2:00PM Water Cooler 4/19/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Amazonia sounds like a busy place!

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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:

Holy cow! Did somebody at CDC find a bunch of faxes from the Northeast wadded up in a drawer? I did spend a few minutes poking around, and didn’t find anything on this staggering leap, so I assume this is a data glitch that’s going to be rolled back. Readers? And in a week or so, we’ll see what effect the J&J debacle has had, if any.

US: “Covid-19 Live Updates: All U.S. Adults Eligible for Vaccine, Meeting a Biden Goal” [New York Times]. • As readers know, I put the rising vaccine numbers down to “the troops”; people on the ground getting it done, as opposed to messaging or policy at the Federal level; that’s why there’s no inflection point after Biden took office, but a steady rise. So Biden, in essence, painted his Bulls-eye when the arrow’s trajectory was known.

Case count by United States regions:

Some good news for a change.

The Midwest in detail:

Would be lovely if Michigan was stalling out. MInnesota, too. (Could be that people actually do listen when Governors ask them do so stuff, but enough, and enough of them?)


Heckuva job, Rachel.

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

Florida, by a nose. California not following.

Test positivity:

Midwest increases.


Still heading down.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

Good to see those deaths dropping. The fatality rate in the West is dropping now, for some reason as unknown as why it rose.

* * *


“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 won’t bring on board controversial Russia expert” [Politico]. “Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, was being considered for the position of Russia director on the NSC — an influential role that would make him a key touchpoint between the various Cabinet agencies seeking to drive a concerted response to Russia’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe and beyond…. Rojansky got far in the hiring process, the people noted, and was being considered for the role for at least six weeks before his name was made public by Axios. That report provoked uproar among well-known Russia hawks, including activists Bill Browder and Garry Kasparov, as well as the largest Ukrainian-American organization in the country. Rojansky’s critics have pointed to the Kennan Institute’s 2015 award to Russian oligarch Petr Aven, and an open letter written by Ukrainian alumni of the Kennan Institute in 2018 that slammed the think tank unit as an ‘unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference.'” • The national security goons mounted Trump and dug in the spurs when they forced him to fire Flynn, though he bucked a good deal. The same thing just happened, more slowly and genteelly, here with Biden.

National Security goon Susan Rice got banned from entering Russia in the latest New Cold War spat. She responds:

Now, I know Rice is from Portland, which is practically in Boston anyhow, but there are places north in her home state where that B&B would look pretty good. Palatial, even. Perhaps she’s a little out of touch…

“Kamala’s KHive trolls boosted by bots while media defends harassment campaigns” [The Grayzone]. The final paragraph: “Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, have openly embraced and encouraged the KHive, praising its members as “pretty awesome.” • Oh.

Democrats en Deshabille

“Cuomo gets boost from former Google CEO” [Politico]. “As the governor signed one of the budget bills Friday, [Eric] Schmidt joined Cuomo to help tout an effort to expand broadband access — and give the Democrat a public boost of confidence. ‘Governor, your leadership in general over this pandemic has been extraordinary,’ Schmidt said. As with other events in recent weeks, Cuomo was flanked by supporters who praised his handling of the Covid-19 crisis.” • I guess the Silicon Valley tradition of the “cuddle puddle” continues. (Schmidt had “a string of exotic lovers in his ‘open marriage’.” So perhaps that formed a bond.)

“George W. Bush: ‘It’s a problem that Americans are so polarized’ they can’t imagine him being friends with Michelle Obama” [The Hill]. • Who doesn’t want to be friends with a war criminal?

Our Famously Free Press

Learned nothing….

It kills me this guy is editing the Atlantic — and that the Atantic is still worth reading.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “Key reason unemployment rate fell: Californians dropped out of workforce” [CalMatters]. “The Golden State’s unemployment rate hit a pandemic low of 8.3% in March, down from 8.5% in February, according to figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department. But the decline was largely caused by the nearly 40,000 Californians who stopped looking for work altogether, even as employers added 119,600 new jobs. Similarly, California’s unemployment rate improved 0.3% between December and January, partly because 36,500 people dropped out of the job market. February is so far the only month in 2021 that saw an increase in the civilian labor market….. The numbers suggest that it will take more than fully reopening on June 15 for California’s economy to bounce back — and for the state to close gaps that persisted long before the pandemic hit. ”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index:

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Greed (previous close: 59 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 19 at 12:20pm. This index is here by request, but perhaps it’s time has come and gone. Here is a discussion of its pros and cons. I personally like it not because I used it as an investment tool — I don’t play the ponies, and in any case NC does not give investment advice — but because I feel about Mr. Market the way that Canadians are said to feel about the United States: If it rolls over, I’ll get crushed. So when the Fear Index is at 3, or the Greed at 97, I take note. Readers?

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Gog (Russia). “Russia and the U.S. have locked horns over several world issues” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.)

Health Care

“CDC COVID-19 Partner Update: When to Clean, When to Disinfect, and What Science Says about SARS-CoV-2 on Surfaces” [Centers for Disease Control]. • It’s a webinar. I should sign up, but I don’t think I could stand it:

“What Science Says about SARS-CoV-2 on Surfaces” is that — and I’ll put this as kindly as I can — is that fomites are not the main means of transmission. Why on earth, at this late date, is CDC encouraging hygiene theatre? (Dr. Vincent Hill is chief of the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch.)

“Aerosols and making spaces safe” (videos) [Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford].

