2:00PM Water Cooler 4/27/2021

Readers, we are still in the midst of Water Cooler’s annual fundraiser. Our goal is 325 donors, and right now 210 of you have contributed. Thank you!

Remember, this is not like the NC fundraiser, which funds a year in advance. You are donating for work I have already done, which I hope you found informative and fun and useful, and which I hope to be able to continue to do. One donor commented:

You have done well during still another year of baroque confusion, obfuscation, and panic.

If you agree, dig deep! And now to the bird songs–

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

From São Paulo, Brazil. Bird song of the night.

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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:

Not looking good at all. The Northeast jump was, in fact, an enormous reporting error, now rectified (though I still have not been able to find it mentioned anywhere. Readers?)

Vaccines for the truckers:

Seems like not a lot of thought was put into getting people vaccinated who weren’t able to make appointments easily, or who didn’t know how to use an app, or who were rural. The chart above is low-hanging fruit.

Case count by United States regions:

Continued good news. I’m not used to this at all. (Although I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line to show how horrific the new normal is.

The Midwest in detail:

Continued good news. Michigan and Minnesota heading down, along with their neighbors (Could be that people actually do listen when Governors ask them do so stuff, but enough, and enough of them?)

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

Florida, by a nose, now dropping. California also dropping.

Test positivity:

Down across the board.


Still heading down.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

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

* * *


“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

“Live updates: Biden to speak to nation on coronavirus response following CDC’s updated mask guidance” [WaPo]. “President Biden plans to speak to the nation about his administration’s response to the pandemic following Tuesday’s updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks outdoors except in crowded settings.”

“Biden Aims for Trump Voters, Suburbs With Jobs-Plus-Kids Pitch” [Bloomberg]. “Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure and family-support plans are a direct appeal to the discontented White voters who put Donald Trump in office and to independent suburban women, his advisers say, with the president staking a claim on economic issues ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The so-called American Jobs Plan Biden released last month features spending on traditional infrastructure like highways and airports to better compete with China, a pitch his advisers think will resonate with Republican men and blue-collar workers. And the ‘American Families Plan’ he’ll outline this week seeks to broadly increase the availability of child care and improve working conditions for people caring for children and seniors — a top priority for suburban women, pollsters say. Taken together, support from the two groups could form a potentially powerful bloc for Democrats ahead of the midterms, when the party of incumbent presidents typically loses seats in Congress. Republicans have long polled with voters as more trustworthy on economic stewardship, but Biden’s bet is that his proposals — even accompanied by price tags in the trillions of dollars and tax increases to help pay for them — can peel away enough GOP support that Democrats can keep control of the House and Senate.” • “Discontented White voters who put Donald Trump in office” isn’t quite granular enough…

Democrats en Deshabille

““Wokeness is a problem and we all know it” (interview) [James Carville, Vox]. Carville: “Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.” [Why not?] Because they’ll get clobbered or canceled. And look, part of the problem is that lots of Democrats will say that we have to listen to everybody and we have to include every perspective, or that we don’t have to run a ruthless messaging campaign. Well, you kinda do. It really matters….. We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures. So let’s not have an argument about whether or not we’re off-key in our messaging. We are. And we’re off because there’s too much jargon and there’s too much esoterica and it turns people off.” • I don’t think much of Carville on policy. But he’s a seasoned operative, the Luntz of the Democrats, if you will. And Luntz actually listens to voters, so he is worth listening to.

“Robert Johnson calls on firms to put voting rights energy into capital access for Black Americans” [CNBC].”“’f you believe that voting rights is a primary need of the Black community, I would argue that access to capital is equal to or more so,’ Johnson said. ‘Voting rights without access to capital to build wealth is, in my opinion, an empty cup.'”

Republican Funhouse

“Republicans Emerge From Census With Upper Hand in Map-Drawing” [Bloomberg]. “Republicans’ bid to retake the U.S. House next year got a lift from new Census figures that added congressional seats in a handful of states, including Texas, that Donald Trump won in November’s election. With Democrats holding the House by a slim majority, the numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday leave the GOP, for now, in a stronger position — especially since Republicans control the legislatures that will redraw congressional districts in states with the biggest population changes. Texas, a Republican bastion, was the big winner with two new congressional seats, while GOP-dominated Florida and Montana each gained one. The swing states of Colorado and North Carolina also gained one each along with Democratic Oregon. Because the size of the House is capped by law at 435 representatives, those new seats must come at the expense of seven states. That includes Democratic-dominated Illinois and New York, which each lost a seat, as did GOP-led West Virginia and Ohio. And the battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania each lost a seat, too. California will lose a representative for the first time since joining the Union in 1850 — but will retain the nation’s largest congressional delegation with 52 members.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Stats Watch

Housing: “S and P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20 City Home Price Index February 2021 Year-over-Year Growth Continued” [Econintersect]. “The non-seasonally adjusted S and P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) year-over-year rate of home price growth continues. The index authors stated, “February’s results into historical context – The National Composite’s 12.0% gain is the highest recorded since February 2006, exactly 15 years ago, and lies comfortably in the top decile of historical performance.” All home price indices are now showing home price growth is continuing year-over-year. At this point, the pandemic has little affected home prices (or sales for that matter).”

