do you retards know that there is a quick and easy solution to end these massacres? Sorry for the crude language but there really is no way to be subtle about this. America has got to be the most grotesque “society” in human history. Time after time, a (usually white, male) manchild takes out his rage with his penis replacement and all you gimps can do is offer “thoughts and prayers”. WTF is seriously wrong with you people? Why do you hate life so much? The US is a giant death cult. You are the retarded children of the world playing with gasoline and matches – hopefully you only manage to annihilate yourselves.

    once again, sorry not sorry but you people are the stupidest motherfckers that ever lived. Have a blessed day, y’all. Oh, nearly forgot, thoughts and prayers.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here’s an American who agrees with you.

      BTW, one of my local acquaintances missed being in the January 8, 2011 Safeway shootings by 5 minutes. She even joked with one of the murder victims a few minutes before she went into the store.

    2. Geo

      I agree with your sentiments and outrage. Only quibble I have is that our mass shooters are one aspect of American society that has achieved true racial equality. That said, it’s definitely a man issue.

      There have been a number of mass shootings committed by non-white gunmen. I assume it’s because liberal news doesn’t care because it doesn’t fit IdPol narratives. Rightwing doesn’t care because it doesn’t fit gun culture narratives. And most Americans don’t care because those shootings happen in poor and disenfranchised neighborhoods where the health and well-being of its residents is of no concern no matter the issue.

      Here’s a list of known 2021 mass shootings:

      Seriously though, the mass shooting epidemic is tragically under-reported. And our social and political apathy toward it is disgusting. Personally, I think we should allow concealed carry in federal and state congresses and the White House. Remove all metal detectors too. See how long they go until they enact real reform. Polls show voters want reform. Our corrupt and gutless “representatives” are the ones who do nothing on this – and so many other issues of life and death for our impotent citizenry.

      1. Carla

        “Personally, I think we should allow concealed carry in federal and state congresses and the White House. Remove all metal detectors too. See how long they go until they enact real reform.”

        They would all just work from home and Zoom it in.

    3. zagonostra

      Do you find it strange that the suspect, at least initially, was not reported as Muslim, or that they are investigating the incident as possible domestic terrorism (I haven’t read anything except headlines so I’m not suggesting this so). If he were white and had a shaved head, you know what the lede would be.

      I’ll bet ya that below Tweet prediction will come to pass.

      It’s unclear how former President Trump motivated Al-Issa to carry out this attack, but we’re sure Rachel Maddow and CNN will fill in the blanks

      1. Procopius

        Is he Muslim? Do you have a link to that report? Or do you have a link to the report you saw that said he is a Muslim? There are, after all, Arab Christians.

    4. occasional anonymous

      I’m not remotely sympathetic to American gun culture, which is far, far, far too insipid and frivolous (a massive market for ‘tacticool’ weapon attachments to make overweight guys feel like special forces operators, literal pink guns to get your daughters into the lifestyle, etc. Americans treat guns like toys), but the constant killings are symptoms of a society in a state of decay. If we just blanket banned firearms (and could actually meaningfully enforce this, and given that there are about as many guns in the US now as there are people, I think that ship has long since sailed), I think killings would continue, but through other means. Knives, vehicles, etc, would probably result in less casualties, but I don’t think the underlying malaise that is driving these recurrent mass killings would disappear.

      There are other countries with widespread gun ownership, but no plague of gun crime (Sweden and Switzerland are probably the most conspicuous examples). So I think the underlying problem lies elsewhere. Banning firearms would be a nuclear solution that, even if could be done successfully, would merely be addressing a symptom. A very bad, devastating symptom, but a symptom nonetheless.

    5. phoenix

      very emotional post. take a deep breath. obviously there is a massive issue but pointing to some identity as the problem is about as rslurred as you claim Americans are. Neoliberalism is destroying this country from the inside out and if you don’t think it’s also coming for Europe or Canada wherever you reside unless drastic changes are made then you’re an idiot. Let’s not act like America has a monopoly on senseless massacres. I think Germany currently holds that record

    6. The Rev Kev

      Kamala Harris’ niece got into a bit if hot water about this because she assumed that the shooter was a white guy but then discovered that he wasn’t. So she deleted the tweet and her apology/non-apology said-

      ‘Meena Harris
      I deleted a previous tweet about the suspect in the Boulder shooting. I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are carried out by white men.’