Were I to give advice, I’d say go long C02 meters as a proxy for “shared air” (with potential Covid contamination). Not sure I’d splash out 200 bucks for one personally, since I can just avoid 3-C spaces, but certainly schools could use them, for planning purposes (i.e., not a budget-busting one per classroom). And–

“Exhaled CO2 as a COVID-19 Infection Risk Proxy for Different Indoor Environments and Activities” [Environmental Science & Technology Letters]. “CO2 is co-exhaled with aerosols containing SARS-CoV-2 by COVID-19-infected people and can be used as a proxy of SARS-CoV-2 concentrations indoors. Indoor CO2 measurements by low-cost sensors hold promise for mass monitoring of indoor aerosol transmission risk for COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. We derive analytical expressions of CO2-based risk proxies and apply them to various typical indoor environments….Although large uncertainties, mainly from virus exhalation rates, are still associated with infection risk estimates, our study provides more specific and practical recommendations for low-cost CO2-based indoor infection risk monitoring.” • The article has math with italic letters, which is above my paygrade, but one of the authors supplies this useful thread:

A thread to bring you up to speed on variants:

“‘Ripe for fraud’: Coronavirus vaccination cards support burgeoning scams” [WaPo]. Three listings on EBay and WaPo mashes the big red hysteria button. Let’s assume that somehow (not everybody has a cellphone) vaccinations were recorded digitally (by the vaccinators, obviously, since only they know all the data) and that this EHR could be filled out without slowing the line or halting it entirely, in the case of network failure. What would happen? Millions of vaccination records would be hacked, that’s what would happen (and you can bet insurance companies would pay very good money to some black hat for the info too. Actuaries love that kind of stuff). In reality, the CDC card functions perfectly well for the purpose for which it was designed: To remind the patient of what their next shot should be, and inform the practioner. It’s only when you try to turn to card into something it isn’t — a vaccine passport — that “fraud” enters in. One might almost think WaPo’s story was motivated, first by the push for vaccine passports, and second by the prospect of a nice fat contract for AWS.

“What Iowa’s excess mortality statistics say about COVID-19’s true impact” [Bleeding Heartland]. “In conclusion I would say that, while there is no smoking gun indicating exactly how many COVID-19 deaths were not officially counted, an analysis of excess mortality statistics generally supports my suspicion that the official death toll likely underestimates the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and its management by the state of Iowa and the federal government. The 5,453 excess deaths in Iowa in 2020 was 15 percent higher than 4,736, the current official death count of COVID-19 in Iowa from March through December 2020. That’s a difference of 717 deaths. Surely not all of them stemmed directly from COVID-19, but some likely did, and other lives ended earlier than if had there been no pandemic, or if Iowa had better managed spread of the virus.”

“As part of revamp, Ohio Medicaid hires watchdog for state-run pharmacy benefits manager” [Columbus Dispatch]. “Bedeviled for years by pharmacy benefit managers making hundreds of millions from Ohio, the state Medicaid department completed its revamp of the entire PBM setup Wednesday by awarding a contract costing 25% less than estimated. Indianapolis firm Myers and Stauffer will be paid an average of $1.5 million a year under a two-year pact that has an additional six optional years. The price tag if the deal remains in place for the entire eight years would be $12 million….. After a Dispatch investigation into PBM drug-pricing practices for Ohio’s Medicaid recipients, in 2018 a consultant hired by the state discovered the PBMs were making close to a quarter of a billion dollars — three to six times the standard industry rate. The state dumped a ‘spread pricing’ method — in which PBMs were charging the state much more than they were reimbursing Ohio pharmacies to dispense the prescriptions — and tried a ‘pass-through’ model that barred spread pricing. However, a Dispatch investigation found that the PBMs were directing many prescriptions for the most expensive specialty drugs toward pharmacies owned by the same firms as the PBMs. Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a complete revamp, and Wednesday’s action was the final contract to put that goal into effect.”

Police State Watch

““How Could This Happen in America?” Why Police Are Treating Americans Like Military Threats” [William Hogeland, Truthout]. From 2011, still germane: “James Madison may offer some long-range perspective. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, arguing for forming a nation instead of retaining the confederation of states, he said that force applied to citizens collectively rather than individually ceases to be law enforcement and becomes war; groups so treated will seize the opportunity to dissolve all compacts by which they might otherwise have been bound. Madison’s argued against militarism in favor not of anarchy but of a higher kind of law and order.” • Speaking of which:

Sports Desk

“The Knicks’ Revolutionary Competence” [New York Magazine]. “The stunner is that the Knicks are solid right now. They’re a tough, defensively minded squad that plays together, plays hard, and plays like it hasn’t noticed that it says KNICKS on their uniforms. This has been almost entirely the doing of new coach Tom Thibodeau, a 63-year-old gym rat who won a championship as the “defensive guru” of the Boston Celtics, nearly won a title with the Chicago Bulls, and then was run out of Minnesota, labeled as a control freak coach in a league where coaches are now supposed to be hands-off and player-friendly. In many ways, he took the Knicks job because no one else would have him (and because he wasn’t exactly the smoothest television personality). But his obsessive attention to detail and unhealthy competitiveness — he looks like every vein in his head is going to burst into flames at any moment — has, remarkably, transformed the team.” • I don’t follow sports at all, but I do occasionally encounter a feel-good story like this one. For example: “He has turned Julius Randle, long considered a mercurial, unfocused coulda-been star who would never realize his true talent, into an All-Star and deserved fan favorite in New York. (After years of being viewed as a disappointment, Randle nearly burst into tears upon hearing cheers of “MVP” from the newly admitted fans at the Garden.) ” • Good for them. Long may it last. And [family blog] you, James Dolan, you cancer.

The 420

“As Pot Goes Mainstream, Illicit Market Endures: Cannabis Weekly” [Bloomberg]. “Just one in three cannabis consumers in the U.S. buys from established brick-and-mortar stores, according to a survey published this month by New Frontier Data. The most popular source remains the users’ friends, while another 20% get their weed from dealers. The results underscore how strong the illicit cannabis market still is — and the opportunity for companies to convert people to legal sales. The study found that consumers now spend an estimated $89 billion on legal and illegal cannabis in the U.S.” • So why not legalize buying “pot” from friends? No corporate market?

Department of Feline Felicity


Class Warfare

I missed the beginning of this discussion, which was probably my good luck:

That’s Anglo-Saxonx. And as was pointed out down-thread, the Jutes have undergone erasure. This is violence.