* * *

Commodities: “Global Steel Boom Builds as Rampant Demand Overwhelms Supply” [Bloomberg]. “Steel prices are spiking from Asia to North America, and iron ore’s relentless march toward a record is accelerating, as bets on a global economic recovery fuel frenzied demand. The world outside China is finally catching up with the Asian steel giant’s already strong markets as a global rebound drives a powerful wave of buying that can’t be matched by production. Sectors such manufacturing and construction are ramping up and governments have pledged to splurge on infrastructure as they map their post-pandemic path back to growth. Mills’ order books are filling up as buyers look to lock in steel after a year of output curbs and idling of plants. On top of that, the biggest iron ore miners have been hampered by operational issues, tightening a market that hadn’t fully recovered from a supply shock more than two years ago.”

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. The Manufacturing Activity Index in the US fifth district including the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia was unchanged at 17 in April 2021, indicating continued growth, as all three component indexes remained positive: shipments (16 vs 22 in March); new orders (16 vs 10); and employment (19 vs 22). Survey responses indicated supply constraints, with the backlog of orders and vendor lead time indexes registering historic highs.”

The Bezzle: “$100 million New Jersey deli company kills consulting deal with firm run by chairman’s father” [CNBC]. This reads like the principals are trying to be protagonists in the next Breaking Bad. Here’s a random paragraph (and the paragraphs in this story do seem to be randomly strung together, but maybe that’s the material. “While Hometown International has had sales of only about $36,000 in the past two years combined at its Paulsboro deli, and E-Waste has no business to speak of, both companies could be attractive to private companies looking to become publicly traded entities in the United States through the use of a reverse merger or other means.” • Can any reader who likes this sort of thing decode?

Tech: “Google Promised Its Contact Tracing App Was Completely Private—But It Wasn’t” [The Markup]. “When Google and Apple introduced their COVID-19 contact tracing framework in April 2020, the companies aimed to reassure people worried about sharing private health information with major corporations. Google and Apple provided assurances that the data generated through the apps—people’s movements, who they might have come in contact with, and whether they reported testing positive for COVID-19—would be anonymized and would never be shared with anyone other than public health agencies….. Since then, millions of people have downloaded contact tracing apps developed through Apple’s and Google’s framework: The U.K.’s National Health Services’ app has at least 16 million users, while Canada’s Digital Service COVID Alert app boasted more than six million downloads in January, and Virginia’s Department of Health noted more than two million residents were using its COVIDWISE app. But The Markup has learned that not only does the Android version of the contact tracing tool contain a privacy flaw, but when researchers from the privacy analysis firm AppCensus alerted Google to the problem back in February of this year, Google failed to change it. AppCensus was testing the system as part of a contract with the Department of Homeland Security. The company found no similar issues with the iPhone version of the framework. ‘This fix is a one-line thing where you remove a line that logs sensitive information to the system log. It doesn’t impact the program, it doesn’t change how it works,’ said Joel Reardon, co-founder and forensics lead of AppCensus. ‘It’s such an obvious fix, and I was flabbergasted that it wasn’t seen as that.‘” • By Hanlon’s Razos, this is stupidity not malice, but Googlers are awfully well-paid to be this stupid.

Manufacturing: “Europe Is Trying to Reclaim Its Lost Chipmaking Glory” [Bloomberg]. “But weaning Europe off chipmaking technology from the U.S. and Asia promises to be extremely difficult—particularly because it may need help from those same foreign entities to boost its own production…. It’s a very different scene than a couple of decades ago, when Europe led the world in manufacturing semiconductors, thanks in large part to a strong consumer electronics industry with first-generation cellphones from Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens. But as those devices fell out of favor, the chip production industry also shifted abroad. In 1990, Europe accounted for about 44% of global semiconductor manufacturing. Now, it’s closer to 10% and Taiwan, South Korea and Japan account for about 60% of production, according to a joint report by the Boston Consulting Group and the Semiconductor Industry Association. European chip designers including NXP Semiconductors NV and Infineon Technologies AG now outsource most production to giants like TSMC, and other foundries.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 57 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 26 at 12:39pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [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

“When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated” [CDC]. New guidance:

“We need to face the hard truths of hotel quarantine” [Sydney Morning Herald]. “Fool me once, airborne COVID-19, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me…. We got here because some federal infection control experts who have the ear of power made bad calls early in 2020 saying airborne spread is insignificant, so PPE is not required when more than 1.5 metres away, and N95 masks are not necessary for most COVID-19 contact. This has proved to be the biggest own goal of the pandemic and means these boffins are to blame for many outbreaks, including the 4000 healthcare worker infections in Victoria in 2020, and resultant painful lockdowns. Backing down now means ending their careers in the limelight as expert advisers, so it is hard to shift that dogma even in the face of obvious reality. Australia-wide hotel problems and many super-spreader events all over the world have proven ventilation and airborne PPE will be central to our future success, as it has already been in places like Taiwan and Singapore. Victoria has now ignored the federal guidance and upgraded to quarantine 2.0 and we must follow that lead.” • Meanwhile–

“A Hierarchical Framework for Assessing Transmission Causality of Respiratory Viruses” (preprint) [Jefferson, T.; Heneghan, C.; Spencer, E.; Brassey, J.; Pluddeman, A.; Onakpoya, I.; Evans, D.; Conly, J., Preprints.org]. From the Abstract: “We propose a hierarchical framework based on our experience of systematically reviewing and synthesizing 378 primary studies for an evidence-based update of the modes of transmission for SARS-CoV-2. These studies revealed significant methodological shortcomings with a lack of standardization in the design, conduct, testing and reporting of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. While this situation is in part excusable at the outset of a pandemic, evidence rules of proof for assessing the transmission of this virus are needed for this and future pandemics of viral respiratory pathogens. We review the history of causality assessment related to microbial etiologies with a focus on respiratory viruses and suggest a hierarchy of evidence to integrate clinical, epidemiologic, molecular and laboratory perspectives on transmission.” • Conly is the dude who said you have to take the risk of acne into account when recommending N95 masks to HCWs to protect them against Covid. This diagram occasioned considerable mirth in the aerosol community:

If fomite and droplet transmission had the same evidence base that aerosol transmission does, you can get these WHO clowns would be trumpeting that evidence to the skies. They don’t, so they write silly pieces like this. Gatekeepers gotta gatekeep. That wouldn’t matter so much if, say, Google didn’t regard WHO as authoritative:

Wrong because Covid is mainly transmitted through aerosols, which includes breathing, not just coughing or sneezing. The droplet loons advocates at WHO are indeed conducting an “experimental inoculation” study all on their own, aren’t they? And of course null results are important!


“Waterways Are Drying Up in Key South American Crop-Shipping Hubs [Bloomberg]. “The South American drought that’s helping push corn and soybean prices to multiyear highs isn’t just threatening crops, but also the ability to haul them on waterways that are drying up. On the increasingly shallow rivers that flow through top producers Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, barges are carrying less than their usual load. The situation is so desperate in Paraguay that the country is asking neighboring Brazil to release water from the giant Itaipu hydroelectric dam, after vessels have run aground and logjams are forming in river ports because barges can’t move. In a key Argentine leg of the 4,900-kilometer (3,000-mile) Parana River, uncertainty over dredging work could make it even harder for farmers to ship their harvests. The region’s waterway crisis highlights the growing impact of a warming climate on global agricultural supplies that’s raising the specter of food inflation at a time of rampant demand led by China. The situation is bound to get worse because the dry season has just started. Argentina, the world’s top exporter of soybean meal for livestock feed and soybean oil for cooking, ships about 80% of its crops through rivers. In landlocked Paraguay, the region’s third-biggest soybean producer, roughly 80% of the country’s trade moves through inland watercourses. ‘This will be a difficult year for navigation,’ said Esteban dos Santos, head of the Shipowners Association of Paraguay, where the world’s third-largest river-barge fleet after the U.S. and China is moving on waters that are 3 meters (10 feet) lower than usual.”

“In Jackson, Mississippi, You Can Go Into Debt Trying To Take A Shower” [Buzzfeed]. “In February, freezing temperatures knocked out power and water across the Southeast, leaving millions of people scrambling to stay warm and unable to access basic supplies for days. But in Jackson, most of the city’s 160,000 residents, 82% of whom are Black, were without safe, reliable water for more than a month. It marked the latest chapter in years of issues with a brittle and decaying water system, and highlights the deep vulnerability of aging infrastructure — a problem from Flint, Michigan, to Sandbranch, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey — as extreme weather becomes more routine with climate change….. People working in shops and restaurants lost entire paychecks when their workplaces closed due to lack of water. Kids couldn’t go to school or daycare, so parents had to shell out extra money for food and babysitters. They had to divert money away from rent or other bills to buy bottled water and cover the costs associated with being unable to bathe, do laundry, or cook in their own homes….The water is flowing again in Jackson. But for Robinson and others who are barely getting by, the empty taps left debt and new worries about the future. Years of neglect of the water system had already brought poor service and outrageous bills. In the face of a changing climate, the problems can only get worse, and so far, residents have had to pay the price.” • Idea: Uber for Water.


