2:00PM Water Cooler 4/15/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another shore-bird. Big snipe energy!

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#COVID19

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.

Vaccination by region:

In a week or so, we’ll see what effect the J&J debacle has had, if any.

Case count by United States regions:

Gaaaaah! Yes, the rise is from the Midwest, but wouldn’t it be nice if the rise in the Midwest was cancelled out by decreases everywhere else.

The Midwest in detail:

Minnesota follows Michigan’s upward trend. Illinois emerging from the pack? Oddly, that almost-entirely-covered-over chartreuse (?) line is Nebraska, and it looks like they had an upward trend, and got it sorta under control.

MI: “The mystery of Michigan’s overwhelming Covid surge” [CNN]. “Speculation is in high gear regarding the simple question: why Michigan and why now? After all, the increase is not being seen in surrounding states (yet) with Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin each well below 200 new cases per 100,000 people….. The likeliest explanation for the Michigan surge is a mix of all of the above: a very transmissible viral variant is spreading one step ahead of the vaccination among those newly eligible for it, with some contribution from a premature, partial return to normal life. And this is where politics is rearing its ugliest head… Perhaps what sets Michigan apart cannot be fully explained by the B.1.1.7 viral variant or reopening schools or not getting vaccines yet to younger people. Rather, perhaps this is another consequence of the unthinkable threats to the governor. She has become more tentative about doing the necessary thing and locking down her state, knowing the personal risk it might invite. The Lansing rioters of last spring may have set out to liberate Michigan but in their blind rage may have succeeded only in encumbering it with the dizzying danger of a runaway pandemic.” • If so, the Biden Administration didn’t give her any backup. In fact, they cut her loose.

MI: “16 things to know from recent talk about Michigan COVID restrictions, workplace rules, vaccines” [Click on Detroit]. “Whitmer did ask residents to follow a few voluntary restrictions for two weeks, though they aren’t required. Her requests included high schools returning to remote learning, youth sports suspending activities and everyone avoiding indoor dining at restaurants and gathering with members of other households. Michigan’s COVID-19 emergency rules for the workplace were set to expire Wednesday (April 14), but MIOSHA issued a six-month extension on Tuesday. For now, those rules are in place until Oct. 14, 2021. The most significant rule is that employees who can feasibly do their job remotely are required to continue doing so. In-person work is allowed for jobs that cannot be done remotely.”

MI: “What’s going on with COVID-19 in Michigan? Here’s what we know.” [Chicago Tribune]. “At least four, and potentially more than eight, Michigan Republicans who attended a district meeting at a Portage restaurant on March 25 tested positive for COVID-19 afterward, according to GOP officials. Jason Watts, an Allegan County Republican and the treasurer for the 6th District Republican Committee, has been in the hospital for five days. He tested positive for COVID-19 on April 1 and is certain he was exposed to the virus at the regular meeting of the district organization, he said in a Tuesday phone interview from a hospital room in Grand Rapids. Watts said about 69 people attended the March 25 meeting and estimated that about three of them were wearing masks. From what he’s heard, he said he believes at least 10 people who were there later tested positive for COVID-19.” • Just like the CCP in Wuhan before the story broke, hilariously. Party of personal responsibility, good job.

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

Florida continues its slow climb. California starting to follow?

Test positivity:

Midwest increases.

Hospitalization:

Still heading down.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

Good to see those deaths dropping. I have added a black line to show our “new normal.” The fatality rate in the West is dropping now, for some reason as unknown as why it rose.

* * *

Politics

“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

Biden Administration

“Biden Finally Got to Say No to the Generals” [The New Yorker]. • Trump concluded, and the United States signed, an agreement to withdraw by May 1. Apparently, the chain of command now depends on the man, not the office.

UPDATE “Biden’s Afghanistan Blunder: The War is Over. The U.S. Lost. The Taliban Won. Admit it and Get Out on 5/1, not 9/11.” [Washington Babylon]. “There’s plenty wrong with Biden’s plan, even putting aside the fact that CIA employees and civilian contractors will surely be left behind, so this is not a full withdrawal. The main issue is that former President Trump — I’m glad he’s out of office and may god have mercy, or not, on his soul — had a better plan in withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan by May 1, now just about two weeks away. But Biden and his vapid yet deeply evil Secretary of State Anthony Blinken don’t want to get out on May 1. Why not? Because that was Trump’s plan, and they can’t admit he was right and they also want Biden to get credit for ending the war. No, I’m not kidding you, that’s why U.S. soldiers will be periodically getting killed in Afghanistan between May and September.”

UPDATE “U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops” [Daily Beast]. “But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.” • Now that the story is no longer needed to impede Trump removing troops from Afghanistan, it’s dropped.

UPDATE “The problem within: Biden targets lead pipes, pushes equity” [Associated Press]. “The White House holds out its lead-pipe proposal as a generation-changing opportunity to reduce brain-damaging exposure to lead in 400,000 schools and child care centers and 6 million to 10 million homes. It’s also an effort that the administration says can help create plenty of good-paying union jobs around the country…. Estimated replacements costs vary widely, he said. Chicago, for example, has estimated the average cost of replacing a lead water service at $27,000. Cities such as Denver, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey — all of which launched replacement efforts in recent years — have managed to do it for a fraction of that cost. The White House estimated $4,000 to $6,000 per pipe replacement in developing its proposal.”

UPDATE “The Biden Boom Has Begun” [New York Magazine]. “Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected a 5.8 percent jump in retail sales in March, but the combined effect of the American Rescue Plan’s $1,400 stimulus checks [lol], strong job growth, and rising vaccination rates provided a more potent boost to commerce than experts had foreseen. The rebound was especially strong at restaurants and apparel retailers, which saw 13.4 percent and 18.3 percent increases in overall sales values, respectively. But the surge wasn’t limited to sectors hampered by the pandemic; furniture outlets, e-commerce shops, and other businesses that thrived throughout the COVID crisis still enjoyed an uptick in revenues last month…. Another round of $1,400 checks [lol] isn’t in the offing, but Biden’s child allowance will take effect in July, at which point virtually every family in the country will receive at least $250 per kid, every month, from Uncle Sam. Those checks are set to expire at year’s end, but Biden has called for the policy to be extended through 2025 and congressional Democrats appear likely to oblige this request. What’s more, much of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan funds have yet to be spent and will enter the economy in the years to come; to take one example, many state governments will use their newfound federal aid to bankroll school construction and infrastructure improvements.” • 2022 is not far off.