“Marxism and Buddhism” [Aeon]. I think that’s a stretch. Still, this is interesting: ” According to Marx’s historical materialism, the social relations that determine the self are, as we know, determined by the ‘mode of production’. Consequently, when the ‘mode of production’ changes, so does human nature….. If something is empty of substance, then it is relations that define the thing. In other words, everything is what it is in virtue of bearing certain relations to other things and, as those things are related to other things, ultimately in virtue of bearing relations to everything else. Everything stands in a unique set of relations to other things, which thereby individuates it without its having to assume a unique and individual substance. You stand in countless relations to your parents, spouse, but also to your car and bank account. The impression that there are such things as houses, selves, spouses, bank accounts, hammers and so on, all independent of a network of relations, is actually a conceptual illusion. This, in short, is the Buddhist notion of emptiness. The notion of emptiness includes the notion of self. The self, too, is empty in that it is exclusively defined by its relations, not some underlying substance. This is the idea of no-self.” • Harking back to the Penobscot language the other way, I believe that Penobscots define places not by (colonialist) latitude and longitude, but to the other places surrounding the place of interest. It’s relational.

News of the Wired

“NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter lifts off of Mars” [Science]. “A few hours ago, in the middle of martian daytime, Ingenuity, NASA’s $80 million small helicopter, furiously spun its rotors, rose in the air and hovered. It rotated and took a picture before alighting once again on the surface. The modest flight, lasting less than 1 minute, represents a major milestone: the first controlled flight of a powered aircraft on another planet. The data began to trickle in at 6:40 a.m. EDT, relayed by the Perseverance rover to orbiters above and back to Earth. Cheers erupted 12 minutes later among Ingenuity’s small team of engineers and scientists when confirmation of a successful flight came, first from a laser altimeter showing the helicopter had risen about 3 meters in the air. Those data were followed by a picture from a camera on the helicopter’s belly, showing its shadow directly below on the surface. ‘We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet.’ said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ‘We’ve been talking so long about our Wright brothers moment on Mars. And here it is.’… But even if it was modest, Ingenuity’s first flight will be one for the record books, Aung added. ‘Each world,’ she said, ‘only gets one first flight.'” • While I don’t think humans should be allowed onto another planet until we can prove we haven’t destroyed this one, nevertheless Perseverance and Ingenuity have been thrilling and beautiful.


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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 (ChiGal):

ChiGal writes: “Not a wedding anniversary bouquet but still feels like a celebration: first flowers from the farmer’s market since 2019, a long time to go without ranunculus!”

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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. diptherio

        Definitely not new. The Knock LA series goes back 40 years. As is made clear by that reporting (which is really top-notch, and makes me fear for the safety of the authors), no reform is possible because the leadership are themselves inked-up gang members. And no one in civilian leadership dares do anything about it, because they don’t want to get on the wrong side of a state-sanctioned armed gang. And I think it’s likely the same in a lot of big cities. If I wasn’t already an anarchist, this would probably turn me into one.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > no one in civilian leadership dares do anything about it, because they don’t want to get on the wrong side of a state-sanctioned armed gang. And I think it’s likely the same in a lot of big cities.

          For example, New York.

          NYPD to Diblasio: “We’ve got your daughter, but don’t worry, she’s safe.”

          Diblasio to NYPD: “Oh, OK.”

    1. tommystrange

      wow! thank you. SFPD has been caught with much of this kind of stuff too…Remember we had a gang extorting even people in SRO’s!!! …damn gonna read all, thanks…

  1. NotTimothyGeithner

    It’s a problem that Americans are so polarized’ they can’t imagine him being friends with Michelle Obama”

    So close, and yet, so far.

      1. Synoia

        Matthew 7:16-23 KJV :

        19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
        20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

        Does not appear to be a new problem.

  2. zagonostra

    >“Marxism and Buddhism” [Aeon].

    The capitalist system just suits our nature. All signs indicate that we don’t have the capacities for universal benevolent compassion, uncontaminated by a proclivity to evil, hatred and competition.

    I have a lot of problems with this article. I wish I had more time to deconstruct. Briefyl, it just seems contradictory and odd to state that Marxism and Buddhism reject a fundamental human nature and then claim that “capitalism suits our nature.” Why not admit that humans are flawed (bearers of original sin if you want a Catholic religious perspective) but that changes to social/political/economic systems, being creatures of said flawed humans, nevertheless can be improved to ameliorate the misery of millions…

    (thanks for the link to Eric Schmidt’s “string of exotic lovers in his ‘open marriage’…I always felt there was something seedy about him…though who is to say that If placed in a similar situation with billions I wouldn’t fall prey to Libido Dominandi )

    1. PHLDenizen

      There appears a long, proud, and deliberate refusal to remember any US history regarding Russia prior to the events preceding, during, and subsequent to the Cold War. Maybe reimagining history as “social studies” marked that transition. Maybe it’s that strain of anti-intellectualism that’s poisoned the US since its founding. Maybe it’s an inability to grapple with complex narratives and non-binary thinking. Maybe it’s jingoism. Whatever the cause, it makes our foreign policy leaders stupid and the world suffers for it.

      There’s a “common sense” consensus that nuclear weapons drove Japan’s WW II capitulation. This, of course, bolsters America’s sense of self importance as the savior of the world from tyranny. What’s forgotten is the enormous role Stalin and the large casualties sustained by brave Russians played in Japan’s defeat. More than atomic bombs, it was mobilization of a million or so Russian soldiers along the border of Manchuria that terrified them. With the approval of the US and Britain, Stalin took a menacing posture that led the Japanese into fearing a peace accord with the Allied power less than being overrun by Russians. The US, Britain, and most of the world owes Russia a debt of gratitude for saving their @$$es.