“Are You A Gaming Snob?” [Kotaku]. Alexandra: “The question’s very open to interpretation, but in some sense, I’d say yes. I’ve developed certain preferred ways of approaching games, and I sometimes feel—I don’t know, bothered, vaguely perturbed?—when I see folks making different choices. Judgy! Here’s a good example. I find Bethesda RPGs largely mediocre, only saved by incredible modding communities. So when I hear someone played vanilla Fallout 3 on PlayStation 3 or something, that feeling springs up, and I wish they could’ve had what I consider a more fulfilling experience enhanced by mods, 60 fps, etc. Of course, for whatever reason, not everyone cares about such, which is why I try to hold this “snob” thing in check. Other examples that rankle: Jacked-up emulator graphical settings (it really pained me perpetrating the above screenshot), blithely playing games at incorrect aspect ratios, purposefully(!) playing games at incorrect aspect ratios because they like the stretching (!!) or hate black bars (!!!), skipping all text in story-driven games, enabling motion-smoothing on TVs…all pet peeves that give me little flashes of judginess. I may offer a suggestion if it seems it might be appreciated, but most often, I’ll just keep it to myself. No one needs some nerd yuckin’ their yums.”

“Could Mario Kart teach us how to reduce world poverty and improve sustainability?” [ScienceDaily]. “In a recent paper, [Andrew Bell, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of earth and environment] argues that the principles of Mario Kart — especially the parts of it that make it so addictive and fun for players — can serve as a helpful guide to create more equitable social and economic programs that would better serve farmers in low-resource, rural regions of the developing world. That’s because, even when you’re doing horribly in Mario Kart — flying off the side of Rainbow Road, for example — the game is designed to keep you in the race…. In his new paper, Bell argues that policies that directly provide assistance to farmers in the world’s poorest developing regions could help reduce poverty overall, while increasing sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. Bell says the idea is a lot like the way that Mario Kart gives players falling behind in the race the best power-ups, designed to bump them towards the front of the pack and keep them in the race. Meanwhile, faster players in the front don’t get these same boosts, and instead typically get weaker powers, such as banana peels to trip up a racer behind them or an ink splat to disrupt the other players’ screens. This boosting principle is called ‘rubber banding,’ and it’s what keeps the game fun and interesting, Bell says, since there is always a chance for you to get ahead. ‘And that’s exactly what we want to do in development,’ he says. “And it is really, really difficult to do.'” • This is the very first example I’ve encountered of gaming tropes being applied in politics (or political economy) and I’ve been on the lookout for awhile. So, interesting!

Guillotine Watch

The horror, the horror:

A lot of skilled people were employed to create this elaborate monstrosity. Reminds me of something:

Class Warfare

“The Free Market is Dead: What Will Replace It?” [Chris Hughes, Time]. Time, of all places. “But corporate America’s newfound support for more public investment is not a temporary phenomenon. We are witnessing the most profound realignment in American political economy in nearly forty years. President Ronald Reagan summed up the conventional wisdom that reigned from the mid-1970s onward in the United States: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Economists, policymakers, and everyday Americans alike generally accepted that markets, unfettered and free, are the best way to create economic growth…. That ideology began to crack after the Great Recession, and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it has collapsed. The rise of ethno-nationalism on the right and democratic socialism on the left testify to the growing disillusionment with the conventional wisdom of how government and economics are supposed to work. It’s not just the fringes questioning free market orthodoxy in a time of disease. Cross-partisan supermajorities of Americans want some of the biggest companies of America to be broken up, significantly higher minimum wages, a wealth tax on billionaires, and believe significantly more public investment is required to create economic growth. We have had regulations, public investment, and macroeconomic management to varying degrees throughout American history. What makes this moment different is that Americans across parties, class, and educational background are using a new framework to think about how we create prosperity.” • It may be that the change feels more radical from inside the Beltway than out.

News of the Wired


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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. dcblogger

    James Carville has not won an election since 1992, not written a worthwhile book since We’re Right They’re Wrong, and is NOT worth listening to. While I am not enthusiastic about the cynical manipulation of identity politics, neither do I care for the cynical attack on the effort to use more inclusive language that is now denigrated as “wokeness.” Carville was the guy who advised Bill Clinton to attack Sister Souljah and he really should not be listened to on this subject.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I couldn’t make myself click to see if I actually agreed with Carville on something.

      All I know is that you do not win elections by breaking up into smaller groups and fighting with each other.

      1. hunkerdown

        Of course not, but winning the wrong elections doesn’t help the Party as a class for itself.