UPDATE “Column: Is Biden the next FDR? That depends on what you think about the New Deal” [Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times]. “As late as the eve of the 1936 election, the influential Baltimore Afro-American newspaper concluded that of the four major candidates, Black voters would fare best under Earl Browder, the Communist Party standard-bearer, followed by Norman Thomas, the Socialist. FDR ranked third and Republican Alf Landon last. But as only the last two had any chance of victory, the journal counseled voters to pull the lever for Roosevelt as an expression of ‘political opportunism.'”

Democrats en Deshabille

“Pelosi says she won’t bring bill to expand Supreme Court to the floor” [The Hill]. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she has ‘no plans’ to bring a Democratic-led bill to expand the Supreme Court to the House floor for a vote, while saying such an idea is ‘not out of the question.’ Pelosi was asked during a press briefing if she supported a bill brought forward by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to expand the Supreme Court by four seats and if she would bring it to the House floor. ‘No. I support the president’s commission to study such a proposal, but frankly I’m not — right now, we’re back, our members, our committees are working. We’re putting together the infrastructure bill and the rest,’ Pelosi said.” •

Speaking of Pelosi:

2022

“Warnock off to a fast fundraising start for 2022 Senate re-election race” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has hardly slowed his torrid fundraising pace since his narrow January runoff victory. The Democrat’s campaign said Thursday he raised more than $5.7 million from more than 101,000 supporters between Jan. 6 and March 31 – totaling what Warnock’s aides say is the highest off-year fundraising quarter in Georgia history. He ends the quarter with $5.6 million in the bank. Just months after defeating former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Warnock is already preparing for a 2022 campaign for a full six-year term.” • Warnock owes me six hundred bucks.

RussiaGate

“Biden administration confirms Russian agent shared 2016 Trump polling data as part of election interference efforts” [CNN]. “The sanctions also included the US government’s acknowledgment for the first time that a Russian-linked intelligence operative named Konstantin Kilimnik provided information on Trump campaign polling strategy and data to the Russian intelligence services in 2016.” • Acknowledgement? Like a reluctant admission?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Spa Co-Owner & Victim of Ravi Zacharias Speaks: He Threatened to “Ruin” Me” [The Roys Report]. “Last May, Vicki Blue discovered through her husband that the famed apologist, Ravi Zacharias, had died. ‘I’m glad,’ Blue recalls saying. “Now he can’t hurt anyone anymore.’ Blue is one of several victims who spoke anonymously to Christianity Today (CT) for an article last fall exposing Zacharias’ sexual abuse and harassment of massage therapists at spas he co-owned. In an exclusive interview with The Roys Report, Blue for the first time revealed her identity for publication and shared her experience with Zacharias in detail in hopes of helping other abuse victims.'” • A Christian apologist owns a chain of massage parlors. Astarte would approve!

Trump Legacy

“Trump’s Power Won’t Peak for Another 20 Years” [The Atlantic]. “Measured solely by the number of judges he appointed, Donald Trump’s impact is staggering: 234 judges, including 54 powerful appellate judges, almost one out of every three. By comparison, President Barack Obama appointed 172 judges (30 of them appellate) in his first term, while George W. Bush managed 204 (35 appellate). But Trump will have an even greater influence than this measurement suggests. That is because his judges won’t reach the apogee of their power until the early 2040s, when Trump-appointed chief judges are on track to simultaneously sit atop nearly every appeals court in the country.”

Stats Watch

Retail: “Headline Retail Sales Skyrocket in March 2021” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales significantly improved according to US Census headline data – and was the best March ever. The three-month rolling average improved. Year-over-Year growth also significantly improved mostly due to comparison to the lockdown period one year ago…. Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. There was an upward adjustment to last month’s data. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which were little changed. Overall, this report is considered weaker than last month.”

Employment Situation: “United States Jobless Claims 4-week Average” [Trading Economics]. “The 4-week moving average of US jobless claims, which removes week-to-week volatility, dropped to 683 thousand in the week ending April 10th, from a revised 730.25 thousand in the previous period. It was the lowest level since March 2020.”

Manufacturing: “March 2021 Headline Industrial Production Improves” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) improved month-over-month – and now is in expansion year-over-year due to comparision to the pandemic lockdown period one year ago. Our analysis shows the three-month rolling average improved.”

Manufacturing: “April 2021 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Improvement Continues” [Econintersect]. “The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey significantly improved. Overall, this report was better than last month but key elements improvement was mixed.” • Noisy, sentiment-based.

Manufacturing: “April 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Index Strongly Improves” [Econintersect]. “The Empire State Manufacturing Survey index improved and remained in expansion. Key elements are in positive territory and all improved. This report is considered better than last month.” • Ditto.

Inventories: “February 2021 Business Inventories Remain Normal For Times Of Economic Expansion” [Econintersect]. “Headlines say final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) declined month-over-month. The rolling averages improved. Inventories are within normal ranges for times of economic expansion. This data is worse than the previous month. The previous month’s data was revised upward. Our primary monitoring tool – the 3-month rolling averages for sales – improved.”

* * *

Shipping: “The container ship traffic jam in Southern California is thinning somewhat, even as the boxes keep pouring in. The Port of Los Angeles says the number of ships parked offshore has fallen by about half since February… in a sign that the gridlock that has snarled U.S. supply chains may have peaked” [Wall Street Journal]. “The flood of shipments isn’t slowing down, however. The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handled a combined 898,287 loaded container imports in March, 65.1% more than the same month two years ago and nearly as many as they saw last November at the height of a frantic peak shipping season. The deluge is straining inbound supply chains, and the usual two-day wait for trains out of Los Angeles is now up to 11 days. With more freight arriving, the bigger bottleneck may soon be on land.”

Shipping: “U.S. trucking companies are racing to hire drivers as fast as shipping customers are booking freight. Several operators including truckload giant Knight-Swift Transportation are raising driver pay… and others are scrambling to fill seats as they ramp orders for big rigs” [Wall Street Journal]. “The hiring is aimed at meeting roaring demand in freight markets as consumers step up their purchases, factories boost production and the U.S. economy gains momentum. The drive to get goods to market is also coming at a higher cost because trucking capacity remains tight on the lingering impact of the coronavirus lockdowns last year that idled many drivers.”

Tech: “Coinbase listing marks latest step in crypto’s march to the mainstream” [Reuters]. “Coinbase Global Inc, the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, will list on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, marking a milestone in the journey of virtual currencies from niche technology to mainstream asset.”