      My grandfather, long since passed, served as a USMC General at Iwo. For years he was certain the WMDs we dropped on Japan were necessary. Later on, he reevaluated his perspective, decided they were a vulgar and grotesque display of barbarism, and wholly unnecessary as Russia had basically pinned Japan’s back to the wall. He had nary a kind word for the those higher up the chain of command.

      My other grandfather, also long departed, was an Army Colonel and among the first US troops to liberate the concentration camps. I’d tried to engage him over the years about it, but he’d grow quiet, look quite haunted, and change the subject. Once he came out and said there was absolutely no way he could revisit that visceral horror. I never asked again.

      War is an awful, ugly thing. There’s nothing noble or heroic about it. I’m incapable of understanding why these neocon war-wonks get so tumescent about the prospect of antagonizing rival powers, knowing full well that a third WW would obliterate humanity.

      Myopic ideology, amnesia, groupthink, and MIC capture will do us all in at some point. There will be a point at which capitalism and trade deals will lose their appeal as peace makers. And the world will be remade as a hell from which there is no return to civilization.

      1. grayslady

        Beautifully written comment. You must be either an academic or an avid reader or both. Who uses “tumescent” these days? What a delicious word for implying an individual who is puffed up with self-importance; and we have so many of those individuals, especially in the military. Extra points for “myopic”, too. Why use two words–short-sighted–when one will do? Thanks.

    2. The Rev Kev

      No real surprises here. For decades I have seen experts on their subjects rejected for governmental post because they did not buy into the official narrative. The worse was when the US were recruiting people for the Coalition Provisional Authority to rule over Iraq. If you knew anything about the people or the history of this region you were out. If you could speak the language you were definitely out. In interviews they even asked people wanting to plunder, errr, work in Iraq how they felt about Roe-Wade. And in the end they got the people that they wanted – who then proceeded to totally screw up their assignments and lose Iraq.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Begging the question here, but even with the benefit of hindsight, was it even possible to ‘win’ Iraq? (i.e. remove Saddam from power without ending up having to run the country to forestall a civil war that more or less happened anyway).

        1. The Rev Kev

          No. But the idea was to never leave Iraq. The original plan was to dissolve the military and leave only about 30,000 men which would just barely be enough to be an internal police and border security. So no army, navy or air force as the US would provide all that – while charging the Iraqis for it out of their oil revenue. The whole country would be their satrapy from which they would be able to rule the entire middle east from and invade Iran next. That is why the US Embassy built there was so massive and oversized. It was not so much an Embassy for Iraq as a center from which to rule over the middle east from. But then the Iraqis had other ideas and you know the rest.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            ….And since we agree that basic assumption was flawed, populating the Green Zone with 30,000 T.E. Lawrences instead of frat boys from Texas (Ian Bremmer instead of Paul Bremer rotfl! albeit sardonically) would merely have resulted in a more highly educated trickle of flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover AFB.

            ….And far more on camera beheadings, as said TE Lawrences attempted to leave the bubble and ‘engage the sheikhs’. Because you were still gonna have Zarqawi, Sadr and their gangs floating around.

        2. km

          Since the point was to remove Saddam and neuter a country that might be a threat to Israel (note Netanyahu’s statements to Congress urging war), turning Iraq into a failed state was just gravy, from the neocon point of view.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Yes. Leave the Baath Party in total power with Saddam’s extended family gone and a Collective Leadership from the Baath Party in power. Leave all the secret polices to do their secret policing as before. Leave the Armed Forces intact and undisturbed. In otherwords, just a ” mustache transplant” at the symbolic top.

          That’s what General James Garner thought he was sent into Iraq to do right after the victory.
          But the Cheney-Rumsfeld neo-conservatives got Garner fired within a day or two and made
          Paul Bremer the neo-conservative Year Zero Viceroy of Iraq in his place. Paul Bremer’s job was to burn Iraqi society down to the ground, which he did, exactly as tasked to do.

  3. WhoaMolly

    Re: Our Famously Free Press

    Can we start a list of subscription news sources? I’m willing to pay for journalists that don’t lie to me. It’s clear that most of the advertising based press is basically propaganda.

    My first four subscriptions are:
    Naked Capitalism
    Water Cooler
    Glenn Greenwald
    Matt Tiabbi

    Any suggestions for others? I can only afford one or two more.


    1. Mark Dempsey

      Steve Keen has a $1/month patreon (not full interviews, but interesting brief stuff). Or more ($10/month?) for longer stuff. Keen reports he is proposing using his “Minsky” economic simulator software on hire in Bolivia, too. Imagine: a country that gets to simulate the effect of their policies before implementing them!

      Also, see his Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor Dethroned for a detailed take-down of neoliberal, neoclassical economics.

      And for free, my stuff (yes, Lambert, link working)

      One of the great thrills of my not-so-young life–right up there with seeing Geoff Lawson (“Greening the Desert“) and Jaime Lerner (former Mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, a brilliant city planner. See Hawken & Lovins’ Natural Capitalism for the stories) speak was having Naked Capitalism post one of my links.

    2. wadge22

      I love Wolf Richter at Wolfstreet for business and housing stuff.

      Almost worth wading through comments there, too, sometimes (nothing like here though).
      Similar fundraising scheme to here. Worth supporting.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      Consider podcasts, these are free or you can pay something and it will broaden the perspectives you are getting:
      Intercepted, Jeremy Scahill
      On the Media, NPR (but mostly better than they are)
      Tightrope, Cornel West
      Bad Faith, Briahna Joy Gray
      Citations Needed

      Although the Intercept is a decidedly mixed bag anything by Lee Fang is a must-read.

      Also on Substack (and I have a mix of paid and free but these I pay for): Zeynep, David Sirota, Caitlin Johnstone

      Just off the top of my head. And because I like a little nuts and bolts with my venting, I recommend subscribing to The American Prospect’s newsletter despite the thrashing here from Yves & Lambert of Dave Dayen recently (other people write it also).

