2:00PM Water Cooler 3/9/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Owl Week at the Naked Capitalism Water Cooler continues.


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

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

I’m holding the vaccination chart in abeyance until I look at data issues at DIVOC-19 and/or Johns Hopkins, after I get the rest of the post done.

Vaccination by region:

Patient readers, I must apologize for mistaking a data artifact for data. Alert readers cpm and shrewd wookie pointed out the vaccination decline I was worried about didn’t conform to the data in the New York Times, which showed a steady increase. I had allowed my priors, which include both pessimism and a distrust of the (paywalled) Times and the institutional media generally, to get in the way of double-checking the data. From the 91-DIVOC data log, the Johns Hopkins data was successfully merged over the weekend, meaning that whatever pipes were clogged got unclogged. So I have restored the chart. Thanks again to alert readers cpm and shrewd wookie. The NC commentariat is the best commentariat. However, I still stand by this comment–

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, the slopes would get steeper. What I expected was that that the slopes would remain the same; that the fragmented, Federalized, and profit-driven lumbering monstrosity that we laughingly call our “health care” “system” would not respond to “energy in the executive,” but would continue on its inertial path.

Case count by United States regions:

South heads downward again, Northeast flat.

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

Texas drops below New York.

Test positivity:

Jumps in the South.


Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

That fatality rate in the West (red) is rising still, which is what worries me. Now it’s at it’s highest in over a year. It’s not going vertical, which is what I feared. Is the reason nobody else is worrying about this is that it’s not really a problem? Is this some sort of statistical artifact as well?

* * *

“Former Biden COVID-19 adviser: ‘We are in the eye of the hurricane right now'” [The Hill]. “‘Let me just say we are in the eye of the hurricane right now. It appears that things are going very well,’ [Michael Osterholm, a former Biden adviser on COVID-19] said. ‘We’ve been through a terrible, terrible year. But what we know is about to come upon us is the situation with this B.1.1.7. variant. A virus that originated in the United Kingdom, that today is wreaking havoc in parts of Europe.’ Osterholm noted that several countries in Europe have recently resorted to 2-month lockdowns in order to contain the new variants. Early research has found that its possible variants such as those from Brazil and South Africa are capable of re-infecting those who have already recovered from a previous COVID-19 case. ‘Last time I was on your show four weeks ago, the B.1.1.7 variant had about 1 to 4 percent of the virus we were seeing in communities across the country. Today it’s up to 30 to 40 percent.’ Osterholm told Todd. ‘And what we’ve seen in Europe when we hit that 50 percent mark, you’ll see cases surge.'” • I would imagine wastewater testing is the only way we have to track this, since our DNA sequencing — absent a single NHS like the UK — is in such a shambles.

“California vs. Florida: Who handled COVID-19 better?” [Los Angeles Times]. Not sure why “handled” in the past tense, if B.1.1.7 is about to do its stuff, but whatever. “California imposed myriad restrictions that battered the economy and have left most public school students learning at home for a year. Florida adopted a more laissez-faire approach decried by public health experts — allowing indoor restaurant dining, leaving masks optional and getting children back in classrooms sooner. For much of the last year, it seemed that California’s response under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had led to a dramatically lower COVID-19 death rate. Florida had a cumulative rate as much as 84% higher than California’s last fall. But the winter surge slammed California, and that gap narrowed to 11%.” •  But the comparison is really apples and oranges: “The shrinking difference in the death rates is likely the product of California’s higher levels of poverty, density, overcrowding and climate that make it particularly susceptible to coronavirus spread, experts say.” • In other words, leaving climate aside, Blue California has a more vicious oligarchy than Red Florida>? Hard to believe.


“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

More to come. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Biden Administration

“How Biden Is Trying to Help Working-Class Voters in Red-State Alabama” [New York Times]. “His words demonstrated a willingness to use his bully pulpit on behalf of communities that have often fallen outside the Democratic Party’s governing focus: working-class voters in Republican states, many of whom are Black. The message also elevated the national debate about the future of labor and unions, a cross-ideological issue on which Mr. Biden can uniquely find common cause with the progressive wing of his party even as many Democrats continue to shy away. Mr. Biden’s statement did not mention Amazon specifically and carefully avoided backing the union, calling instead for a fair election that followed federal labor guidelines. Still, for union supporters in Alabama, a state used to being on the back burner of national and Democratic politics, Mr. Biden’s video was taken as a sign that his pledges to pursue racial equity and curb corporate power were more than just campaign catchphrases.”

Republican Funhouse

“RNC Responds To Trump’s Cease-And-Desist Demand With A Thanks, But We’re Good” [HuffPo]. “The Republican National Committee on Monday told Donald Trump that it has every right under the First Amendment to continue mentioning him in fundraising missives, rejecting his demand last week to ‘cease and desist’ from doing so. ‘The RNC, of course, has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.’ General Counsel J. Justin Riemer wrote to the former president’s ‘Save America’ political committee. Trump on Friday had told the party to stop using his name or likeness in ‘all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech,’ which came just days after Trump, in his first public appearance since leaving office, told an audience of conservative activists that there was ‘only one way’ to support good Republicans: by giving money to his Save America PAC. One Trump adviser said Save America received ‘millions’ based on that single request and predicted that Trump’s efforts would kill the GOP’s own small-donor program. The Trump campaign and the RNC jointly built a list of more than 40 million supporters over the past five years, which includes several million donors who typically give $5 or $20 or $50 each month. Both have a right to use it.”

Democrats en Deshabille

“Entire Staff of Nevada Democratic Party Quits after Democratic Socialist Slate Won Every Seat” [The Intercept]. Because unity. “On March 6, a coalition of progressive candidates backed by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America took over the leadership of the Nevada Democratic Party, sweeping all five party leadership positions in a contested election that evening. Whitmer, who had been chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, was elected chair. The establishment had prepared for the loss, having recently moved $450,000 out of the party’s coffers and into the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s account. The DSCC will put the money toward the 2022 reelection bid of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a vulnerable first-term Democrat. While Whitmer’s opponents say she was planning to fire them anyway, Whitmer denies that claim. ‘I’ve been putting in the work,’ Whitmer told The Intercept for the latest episode of Deconstructed. ‘What they just didn’t expect is that we got better and better at organizing and out-organizing them at every turn.'” • This is what the liberal Democrats would have done to Sanders, too. Meanwhile, the dean of Nevada political journalists, Jon Ralson, is still repeating his chair-throwing smear of Sanders supporters:

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People” [James B. Stewart, New York Times]. From 2019. “The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it. He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.” • Creepy in retrospect is how Stewart most definitely does not, not, not, not meet with Epstein again, despite Epstein’s repeated requests.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Is the United States Heading in the Right Direction?” [Morning Consult]. Handy chart:

Stats Watch

Small Business Optimism: “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States rose by 0.8 points from the previous month to 95.8 in February 2021, still remaining below the 98 average and pre-pandemic levels” [Trading Economics].