The Bezzle: “The Mysterious Influencer Stock Market Worth $1 Billion” [New York Magazine]. “The basic idea behind BitClout is to create a token-based marketplace for shares in someone’s (or something’s) reputation and influence. Go viral on Instagram for something delightful? Bull run. Say something stupid on Twitter? Could be the start of a bear market. In theory, every public action and utterance from anyone becomes tradable by anyone else. The draw for those taking possession of their profiles at BitClout is about 10 percent of their own coins. But the question of what that virtual money is and what it’s worth is still an open one: BitClout accepts bitcoin — more than $225 million has flowed in so far — but it doesn’t have a mechanism yet for taking it out, creating a kind of crypto roach motel. And while cryptocurrency typically lives securely on a blockchain, BitClout’s holdings reside on its own server, making some people wonder who really owns the money. Perhaps the most suspicious part, though, to many outsiders, was the insistence by BitClout’s founders that they themselves remain anonymous — with the CEO answering only to “Diamondhands,” his moniker on the platform. It has all added up to a sense among many sophisticated tech observers that there is something — in the words of one venture capitalist who was pitched to by the founders — “borderline scammy” about BitClout.” • Scammy? In crypto? Surely not.

Tech: “Cohort IDs can be collected over time to create cross-site tracking IDs #100” [Github]. “In #99, it is stated that ‘FLoC is not useful for tracking.’ I don’t think that’s accurate. As far as I know, the user’s cohort will not be partitioned per first party site so multiple sites can observe the cohort ID in sync as it changes week after week. A hash of the cohorts seen so far will likely get more and more unique as the weeks go by…. To take this to the crowd metaphor: Before the pandemic and some time back, I attended a Mew concert, a Ghost concert, Disney on Ice, and a Def Leppard concert. At each of those events I was part of a large crowd. But I bet you I was the only one to attend all four.” • Nice try, Google, lol.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). One year ago, just after the end of the Before Times: 42 (Fear). Last updated Apr 15 at 1:12pm.

The Biosphere

“The primitive brain of early Homo” [Science]. “Frontal lobe reorganization, once considered a hallmark of earliest Homo in Africa, thus evolved comparatively late, and long after Homo first dispersed from Africa.”

“Cicadas: ‘The other white meat'” [High Country News]. “Scientists say the periodic cicada broods emerge in such great numbers as a survival strategy called predator satiation. Even voracious predators can’t eat them all…. Picture it: 2004, late spring. Newly arrived in southern Ohio, I watched our mixed-breed dog, Delphine, slowly eating her way across our back yard like a cow methodically grazing in a field. ‘What is she eating?’ I wondered. I realized, with a combination of horror and fascination, that she was eating cicadas… For the Onondaga, eating cicadas is a sacred act, an important way to memorialize and honor their ancestors… With their crops and food destroyed [by George Washington’s Clinton-Sullivan Campaign], the Onondaga faced starvation. But an unlikely ally came to the rescue, the emergence of the 17-year periodical cicadas. ‘It was a terrible time for our people,’ [Betty Lyons, citizen of the Onondaga Nation] said. ‘Our ancestors ran into the forest in order to survive. But then they heard this beautiful humming noise. It was the children who said, ‘Listen, they’re telling us they’re here to save us.’ And it was the children who told the people to eat the cicadas.'”

Health Care

Vaccine hesitancy after the J&J “pause”:

We will see whether the polling is reflected in behavior.

“Many millions have been vaccinated against the coronavirus; 396 were later hospitalized with Covid-19” [CNN]. “About 5,800 people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus have become infected anyway, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells CNN. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC said. It said 396 — 7% — of those who got infected after they were vaccinated required hospitalization. This is the CDC’s first public accounting of breakthrough cases, and the agency is searching for patterns based on patient age and gender, location, type of vaccine, variants and other factors.

“So far, about 5,800 breakthrough cases have been reported to CDC. To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics,” the CDC told CNN via email. About 77 million people in the US are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data. The CDC’s reports on breakthrough cases will lag day-to-day reports of vaccines given, so may not reflect the most current events. Breakthrough cases are expected. The vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections and as 10s of millions of people are vaccinated, more and more such cases will be reported.”

“Medicaid and Medicare Drove Increases in Insurance” [People’s Policy Project]. “Between 2010 and 2019, the rate of uninsurance fell from 15.6 percent to 9.2 percent, a significant accomplishment. But this drop was almost entirely driven by expansions of Medicare and Medicaid. Expansions in non-group coverage (which is what the ACA exchanges are) only account for 9 percent of the insurance gains over the period…. In a sense, then, the Obamacare partisans that fixate on the ACA exchanges are engaged in a kind of fetishism that really has little to do with what Obamacare accomplished. Anyone looking clearly at Obamacare’s track record would conclude that it caused and coincided with a significant expansion of public health insurance that helped reduce uninsurance. If you were trying to build on actually-existing Obamacare, then you’d focus on its relatively successful legacy of expanding public health programs, not its relatively failed legacy of building an individual health insurance market.”

The Agony Column

“It Never Ends Like It Should” [Defector]. This is the sports magazine founded by the Deadspin expats. But they don’t “stick to sports.” “You might remember Iris from two stories I wrote for the old Deadspin. She was my elderly neighbor with ‘the only good NBA takes‘—someone who watched the league five nights a week, who delighted in Lance Stephenson joining the Lakers (‘I guess he’ll have more chances to blow in LeBron’s ear’), who could outflank any Pacers hipster (Vogel > McMillan, she believed, but Carlisle > both). After the first story, you readers overwhelmed Iris with kindness. They mailed her basketball cards and chipped in for a bigger TV, to help with her fading eyesight; one person bought her 10th-row tickets to a Pacers game, an unforgettable night I described in the second story. Even Mike Breen emailed to ask for Iris’s number. ‘We had a nice little chat,’ she told me. ‘He asked me if I liked the announcers, and I said I don’t really pay close attention to them. He got a good chuckle out of that.'” • RIP Iris.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ferguson v. Brooklyn Center:

I wonder how strong Brooklyn Heights’ tax base is, and whether they too practice law enforcement for profit.

“Let Go of the Idea of the ‘Strong Black Woman’” [Hood Communist]. “One of the biggest lies I ever believed was that Black girls were immune to depression. I believed that we all had some sort of superpower that allowed us to overcome sadness before it was turned into mental poison, a special bone in the body that prevented us from being subject to undesirable emotion. I had so desperately believed in the narrative of the strong Black woman because I wanted her to be real and for her to be me…. In Black communities, topics involving mental health are wrapped tightly in this idea of strength, something that disproportionately affects Black women. Too often, societal structures are founded and maintained on our backs. We are the pillars of home we hardly get to rest in. We are often reminded of our role as if it is something to be thankful for, something that our youth should aspire to be.”

“1619 Project lead writer Nikole Hannah-Jones paid $25,000 for virtual lecture” [WSWS]. I’m quoting a great slab because there’s rather a lot of material:

Hannah Jones argues that the overriding social category in the world is race. But being paid $25,000 for a lecture she did not even physically attend is a “privilege” that separates her from the majority of African Americans in the United States, who are overwhelmingly members of the working class. What Hannah-Jones can make in one lecture is almost the same as a worker making $15 an hour takes home in a year after taxes.