      This is very light on foreign policy: Aaron Mate covers that beat in his podcast and on GrayZone. Informed Comment? Andrew Bacevich.

      So many people that I periodically check into I first encountered at NC: Jamie Galbraith is a standout economist. Stephenie Kelton and the blogroll here of course.

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        I like Bad Faith and Trillbillies, also True Anon. They started out as an Epstein-centered show and they do new episodes on it whenever there is new info but they do alot of other topics in the meantime and are fairly informative. Mostly stuff like US dirty wars, intelligence skullduggery and whatnot, though various scandals and conspiracies are explored. I think Brace and Liz are funnier than Chapo Traphouse as well as more informative, though I do love my Chapo.

        1. Redlife2017

          Yep, TrueAnon Pod is stellar.

          Also Michael S. Judge is amazing. He’s been on True Anon and is close to Chapo as well (several of those guys have come on his show). Very good on the history of all the dirty [familyblog] that the US Empire gets up to. He tries to go very deep into understanding the drives around it – the structural violence. Just top notch.

      2. John Siman

        Yes, Aaron Maté does indispensable foreign policy coverage on the GrayZone along with Max Blumenthal. Anya Parampil too (her show is Red Lines). Aaron and Max are regular guests on Jimmy Dore = the best show on YouTube — and Anya is often a guest on Tucker Carlson (I’m not making this up!). As for Stephanie Kelton — I am in the midst of writing a very in-depth review of her MMT book = The Deficit Myth.

        1. The Rev Kev

          No real surprises that you have people like Anya and Dore going on Tucker Carlson as he is at least willing to listen to such people. You will never see them on CNN or MSNBC as they are not allowed there – as in never. I have even seen sitting US Senators had their mikes cut while live because they said something that did not agree with the official narrative. Hell, they even did it with a sitting US President.

      1. Beyond the rubicoN

        This is pretty much the only thing that makes me laugh out loud anymore.

        Also I like The Analysis.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The Trillbillies

        The Trillbillies are great. To the list of podcasts, I would also add “The West Wing Thing,” if you want insight into the liberal Democrat mind. They often discuss current events.

        For perspective, I cannot recommend these two history podcasts enough (which is good, because I’ve recommended them before):

        Revolutions (Mike Duncan; we’re on Russia now, right before World War I)

        The Civil War Podcast (Rich and Tracy Y). We’re on Gettysburg now, and Bobby Lee is getting his slave-owing *** kicked.

        What is history now was news then, and both podcasts do a great job of putting you in the moment.

      3. Procopius

        What is it with podcasts? When I click on the start button I see the “busy” circle going ’round and ’round, and nothing happens. No sound, it never stops, what am I doing wrong?

    4. Kate

      Agreed, these four are tops. Love listening to Aaron Mate on Jimmy Dore, but Dore is an acquired taste, I suppose. For something thought-provoking in the eco/spiritual sphere, Paul Kingsnorth, formerly of the Dark Mountain Project, has started a new blog called The Abbey of Misrule.

    5. PHLDenizen

      I always thought it’d be incredibly cool if NC would produce a printed and bound series of journals/readers on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis. It could be a collection of the original pieces authored by Yves and Lambert, as well as the more thoughtful comments curated and hoisted into a kind of oral history of the zeitgeist or a bottom-up guerrilla scholarship. Reading screens gets wearisome, I love writing in margins, and I would gladly pay a not inconsequential sum for copies.

      Given how arduous an experience it was for Yves to write her book, it’s unlikely she has the patience or desire to do so, but it’s interesting to think about. Maybe some of the more ambitious and talented NC commenters could start cobbling such a thing together and merely have Yves and Lambert issue final approval. Naked Crowd Sourcing?

      Orders of magnitude easier would be for Yves to offer signed copies of her book for fundraising. I’d even pay to send books Lambert has inspired me to buy if he’d be so kind as to scribble a little something and sign it. I love the website. I just wish there were something a little more tangible at times.

      1. Antagonist Muscles

        In a sense, I am already doing meta-curation of the content here. The amount of screen time my eyes can tolerate is exceedingly and pathologically low. On a typical weekday, I briefly scan the posts here, read the headline and Yves’s introduction on a computer. If the article appears interesting, I print it out. Although each NC post has a “Printer Friendly” button courtesy of WordPress, I tend to copy and paste the contents into a word processor. As such, my eyes are saved, and I can read at a much greater clip with my fancy fonts. An unfortunate side effect is I seldom contribute comments or read comments. Worse, whenever Yves says, “Get a (figurative) cup of coffee,” I end up reading my printed copy of that post a month later.

        So I have piles of printed NC content accumulating in my recycle bin. That’s kind of like your idea of a printed and bound quarterly summary of the content here. Since I only have a limited amount of time to read, I have to make somewhat arbitrary decisions about which stuff is the most valuable to read (and print). “All the news that’s fit to print,” except there is just too much news out there.

        One “problem” of NC is that the posts and many comments are based on news. Some of the “TOPICS” categories on the right column are commonly not news. For example, the posts categorized under Payment system or Economic fundamentals likely have some information that is valuable irrespective of recency or date.

        As I noted, I miss most of the comments. If I do read the comments, I notice the commenter’s name and I mentally calculate a score that indicates to me whether or not I should read the comment. This is similar to how Reddit votes comments up or down, but the bias at Reddit is sometimes so repulsive that I swore to never go there.

        Other community members undoubtedly do the same. “Hmm, PlutoniumKun said this about topic X and IM Doc said that about topic Y. I better read it.” The Rev Kev summarizes this view in this comment where he purposely saved a quote from PlutoniumKun concerning Covid-19 and its stressful effect on national institutions. I remember reading another commenter wishing he could easily read flora’s insightful comments in sequence. It would be pretty awesome if there was a paper version of NC, with say an article from Yves and some pullquotes from prominent members here.