      Of course a lot of her supporters leapt to her defence.

  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    Cory Doctorow seems like a silicon chauvinist huckster. The copper lines he mocks are telephone lines, I suspect. Those (few that are left) often stay live even when the whole electro-grid and every little digital thing on it goes dead.

    I will give up my copper land line when they pry my cold dead jack out of the wall.

    1. curlydan

      Data in the 21st century should be as important as electricity in the 20th century. The fact that we let monopolists control our access to data is scary and explains why our broadband is so bad and will remain that way.

      ALEC and others are working to prevent municipalities from doing the right thing like building decent networks for all.

      I hope you keep your copper line. But I do want everyone from the homeless guy at the library to the richest guy in the city to get good data. But we can’t build something good because the powers that be can “never interrupt a profit stream”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That’s something I also want to see happen, in addition to and separate from, legacy copper lines.

      2. Procopius

        Gee, I remember I read about gigabyte over copper at least 15 years ago, and I don’t think they were talking about special ultra-pure copper, either. I don’t reside in the U.S. currently, but I remember Robert X. Cringeley writing back in the ’90s about the rip-off the telecomms did when Congress appropriated billions (which was still big money, back then) to “incentivize” them to upgrade internet speeds. They took the money and did nothing.

    2. Lee

      There’s a wireless mesh network available in our area, and once my current contract with Comcast expires, I may sign up with them.

      Hah! I was going to supply a link to https://www.common.net/ only to find their site is down. Maybe I’ll have to rethink this. :>/

      1. UserFriendlyyy

        I’m a big fan of mesh networks but if at all possible I highly recommend testing it out before you pull the plug. They are highly dependant on having a good clear line of sight connection to a fast node.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Silicon chauvinist huckster is about right. Some other factoids. Cory Doctorow doesn’t live in the United States last I checked (UK). He is an author of middling sci-fi stories and the son of E.L. Doctorow, so an aristocrat of sorts. Also one of the founders of boingboing.

      1. tomk

        I used to think but apparently Cory is unrelated to E.L. according to on line biographies of him.

    4. John

      In my area, Verizon is not maintaining the small junction box towers. Many are knocked over and bundles of wire are exposed. They are done with copper. Deliberately degrading infrastructure…just like the PO and the transportation system. Failed state, declining empire.

    5. eg

      As for the claim that America is a uniquely “sh*thole country” in this regard, Canada replies, “hold my beer.”

    6. BillS

      Indeed. Those copper lines are amazingly reliable and durable. They also support decent DSL up to 100Mb/s (I see around 70Mb/s being a couple of kms from the exchange.) This is standard in many European countries. Amazingly, I have seen workers installing optical fiber in mountain villages in Italy. However, unlike the old copper phone lines, fiber needs electric power at the exit point to function even for voice calls.

  9. occasional anonymous

    An interesting piece of Wired/Games news: https://www.gamesradar.com/sony-reportedly-closing-playstation-store-on-ps3-and-psp-this-july-with-vita-to-follow-in-august/

    This most likely means that after these dates, if you haven’t downloaded digital stuff you’ve bought to your device, it’s gone forever. You won’t have access to any of it anymore. I’d imagine some stuff will eventually get re-released on more modern hardware, but a lot of things will also probably remain exclusives, now inaccessible unless you’ve downloaded it to a hard drive. And, eventually, hard drives, or some other bit of hardware, will fail.

    This isn’t the first time this has happened either. Nintendo murdered the web services for the DS in 2014, the Wii in 2019, and they’re gradually shutting down the WiiU (yes, Nintendo has very silly names) and 3DS. If you don’t own a physical copy of a game, you’re ultimately at the mercy of big companies maintaining their digital infrastructure. And that costs them money; it makes complete sense for them to eventually phase old services out. This is sort of a ‘if you don’t have a platform, you don’t have a real business’ type thing, in that if you don’t own a physical copy of the product you’re at the whim of whoever maintains the servers.