Debt: “December 2020 Loan Performance: Delinquencies Shrink For The Fourth Straight Month” [Econintersect]. “The Loan Performance Insights Report for December 2020 shows 5.8% of mortgages were in some stage of delinquency (30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure), which represents a 2.1-percentage point increase in the overall delinquency rate compared to December 2019, when it was 3.7%. However, national overall delinquency has been declining month to month since June 2020.”

* * *

Shipping: “OPEC+ deal shocker will prolong bloodletting for crude tankers” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “The analyst consensus was that OPEC+ and Saudi Arabia individually would bring 1 million-1.5 million b/d of production back online starting next month. Instead, OPEC+ will hold production flat and Saudi Arabia will continue its voluntary 1 million b/d cut. Even worse for tanker demand, Argus Media reported that Saudi Arabia is not going to bring its production back all at once starting in May. Rather, it would phase production back in ‘gradually,’ and ‘not in a single month.’ Oanda analyst Edward Moya dubbed Saudi Arabia’s decision ‘shocking.'”

The Bezzle: “Bitcoin’s Climate Problem” [Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times]. “But depending on which study you read, the annual carbon emissions from the electricity required to mine Bitcoin and process its transactions are equal to the amount emitted by all of New Zealand. Or Argentina. To put this into perspective, one Bitcoin transaction is the “equivalent to the carbon footprint of 735,121 Visa transactions or 55,280 hours of watching YouTube,” according to Digiconomist, which created what it calls a Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. (Critics of this comparison point out that the average Bitcoin transaction is worth about $16,000, while the average Visa transaction is worth $46.37, but you get the point.)” • Commentary:

The Bezzle:

[musical interlude].

The Bezzle: “Beta” is doing a lot of work here:

So is “Full.” Full of what?

The Bezzle: “Tesla touts self-driving to consumers. To the DMV, it tells a different tale” [Los Angeles Times]. “In official correspondence with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Tesla lawyers recently admitted the $10,000 option that Tesla sells as Full Self-Driving Capability is not, in fact, capable of full self-driving. “Currently neither Autopilot nor FSD Capability is an autonomous system,” Tesla attorney Eric Williams said in a Dec. 28 letter to the DMV, although that could change, he added. Not soon, though. Musk has been tweeting plans for a major Full Self-Driving software release. But Williams told the DMV that ‘we do not expect significant enhancements’ that would allow full self-driving, and that the ‘final release’ of a current feature package that lets Teslas stop at traffic lights and turn left and right without human input ‘will continue to be an SAE Level 2, advanced driver-assist feature.'” In plain English, that means the vehicle cannot drive itself, at any time, without constant attention from a human driver.” • Lol, only Level 2, when autonomy is Level 5 (See NC here for the levels. That post is from 2016, so Elon hasn’t made a lot of prpgress in five years.)

The Bezzle: “Tesla loses more than quarter of a trillion in a month as rally fizzles” [Reuters]. “Shares of Tesla Inc closed lower for a fifth consecutive session on Monday, caught in a tech-led selloff that has wiped more than $277 billion off the company’s market value over the last month. High-flying tech stocks, which powered the market’s rebound from the pandemic lows in March last year, have been hit by a one-two punch of rising yields and investors shifting funds to sectors poised to benefit from a recovery in the global economy aided by accelerated rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines.”

The Bezzle: But at least somebody’s making money:

The Bezzle: If your algorithm won’t work, control the inputs:

Manufacturing: “Boeing monthly aircraft orders outpace cancellations for first time since 2019” [CNBC]. “Boeing’s February sales included 25 Boeing 737 Max planes to United Airlines and 27 KC-46 tankers. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer posted 51 cancellations, including 32 Max planes. Singapore Airlines replaced an order for 19 787-10 Dreamliners with one for 11 777X jets, Boeing’s long-delayed new plane. The company expects that twin-aisle, long-range jet to enter commercial service in late 2023.” • Hmm. Two years. Really?

Manufacturing: “Boeing, Boeing …Gone” (PDF) [The American Conservative]. • I thought I was the first one to make that joke. Here, TAC calls its shot on Boeing. In 2005. (I had not recalled that Boeing actually outsourced the 787 wings, which is like Chanel outsourcing the “little black dress,” but so they did.)

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 9 at 12:59pm. Mr. Market came back from the Nineteenth Hole on Sunday no longer in a grey mood. Then everything changed!

Health Care

A magisterial thread on Covid, aerosols, and ventilation, worth reading in full:

With some speculation on why uptake has been slower than one might expect (with more generous reasons than I usually give). Here’s an unrolled thread.

CDC continues to butcher aerosol messaging:

Then why in the name of all that is holy was ventilation not a bullet point in your school reopening guidelines? (CDC also uses the confusing term “virus particles,” thereby eliding the difference between droplets, which fall, and aerosols, which float, making it impossible for decision makers to understand why the recommendations are structured as they are.

“LA teachers advised not to post spring break pics on social media as union advocates to keep schools closed” [The Post Millennial]. • Bargaining tactics aside, still, after a year, shaming people for congregating outdoors. We learn nothing.

The 420

“Indoor Weed Farms Are Hotboxing the Planet” [Gizmodo (Re Silc)]. “A new study published in Nature Sustainability on Monday aims to quantify the climate impact of indoor cannabis cultivation across the country. The authors, who are researchers at Colorado State University, wanted to track how greenhouse gas-intensive these operations would be if they were set up anywhere in the country…. [T]he authors found that the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions created by one of these indoor cultivation warehouses was between 5,033 pounds (2,283 kilograms) and 11,428 pounds (5,184 kilograms) of carbon-equivalent per every 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of dried flower. Put another way, the eighth of weed you buy (legally, of course) comes with up to a 41-pound (19-kilogram) carbon footprint. The authors say it doesn’t have to ruin your buzz, though. We don’t need to give up growing weed. We just need to start shifting the industry toward more outdoor growing operations.”

Police State Watch

American exceptionalism:

Our Famously Free Press

“Reporter faces trial in case seen as attack on press rights” [Associated Press]. “Des Moines police and County Attorney John Sarcone’s office argue that Sahouri wasn’t wearing press credentials and appeared to be a participant in an unlawful assembly, saying journalists do not have a free pass to ignore dispersal orders…. Des Moines Register executive editor Carol Hunter said Sahouri’s lack of press credentials, which she left in her car, is a “red herring” because police knew immediately she was a journalist and a press badge isn’t required to enjoy constitutional protections. Reporters must be free to witness protests and hold participants and police accountable, Hunter said.”