In a related development, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors purchased four high-end properties in the US worth $3.2 million, according to a recent report in the New York Post. She was also seen with her spouse in the Bahamas, viewing property at an exclusive resort where celebrities such as Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake own homes.

In 2016, Cullors married Janaya Khan, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, and purchased a $510,000 home in a Los Angeles suburb. Two years later, Cullors purchased a four-bedroom home for $590,000 in southern Los Angeles. Last year, Cullors and her spouse acquired a “custom ranch” in Georgia featuring a private hangar and community runway for small airplanes.

In January, the pair got their hands on a $1.4 million homestead a short drive from Malibu, one of the most affluent communities in the US. The property was advertised as featuring bamboo floors and “soaring ceilings, skylights and plenty of windows” with canyon views. The 2,400-square-foot property includes a three-bedroom and two-bath main house and a separate one-bed/one-bath apartment for long-term guests.

Just three weeks ago, Samaria Rice and Lisa Simpson, respective mothers of Tamir Rice and Richard Rishner, accused Cullors of profiting from the deaths of their children and other black people murdered by police. The pair criticized BLM for raising over $90 million in 2020 but doing little to help families impacted by police violence.

Khan and Cullors created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Since then, BLM has promoted racialist politics and raised substantial sums of money from large corporations like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. After BLM’s 2020 financial report was released, Cullors was accused of misappropriating funds by grassroots members of her organization.

In response to the allegations, she claimed that there were misunderstandings about BLM’s finances and that the organization was “scraping for money” in the past few years. If BLM truly was low on funds, Cullors purchasing luxury properties certainly did not help.

The wealth and privilege of the leading proponents of racialism demonstrate the reactionary character of identity politics. It is entirely divorced from the real concerns and experiences of the working class. Fearful of a unified workers’ movement, the ruling class seeks to sow artificial racial divisions among workers through the promotion of identity politics. Additionally, middle class layers seeking a bigger slice of the pie see identity as a means of advancing their own wealth and social position..

Sure is odd nobody’s reporting on this, though to be fair, the Times needs all the meal-tickets it can get these days, now that Trump is gone. (Sanders has houses, and Sanders wrote a best-seller. I’m not sure the cases are the same, since a Senator lives in two places. And he’s not making money on falsehoods, either.

Separate but equal affinity groups:

“Folx.” Singular “fol”?

“Loud and Proud: Shake Shack’s recipe for an inclusive workplace” [Reuters]. “With issues of race, gender and sexuality coming to the forefront of American life, the nation’s board rooms are scrambling to assemble talent pipelines that look more like the nation as a whole.” • Saving capitalism though diversity; the class consciousness of the PMC.

We have diverse management consultants too:

“Is “Asian-American” a viable category?” [Michelle Kuo and Albert Wu, Medium]. ” I’ve also come to understand growing up Asian in an Asian country was itself a form of privilege. I didn’t inherit the anxieties and fears of the minority obliged to perform under a proverbial “white gaze.” I didn’t notice the slights until Michelle pointed them out to me. I never felt an existential crisis about where I belonged. I knew where I belonged: in Taiwan.”

Our Famously Free Press

If only the platforms had not destroyed the blogosphere:

Class Warfare

“Endings and Beginnings in Bessemer” [Kim Kelly, Strike Wave]. “A lot of brilliant labor organizers have weighed in on what went wrong in Bessemer, but personally, I’m more interested in what went right, and what we can learn from the successes of this campaign—not just its failures. It may be cliche to fall back on the old entreaty of “don’t mourn, organize,” but I think there’s room for both right now.” • Yes, but I don’t see analysis of the successes in this article, either.

“Unions eye Brookings, Urban Institute as push to organize think tanks grows” [Politico]. “Workers at two of the largest, most influential think tanks in Washington, D.C. are forming a union, adding to a growing trend in white-collar collective bargaining. Staff at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute on Tuesday asked their employers to grant them voluntary recognition… The labor movement’s efforts to organize think tanks — major players in influencing and informing the policy debate on Capitol Hill — is the latest white-collar sector to see a burst in collective bargaining.”

“A Hot New Restaurant Moved In. That Made Its Neighbors Nervous. A gentrification battle erupts in Ridgewood.” [New York Magazine]. “Along with the co-working space, 467 Woodward is also the headquarters for several companies, including Westergaard’s Hooper and Keap, a development and management company that gut-renovates, as well as a company called Valkyrie, a real-estate broker in which he is a minority stakeholder. Listings on Valkyrie’s website tout ‘Ridgewood’s exciting progressive retail scene’ and call the area ‘an au courant retail community undergoing unparalleled boutique development.‘ Two spaces are advertised as benefiting from ‘one of NYC’s most rapid creative demographic shifts.’ Rental prices listed by Valkyrie can be twice or sometimes three times as much as other properties in the area, according to one survey by a group that was looking for a retail space in the neighborhood.” • The business names are like something out of a William Gibson novel. I underlined the language that made me go “ick.”

News of the Wired

“A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate” (PDF) [Theodore Nelson, Association for Computing Machinery]. “The kinds of file structures required if we are to use the computer for personal files and as an adjunct to creativity are wholly different in character from those customary in business and scientific data processing. They need to provide the capacity for intricate and idiosyncratic arrangements, total modifiability, undecided alternatives, and thorough internal documentation.” • From 1965, still germane. How’d that work out for ya, Ted?

Precarity romanticized, glorified, commoditized:

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

maryann writes: “This one I first noticed in bud maybe 6 weeks ago, and couldn’t for the life of me identify it. Went back last week and lo and behold: the Edgeworthia chrysanthia or Oriental Paper Bush. In all my previous 62 years don’t think I ever saw one before!”

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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.

84 comments

  1. ambrit

    Apologies in advance for the impertinence.
    Has anyone here noticed anything “wrong” with CNN Money Markets page? I have noticed for the last month or so that sub-sections of the page, such as Commodities, have not refreshed. Commodities, for me being still stuck somewhere back in March of this year. Something similar with the Foreign Indexes.
    Is this a general effect or ‘localized,’ as in being just me?
    Again, apologies to Lambert and the crew.

  2. jo6pac

    Yep, there’s small print in the biden pull out plan and I’m not surprised at all.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/04/15/contrary-what-biden-said-us-warfare-afghanistan-set-continue

    The cia isn’t going to give their Poppy $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Then again the merchants of death still want the Amerika govt. to buy weapons to be used against the people of Afghanistan. If lame stream corp. owned press don’t report on the war then it must not happening./s

    1. Pavel

      I’d almost be amazed at how many media are reporting in breathless wonder (even Krystall & Saagar on Rising today) how Biden is *finally* pulling the troops out of Afghanistan [maybe] on 11th September without noting that per the existing treaty it should be done on May Day (2021).