    There’s also stuff like licensing, which hits racing games in particular very hard. If you want to play Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed, from the year 2000, you basically can’t legally. The license is long expired, which means it can’t be sold digitally anywhere. You either need to hunt down a long out of print physical copy, an ever dwindling resource, or pirate it. Another example would be that there are certain bits of downloadable content, mostly extra cars, for old Forza games that aren’t sold anywhere anymore. You can buy a disc of the base game, but the DLC content is inaccessible. If you want them, you have to physically track down an Xbox with that content still installed on its hard drive.

    At a certain point the conversation has to learn to legally gray areas like piracy and emulation, because there’s literally no way to access discontinued content any other way.

    Having said all that, I still own a bunch of Nintendo Switch stuff digitally, fully knowing that one day I’ll probably lose access to them, because physical Switch cartridges are so damn pricey.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’ve always been skeptical of buying the download version of games for this reason, but a counter point, I had a physical copy of Fallout New Vegas from a decade ago that is Steam activated. And I successfully activated it, ten years later. (Which is to say, the activation key was still valid and usable after all those years.)

      In the rare instance I do buy a game, it’s a decade old or more and about $10 or $20, so the loss at least will be minimal if that day does come when Steam goes away.

  10. zagonostra

    >“The Humanities Have a Marketing Problem” – [Chronicle of Higher Education]

    Although I agree with 1 and 2 below, 3 is problematic for me. I have a friend who teaches philosophy at a major public university and it’s the elimination of the classics that concern him. It’s the take over of the curricula by the “Gender and ethnic studies” studies that the article refers to that has him worried. Which makes sense to me when I see attempts to label certain “white European” geniuses like Beethoven as somehow not PC or going overboard on the “wokeness” gender neutering spree like the House did by changing certain pronouns to be neutral.

    The causes of the precipitous humanities declines?… increasing student debt. Second, an inaccurate student belief that majoring in the humanities leads to lower salaries… And third, a 50-year culture war against the academy in general and the humanities in particular.

    …those of us who teach know very well that the transformative potential of our material is alive and well.

    … to be frank, the curriculum is stale. The majors are stale. Neither of them represents the best of what the humanities can be, or foregrounds the power of humanist reason and humanist work.

    In short, the humanities have a marketing problem.

    If we want students to understand the relationship between what we teach and questions of immense contemporary concern, we should put those matters of concern into our curricular structures. (Gender and ethnic studies already do that, which may explain, incidentally, why the number of their majors has not dropped during the last decade.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I do not see how such a re-organiation could be done. The faculty would have zero trust in such a process based on what has happened to them over the past few decades and the admin would seek to use such a process to accumulate more power and more benefits to themselves. And who would design such a revamping? I can tell you right now that it would be a set of woke warriors who would use such an opportunity to push all sorts of agendas such as the 1619 Project and who knows what else. You know that it won’t be good. Any students going through such a revised course would probably be of little use to themselves or or the country. But the student debts would remain the same.

  11. a fax machine

    Today’s Issue is gun control and will apparently be The Issue the powers that be argue over for another week. Not migrant camps. Not police brutality. Not prison reform. Not Medicare For All. Just guns and a billion stories demonizing the NRA, “gun culture” and more blaming Russia for somehow enabling the mass shootings. Not that they are above criticism, and there’s criticism to go around, but the concerted push for it encourages the worst out of people and doesn’t promote better discourse. It also does not lead to any other debates on the more important issues I’ve listed.

    It’s frustrating to see that nothing changes. Perhaps, as Covid winds down (or not) change will be forced by external powers.

      1. JBird4049

        Hey, just because gun violence has increased right along with poverty, corruption, and sheer despair does not mean we have to do anything to solve them. Instead, we will have endless arguments, which includes the mass dehumanization of whoever the other “side” is, that are just elaborate displays of Kabuki Virtue. And yes, those campaign contributions will continue, even rise, right along with the kabuki.

    1. occasional anonymous

      The NRA is, actually, a cesspit, and American gun culture is horrific and infantile. But neither is the root cause of all the shootings, and even if they were liberals have no intention of ever actually meaningfully acting on gun control. It’s a cynical wedge issue for them.