Class Warfare

“Union in Amazon effort disavows social-media boycott call” [AL.com]. “Calls for a boycott in support of Amazon workers holding a union vote in Alabama do not have the support of the union involved, a spokesperson said Sunday. ‘RWDSU has no affiliation with this,’ said Chelsea Connor, director of communications for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, ‘nor did we call for it.'” • Hmm.

“The Roots of Racial and Spatial Inequality” [Black Perspectives]. ” Both in the early 1970s and in the first decade of the 21st century, Black and Brown communities were systematically targeted by predatory lenders and speculators, whose machination led to these Black communities being “destroyed for cash,” crippling both present and future. One way to understand the racialized effects of both disasters is to take Taylor’s approach and focus on the racialization of space endemic to the political economy of the U.S.’s metropolitan areas. This centering of race and space leads us to Taylor’s singular formulation of ‘predatory inclusion.’ Predatory inclusion describes the processes by which ‘African American homebuyers were granted access to conventional real estate practices and mortgage financing, but on more expensive and comparatively unequal terms’ (4). As Nathan Connolly and others have noted, the inverse of predatory inclusion was predatory exclusion; the process of private market exploitation and extraction of Black spaces, sanctioned, and at times facilitated, by public authority. Central to these processes, whether they took place in the urban core or the suburban periphery, was a key article of faith created and elaborated on by white society and its institutional structures, ‘White [space] is worth more, precisely because it is not Black [space].’ Indeed as Taylor argues, embedded in the ‘popular consciousness’ was ‘[t]he idea that Black owners and renters were destructive and careless” (191).'”

News of the Wired

“How to Make a Great Garden Fence” [Popular Mechanics]. Final sentence: “No animal of any kind has been spotted in the garden, ever.” • Hmm.

SQL mavens, a query:

I’m not at all sure that “SELECT COUNT(*)” is the way to write approach that problem . Comments?

* * *

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

TH writes: “We’ve had a period of wet and relatively warm weather in Berkeley, CA, but so far not much in the way of mushrooms except wood-growing honey mushrooms and this huge cluster (quarter for scale) which I have not identified.” Readers? What kind of mushrooms do we have here?

HH writes: “I waited until today to take these photos, because we wanted to see how our second batch would turn out. Our first batch, while tasty, had some processing issues (cooking for too long, basically — caused some caramelization). In these photos of today´s batch, there is a deep orange, barely translucent color. The first batch was opaque and very dark, and so we are unsure whether it should be called ‘marmalade’ or just ‘candied orange rind.'” Holy moley, look at that glow! (I suppose I should declare processed plants honorary; I think activities like canning, pickling, and drying are to be encouraged. But no plant meals, please; nothing plated.

* * *

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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. Lambert Strether Post author

      “… a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project…”

      Seriously, I think I need to go buy a yoga mat, kind of a gateway drug style of thing….

    1. steve

      I was really hoping it would but it interfered with my skill set so I had to cut it short. Maybe after I win the Lottery!

  1. a different chris

    Oh nonononono.. Norton Juster has died.

    Actually he apparently lived a good, interesting and long life so it’s actually ok news, nobody wants or should want to live forever.

    I always mutter to my self every time I see those “top x lists” – that a given song is “the #1″” or a given band is “the best ever” or a given spot on earth or.. you know… and it’s all ridiculous. I have my favorites but even I get, not tired of but just want to hear something else/see somewhere else/watch something else on TV.

    However The Phantom Tollbooth is simply the singular, #1 best book ever and people who don’t get that I don’t argue with because they may be nice and/or intelligent in other ways but they have an unfixable blind spot so inexplicable that I’m not even going to try to deal with it.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I read that one a bunch. Looking back on it, I must have annoyed the hell out of my 3rd grade teacher during our reading period because every time I got to a good part I’d jump out of my desk to go share it with her. It was also one of the first chapter books I got for my own kid. So much good stuff in that book – among other things it taught me the words ‘dischord’ and ‘din’ for the first time.

      RIP Mr. Juster. I hope you get to meet the Mathemagician on the other side.

  2. Toasty

    Honestly, if doing so didn’t physically harm a human being or accidentally spread, I would be okay if arsonists tracked down and torched those bitcoin mining places.

  3. IMOR

    Weed hot boxing:
    “…BACK to outdoor growing.” FIFY
    The commercialization in place of legalization, the silly boutique stylings, the ridiculous consolidation of strains over the last ten years (with exceptions), the unfounded police state insistence on treating weed like booze… it’s been enough to make me consider quitting.
    Almost enough. And I said, “consider.”

    1. cocomaan

      Hah, indeed.

      A lot of the “urban gardens” are just hydroponic weed setups put inside old warehouses and office buildings. It’s an enormous waste of energy, but try explaining that to people at Wired or whatever technical magazine who start to drool about LED lights.

    2. hunkerdown

      Out of 12 states that have legalized recreational use, according to this map 10 allow people to grow their own at home, and some of those allow outdoor residential cultivation as long as it’s not visible from the street. How much more legalized could you have it, aside from hanging lights on them in winter and abolishing the DEA entirely?

      The problem with outdoor growing is uncertainty, and bugs, and dust, and pollen from the hemp farm miles away, and a lack of compact growth, all the way up to the point where some local miscreants, knowing about your backyard garden, harvest it the night before you do. If only we all had south-facing bay windows, by law.

    3. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      Here in the rural Willamette Valley, I grew two nice plants for the first time last years. We harvested just over three pounds. Not bad for a newbie.

    4. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve been preaching outdoor drug cannabis cultivation for years. Many drug strains can successfully be grown most anywhere east of the Rockies outdoors—without even irrigation. The ones that can’t could be in either SoCal or, and especially Hawaii, once that and interstate commerce becomes legally feasible. At the point cannabis can legally be moved and sold between states, pure indoor cultivation should be switched off as environmentally noxious.

  4. Shonde

    Re: ‘We are in the eye of the hurricane right now’” The Hill

    Mayo Clinic is my primary health care provider here in Minnesota. They must be heeding Osterholm’s warning since last evening I received a call from a vaccine scheduler asking about scheduling me. She told me the schedulers are working late into the evening trying to get all patients protected. I asked if I could schedule a Johnson and Johnson shot and was told no since they have no idea from day to day which vaccine they will receive.

    This morning I called the scheduling number I was given last evening to find out if there was any way I could guarantee a J & J shot. I was told I could be put on a list of those who only want Johnson and Johnson. They have lots of us holding off for this vaccine since people seem to know this vaccine has fewer side effects.