      But on reflection I am not amazed.

      1. Procopius

        I noticed that. In their show yesterday they all about “can he pull it off?,” “can he succeed where both Obama and Trump failed,” which is an important question but I haven’t seen anyone ask, “What do the Taliban say about this ‘modification’?”

    2. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, I am sure that the Taliban will have no problem with all those spooks and special ops running around their country and coordinating with ISIS Jihadists.

      1. JTMcPhee

        From what I read, “the Taliban” is not any more a unitary polity than any other part of that place where empires go to die. One little exegesis on the subject is a book by a CIA paramilitary operative, Gary Schroen. The title is “First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.” Amazon pumps it as “First In: How Seven CIA Officers Opened the War on Terror in Afghanistan.” https://www.amazon.com/First-Officers-Opened-Terror-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B000FCK4UE Big shrink-wrapped blocks of used $100 bills, tons of weapons, and a bunch of other incentivizing items.

        The Empire pays various parts of the armed structures there not to attack the Imperial supply convoys on their way to arm up the Imperial troops who were killing and being killed by other elements of the thing we refer to as “the Taliban.” https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/abc-news-report-u-s-bribes-to-protect-convoys-are-funding-taliban-insurgents-payments-as-high-as-15k-per-truck-up-to-300-trucks-per-convoy-taliban-control-over-afghanistan-increased-15-between-2/

        And as noted, “The Drugs Must Flow:” https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/i-could-live-with-that-how-the-cia-made-afghanistan-safe-for-the-opium-trade/

        Quite a complicated mess, though the version we mopes are fed gets shrunk down to a two-party morality play.

  3. ambrit

    Re. “folx … singular ‘fol'” leads us back to, I believe, Late Middle English and the locution “folderol.” The moderne version would be, “folx-de-role.” No matter what, nonsensical.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Can Black people be “folx” too? I don’t want to be denounced for my racism when the damn spell check says something insensitive. Is this a plot to make us forgo ever using the written word again?

      2. ambrit

        Sorry about your keyboard.
        Some days, one must approach the World with tongue firmly in cheek.
        Stay safe!

    1. Alfred

      It’s something I remember vividly from my time in grade school/secondary school–but I did not realize then it was “the pipeline” to how “folx” were going to be fed into society, and the skills and mindsets they would be indoctrinated into. You can’t say now “you’re a Polish girl, you should be a maid or a factory worker.” White folx can’t be in the same meeting with the future of POC, that would not work.

      1. ambrit

        Not yearning for “Ye Goode Olde Dayyes,” but, a century or so ago, the “White folx” would not only have been in the meeting with the ‘future’ of POC, they would have been dictating the terms. Yet, snark aside, what is the ethnographic makeup of the ‘decision leaders’ who are ‘driving’ this ‘narrative?’
        Just another data point in the argument that “class” always trumps “race.”

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm….. So, let me get this right; we have a “gender neutral” subset of a “gender neutral” subset.
        Unless I miss my guess, that is the definition of “intersectionality,” with the accent on “inter,” ie. middle.
        See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality
        If a “thought leader” perceives ‘itself’ as inhabiting the inner ring of an Intersectional Venn Diagram, then does ‘it’ think of ‘itself’ as being the big scary spider in the middle of a web?
        I can see this as being the opposite of the intended effect. In fact, it expands and empowers the individual ego.
        “I’m the Centre of the World!”

  4. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Cicadas: ‘The other white meat’” …the periodic cicada broods emerge in such great numbers as a survival strategy called predator satiation. Even voracious predators can’t eat them all….

    Maybe the only viable progressive strategy.

  5. Laughingsong

    Paper bush! Bloom early and pd the flowers smell wonderful! Planted one 3 years ago…

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      It’s beautiful, and I want one, but then I read that the flowering season is from Feb to April and realized it’s not going to happen in my zone. In Feb we’re often under 2-3 feet of snow. (zone 4).

    2. fumo

      I’ve got one off these and it thrives in Western Washington but it can be choosy about where it is sited. Really special plant!

  6. Duck1

    So is that kayaker with jaunty accompanying music an update of the upper class twit of the year competition?

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Some people are truly amazing at finding dramatic ways to kill themselves. Remember the wingsuit guy who jumped off mountains and soared through rocks until that one day when – SMACK?

  7. GF

    So sad that money corrupts. “1619 Project lead writer Nikole Hannah-Jones paid $25,000 for virtual lecture” [WSWS]. I’m quoting a great slab because there’s rather a lot of material:

    “Fearful of a unified workers’ movement, the ruling class seeks to sow artificial racial divisions among workers through the promotion of identity politics.”

    This nothing new. I just finished W.E.B. Du Bois excellent classic “Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880” (written in 1935 and now out of print – our library was able to locate a copy – with the last edition being a paperback version in 1998 with a forward added in 1992). The running theme from the end of the civil war was keep the white and black laborers separated and white supremacy at full throttle so labor’s power would be diluted – that process also included segregated unions when they were formed.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Re segregated unions.

      When talking with my recently deceased uncle, long time union man, I mentioned the loss of union desegregation history as older union members were passing away.

      Since he had been a member during that period, I asked about the experience.

      He told me that when union lathers in Chicago were ordered to integrate, they imported workers from Louisiana who were already unionized, which had the effect of satisfying the courts, but still freezing out local Blacks.

      “And those guys from down south got all the sh*t jobs.”

    2. Watt4Bob

      I’ve been reading “These Truths: A History Of The United States” by Jill Lapore.

      There was an interesting anecdote about W.E.B. Du Bois being persuaded to encourage Black Americans to put aside their complaints in the interest of the war effort during WWI.

      The lynchings surged in the years after WWI, including men still in uniform.

      I don’t think Du Bois was much inclined to moderation there after.

      The overall history, ( I’m about half-way through the book), is one of racial issues being front and center in nearly every political issue in every legislature, at all times since the founding of the United States.

      And the southern politicians in the United States congress, always with an advantage in maintaining their white supremacist agenda.

      This book has been a real eye-opener.

      1. You're soaking in it

        I’m shocked to see that “Black Reconstruction” is out of print, although I guess I shouldn’t be. I read that many years ago when first discovering his writings and had my mind forcefully expanded about what both Black History and the history of Black history was about. What about Amazon preserving the long tails blah blah etc? Hmph.

        I was thinking about DuBois quite a bit when I heard about Stevie Wonder following in his footsteps and leaving the country for Ghana.