      1. IM Doc

        I could not recommend this more highly – I listen to these two on their podcast every week. I do not think there has been a single one that has not made me think hard about all kinds of various issues. And that is very rare these days.

        1. Mme Generalist

          Yes! I, too, am a weekly watcher. In fact, it was Bret and Heather who taught me how to think about the vaccines and the origins of SARS-CoV-2, among so many other things. Their podcast is a treasure. I wish they were still doing two per week!

    6. neo-realist

      I believe Matt Stoller’s substack is free.

      And for seeing and listening to pods on the air: Majority Report w/ Sam Seder and Emma Vigeland, Roland Martin unfiltered, Clickbaity Political Thirstrap, and Paul Jay the Analysis.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Can we start a list of subscription news sources?

      The difficulty, as with the blogosphere long ago, is that most of these podcasts are second-order phenomena; except for Greenwald and to an extent Taibbi, they do not do original reporting. They depend on the existence of large news-gathering organizations, like AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, Agence France Presse, etc., and venues like the Wall Street Journal and the FT. (Sadly, the Washington Post and the New York Times feel like lost causes to me, and many, many regional and local newsrooms have been hollowed out and destroyed, mostly by private equity).

      These “news sources” depend on a shrinking base of news gathering. What happens when everything becomes propaganda — I mean propaganda so bad you can’t sort it, so there’s no point reading it — I don’t like to think. The more Silicon Valley controls newsgathering, the more likely this is.

  4. Howard

    “Seeing as Anglo-Saxon has racist undertones”
    (Or “Anglo-Saxonx” as you will)

    If you think that is something, what do you do with “Latin American” (or “Latinx” as you will)? You can look it up, but it has to do with French attempts in the 19th century to horn in on the US’ back yard in South and Central America and Mexico. The PR geniuses working for Napoleon III were trying to find a way to show why they had more in common with the locals than the gringoes and came up with the fact that Portuguese and Spanish come from Latin, just like French does! I guess they really were geniuses, because the term definitely stuck.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Perhaps I should have quoted this:

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > white supremacist

        If you think about, “supremacist” plays exactly the same role in “white supremacist” as “systemic” plays in “systemic racism.”

        Both are handwaving that erase political economy (which one might almost think was their purpose).

        What is the system? Capitalism. Why the supremacy? Capitalism.

    1. mark hodgson

      What about the Celts?

      What is now the UK consisted of:
      Ancient Britons including the Celts
      Then Romans
      then Jutes
      then Angles
      then Saxons
      then various Danes and Norwegians that we clump together as Vikings
      then the Normans
      after 1066 there were no more major invasions but there were Jewish and Spanish plus as a trading nation people from all over the globe.

      the “Anglo Saxons” were in one small part of the country until the Normans took over, what exactly is the “Anglo Saxon” tradition? most people who left the UK and went to the US were a mix of all of those, and the celts sort of got told no Irish allowed……

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        The French use les Anglo-Saxonnes (perfide) as shorthand for Great Britain + America (+ Canada + ANZ, depending on context)

        Much of the rest of the world that isn’t yet Woke follows suit. The actual ethnicity the Anglo Saxon term signifies is of no consequence to them; they simply recognize that America is a ‘white’ country for most meaningful purposes, and will remain so culturally, if not strictly genetically.

        …Contrast this with the Park Slope / Acela hallucination that since American cities have lots of PoC, American must now be Brazil or South Africa, with a minority of white oppressors (and inbred yokels out of some old movies they’ve never watched) whose hegemony and folkways must be demolished in favor of…. something New. What that may be is not clear what but its central pillar appears to involve the leaders of the movement buying real estate in prestige zip codes.

        No animal will sleep in a bed…. with sheets.

        1. marym

          Regardless of what people in other countries say in their languages, the US has been a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country since before it was a country. That much of today’s liberalism isn’t particularly beneficial to anyone but the elites doesn’t mean today’s version of white supremacy is any more justifiable or just or beneficial to anyone but the elites than its assorted earlier manifestations.

          1. Procopius

            I think it was quoted in Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man, back in the 1920s some supporter of eugenics demanded restriction of Asian immigration “to protect the purity of the American Race.” That seems to be the way many of the “nativists” think. They are the kind of people who would tell Cherokees and Iroquois to “go back where you came from.”

  5. cocomaan

    About fomite-theory of transmission “sticking” way more than Covid fomites ever did.

    I know that many school, public + municipal buildings, etc, received various forms of CARES/Rescue Act money in order to clean surfaces. I myself wrote a few grants for it before the money dried up. There’s a lot of contracts out in the wild that are still paying tons of money for gloves and lysol and whatnot.

    Until that money makes its way through the system, we’re going to see people sticking to fomites as a sunk cost fallacy.

    1. enoughisenough

      I’m not in favor of any kind of security theater, but I will say, I think it’s all right, and indeed preferable, if people keep wiping surfaces down. God forbid we learn better hygiene, that’d be a nice silver lining, no?

      Gets the E-coli off everything.

      Look it up, touchscreens and public surfaces are NASTEHHHH

      There should be permanent investments in getting things a bit more clean.

      1. Hana M

        Totally not true. We humans have many, many bacterial and other microbial friends. It is essential for us to live in harmony with the microbes who live in our guts, on our skin, in our noses. Some are harmless, some are helpful, some are deadly. Our immune systems are finely tuned to learn how to tell the difference If we wipe the whole microscopic ecosystem that is our body out of existence (for example with antibiotic overuse) we risk destroying an equilibrium that has helped us humans and humanoids for tens of millions of years.

        Do yourself a favor and make some sauerkraut or kimchee or kefir or yogurt and make friends with microbes who can make you healthy and even happy.

  6. fresno dan

    Hercules attempting to give his cat a pill
    Nah, not even close – orders of magnitude worse.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Hercules tweet was hilarious that. And so were those instructions, Deschain. I saw them once a long time ago but there is a bit missing at the bottom. It should actually read-

      How to give a dog a pill:

      1) Wrap it in bacon.