    I will be contacted if they have a cancellation on a day they are giving Johnson and Johnson shots. She said they are trying to “accommodate” everyone’s needs.

    This was a pleasant surprise since I had anticipated having to chase down a shot. However, now I am assuming the push is on to get as many of us vaccinated as possible due to the B117 variant which is already in Minnesota and also because of Osterholm’s warning.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I imagine its more about maintaining supply lines and access to supply more than anything.

    2. marcyincny

      “people seem to know this vaccine has fewer side effects”

      I have no idea if this is true but we’ve been surprised to hear several of my husband’s ski patrol colleagues reporting significant reactions to the J&J vaccine in just the four days since they began administering it here in upstate NY. Up to 102º fevers in relatively young people 18-44.

      Just sayin’…

      1. Isotope_C14

        I wanted the Sputnik vaccine, because I’m reasonably sure that it would be vodka flavored. I’m sure my twitter account is already flagged as Russian, so I’m sure that’s fine.

        On another note, petal? You here?

        100ul tips – have vanished from what we can order. Add that to the list from last week. At some point here, we probably will have to have DIY pipette machines.

      2. montanamaven

        I just got the J&J or Janssen shot at 10:30am MT this morning. I live in a very rural county of 3500 people (with square miles equivalent of Rhode Island). I was watching our county health department Facebook page. On the site they said that on Wed March 10 they were administering a huge Moderna vacination at the Civic Center, but also noted that they had a limited supply of the J& J. And to call the office for info. That was last Thursday and the nurse told me that she would schedule a batch on Monday or Tuesday. And yesterday she called to let me know it was today. So sometimes it pays to live in a little town. I will report how I feel tomorrow when I am hoping for just a sore shoulder. I was told that if I had Covid or had it and didn’t know it, then some people were reporting fatigue and flu like symptoms for 48 hours. I asked her if she knew if they had used Ivermectin at the clinic. “No”, but there was a man who called in wanted the J& J shot that said he had got symptoms and treated it with Ivermectin and it seemed to work. That’s about as nosy as I cared to be. As I was leaving a woman came in and said that her mother wanted the J& J because “she doesn’t want her DNA fooled with.”

        1. curlydan

          A friend who had COVID last summer said the J&J virus gave him a strong reaction. I tried finding the Phase 3 trials results for the J&J vaccine but came up emtpy-handed for some reasons. The Phase 1&2 results were fairly easy to find.

      3. Another Rev

        Got the J&J shot yesterday. Other than a sore arm this morning, no side effects thus far. I’m 65.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      First report I’ve seen of vaccines going begging, just saw on KING5 TV of apparent instances of this at a vaccination clinic in West Seattle and easy access in Wenatchee. Longer version of the report I saw here.

  5. a different chris

    If you can bear to scroll down thru the Tesla twitter – at the top is of course:

    >Elon is confident that Tesla FSD will reach level 5 this year

    ….and about 1/2 way down the page…

    >Tesla has updated the Model Y delivery timeframe from 2-5 weeks to 7-11 weeks.

    Head in the clouds vs reality, as usual. I would say we need to recalibrate with MuskTime, where it’s basically the reverse of that part in the Star Trek movie where Spock (I think) goes “if hours were days then it would take…” or something like that.

    Except that doesn’t work for infinity, which is how long it will take to reach a real Level 5. But I say “real” because the Muskians will eventually find a way to re-define it down. And everybody will pretend that nothing changed.

  6. Mikerw0

    Thing 1: why on earth are things like BITCOIN allowed to buy power at seriously preferential rates? Really. If we want to start to address climate change our pricing models need to change.

    Thing 2: McDonnell Douglas’ management approach does for Boeing what they did to themselves. Next.

    1. Isotope_C14

      “If we want to start to address climate change”

      That’s not part of the plan.


      If it was a priority, it would have started with James Hansen in 1988 (or earlier).

      Draw your own conclusions, and of course I’m no Sir Issac Newton, but seems to me the oligarchy wants a lower population of eaters and they have some kind of geoengineering delusion, which would be a very popular book in 2124 if anyone were around to read it.

    2. The Rev Kev

      It’s amazing that at the same time that people are becoming aware of energy usage and things like light bulbs are being replaced due to this, that along comes bitcoin mining to be an energy pig and suck up all that energy being saved and more.

    3. JTMcPhee

      I like the double entendre, “Why is BITCOIN allowed to buy power at seriously preferential rates?” Of course, because it’s somehow related to and exchangeable for that other estimable powerstuff called “money,” which of course in sufficient quantities translates into “power.”

    4. fajensen

      If one buys elecbricity at High or Medium voltage, one always get a better price. Similar to buying a sack of 15 kg of rice instead of 15 x 1 kg bags, is cheaper.

      I pay 0.08 EUR/kWh for my domestic 400 V supply, my workplace pays 0.02 EUR/kWh.

      Difference is that they buy at 20 kV so they have their own low voltage distribution network. They also plan to use about 40 MW.

      More “billing” for less work is pleasant to E.On, so there are incentives for “bulk buying”.

  7. CatmanPNW

    For that New Scientist “we should wear sensors to not get killed by AI cars” – thought there was a nice response to the original tweet from someone saying, “Just sign up to this monthly subscription AI car avoidance plan.” Sure they could offer a premium plan, too, for individuals who want to be certain the car swerves out of their way and into a Tier 2 subscription holder?

    1. ambrit

      No pushback to the idea that anyone could hack those systems and ‘follow’ you around? ‘Radar reflectors’ does not preclude some sort of identifier incorporated within the device. And Heaven forefend that someone would create a centralized database of all the ‘interactions’ the system would experience.

      1. JBird4049

        Follow you around? Centralized database?

        Forget that.

        Cars and trucks make great missiles and bombs or just hit and run kill machines. If someone could hack into, or if anyone could remote control, these “AI” vehicles, without any tinfoil, just some sensible imagination, I could see some Day of the Machines. ISIS, some Americans or an unhappy country could have quite a happy time.

    2. deplorado

      Amazing how sheepish the mass consumer is. The pushback on this beyond asinine idea in the thread was surprisingly mild. This needs to be rebuked in the strongest terms possible. If this is accepted, what’s next – carry a mandatory id sensor so the police drone overhead can know who you are if you have your hood and shades on? Not to mention the disutility involved.

      Also, as an engineer, if I tried to make my algorithm simpler by requiring my industrial software users to provide additional inputs, I would get severe pushback from them and would even be reprimanded by my boss. Yet as consumers, people are ready to embrace or would not push back against the stupidest tech. Amazing.