    3. marym

      I’ve almost finished reading it. It’s a very great work of history and beautifully written. It’s as enlightening about so much of our present as it is about our past.

      “Thus, suddenly, April 15, 1865 Andrew Johnson found himself President of the United States…It was the drear destiny of the Poor White South that, deserting its economic class and itself, it became the instrument by which democracy in the nation was done to death, race provincialism deified, and the world delivered to plutocracy.”

      I don’t know how to find out if a book is out of print though?? It seems to be readily available. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Black-Reconstruction-in-America-1860-1880/W-E-B-Du-Bois/9780684856575

      1. JBird4049

        I have the book, but I found it very hard to get and harder to get without paying with some body parts.

        It looks to me that scholarly books on Reconstruction, racism American history by Black writers seem to go quickly out of print while American feel goodism books by Whites, not so much. Funny that. Anything major written by W. E. B. Dubois should not be out of print.

      2. GF

        Marym,

        It was last published in 1999. The books for sale on the sites in that link are all from that year. What may have happened is that the publisher printed more than were sold and then hung onto them??

        1. marym

          So I’m getting a little obsessed here, especially seeing that my local library doesn’t have it, but don’t know how to research it.

          From random searches, .

          Routledge – copyright date of 2012 and publication dates of 2013 (paper) and 2017 (hard cover).
          Zinn project – links to Bookshop for a volume in the Oxford DuBois.
          Oxford – the 19 volume set for $895!! Published 3/2007.

          https://www.routledge.com/Black-Reconstruction-in-America-Toward-a-History-of-the-Part-Which-Black/Bois/p/book/9781412846202
          https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/black-reconstruction-america/
          https://bookshop.org/books/black-reconstruction-in-america-an-essay-toward-a-history-of-the-part-which-black-folk-played-in-the-attempt-to-reconstruct-democracy-in-america-186/9780199385652
          https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-w-e-b-du-bois-9780195311808

          I do think it’s getting more difficult to find books, and worry digital won’t be around and accessible for posterity.

          1. ambrit

            Digital ‘copies’ definitely are a questionable resource. Just like with my “hard drive” for the PC, I try to make back-up copies on separate hard drive units. Thus, barring total electrical supply failure, units can be reconstructed from copies in “the archives.”
            I’m a paper copy aficionado. Our “spare room” is a fire trap.

            1. marym

              In some ways digital is good – libraries and museums digitizing rare, fragile stuff, making it more available with less risk to the original artifact, and presumably with procedures for backups and technology upgrades. That’s not necessarily feasible on smaller scales or for personal electronics, and as a replacement for actual books and places to browse them, it seems as though there’s potential for a lot to be lost in going digital.

            2. HotFlash

              ambrit, don’t despair. Books actually make a good firewall, esp if packed close — no oxyen.

    4. Roger

      Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 – there is a kindle version for $3. Sad that so much is highly relevant to the present.

    5. Alex Cox

      GF
      I’m reading it too. A great book… about half way through its 750 pages.

      What DuBois makes really clear is that the Confederacy was the original identity politics: 8,000 wealthy plantation owners managed to convince 5 million poor whites that they had a lot in common. Whereas if the 5 million poor whites and the 4 million freed slaves had joined forces, things would have turned out just a little bit differently.

  8. savedbyirony

    To update the CNN report, Ohio released its latest cases per 100,000 today. Ohio is at 200 cases per 100,000 statewide with the majority of our ten highest counties up north near the Michigan boarder. (Ohio updates that stat publicly every Thursday at 2 PM. Last week we were around 187 per 100,000.)

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my photographic mentors lives up near the Michigan border with Ohio. He nearly died of COVID and is still recovering.

      1. savedbyirony

        It is getting increasingly worrisome here. Numbers climbing and the loss of the J&J vaccine, which the state was using to vaccinate on all college campuses and the mega vaccinating sites, while the public message seems to be “we are nearly out of the woods”. The number of people i encounter who know nothing to very little about the B117 variant and/or the effects of long term Covid distresses me, and with the warming of the weather, I see more and more people becoming lax in their precautions and expectant for all restrictions being removed soon. The Gov mostly preaches “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate” but says little to nothing about the future need for booster shots and his message about variants does not seem to be getting thru.

        I am very sorry to hear about your mentor and hope he will have a full recovery.

  9. Bruno

    She’s neither a saviour not a traitor. She’s a Social-Democrat in the Bernstein-Millerand-Scheidemann-Hilferding-Harrington-Blair-Hollande mold. In short, a 100% practicalist leftwing demagogue. Loads of those types loved FDR, loads (a huge number of them the same ones) loved Stalin, all of them now gung-ho for zombie Biden. So much for them all.

  10. lobelia

    Yes I know, late to the days’ prior dedicated discussion because of severe time restraints, but one thing I don’t see being brought up enough, (if at all), regarding digital vaccine records (which seem to be 100% the preference of the technocracy and powers that be, particularly in Blue States loaded with Digital Billionaires (who love Analog and tangible items such as highly important documents, for themselves only) such as California and New York) is what happens when the digital proof you were told you had appears not to exist when you tell some entity it’s supposed to be on your digital record, and you have nothing on paper, cardboard or plastic, to prove it?

    Having agonizingly and helplessly been a guardian for a relative for a long while now, I can attest that the DIGITAL, Electronic Health Records [EHR] amongst medical systems in the Silicon Valley Area, which even use the same EHR software system, are not even providing such vital information as a patient’s: known health issues; currently prescribed prescriptions; a patent’s desired Advanced Health Directive document; and a patient’s Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment [POLST] document – all of which Emergency Doctors need immediately – from their Medical Systems of domicile (where they’ve been treated for years). I’ve had to go through this horror way too many times, and at the end of the day I’ve had to mail, or go through hours of hoops having it manually delivered or faxed, or begging that the information be demanded. This, despite the fact that was the noted purpose of EHR records (what venal lies were told during the shrub/cheney and obama/biden administrations): vital patient information being immediately available.

    I.E. the public should be provided with a concrete record of the vaccination on PAPER, Cardboard, or Plastic – which should be required to be acknowledged by law. An argument that only digital records can be reliable would be utterly insane (I find no necessity to provide links for that, especially when it’s been noted for years now that digital medical records are a favorite of hackers). Worse it leaves out millions in the US alone who have unreliable, or no, digital access.

    I was horrified to discover that at least one major Teaching Hospital in California’s Silicon Valley/Bay Area (with record thousands in, or facing, homelessness) will not even give vaccines to their patients unless they’re registered on the Hospital’s digital online health system. This, despite the fact that many of that area’s impoverished have no such resources to even sign up, let alone find benefit from such a system, even if they wanted to. And, most glaringly, Teaching Hospitals are the only medical institutions that accept Medicare and Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid system).