    2. dcblogger

      gun culture has a lot to answer for. also the laws are formulated so that we can never catch gun runners

      There’s no telling how many guns we have in America—and when one gets used in a crime, no way for the cops to connect it to its owner. The only place the police can turn for help is a Kafkaesque agency in West Virginia, where, thanks to the gun lobby, computers are illegal and detective work is absurdly antiquated. On purpose. Thing is, the geniuses who work there are quietly inventing ways to do the impossible.


  12. Ataraxite

    Lambert, I think your comment about the supposed lack of acceleration in vaccinations is incorrect. The chart you have shows the daily *rate* of vaccination, not the cumulative amount. And it shows that the rate has increased from around 100K per day at the end of January to 800K per day (for the South) at the moment.

    Because the graph is showing the rate of vaccination (i.e. the first derivative of total vaccinated people), it will not exhibit the exponential curve you think you should see. That exponential curve is, however, visible if you look at a graph of total people vaccinated. You would only see that sort of exponential curve in your graph if the rate of increase of the rate of increase (i.e. the second derivative of total vaccinated people) was increasing, and that’s really asking a lot.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That exponential curve is, however, visible if you look at a graph of total people vaccinated

      I don’t agree. Here is that graph:

      This, as is the graph I am using, is completely consistent with what I have written:

      The fragmented, Federalized, and profit-driven lumbering monstrosity that we laughingly call our “health care” “system” has not responded to “energy in the executive,” but has continued on its inertial path.

      The system is doing better — very well by world standards — but the change in administration has had little to do with it. One would expect the system to do better, because (as with treatments and fatality rates) people learn. But there the rate of improvement is the same, pre- or post-Biden.

  13. cocomaan

    Chronicle piece on Humanities:
    Is the problem marketing, or is the problem cost? I guess I have read too much of The Atlantic lately so couldn’t read all of the linked piece about how liberal arts majors are apparently doing just fine economically. Nor would the Chronicle let me read their entire article. But that’s kind of the point. It costs too much.

    I just got a call for a reference for one of my interns from two summers ago. Both of those interns at that non-profit were rising seniors at a small liberal arts college. Both were looking for summer work experience. Good kids, hard working, learned a lot.

    Well the reference call I got for the History and Classics major was to get her into plant operations as an administrative assistant on a business campus, routing calls. It’s honorable work, keeping a place standing. But I’ll tell you what, she definitely did not need an expensive BA @ $65,000/year to do that. I gave her a glowing reference and she got the job. (mentoring is one of life’s true joys).

    If I sell roofing services to the public, but cost too much, ain’t no amount of marketing in the world is going to get people to hire me.

    It’s cute watching the higher education EdD class (I guess author is a professor, but you get the idea) deliberately try not to understand basic economics.

    1. Baldanders

      You sure it’s deliberate? Most higher ed types I have known have been truly ignorant of basic economics. The attitude is similar to the European noble attitude towards practical knowledge of any kind: “beneath me.”

  14. Keith

    Regarding the FL covid response, perhaps part of their success despite the eldery population was the road they took initially. I read somewhere, probably here, that during the beginning and the rush for masks (because per Fauci, the healthy didn’t need them) and other PPE, it was sent to nursing homes with other protective procedures put in place, the opposite of NY’s stance. The differences in these itinal responses may have resulted in the different outcomes, with FL doing better to contain with at risk groups while NY essentially let the genie out of the lamp by putting the sick with the most vulnerable, allowing the disease to fester.

    Add in the media scaremonging, putting the fear of god into Heaven’s waiting room. Anecdotal, but I have a coupe of aunt’s in the Largo area of FL (Pinellas Cty/Tampa Bay). This area has plenty of dining areas, attractions and eldery. She reports that the area is very quiet and that many businesses have closed. I have not been able to verify this, but it may make sense the the most vulnerable there hunkered down.

    My theory, maybe early containment among the most vulnerable with the same group hunkering down resulted in better than expected outcomes, where as the NY model supercharged the virus by feeding it early on with vulnerable people.

  15. NoOneInParticular

    “But the beach is outdoors; the real danger is indoors, in bars, restaurants, and accommodations. Yet those are never shown or shamed, presumably because they are businesses.”