      The only interesting comment in the thread I saw was that someone suggested to make the roads smart instead. That would be better. But it will accomplish exactly what civilization has had for nearly 200 years — rails. A smart road would be a software enabled version of a railroad. Ivan Illich would be spinning in his grave.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Decades of consumer conditioning.

        Culture rebel communities will resist one way or another. Amish will decline these things.

        Rapturanian Armageddonite Christians will reject these things as Marks of the Beast. Perhaps communities like this will be able to provide guidance to counter-surveillance rebels to also successfully reject and evade these things.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Personally I’d go with an RPG or armour-piercing bullets. Bit of a mess though. I have heard of people buying remote controls so that they could surreptitiously turn off those wall to wall TVs in places like restaurants so that they could eat their meals in peace. I wonder if one could be developed that would shut down these AI cars too.

  8. hunkerdown

    Well done, Lambert. SELECT COUNT(*) obviously should have been SELECT 1, to help the RDBMS avoid reading table data when an index should be enough, but that didn’t trigger me. That ‘$_POST[newid]’ just begging little Bobby Tables to come over and play, on the other hand, almost sent me outside for a walk around the block. (That’s not scheduled until later!)

    Ideally the database should have an index and unique constraint on that userid column, so that the insert can just be tried and allowed to succeed or fail atomically, with the RDBMS response to the application informing the next steps.

    1. nn

      Yeah. I was wondering if somebody is trying to be funny, attaching image of clearly incompetent candidate to story about companies being too hard on candidates, especially women.

      1. antidlc

        In a previous life, I was a relational database specialist for a large tech company.

        Covered a multi-state region, supporting clients with massive databases,

  9. Eloined

    Re: “autonomy is Level 5”

    Since 2016, SAE has updated its handy graphics and full taxonomy of automated driving terms, including levels.

    As it did back in 2016, but perhaps better explained in the current version of SAE J3016, level 4 = automated driving within a limited operational design domain (ODD), e.g. only under 30 mph, only within a certain downtown area (one which has been digitally mapped), only on multi-lane divided highways, only in certain visibility conditions, etc., or a combination of such limitations. Level 5 = automated driving anywhere (or anywhere a vehicle’s gearing, steering, etc. would otherwise allow it to go).

    There’s a handy graphic at https://www.sae.org/news/2019/01/sae-updates-j3016-automated-driving-graphic.

    Nuro provides an example of driverless level; its vehicles are permitted for on-road deployment in California within a limited ODD.

    Agreed it’s absurd that Tesla claims that level 5 is coming shortly. That said, there are a whole lot of companies avoiding California automated driving requirements by saying that they are operating vehicles operating at low levels of autonomy (e.g. level 2) while actively developing higher levels of autonomy (mostly level 4) in their testing programs, with paid ‘safety’ drivers in the cab.

    The main difference between the low and high levels which informs the regulatory scheme is the responsibility placed by the automated driving system manufacturer on human drivers to intervene in automated driving to maintain safe driving; Tesla wants to keep the burden for monitoring and intervention on the humans for now. The regulatory and liability schemes involving automated driving remain quite fuzzy, enabling manufacturers to play games in their filings and marketing.

    1. Eloined

      Meant to say, Nuro = level 4, an example of an on-road driverless system that is not level 5.

      1. RMO

        If you go by Musk’s previous interviews Teslas have had full Level-5 autonomy for some time (a Tesla was going to drive itself across America a couple of years ago according to him) and everyone who owns one already sends them out to earn money as driverless taxis when they don’t need the car themselves.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Since 2016, SAE has updated its handy graphics and full taxonomy of automated driving terms, including levels.

      Thanks. From the 2019 chart, Level 5 means ” This feature can drive the vehicle under all conditions.” So I’m not sure if there’s a substantive difference between 2016 and 2019 on full autonomy.

      On full autonomy, I think Silicon Valley is driven by a combination of greed, hubris, and the attitude that “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Regulators should really beat all that out of them.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        We would need a pro-regulation PPM ( Political Party Movement) to take commanding power over the Federal Government in order to restore a sense of permission to regulate and then support for regulation. And then begin filling the regulatory agencies with pro-regulation regulators. And purging the anti-regulation regulators and feltrav symp embeds out of the regulatory agencies.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            feltrav symp = fellow traveler sympathiser

            so by itself, fellow traveler would shrink down to feltrav.

            and by itself, sympathiser would shrink down to symp.

            and put back together, feltrav symp is easier to type and to say than fellow traveler sympathiser.

            If feltrav symp turns out to be accepted as a perfectly cromulent word, then its adoption will further embiggen the language.

            If not, then I will remain alone in my use of it.

  10. ambrit

    The screech owl ‘file’ brings back memories of living out “in the sticks.”
    Weasling about the Youtubeverse identified the Parliament of Owls that inhabit our environs as being Barred Owls. The calls are the same, and not Horned Owl calls. The few times I have seen the local big owls, they have not had tufts of feathers at the ‘horn spots’ on their heads.
    Barred Owl calls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fppKGJD3Y6c
    Fly safe!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hi ambrit. You might enjoy this video as it is 11:21 mins of the owls of North America with images, names & distribution. Bookmarked it myself to enjoy later when it is quite around here. We have about 11 species of owl in Oz but I have to confess to hardly seeing them-


  11. Tom Stone

    When it comes to vicious oligarchies ( Make that corrupt vicious oligarchies) I’ll put California up against any State in the Union and VS some states will take odds.
    Look at the incarceration rate ( #1!) and the demographics of that population, keeping in mind that the Dept of Corrections is corrupt beyond belief.
    The Prison industrial complex is big here, as are private prisons.
    Poverty, before Covid 40% of the population of San Mateo County was considered food insecure.
    San Mateo County, not Lake or Modoc or Alpine Counties.
    It’s worse now, across the State.
    Corruption…CalPers IS the model and a heck of a lot better than Corrections or CalDot, read a little about that new Eastern span of the SF Bay bridge for an eye opener.
    Meanwhile roads,dams, bridges and critical levee’s are crumbling…

    happily there IS $100 Billion for a high speed train to nowhere.

    1. JTMcPhee

      See,, of course, “Chinatown,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown_(1974_film)

      And how about those wonderful patriots, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, all part of the patrician mafia of the Golden State? https://encyclopedia.densho.org/Native_Sons_of_the_Golden_West/Native_Daughters_of_the_Golden_West/

      It’s said that Earl Warren became a lefty Supreme Court Justice out of shame over his involvement in the internment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and the looting of their considerable assets by Golden Westies and other White Folks… https://fascinatingpolitics.com/2020/09/23/earl-warren-and-the-warren-court-the-court-that-changed-the-nation/

      So glad that the Federalist Society has succeeded in activating that judicial part of the Powell Memorandum and ended that horrible era of the non-reactionary activism in interpretation of the Constitution /s…

    1. marcyincny

      I don’t what will come of this now but it will certainly get further than it would have with Fitzpatrick, no?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know I’ve said this before, but some years ago I subscribed to a Google alert for the keywords “police shooting.” It was amazing in how many cases the cops whacked a Black person who was clearly having a mental health crisis and the neighbors, meaning well, called 911.