      2) Throw in the air.

    2. rowlf

      The vet I take my sons’ cats to is pretty slick on pills (Granted, ginger tabbies, which are pretty mellow)
      – Open cat’s mouth.
      – Put pill far back on the tongue.
      – Use a syringe of water quickly to help the pill move.

      I did this a few times myself on the cats with good results.

      Works better than my dad’s practice of putting the cat in a military pilot’s helmet bag and zippering it up around the neck of the cat to avoid scratches.

    1. Estuary

      The Atlantic is in front of me, and I am sitting in the smallest room in the house.
      Soon, it will be behind me.

      Said, or thought, by many.

    1. Alfred

      oh, sorry, this vid won’t work with link–you can access it by going to youtube and searching
      “Infrared video shows the risks of airborne coronavirus spread | Visual Forensics”

  7. chuck roast

    “…Penobscots define places (as)…relational.”

    Look at the old-timey coastal charts in Maine and you will see a bunch of places called “Carrying Place Cove.” In all my years of nosing around the Maine coast, I could only find one left on the current charts: at Small Point. Most notably John Marin painted there for many years until he moved down to Cape Split.

  8. JWP

    Re 420: I have heard the take that it is better to keep weed illegal federally and legalize it in every state and decriminalize it. This would ensure the oligarchs can’t get their paws on it and it stays smaller and more competitive. It seems like the ruling class is waiting until they have organized around weed enough to buy up everything within a year because there is a great competitive marketplace in legal states right now.

    With the exception of interstate commerce, this might be a better idea for the industry

    1. Rod

      All State Legislation must include self-grow/cultivation for personal use because, imo:

      This would ensure the oligarchs can’t get their paws on it and it stays smaller and more competitive.

  9. Mikel

    I’m sick of scum, corpo apologists (random internet posters) for Peloton criticizing the little toddler that got sucked under that exercise machine.
    I know not here, but just venting……

    1. Duke of Prunes

      But you don’t understand. Peloton has somehow become an odd flex. Kind of like Apple ear pods as a fashion accessory, but with a health-nut twist. Look at how wealthy and healthy I am because I have a Peloton!!! All the cool kids have them. Don’t harsh my buzz.

  10. R

    Keep the fear and greed index, please. It is one of my favourite recurring observations.

    There is something very Little Shop if Horrors about the Plantidote. That questing top centre bud is very Audrey II….

    1. wadge22

      I’ll throw my vote that way, too. Please.
      It’s always nice to have a specific gauge to watch, even if it’s of dubious accuracy or you don’t know what levels are ok.

        1. Alternate Delegate

          Hey, I didn’t realize it, but that’s exactly how I feel about the Fear/Greed index!

    2. Expat2uruguay

      Of course, I support keeping the fear and greed index, as I am the person who requested it be returned to the mix.

      By the way, I’m just curious, what is the rationale for the Rapture index? Maybe it’s been explained before, and I just missed it, but I would like to be enlightened.

        1. Lost in OR

          You have nothing to worry about… only the guilty shall be punished. Monty Python (somewhere)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > what is the rationale for the Rapture index

        What Christianists think. Personally, I can’t understand why it’s not in the high 190s due to Beast Government, so I question its utility. But it’s the only index into that world that I know of….

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      Please do keep the index — but please, from time to time, remind us what your scale is. What’s the range for Neutral? At what points do ordinary Greed and Fear turn Extreme? (I looked at the source link, but didn’t see that information there either.)

  11. fresno dan


    I doubt it will do anything to dispel the legend of an insurrection. It was a riot, it was not a good thing. The death of a police officer doing his job is a tragedy. There were certainly assaults on officers by rioters. But as far as a talking point, it is no longer operative.
    Was the cause of death really that difficult to determine?

  12. Pavel

    I am absolutely as thrilled as anyone by the Mars Ingenuity helicopter’s first trial flight — I woke up early(ish) this morning about 7AM EDT to the news. But it saddens me to watch the reports from NASA/JPL where everyone is dutifully wearing masks. We can fly a helicopter on Mars but can’t arrange a mission control centre where (a) people are tested; and (b) people are vaccinated; and (c) those who are in doubt participate remotely by zoom etc?

    We are witnessing an extraordinary human event and the emotions of those who made it possible are hidden by this obsession with mask theatre. To be sure in some cases it is useful if not essential, but it is like the photos of Biden at his desk in the Oval Office wearing a mask… really????

    A bit of social distancing, testing beforehand, and proper ventilation would sort this out. Presumably the folks at NASA just might be able to organise this. And an explanation to those who might be confused would go a long way towards convincing people that sometimes masks are useful and sometimes just virtue signalling.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      NASA culture has changed. After Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia, safety is paramount.

      It has been very interesting watching the design/development differences between NASA and SpaceX.

      NASA has the mindset that everything has to work perfectly the first time or they’ll get shutdown.

      SpaceX has the mindset of a programmer discovering Borland Turbo Pascal after years of submitting batch jobs on Hollerith cards. They’re blowing up stuff willy-nilly. Didn’t work? So what. Tweak something and run it sgain!

      And, yes, I’m dating myself there.

      1. Alternate Delegate

        NASA hands out bumper stickers that say “Failure is not an option”. I recently discovered I’m not the only person who likes to delete the “not” from that phrase. As someone else said, “if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” (And yes, Borland Turbo Pascal was great!)

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          “Failure is not an option.”

          Gene Kranz ordered all the ops people in Houston to write this on their chalkboards after Apollo 1. That’s why it is on bumper stickers.

          Took a bunch of students over to see the control room at JSC, now a National Historic Site, in 2010. Wore a vest just because.