    Last, but certainly not least, as many have pointed out, one can understand restrictions from entering other countries due to vaccines, but in the US – again, being pushed in Billionaire Tainted Blue States™ such as California and New York – it is clearly a restriction in one ‘s own locale being pushed. California, is a bit trickier (by historic venal design) than New York, in that Local Government are allowed to make that call while the governor (currently in a recall process) – not naming because trying to get this comment past s-yn– can claim the STATE is not calling on digital passports.

    I’m not feeling hopeful at all about this issue, as I still haven’t recovered from how Real ID™ (the same bush jr. inception, obama making a reality) insanely became a reality; e.g. persons on visas automatically ended up with more rights of travel within the US than US citizen’s born and raised here. I’m totally outraged that my own driver’s license (with a pristine driving record, and no arrests for anything, my entire life) now notes: Federal Limits Apply™, as if I’m an automatic suspect, because I was unable (for countless valid reasons I had no control over) at the time, to be extorted for government fees to obtain a Real ID.

    gotta run

    1. Claire

      Every patient signs, per visit, unless unconscious, an acknowledgement of being the “responsible party.”
      Clever rewording of “who is your insurer.”
      It’s a contract. Contracts are accepted by both parties and are legal in their final form.
      Patients should write above their signature, before signing;
      “Bill will be paid only after hard copies of all x-rays, scans, lab work, delivered to patient on paper or disk, free of charge.”
      No lab work, no X-rays on disk, no payment.
      If they insist you are responsible to pay, “read your contract”.

  11. Andrew Watts

    RE: Is “Asian-American” a viable category?

    The author is from a first-generation immigrant family so their primary concern is assimilation. They wouldn’t necessarily understand Asian-American in-group identity given their lack of familiarity with this country’s history of racial discrimination. Ethnic minorities with a shared history of persecution in this country understand that whatever petty differences that exist are irrelevant in the face of sectarian violence. For example, the Klan’s history of specifically targeting people of Asian descent in the Pacific Northwest.

    As an ideal the need for pan-Asian solidarity became increasingly clear again after 9/11. It was pretty obvious that people from Southwest Asia would be increasingly targeted for harassment and repression by the State. It was around this time that the Japanese American Citizens League started advocating for, and on the behalf of, other Asian and Pacific Islanders.

    Perhaps the first-generation Asian immigrants who are talking about this subject shouldn’t treat it as an abstraction or a utopian vision. And maybe they’ll find out how it was forged in the first place.

    I hope not.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Andrew Watts: “Is “Asian-American” a viable category?”

      The irony, though, is that the way author Wu defines Asian, the southwest Asians–Arabs, Iranians, and Turks–are not included. So the category, as he defines it, is flaccid. As with most U.S. racial categories, especially when used to describe cultures, it is weak and vague. What is brown culture? What is Asian culture?

      I was a member of the JACL for a long time, although I am not of Japanese descent (but I could get my health insurance through JACL). I still get the Pacific Citizen, which just had an excellent meditation by Rob Buscher about how to deal with Dr. Seuss.

      The JACL has been expanding its understanding of its role in advocating civil rights. The redress generation is getting old, and the younger generations have a different experience of the U.S.A. JACL since 2001 has also worked with Iranians, Sikhs, and, more recently, Haitian immigrants held outside Philadelphia. So “Asian” for the JACL still includes East Asians, but JACL has gone far beyond. They also have moved very quickly and effectively on LGBT issues, too.

      All of which is to say that I understand your call for “in-group” solidarity, but I think that the poorly defined racial categories that cause so much panic in the USA are overdue for criticism.

  12. FreeMarketApologist

    decided to sign up for a few people’s substack newsletters and realized i’m suddenly in for like $300 a year? this can’t be the way

    How much does Will think should subscriptions cost? List price (though you can almost always get subscriptions cheaper) for many general interest magazines (New Yorker, Time, Economist, etc), runs $300-400/yr. For that you get 50-ish issues, at least 1/2 dozen articles per issue on a variety of topics. Single topic monthly magazines can be the same (ArtForum, even National Geographic). Highly specialist newsletters can be $1000/yr. For that, you get 10-12 issues, expert analysis and professional opinion on 2-3 tightly related topics.

    The twitter thread notes that they’re just reinventing magazines, newspapers, or micropayments.

    It’s a high bar to write at that level for extended periods, and most blogger-level newsletters don’t clear it.

    I’m happy to pay for those who do (Yves, Lambert, and team!), but most are not going to justify their price.

    1. RockHard

      This screams an opportunity for consolidation. Maybe Substack is the consolidator. Maybe they’ll start offering subscription levels – $100/year for 2 subscriptions, $300 for 8, $1000 for unlimited. Authors take less for the promise of greater reach.

      I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was something they were at least exploring.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I mean substack as is doesn’t sound like a permanent solution, but its partially a response to industry uncertainty. If there are success stories or even a lot of money into the hands of relatively few writers, I could see successful writers trying to form more writer friendly outfits, being picked up a backer and put into a larger outfit, or even writer owned co-ops.

      2. freebird

        Yes. We are going to have to have ‘clusters’ of sources we can subscribe to in one fell swoop and get informed outside the corporatocracy. Only the well to do can handle subscribing to a comprehensive array of sources or journalists right now. It may have to be more like $200 for 10 subscriptions if you are going to get any kind of critical mass going.

  13. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Lansing rioters and the pro-plague Republicans who have helped Michigan achieve a new coronavid rise have a personal responsibility and a duty to live out the meaning of their lives by catching covid and dying from it.

    They personally should do the right individual thing.

  14. Darthbobber

    Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (publishers of the Inquirer and Daily News) have now officially closed their massive Schuykill River printing plant. The print editions of the papers (ghosts of their former selves) will now be outsourced. 500 people headed for the unemployment office.

  15. R

    Lambert, you buried the lead on “A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate”. Towards the end, the author purportedly proposes hypertext to describe an aspect of his linked files paradigm.

    “From 1965, still germane. How’d that work out for ya, Ted?” – well, how did the WWW (https and html) work out for you?

  16. wadge22

    File under News of the Wired: Yahoo Answers to shut down after years of strange and problematic questions

    Not sure if it’s been linked at NC or not. I only stumbled upon this news my own self.
    Frankly, the tears just aren’t coming.
    That website was professionally spamming my search results. It was at it’s most nefarious when it was the only relevant source for a search.

    I’ve been trying to think of a metaphor for a group that claims to offer precisely the answer you are looking for to precisely what you were asking about, but is actually totally untrustworthy – with dubious, shifting, and undisclosed motivations – blocking your progress towards what you seek by displacement.