        “Thank God I’m only watching the game, controlling it” -James Carville, “One Night in Bum[familyblog]”, from the Chess soundtrack, re-mastered in 12-dimensional stereo by Obama Records

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      C’mon man, isn’t that a bit much? Carville should get credit for 2004 when he was feeding Kerry strategy to his wife.

    3. km

      Carville may be detestable and a cynic besides, but he has a point.

      Biden enjoyed a massive advantage in financing and he was openly supported by the MSM and Big Tech. Biden also could take advantage of the Trump Administration’s clownish response to the COVID, as well as the fact that Trump was a historically unpopular idiot who had made little effort to fulfill his campaign promises and who spent most of his time golfing or on twitter beefs.

      In spite of all these advantages, Biden would have lost the closest thing to a rigged election not held in an actual banana republic, if a few thousand votes had gone the other way.

      Torking off swing voters, especially over symbolic issues, is not the way to keep those voters on-side in 2024.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Carville may be detestable and a cynic besides, but he has a point.

        I do have a weakness for grizzled oldsters; Nooners, e.g.

        Nevertheless, when he says:

        We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures. So let’s not have an argument about whether or not we’re off-key in our messaging. We are.

        I also think the woke crowd in Sanders’ 2020 campaign threw him off his 2016 message, to his detriment. (Of course, they all get to go back to their NGOs, so it’s all good.)

        Personally, I don’t think Biden’s personal messaging is all that bad (which is not the case for every single person who surrounds him, including Harris). I mean, even a check that’s six hundred bucks light is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Biden seems to be focused on shoveling money out the door, quite a lot by his standards, and that’s the message….

        1. km

          Biden appears to be doing better than Trump at this stage, but Biden’s poll numbers are historically low, compared with any president other than Trump.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Aren’t his numbers right down their with Jerry Ford’s?

            And, at this point in the Ford presidency, Ford had pardoned Nixon, and his press secretary, Jerald terHorst, resigned in protest.

          2. Jason Boxman

            But I wonder, with partisan polarization what it is, if this is to be expected these days?

            1. neo-realist

              Yes, and I don’t think the pollsters are getting enough of the youth sentiment in the polling since they don’t generally respond to traditional means of polling, e.g., land line calls.

              1. Phil in KC

                I can’t believe reputable pollsters are still using land-lines. This calls for some research. I also wonder how many landlines are still in use. I don’t know anyone under 50 with a landline phone.

        2. JohnnyGL

          Bernie didn’t convince black southern voters in 2016 and did no better in 2020. I’m not even sure he tried too hard to win them over. The campaign seemed to think they’d just switch over to him after he got some wins in early states.

          Considering how quickly he’s given up the fight, i’m not sure those voters are wrong in their skepticism.

          The ‘woke’ left would get more respect if they fought for what they claimed to believe in, but they don’t seem too interested in taking any risk.

          1. jsn

            They are fighting for what they believe in: themselves.

            Wokeness is best thought of as a vacancy generator for careerists who come together in temporary coalitions like they grew up watching on “reality tv” shows like “Survivor.”

            And like Survivor, very zero sum, which appears to be fine with, well, the survivors.

            1. eg

              Yeah, among the many oddities to a foreigner about the US electoral game, the DNC’s primary arrangement is deeply puzzling — why do states they never win feature so prominently and have such outsize influence in that process?

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                My understanding is that the reason the Alan From/ David Boren/ Bill Clinton/ DLC/ Hamilton Project/Wall Street Democrats/ etc. rulership of the party engineered the conservative states no Democrat would ever win anyway to be the commandingly first to overwwhelm the primary choice menu . . . . was to prevent any non-DLC non-Rightist Democrat from winning the primaries, winning the nomination, winning the election, and moving on to purge, burn and disinfect the DLCs from out of the Party.

                That mass of Southern States is put near-first to stop any Sanders from breaking through.

    4. josh

      The fact that the Democratic Party only has “wokeness” is a problem, but that is only the case because of James Carville’s terrible politics.

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        Exactly. Liberal Dems are waking up to the fact that all the scolding isn’t good but since they eschew working-class politics (or class politics at all) scolding is all they have.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wokeness is what the Intellectual Leftist Academic University-centered Social Justice Warriors and the junior Social Justice Warrior neo-Maoist Red Guard screeching youth deliberately conspire to impose upon the consciousness of the entire political system.

        Social Justice Warrior Wokeness is the New McCarthyism, and anti-racism is the New Wokeness McCarthysists’ new anti-communism. They demand, and will continue to demand, ever more burdensome displays of signing Anti-Racist Loyalty Oaths from people to show submission to the power of the Social Justice WokeNazi Left. And THAT is the purpose and pursuit of Wokeness. Pure SJW Leftist power-tripping neo-McCarthyism. Nothing else, nothing more.