      Never call 911. In fact, never interact with a cop at all, if possible. No good can come of it.

  12. JBird4049

    In other words, leaving climate aside, Blue California has a more vicious oligarchy than Red Florida>? Hard to believe.

    Why? The ruling party is Democratic, so there is still an inherent, if fading, belief in some sort of effective government, of at least throwing crumbs to the poor, and there is the religious scientism, which in areas like global warming has some good, but greed, corruption and contempt is greed, corruption and contempt.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “Democrat” is a sullied brand, and that’s all it is, a brand. Stupid to see it any other way. The reason FL is so “red” is that the effing Democratic Party, under luminaries like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, https://dailycaller.com/2018/06/08/wasserman-schultz-refuses-to-respond-awan-investigation-video/ , Alex Sink, https://washingtonindependent.com/102028/in-florida-sink-may-be-biggest-loser-from-reports-the-clinton-pressured-meek-to-drop-out/ and Charlie Crist (RID, d13) has concentrated on concentrating wealth for its members and given away what was for years a majority of registered voters and doing all the other sh!t that Dems do when they are “fighting for” but lining their own pockets. Monied interests (developers [sic], Big Sugar, Big Ag, Big Hospital/Nursing Home, Big Pharma, you name it, know the simple commands: “Roll over! Play dead!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghL7Z-0kXgU

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      David Emory still has a little-known radio presence with his Spitfire List and For The Record broadcasts.
      I tried finding a transcript recently but search prevention engines prevent finding it without a brutal possibly-hours-long search.

      I remember a rambling but interesting broadcast called ” Interrogating Nancy Pelosi”. It was describing the Nazi links and ties to legacy figures of the California Democratic Party and California Rich People. J Paul Getty, for example, was a personal friend of Adolf Hitler. He described the links and ties of Newsome back to California’s elite Democrats-Nazis nexus. He said Pelosi should be referred to as a “Bormann Democrat” in honor of Hitler’s personal fixer-assistant Martin Bormann. It was rambling but interesting.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “How Biden Is Trying to Help Working-Class Voters in Red-State Alabama”

    I’ll give the NYT credit for eventually noting that Biden didn’t actually go so far as to endorse the union, but they are still a bit fulsome with their praise for a man who could only tell us he supported a $2k check that will greatly benefit the working class with his back turned while walking away from the podium*, and then quickly backtracked on the commitment. He may have stated that it isn’t wrong or illegal to try to form a union (thank you President of the Evident) but that is far from “bully pulpit” rhetoric. If all you read are the headlines though, they’ll have you believing Biden is the 2nd coming of Cesar Chavez.

    RE: Union in Amazon effort disavows social-media boycott call

    Friend told me about a one-week boycott yesterday which sounded like a really poorly thought out idea. Not only would it possibly result in short term shift cuts for workers and not do much financial damage to Amazon, but who tells their adversary exactly how long they’re willing to hold out? Good way to get zero concessions. Glad to find out it wasn’t the union’s idea.

    *At least I think that’s what he said “yes” to while leaving the podium after that one Q&A. Please correct me if I’m wrong – I searched for a video or a link to the incident and couldn’t come up with one.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Google, as so often, is not allowing me to find what I am 100% certain I wrote and linked, but I posted the C-SPAN transcript where Biden says the “$2,000” “checks” will go “out the door” “immediately” if Warnock and Ossoff are elected. There is no “leaving the podium” about it (I think that’s another incident where Biden was questioned by the press, not the full-throated campaign speech. Biden goes on and on about how people really need that check for bills and groceries, showing his famous empathy).

        1. The Rev Kev

          Some guy put together a video of Biden promising those $2,000 again and again and again while on campaign and it made quite a good compilation. Not that he ever meant it. Turns out nearly a third of it was a $600 Trump check which he clamied as his own.

  14. SirHumphreyAppleby

    Re: the enduring mystery that is the CDC’s reticence on ventilation, the Twitter thread is appreciated but sadly agrees to meet on the field of battle set by bad-faith actors, the knowing obfuscators facetiously propping up “The Great Aerosol Debate” (those likely with a lineage to tobacco/energy PR firms… they’re all from the same vat).

    As always the battle should be pitched on the PoV of the Powers that Be, not their needs-further-study-peddling scienticians:

    – The CDC will never, ever openly say that indoor places = scary spaces. Our economy is an indoor economy, by and large. A question for those of us in-the-know re: indoors = scary, will we ever see The Indoors as harmless again? No, we will not. We will avoid them unless necessary, vaccine or no. For that frightened mindset to become commonplace, for fear of the indoors to be a default setting of our psyche, that would be a permanent impairment to the making of money. No airtime given.

    – The prospect of a non-medical (£££), non-recurring solution is right out: if there is no business model, then it shan’t find consideration in the solution space. Opening windows, fans, taping filters to said fans…where is the money in that? Non starter.

    – But why not a move to outdoor utopianism, everyone communing in open-air markets, neighboring on porches and stoops, “class outside today / yay!”? What, I suppose we’ve come so far, Empires and all, only to emulate the global south and its indolent modes of being? I should hope not! What’s more, the near-term plan is to make the outdoors less and less hospitable. A move to the outdoors simply will not do.

    – Have you not noticed that “divide & conquer” is how the economy grows, how we break unions, split dissenters, and how we stay in power? 6 feet apart? Wonderful! Stay at home orders? Grand! Walls, simply put, divide; the more division, the more individual economic agents. Heaven forefend we have a repeat of the bonhomie and solidarity seen in the US streets this summer! No, they must be kept indoors, separate, dis-united, behind locked doors and suspicious of each other. Notice, after a long winter, the slight un-ease at re-encountering ones’ neighbors come springtime, these people you knew well up til October: multiply that un-ease by a billion and you have a malleable populace.

    1. JBird4049

      So, as with vaccines, rather than be completely honest about the means, benefits, risks, and limitations of outdoor/indoor activities the Powers That Be would rather lie for the short term gains of profit and power?

      Being completely honest means that we all kill this COVID thing, which benefits everyone including economically; not being honest merely means more money and power to the elites, but when the counter response happens, it will be far more violent and possibly more catastrophic to those in charge.

      Short term gains for long term losses.