    Something with a D…

  17. ChrisAtRU

    #folx

    No singular … ;-) Kinda like #Thx (Thanks) … nobody gives one “thank” … LOL

    1. ChrisAtRU

      #Warnock2022

      Jeeeeez … less than five months after the last election. Political parties are first and foremost fundraising and political consultancy grift pipelines.

      #QED

        1. rowlf

          I’d like my check wrapped around a water bottle please. This would close the circle for me. /s

          Go big or go home.

        2. ChrisAtRU

          No. He’s going to promise a $2500 one, of which $2000 has already been delivered so …

          $600 + $1400 + $500 = $2500

          #Natch

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Biden’s Afghanistan Blunder: The War is Over. The U.S. Lost. The Taliban Won. Admit it and Get Out on 5/1, not 9/11.”

    If Biden does not want to go out on May1 because that is a Trump promise, that is exactly the same sort of thing that Trump did with Obama so yeah, nothing has fundamentally changed. If Biden is reneging on this promise, he had better have an understanding with the Taliban or else it will be open season on US troops though probably they would not be game to go out past the wire at the moment. It might have been wise to start shipping out all the contingents from the other 36 nations right away as that could be done rapidly. I suspect though that the May-September window is a negotiating space so that Biden can try to get the Taliban to accept a major US base for their spooks, special ops and drones. The Taliban would have to be crazy to accept that as that would be a ticking time bomb. I have already read rumours of US aircraft moving around ISIS troops in Afghanistan in the same way that it was reported (and filmed) in Syria and Iraq. With a US base in place, this practice would continue and to the Taliban’s loss.

    1. ambrit

      The Taliban must be considered an existential threat by the Chinese government. Support for the Taliban in Afghanistan would seem to be a natural counter to American designs in Central Asia. The fact that I have not read any stories about Chinese “Great Gamesmanship” in Afghanistan tells me that China must be quietly supporting the American goals in that country. Perhaps Beijing views Central Asian Islamic fundamentalism as more dangerous to them then American hegemonist designs.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Actually ISIS forces have mysteriously “appeared” in Afghanistan and the Taliban are fighting them ferociously. Not long ago a Taliban prison of ISIS members was freed by US forces in an attack at the cost of one American special forces soldier. I wish that I was making this up but I am not.

  19. rowlf

    Today I took one of my high school senior sons to get vaccinated up north at the Atlanta airport. He had signed up for the J&J vaccine but they had to switch to Pfizer. I was really impressed by the setup and organization. The Georgia National Guard did a lot of the staffing, the layout was great (I think they had ten or twelve lanes), I liked how the drivers were asked to put their vehicles in park/neutral and shut down the engines for safety.

    We did this at lunch time and the facility was at maybe less than 10% capacity. Not sure why but I was surprised at how empty it was. Maybe the wave had passed? This reminded me of the Kroger supermarket I was at last week where the pharmacist was going through the store asking people if they wanted to be vaccinated.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. trucking companies are racing to hire drivers as fast as shipping customers are booking freight. Several operators including truckload giant Knight-Swift Transportation are raising driver pay… and others are scrambling to fill seats as they ramp orders for big rigs”

    You know it’s serious when they actually have to raise pay packets.

    1. petal

      On the drive home from work tonight, an ad came on the radio for a local trucking firm. They are looking to hire drivers and were boasting about pay rates, etc.

    1. ambrit

      He should love folx. Sort of like, er, fol X, based on Mr Shabazz’s Malcom X. But then I realized that Obama is absolutely nothing like Malcom X. I also started to feel sorry for all the fols who fell for the Neoliberal President’s shtik. (I voted for him, once. More fol me.)

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If you voted Obama for the very narrowly focused reason of preventing McCain from winning ( and starting a war with Iran) and preventing Palin from becoming President for two terms after McCain, that is not necessarily falling for Obama’s shtik.

  21. Cuibono

    ““About 5,800 people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus have become infected anyway, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells CNN”
    I wonder how accurate those numbers are? I think they rely on data that might not be available routinely.

      1. Guild Navigator

        VAERS, rather. Vaccine adverse event reporting system, a spontaneous reporting system set up by the FDA

        1. Cuibono

          and known in government sponsored studies to capture a tiny fraction of AEs although i speculate that we are now capturing way more than usual doe to politicization and attention

  22. Elizabeth Burton

    I’d like to offer a quote that’s a bit less depressing for the politics section: “The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.” — Will Rogers

    Various observations

    1. The “Russian bounties” fairy tale was debunked by the Pentagon just weeks after #OurCorporatePress🧻 ran with it. And never actually mentioned it had been debunked.

    2. Biden’s lead-pipe initiative: The GOP and the Blue Dogs have presented an alternative infrastructure plan for a whopping $800 billion (is that a magic number for them?), which once again shows the folly of starting your opening bid way too low.

    3. Packing the court: This has already been tried. Twice. Is the idea the third time’s the charm that will make it work? The problem with the SCOTUS isn’t how many but how long. The people who created it had no idea human beings might actually live to be 80 and 90 and still be capable of working. We need term limits, and staggering them such that each president gets to name at least one justice per term. This has been proposed by any number of scholars and such familiar with the situation. Instead, we get more performance art.

    4. So, a “Russian agent” ships off readily available information on one of two political parties, and this is a shocking level of election interference? Wow, that’s some low bar.

    5. Bitcoin mining uses electricity equivalent to the total usage of entire countries. But, hey, we’re putting it to “The Man”, eh?

    6. I continue to find it interesting that with all the furor over the ~1 in a million chance a member of a very specific demographic (women aged 19-40) will be afflicted with blood clots no mention is made by the pearl-clutching media that COVID also causes blood clots, and more often than the vaccine.

    7. Likewise, whenever the issue of people contracting the virus after getting the jab comes up, no one ever mentions the damage environmental pollution and Big Pharma have done and continue to perpetrate on the human immune system. Just do a bit of research on the “warnings” issued on a whole lot of the “miracle drugs” being sold on a daily basis and see how many tell you to “alert your doctor if you have an infection”.

    8. There’s a free level of subscription on Substack. You don’t get the premium stuff, but based on my experience you can get most of the good stuff with a freebie; and the authors let you know what premium content you’re missing. So, if the latter is worth paying the $50, go for it.

    That said, it’s entertaining to see people who complain about the propaganda and general worthlessness of the corporate media complain even louder that they have to pay for getting the kind of material they say they want. Is it just me, or do we USians have a serious case of entitlement syndrome?

    Anyway, for those who don’t hate Glenn Greenwald, he just posted a good take on the “Russian bounties” narrative on the aforementioned Substack that investigates the too-often-missing question of Cui bono?.

    Anyway, that’s my take for the day.

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