    5. Verifyfirst

      When Carville says: “We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing.”, what exactly is he refering to? I have seen that 42,000 number before–but never a source. Thanks.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        42k was the total difference between Biden and Trump in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia. If Trump won these, there would be an electoral college tie, putting the vote in the hands of state delegations.

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        Verifyfirst: He is referring to the tight races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and, maybe, Wisconsin, which would have shifted the Electoral College to Trump. In short, the results harmonize with Hillary Clinton’s little problem in 2016.

        1. Verifyfirst

          Thanks to both! I will have to go look at some vote totals and do some maths. I have long been fascinated by how slim Trump’s margin was when he won–also somewhere around 40K total in Michigan, Wisconsin and PA. Yet almost X million more people voted this time, and the margin was almost identical. How is that even possible?! I do agree we are a LONG way from being “out of the Trump woods”, which is scary to me.

          1. BlakeFelix

            Well, I’m not sure about this time, but to my understanding Hillary was using some new technology to avoid leaving money on the table or something, so spending just enough to be sure to win. IIRC they had a whole book about how clever they were all ready to come out when she won…

    6. Pelham

      The “effort to use more inclusive language” is somehow having the effect of excluding a lot of people from jobs and the ability to make a living due to some slight misstep they may have made years before idpol was even a thing.

      If kindness and inclusivity were truly the motivating force here, it wouldn’t be producing such bloody ruthless results.

      1. Geof

        Exactly. They wouldn’t have to insist so hard that they are inclusive, equitable and diverse if they actuall were those things. Just as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is named for what it’s not, the language is called inclusive because it’s actually exclusive:

        “wokeness” functions in the new, centralized American elite as a device to exclude working-class Americans of all races, along with backward remnants of the old regional elites. In effect, the new national oligarchy changes the codes and the passwords every six months or so, and notifies its members through the universities and the prestige media and Twitter. . . . Constantly replacing old terms with new terms known only to the oligarchs is a brilliant strategy of social exclusion. . . . Woke speech is simply a ruling-class dialect, which must be updated frequently to keep the lower orders from breaking the code and successfully imitating their betters.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Endless rounds of neo-Stalinist SJW loyalty filters and loyalty tests and tests of enthusiastic following of every current round of neo-Maoist struggle session / self-criticism circle jerk festival.

          The Traveling Vampire’s Castle Road Show Carnival.

      2. wadge22

        Yes, thank you Pelham. This WCWM agrees.
        I certainly get a sense that the guys I work with have their radars tuned to pick up any ‘diversity hire’ type activity in the job market for my trade, and thats even among the more liberal machine shop workers. Both types have something to say, and neither is cheering.

        Meanwhile, Democratic politicians are speaking that esoteric jargon that the only other person we hear talk that way is the HR manager in charge of hiring.

    7. hunkerdown

      Inclusive language is when you make Latino people speak like Americans, and the more like you they speak, the more inclusive you are.

      High society exists to create problems, not solve them. Michael Lind was right: this wokeism is just cultural innovation to elevate the bien-pensant and keep the poors too busy to catch up.

  2. zagonostra

    >“The Free Market is Dead: What Will Replace It?” [Chris Hughes, Time]

    In reality, they [free market advocates ] made a normative argument that the best society is one where individuals are unleashed to be rational, selfish, and competitive, fueling aggregate economic growth.

    “Best society?” By what criteria? The one where you can generate the greatest disparity of wealth in modern history?

    I knew they would pull a rabbit out of the hat in the end. The concluding paragraph reassures us that It’s not actually capitalism that’s the problem but the flavor we’ve been favoring for the past 40 years. Not to worry, like Crayola, they’ll come up with a new color if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors…

    But the vast majority of American’s won’t buy it. They know that capitalism is not the problem—it’s the variety of capitalism that’s been practiced over the past 40 years.

    This is a long article and there is much to deconstruct…

    1. flora

      “Free Market” leaves the term “Free” ambiguous: free from what? Free from rentiers or free from govt regulations restraining the rentiers ? Free from monopolies or freedom to monopolize, for example. Michael Hudson has written several books on this topic. / ;)

    2. hunkerdown

      Free market advocates made yet another in the millennia-long series of normative arguments in favor of the speciation of humans into prey and predator. Elites would sooner end life than end elitism.

      I love their “real capitalism has never been tried” argument.

      1. Tom Stone

        Hunkerdown, “Real Marxism has never been tried” is what I frequently heard in the 60’s and 70’s.
        Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

    3. Jason

      Not to worry, like Crayola, they’ll come up with a new color if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors…

      Something burnt sienna-ish?

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Ronald Reagan sang the song of Government is the problem and then opened the Government coffers wide to support the MIC. Now capitalism is dead and Joe Biden seems intent on opening the Government coffers to the MIC, and the as yet faceless and occulted purveyors of a great “greeness” of infrastructure. “Capitalism” is dead? Neoliberalism is not dead.