      We are ruled by small minded children.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If that is so, then non-malleable people who understand the indoors to be a scary infected place should
      avoid voluntary indoorses as much as feasible. Can’t avoid work, though.

      Workers could be unionized around the concept of sufficient ventilation to prevent coronavid and other things spreading indoors.

      The CDC should be purged and have all its political commissars removed. Pro-ventilation and pro-aerosol-truth personnel should be put into all their vacated and decontaminated places. If the WHO remains anti-science, then a pro-science America should make permanent its withdrawal from WHO and should make all WHO personnel into persona non grata subject to immediate detention and as-violent-as-necessary re-expulsion from US territory whenever they pollute it with their anti-science presence.

  15. tegnost

    “Blue California has a more vicious oligarchy than Red Florida>? Hard to believe.”

    No, not so hard…a lot of back scratching going on down there…and the water royalty…
    fla doesn’t have anything close to that

    1. JTMcPhee

      You haven’t read the “Travis McGee” books by John D. MacDonald then, or followed FL politics very closely? At least Sacramento is sort of in the middle of the state, versus Tallahassee, way off there in the far northwest corner in the Panhandle, pretty much out of sight of most of us here especially since the local and state news functions have dried up and blown away…

      1. Procopius

        There was a large ponzi scheme scandal in Broward County ten or eleven years ago which involved a Canadian based bank, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (or at least some of the deputies), an expensive cigar bar, and allegations of involvement of the Israeli Mafia. There was a columnist reporting on it for several months and I can’t even remember his name now, nor the name of his blog. Made the Travis McGee books seem tame in comparison.

  16. SteveB

    RE: Ca v FL …… Florida has the highest percentage of population that is over 65… 17.3%
    FL sometimes known as “God’s waiting room” also factor in the non resident snowbird population also very high in over 65 retirees…

    Since death rates are much higher in the over 65 group.

    1. JP

      California, incredibly diverse environmentally with a population far exceeding FL is a wealthy state with a butt load of poor people. A blue state with some of the most odious republican representation in congress. Florida on the other hand is a retirement community for the east coast with a total elevation differential 20 feet above high tide and some of the most odious republican representation in congress.

  17. allan

    Appointments matter:

    Lina Khan going to the FTC and Tim Wu going to the White House are two extraordinary, powerful choices by Biden. It gives hope that the last 40 years of consumer welfarism in antitrust could be on its last legs, and that we can start
    enforcing existing laws w vigor.
    7:37 AM · Mar 9, 2021·Twitter Web App

      1. Baldanders

        Am I utterly delusional, or is some of the Biden team aware that they need to deliver something real to us this time, or it’s a steady drum beat to defeat in 2022 and 2024?

        I’m delusional, right? Hope feels like too big a psychic investment after last year.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I am holding off on hope until the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The Dems are champions at appearing to be for something good while creating conditions to make that same thing impossible (see the $15/hr minimum wage farce, for example.) I am still not convinced they intend to actually deliver these things and not just “fight for” and give the (false) appearance of trying. (The $2000…no, we meant $1400 checks thing is proof to me they don’t get it.)

  18. Baldanders

    Re:indoor weed ruining the environment

    I was under the impression that much legal cultivation takes place in high-energy-use indoors set ups because the laws in some states made it mandatory. The ridiculous desire of some states to track every plant from seedling to finished buds is the culprit.

    I have worked in ornamental plant greenhouses with pretty low energy use, but we used natural lighting and no CO2, etc. Using artificial light alone to grow anything beyond a small hobby set-up is insane, IMO. But as long as cannabis is a state-by-state affair, I can see why most growers are going to stick with scaled-up versions of techniques used in stealthy illegal grows. Zoning laws and the like certainly encourage it.

  19. Calypso Facto

    re: technical interviews disproportionately bad for women and minorities

    As a woman who works in tech and has passed and failed several technical interviews, I’ll throw in my $0.02 on this topic.

    If you do a tech job where you have to resolve a problem within a time limit (operations, support, devops, SRE etc), you absolutely want to be tested on your skills prior to accepting the job and the only way to do that is to go through a technical interview where, at bare minimum, you are asked to answer questions or resolve problems as you would in the role, with no preparation. A lot of jobs will train you further on how to do the explicit job, and the technical interview for these roles is to assess how much training you will need and if you’ll be able to swim rather than sink when you go on pager rotations. The last time I had to do a tech interview with a whiteboard for one of these jobs was around 2012, and the whiteboard was just to diagram a request flow through services/databases/load balancers.

    If you do a job where you’re writing up code or documentation or requirements, the whiteboard is there to ‘think out loud visually’, either stepping through an example code problem or diagramming state change or workflow. Since ~2012 every technical interview for these roles has done the coding segments in an emulator, via screenshare, or other type of means that involves an actual computer.

    I don’t know a single serious developer who would take a job that forced an applicant to do actual code exercises or query construction on a whiteboard. It’s sadistic and a power play, but I’ll be honest, that is another point of this type of interview at a lot of companies, because the goal is really to see how the applicant performs under pressure and whether they blank or try to talk/work through an impossible problem, if they’ll tolerate it. A lot of people, regardless of gender or whatever, recognize that as bs and aren’t going to humiliate themselves for a role that will make them miserable.

  20. chuck roast

    What’s up with Wolff?

    Rate of Police Killings per 10 Million Residents

    Figure out the goof…open the Cracker Jacks box…and get your Population Decoder Ring.****

  21. JTMcPhee

    On the analysis of the curves of vaccine rollout as an index of Bidengoodness:

    Might be worth noting that the acceleration of production and distribution seems more accurately owed to Operation Warp Speed, which as I recall got fired up under The Evil Orange Man. Plus the greed of the PharmaCorps and the ready acquiescence (“emergency use authorization, coming right up!”) of the putative PharmaCops. Say again what Biden’s troops have actually and actively done to cause that curve to bend upward? I hope he is taking credit for the execrable rollout and biased distribution of the hoped-for “open for business” Magic Bullets of the vaccine in states like Florida, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/florida-keys-desantis-donors-b1812483.html

    ABCNews and other “fact checkers” have “ruled” that Trump’s claim of success for Warp Speed is “not true,” but one has as usual to dig into their “analysis” to find the caveats:

    TRUMP: “As a result of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine was more than 90% effective. …Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation.”

    THE FACTS: Not so much. Pfizer notably did not accept government money to develop, test or expand manufacturing capacity under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative to quickly find a vaccine and treatments for the disease sweeping the country.

    In fact, Pfizer partnered with the vaccine’s original developer, Germany’s BioNTech, in March and the following month announced the first human study in Germany. The White House announced Operation Warp Speed in May.