    As far as MSM goes, the lack of images from inside businesses is probably significantly due to access. One needs permission to photograph inside private businesses, and such permission is not likely to come when shooting people doing things that would embarrass the business owner. MSM outlets fear lawsuits.

  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    Democrats do not want to bring back earmarks to smooth things going through Congress.

    They want to bring back earmarks because they are an effective incumbent protection program, and senior (useless) Democrats are increasingly at risk.

  17. Cat Burglar

    Almost every evening after dark, one of our cats sits near the door, gaze fixed on the doorknob. My roommate says, “This is the evidence that psychokinesis does not exist.”

    1. Baldanders

      Do you open it?

      Mind control is less psychically straining than telekinesis.

      She’s just being efficient.

    2. Geo

      Mine does the same but adds a loud yowl that sounds as if a wailing infant were merged with a demon banshee. It’s seriously the most god-awful sound I’ve heard an animal not in painful throws of death make – and honestly worse than some of those. It’s horrified friends when they’ve heard her make these sounds.

      But, it’s effective. I let her out the door every time. Each time considering taking an extra step and tossing her into traffic so I don’t have to hear that sound ever again. But, she’s absolutely adorable so I don’t.

      That said, her psychokinesis skills are terribly weak (nonexistent even). Maybe if she hadn’t developed that yowl to always get her way she’d have spent more time developing her mind powers? :)

  18. upstater

    California’s nobid privatized vaccine rollout with Blue Cross, courtesy of Newsom:


    Barely a month after the first doses arrived, the Democrat — who wrote a book on government innovation and has bemoaned California’s outdated technology — inked a no-bid deal with insurance giant Blue Shield of California to manage vaccine distribution throughout the state.

    In his 2013 book, “Citizenville,” he said that government doesn’t have the money, programmers or engineering mindset to address problems in the technology age. But, he added, “we don’t have to. We simply have to make it possible for people outside government to help us fix them.”

    Maybe some Californians can weigh in on how Blue Cross’s nobid contract to vaccinate 40M people is working out… Hopefully recall is successful…

    1. JBird4049

      So after gutting a state’s bureaucracy, leaving it unable to function in an emergency, the solution is to let private interests make bank off it?

  19. Baldanders

    Re: pet psychic powers

    My cat Stevie is totally psychic. She regularly disappeared for 36 hours whenever our country vet was about to come out to vaccinate all our cats and dogs. Never at any other time.

    Plus, all pets know when even the smallest amount of medication has been hidden in their food.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “How Biden quietly created a huge social program”

    What if any of this program cannot be renewed in a year’s time? Certainly it would not be renewed after the 2022 midterms when the Republicans get back more power. Tough luck if you are single and so get no benefit from any of this.

  21. Telee

    Some days ago a read a titled Democrats are Betraying Voters on Medicare. He points to the fact that private medicare advantage plans are drawing people away from conventional Medicare. These plans began under the Bush administration. The Physicians for a National Health Program have characterized these private plans as a disaster if a person actually needs them to pay for hospitalization and medical procedures. Behind the scenes corporate democrats (and republicans) are regulations which give the advantage plans leverage in luring people away from traditional Medicare. Now 40% of people eligible to enroll in Medicare are in the private medicare advantage plans. Furthermore, when people really need help they go back to traditional Medicare but pre-existing condition ( their illness ) prevent them from obtaining medigap insurance. At this time, I know of no democrat who is calling attention to this phenomenon. Isn’t this a back door way to eliminate traditional Medicare or am I wrong and what’s happening is not that important and is a non-issue? This seems like a devastating scheme that is unfolding before us and it has captured little attention. Does anybody care?


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This is the first I’d ever heard of it. Thank you and Ralph Nader for getting it to this thread. Now I know something to watch out for when the time comes.

      It seems like the Catfood Democrats want to stealth slow-kill Medicare just like they hoped to get away with stealth slow-killing the USPS.

      1. Telee

        The medicare advantage plans are private insurance but they are Medicare C plans. How does the medicare advantage insurance companies make money with zero fees to enter the plans? These private insurance plans get paid by Medicare for every enrollee. There networks are narrow, often you pay the bills and then get compensated to some extent by the private insurers after you have covered the first $ 6,000 or more. The deductibles are high. Then they can deny insurance plan when they choose. In other words the protections built into the ACA do not apply if you are 65 or older. The private insurers are tapping into a market of 60 million older people with government support. I am over 65 and recently got bombarded by offers to enroll. The problem is that most think this is Medicare.