  3. Terry Flynn

    Re wokeness. I think the UK local elections next week will provide a rude awakening to the Labour Party about how little wokeness matters when we move from Twitter to real votes for real council seats.

    1. a different chris

      I don’t think anything external, rude or not, will awaken the Labor Party. And there seems to be nothing left internally to do it either, Corbyn being the most interesting person they had and if that isn’t damning by faint praise I must not know what “damning by faint praise” means….

  4. zagonostra

    >CDC director unveils new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans – CBS News

    I see a lot of headlines like this all of a sudden. How are you going to tell if someone is “fully vaccinated?” I know quite a few people who tested positive for CV19 who only experienced nasty flu-like conditions, are they allowed to take their masks off at the park? I may have missed it, but I don’t see where they mention those who were infected and are fine now. Also, how are they going to enforce this? Many people I talk to will not be getting the vaccine anytime soon, are they supposed to continue wearing a mask at the park (not that do when they are outside).


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > How are you going to tell if someone is “fully vaccinated?”

      So, we’re running another enormous natural experiment, this one on the “honor system.”

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Your list above doesn’t match the CDC graphic, which says even vaccinated people should wear masks when gathering indoors :-(

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      And do we trust the CDC on this when they have been so bad on aerosol transmission all along?

      I was planning next week to go back to in person for patients who want it but it was going to be masked and distanced. Suddenly it will need to be neither?

      I’m elated but reserving judgment: let’s see what Marr, Jimenez, et al have to say…

    3. Samuel Conner

      In recent weeks, it has occurred to me that Lambert’s “macabre tape-watching” may be happening at scale, with something similar to the dynamics of “technical analysis” in trading occurring in the dynamics of the epidemic as people react to how bad or good the news is, in ways that prevent things from going entirely to hell, but that also prevent them from improving beyond a discouragingly high level of badness.

      Per the “rule of 72”, the daily exponential growth rate that would in one year double the cumulative number of cases is about 0.2% per day.

      Since late February, per numbers from the Johns Hopkins CSSE dashboard, the US daily growth rate, averaged weekly (I do the arithmetic late Friday evenings, so one data point per week) to smooth out the intra-week variations, has been in the narrow band of 0.19% to 0.22%. It’s never been in such a tight band for so long at any prior point in the US epidemic, and I’m tempted to hypothesize that there is a “structural” lower bound to the growth rate in US.

      Perhaps 0.2% per day is as good as US can achieve.

    4. Pelham

      Just what I was thinking. I’ve been fully vaccinated but wouldn’t trust anyone outside my household to tell the truth about their status. Consequently, I will continue to wear a mask just as before as a sign to those around me that I expect the same from them.

      Beyond that, I don’t trust the CDC, either. If, for instance, the vaccines are 90% effective (pretty good), that still leaves a 1 in 10 chance that I’ll become infected with sufficient exposure. Only a bit better than Russian roulette. And if I do, the chances of death are low but the chance of possibly permanent, debilitating damage to major organs after even an initially mild case of Covid are actually rather high.

      So? Eventually I’ll get to the point that A) I throw caution to the wind, or B) I withdraw altogether with my DVDs, survivalist rations and books.

      1. curlydan

        I gave an unvaccinated friend a ride last week in my car for 20 minutes with all the windows down although we weren’t wearing masks. I was 6 days post-2nd shot vaccinated, but even after that, I’ve been cursing myself for not wearing a mask or just saying sorry, no ride.

        I also at some point might throw caution to the wind, but I can tell by my post-ride paranoia that I’m not there yet. I’m still afraid of long-COVID.

  5. flora

    re:“Republicans Emerge From Census With Upper Hand in Map-Drawing” [Bloomberg].

    Because the Dem estab makes no real attempt to win more state House seats. To win more state Houses they’d have to support state Dem parties and work with with them at the state level on agriculture and health care issues important to those deplorable rural voters – many of whom are or used to be Dems. My 2 cents.

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    Wokeness is a problem and we all know it

    Yes, it served its purpose during the course of the previous administration and now needs to be put to rest lest it come to attack the current administration. Let’s see how good they are at getting the genie back in the bottle

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Yes, it served its purpose during the course of the previous administration

      I don’t think we can. It’s one aspect of PMC class consciousness, especially in the younger set (for whom it is also useful in their careers).

      1. Terry Flynn

        Apologies if I’ve said this before but I have anecdote supporting you Lambert. One and only UK Labour Party (red wall located) meeting I attended before covid was awful. In that everyone was either old or young and very conspicuously woke if young. Gen X (me)? None….Except me.