      2. RockHard

        SpaceX is working iteratively. That’s how NASA worked in the 60s – each mission had a specific goal to get the program a little farther. There were lots of early failures before they even tried to do a manned mission, and there were some crises before Apollo 1. NASA is trying to do “do all the things and succeed the first time” engineering (they have tried doing some things like “disposable” space probes). It was the same thing comparing the processes used with Langley’s Aerodrome vs. the Wright Brothers’ Flyer. Langley spent years and relatively huge amounts of money compared to the Wright brothers, but the Wrights worked in steps, solving one problem at a time.

      3. Paradan

        If NASA blew stuff up, congress would cut their funding because it’s a waste of “Americans hard earned tax dollars”. NASA would love to blow stuff up, they just weren’t allowed to. SpaceX gets to blow stuff up because it’s Musk’s money and he can do what he wants with it. Of course it’s heavily subsidized through both congress and the Federal Reserve/Wall Street(he’s a billionaire, he gets free money), which means it’s still “Americans hard earned tax dollars”. It’s just now they can say Private Corporations are more effective then State Institutions.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the Oval Office

      The Oval Office, like the Jet Propulation Lab, is a closed, close-contact, crowded space. They should absolutely be wearing masks, even with acceptable ventilation, public figures especially so.

      If you don’t think there’s an emotional compent to protecting yourself and others from disease, and encouraging others to do the same thing, then I really don’t know how to help you.

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        It started years ago and I don’t know how it’s still a thing. I can’t comprehend how people think this makes them look smart or authoritative or emphasizes their point in any way. I think dumb people see other people doing it so they do it too because that’s how their brain works. Amazing.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > People. Who. Type. Like. This. Are. Dumb.

      That trope has been going on for the longest time, often with a “clap back” hand replacing the periods, primarily among liberal Democrats. I imagine fingerwagging and a consdescending tone as the “speaker” rams home an obvious point. That. Is. In. Fact. Not. Obvious.

      Which is why I think that tweet was using the trope as a parody, being annoyed by it.

  13. marym

    “Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s “anti-riot” bill into law on Monday, a measure that vastly increases law enforcement’s powers to crack down on civil unrest.

    “The problem with this bill is that the language is so overbroad and vague … that it captures anybody who is peacefully protesting at a protest that turns violent through no fault of their own,” said Kara Gross, the legislative director at ACLU Florida. “Those individuals who do not engage in any violent conduct under this bill can be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony and face up to five years in prison and loss of voting rights. The whole point of this is to instill fear in Floridians.”

    The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road…”


    1. Paradan

      Civil immunity, but not immunity from felonies right?
      It’s still assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, manslaughter, etc?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road

      If we assume DeSantis is running in 2024, this is his prediction for political class clickbait for the next three years.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, if demonstrators can’t block roads anymore, because DeSantis and the FL legislature have invited and almost instructed drivers to conduct mass-casualty car-and-truck ramming attacks, then would-be demonstrators will have to find other methods not involving blocking roads, or else they will all have to come heavily armed and prepared to kill car-truck rammers with a hail of bullets . . . . to show that ramming a crowd will not come cheap or free.

  14. Acacia

    Regarding Nancy Fraser’s American Interregnum (NLR, Links 4/17/2021), the “progressive neoliberalism” mentioned at one point is a reference to a phrase that Fraser coined several years ago (see: “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism“, Dissent, from 2017):

    Nevertheless, Trump’s victory is not solely a revolt against global finance. What his voters rejected was not neoliberalism tout court, but progressive neoliberalism. This may sound to some like an oxymoron, but it is a real, if perverse, political alignment that holds the key to understanding the U.S. election results and perhaps some developments elsewhere too. In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives.

    The diagnosis of an American “interregnum” (title of the NLR article) is also drawn from that earlier article in Dissent:

    What we face, rather, is an interregnum, an open and unstable situation in which hearts and minds are up for grabs. In this situation, there is not only danger but also opportunity: the chance to build a new new left.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If a ” new new left” simply means a ” new gulag socialism”, then it won’t attract many supporters.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Susan Rice: So much for taking my family on Spring Break to our favorite AirBnB in Siberia…’

    No loss to Russia I would say. In Links there was a great link to America’s National Parks and I have seen similar for pages on Russian scenery-


    But for Rice, where is one to wear a cocktail dress in all this? How can one network with wealthy people in such places? Rice strikes me as the sort of person where you have to hide your silverware if she comes to visit you.

  16. none

    Of course there was powered flight on the Moon when the Apollo LEM’s lifted off, and similarly for some unmanned Soviet and maybe Chinese probes. They just weren’t aircraft like the Mars helicopter, since the moon has no air. Maybe someday we’ll have antigravity devices, and then aircraft and rockets will be viewed as horrifically inefficient old devices, expending ridiculous amounts of energy just to stay above the ground (or planetary surface or whatever). Aircraft are just flying devices that happen to use a specific class of propulsion methods: “first flight” seems more important than “first flight by an aircraft”. So the Mars Helicopter is great in its own way but IMO the moon landings and takeoffs were more of a historic milestone.

  17. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Re: “the Jutes have undergone erasure.” I made this same point on a Facebook comment the other day. My friend whose post I had commented on then asked me who the Jutes were. The erasure has already begun…

  18. phacops

    Finally saw Langley’s Aerodrome at the Udvar-Hazy Center. It was a monstrosity compared to the elegant solutions created by the Wrights. I was also amazed at visiting the Wright Bicycle Shop at Greenfield Village to see some of the wind tunnels they devised to study aerodynamics. Unlike Langley, they knew what they were doing

    1. LifelongLib

      I’d like to read a biography of Langley someday, if only to find out why his attempt at flight went so badly wrong. I doubt that he was stupid, and he must have known the state of the art as well as the Wrights did, besides having access to much better funding and technical help. Yet he failed and they succeeded. Maybe an example of mediocrity vs genius?

  19. Cuibono

    “One might almost think WaPo’s story was motivated, first by the push for vaccine passports, and second by the prospect of a nice fat contract for AWS.”
    Coming soon to a theatre near you.

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