        1. flora

          The “C plan” title is misleading – deliberately misleading imo.

          Advantage “Plan C ” plan is not, not, traditional a Medicare Part C supplement (Medigap) plan.

          Remember that one thing: “Plan C” is an Advantage plan, “Part C” is a traditional Medicare plan, anything called “Part” is traditional Medicare.

          A couple of good links.



          The private insurance companies’ Advantage plans, subsidized (for now) by the Medicare trust fund, is draining the trust fund faster than traditional Medicare medical payouts. I’ve tried to explain the difference between Advantage and traditional Medigap plans to people, as you did so well above, and have been met with surprise and near disbelief. They were all shocked the difference wasn’t made clear in the advertising. They all thought Advantage Plan C was traditional Medicare Part C plus some extras. That’s how the Advantage plans advertise themselves. The real implied sales pitch is “you can get something for nothing”, imo. If it sounds to good to be true….

  22. lobelia

    yeah, upstater (above at March 23, 2021 at 5:07 pm) re:

    California’s nobid privatized vaccine rollout with Blue Cross, courtesy of Newsom

    Ah yes, Blue Cross, I wonder how many other thousands (or millions?) of parent executors have witnessed Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance attempt to charge their deceased parent’s bank account an extra auto pay premium (insanely increased to near one thousand dollars by the time they died, for that Medicare gap) despite having been sent the parent’s death certificate as soon as it was available and Blue Cross having acknowledged it was received – a month prior to that criminal attempt – they never even apologized!.

    My parent’s ‘estate’ should have been extremely simple to handle, but California is fricking Lawless. Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance, and RATT (a, guess who, telecom), reminded me of just how corrupt this STATE is (companies have no fear whatsoever of blatantly screwing vulnerable victims) because of amoral, gutless sleazebags like: Kamala the Cop; Newsom; their bipartisan political predecessors and peers; and the quiet, moneyed elite who own them; as if I even needed the reminder.

    gotta run

    1. Adam Eran

      Recommended reading: Sarah Chayes’ book about Corruption in America. She starts with the story of the Virginia governor who was convicted of corruption, and that conviction was upheld on appeal. His briber had done things like take his wife on a $75,000 shopping spree…

      The appeal was overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. “That’s just how we do political business in the U.S.” was the court’s message. That’s Unanimous!!!

      See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvwGrRhYd4w&feature=youtu.be

  23. Adam Eran

    Heard elsewhere: “Let’s not call them ‘African-Americans.’ They’re not that any more than white people are ‘European-Americans.’ Let’s call them what they are: ‘Kidnapped-Americans'”

  24. Angie Neer

    On business travel: a friend with very conservative “bootstrappy” inclinations—the type of person who has said “the problem with black people is they’ve given up on themselves”—came back changed from a trip to India. He said he finally understood that some people are born into circumstances they cannot overcome in their lifetimes. I don’t know whether it changed his attitude toward American blacks, but he did become noticeably less judgemental.

  25. The Rev Kev

    How tone deaf can some Democrats be? So there is an upcoming public talk on women’s empowerment with a “one-on-one conversation” to discuss “the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women, and empowering women and girls in the US and around the world.” The two people will be Vice President Kamala Harris and wait for it – Bill Clinton. Krystal Ball has noted in a tweet that he is a ‘Noted champion of women and girls Bill Clinton’-


  26. buermann

    RE: “The Curious Case of Florida”, “In 2020, smart media figures and scientists predicted that COVID-19 would especially ravage Florida, given its open economy and elderly population.”

    I keep waiting for retrospectives on the states that did really well, at least relative to any other western democracy, but alongside Hawaii Washington and Oregon are the three oldest states in the nation: Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. All I can discern is that their leaders let the public health eggheads have the run of policy and only stepped in front of the podium to take the flack for them, but what is curious is how the press seems determined to ignore their success. Instead of 0.272% death toll (a once reasonable lower bound for the IFR) like New Jersey they’re all below 0.01%.

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