    Pfizer opted not to join Operation Warp Speed initially but is following the same general requirements for the vaccine’s development as competitors who received government research money. The company says it has risked $2 billion of its own money on vaccine development and won’t get anything from Washington unless the effort is successful. [kind of like plaintiff’s tort lawyers…]

    “Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing costs have been entirely self-funded,” Pfizer spokeswoman Jerica Pitts said this week. “We decided to self-fund our efforts so we could move as fast as possible.”

    However, Pfizer did sign an agreement with the U.S. government in July worth $1.95 billion — if the vaccine pans out and is cleared by the FDA — to supply 100 million doses. That guarantees Pfizer a U.S. market, an important incentive.[So, about $20 a dose — what is their cost to produce, again?]

    The supply side of Operation Warp Speed also allows Pfizer logistical help, although the company will directly ship its own vaccine, while the government will control shipping of other COVID-19 vaccines.

    And of course the cost of manufacture, distribution and administration of the Pfizer vaccine is covered by Medicare and the monopoly granted by the government to private insurance companies…

    Down the memory hole we go, seeking evidence of Dem Good Old Days…

    And no, I had no use for Trump as a person, a candidate, or president. Other than he did yeoman work of limning the actual horrors of the System.

    {Full disclosure: I got my first Moderna dose courtesy of the Veterans Administration, second one scheduled tomorrow. My wife got her first Moderna via a “pop-up” clinic in a de Santis-related neighborhood just north of St. Pete. The state apparently directed so many doses to this special clinic that they opened it up to people outside the gated community who otherwise met the state priority criteria, which she did. This after days and days of her getting up at zero dark thirty to log on to Publix and state and county web sites where one was supposed to be able to sign up for an appointment. These were completely jammed, of course. We are blessed to be in a position to live in a mostly closed bubble for the time being. Neither one of us will be in any way pushing the envelope of our self-imposed lockdown, even after “full immunization,” despite what the CDC and other luminaries are touting…)

  22. marym


    Summary and link to the bill:
    “Iowa Republicans have shortened early voting by 9 days, cut the accepted time periods for absentee ballot requests and returns, limited drop box locations, shortened hours for in-person voting on Election Day, restricted acceptable methods of ballot return and blocked any ballots received after Election Day—even if they were mailed in time—from being counted. Iowa voters will also have their registration status changed to “inactive” after missing just one election.” (Link) https://www.democracydocket.com/2021/03/legislation-alert-iowa-governor-signs-sweeping-voter-suppression-legislation-into-law/

    Legal challenge:
    “4. The Bill’s sponsors have emphatically and repeatedly asserted that it is not meant to combat voter fraud, which has been virtually nonexistent in Iowa. Instead, its stated purpose is only to “ensure election integrity.” But according to the Secretary—Iowa’s chief election official—and prominent Republican officials, Iowa’s elections are already secure…

    5. The Bill’s sponsors also do not deny that Iowa’s elections are secure. Instead, they have asserted that additional measures are necessary to reassure Iowans…But to the extent any Iowans are concerned about the security of the state’s elections, it is the result of efforts to plant and sow baseless mistrust, not because there is any evidence that the integrity of the state’s elections is legitimately in doubt.” (Link) https://www.democracydocket.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2021/03/LULAC-v.-Pate-Iowa-Voter-Suppression-Petition-2021.pdf

    1. Late Introvert

      Iowa DemRats have been awful forever really. RePugs were nicer back in the Robert Ray days.

      I myself am looking into local DSA chapters after that hoot of an Intercept article about the DimRots resigning wholesale in Nevada.

  23. Ejf

    Select count(*) is supposed to return the number of rows in a database table.
    As for minorities and women, companies are lazier then sh#t in looking for help. The WSJ article is probably another hustle for more H1b workers from Asia.

    1. Aaron

      Can you please tell how this will lead to more guest workers? I thought it was about women and minorities. Thank you.

    2. RockHard

      You should try reading the article. It’s an article about potential bias in interviewing practices and specifically proctored vs. non-proctored interviews.

      1. Aaron

        I did read the article before commenting, but couldn’t find a connection to guest workers. Now I read it again and kinda figured it out. So you and Ejf are saying that the tech companies are structuring the interviews in a way that many people, particularly minorities and women, are rejected. Then they can claim that skilled workers are not available and hire foreign workers. Yeah, that does make sense.

        Some of the commenters in the WSJ article are echoing this.

        I wonder how this is going to play out now that remote work has become so mainstream. The companies’ need to have a body in the office is much less (Not everywhere, but for a substantial number of jobs in Tech). They might decide to skip all this rigaramole and just hire for remote work from another country. If we look at the number of visas claimed vs the number of people hired in offshore centers in India in the coming years, we will be able to see if it is happening.

        Thank you.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People”

    ‘Creepy in retrospect is how Stewart most definitely does not, not, not, not meet with Epstein again, despite Epstein’s repeated requests.’

    Maybe not so creepy. It would all depend on the purpose of James B. Stewart’s interview. I suspect that it was actually a recon to find out what Epstein knew and if he was prepared to name names such as those involved with Tesla. When Stewart found that Epstein was willing to tell all, he cut off all contacts and I have little doubt that word went throughout the industry not to touch him. After all, if Stewart did not want to hear his story, I am sure that he was not the only reporter at the New York Times who could have picked up on the story.

    1. Synoia

      Stewart wanted to stay alive. Knowing Epstein’s list of people and their exploits could guarantee a much shorter life.

      There has to be a “Fix it” team the top 1% can call on.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Amazing that Epstein was not smart enough to understand this.

        Amazing that Epstein was dumm enough to come back to the US.

        Did he have any trustworthy people with whom he could have stored every bit of that information with instructions to release it all to every single venue in existence if anything bad happened to Epstein? Maybe there was no one who could be trusted to do that. But if there was, why didn’t he do that?

  25. Alex Cox

    How does that pop mechanics garden fence keep chipmunks and moles at bay? Keeping deer out is the easy part.

    1. Late Introvert

      Rabbits in these parts can fit through a 2″ fence, and can scream like a little girl.

    2. Robert Gray

      > Final sentence: “No animal of any kind has been spotted in the garden, ever.” • Hmm.

      Hmm, is right. That ‘of any kind’ is problematic. No humans enter the garden either? :-)

      Reminds me of the cover of a book we used in the Intro to Logic course I had many moons ago. It had a photo of a public park, with picknickers. In the foreground was a sign saying ‘No vehicles of any kind allowed in park’. In the background was parked a police car.

  26. RockHard

    select count(*) would be appropriate if you’re trying to count the number of posts a user has written (at least I think that’s what the query means). The linked article says you can use EXISTS if all you want to ask is “is count > 0?”. Not enough info in that photo to really determine what the intent of the query is.

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