        Oldies not enough to keep us Labour (see last general election) and woke young ones prefer Twitter to actual voting. Whatever benefit it has elsewhere it sure is NOT helping keep Nottingham Labour.

    2. Alfred

      I think it is one of those things that will always be perverted and distorted, lest the Truth be known.

    3. Zephyrum

      It’s not just about race. Woke language has become an important cultural marker demonstrating that someone is part of that group. When you have a group it’s important to be able to identify those who support the other members. I’ve seen that when the white woke actually encounter someone with dark skin in real life they often run away as soon as possible, perhaps after some quick speechifying. It’s not that they are insincere, rather they are illustrating the difference between theory and practice. And they often don’t have much practice. But when groups of woke whites get together there is no end to the words of mutual reinforcement. I see the same patterns with other groups, just using different means to qualify the members.

      1. Alfred

        I hesitate to mention this, but on another blog (DK) when one kossack started berating me with the “white tears” stuff, I told her she was a flagellating self righteous phony (which I knew her to be–I’d been on that blog for 12 years) and got put on a time out which endures to this day because I won’t acknowledge that I got flagged for a valid reason. I’m neurodivergent–I don’t give a flack for BS. I did not say anything that rated her abuse. It’s not just about race, it’s this incomprehensible (to me) need to create this narrative that serves someone’s agenda. All there have to be are 5 or so people out of thousands, and that’s it.

        1. hunkerdown

          We don’t have to say anything. Our existence as neurodivergent threatens their ontological security and their ability to project authority. They would genocide us if only they could make a business case for it.

          Cheers on you for shouting that nonsense down, even if you violated a Democratic establishment safe space when you did.

          1. Alfred

            I could not have said it more succinctly! Many thanks.

            And I will say I have been lurking at NC for longer than 12 years.

        2. flora

          Neoliberalism’s imperial morality police are just that, imo, bullying into silence all who disagree with their particular narrative. It’s most definitely not about inclusion. Inclusion and diversity of ideas is the last thing they’re interested in.

      2. km

        I’ve seen that when the white woke actually encounter someone with dark skin in real life they often run away as soon as possible, perhaps after some quick speechifying.

        A black friend of mine will confirm. Liberals, they love black people in the abstract, but actual black people scare the bejeezus out of them.

        1. Tom Stone

          “Tom, You live in Oakland, What do Black People think about…?”
          That’s an actual quote from the days I worked in Pleasanton for the bank now known as Providian.
          I was sitting in the break room and the woman who asked me that question was in her early 40’s, a successful college educated professional.
          It’s right up there with “I’m not worried Kids aren’t much more work than a cat”,.
          That came from a 5 month pregnant woman with a Master’s from a good school..
          Clan O’blivious has many members of many genders but these are the two best I have encountered.

      3. The Rev Kev

        ‘Woke language has become an important cultural marker demonstrating that someone is part of that group.’

        Is this like how a higher class of people have to make sure that they have great teeth & dental work to help distinguish themselves from the Mountain Dew plebs?

    4. King

      Perhaps it says more about when and where I learned about ‘woke’ than the term itself that I don’t understand how someone could proclaim themselves such and not also want to see several living former presidents tried for war crimes.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I’ve always noticed a very conspicuous lack of “woke” applied to dealings with non-white folks outside our borders. Unless I am missing something, “woke” as it is presented in the US seems to be very US-centric. (To say nothing of most of the “woke” I’ve seen focuses more on the actions of individuals and not being offensive rather than the large structural things that help perpetuate racism.)

  7. Sillycon

    It should not be forgotten that Philips NV (NXP was their semi arm) gave TSMC a leg up in the late 80s. They were their first big customer and provided technology and investment. They owned 49% of TSMC for a while. This coincided with the “MEGA” project funded by the EU to build up Dutch and German semiconductor capability. I actually worked at philips research during that time and helped train a couple of TSMC engineers on Philips process tech.

    1. Sillycon

      The point being that the large semiconductor foundries in the Far East are by and large in the dominant position in part due to the efforts of European firms. One could argue that the EU largesse supporting the European semi industry actually ended up helping TSMC et al. This time around there must be capital put into actual manufacturing assets in Europe and the US, not just spent on RandD. Otherwise any innovation and skills will end up benefiting the foundries in the Far East.

    2. christofay

      Philips, a Dutch company, had a big presence in Taiwan in the 80s and 90s. It was a electrical goods manufacturer on the island. At the time it made sense to produce the higher end digital components closer to where the electrical goods were being assembled. Even in the 80s Taiwan striving for presence in electrical engineering was noted by the Adam Smith (George Goodman) noted in his book The Money Game while writing about Westinghouse (?) saying they came for low cost production, stayed for engineering talent.

      1. Sillycon

        You are undoubtedly correct on the business motivation of Philips and there is no arguing that it was a sound investment in many aspects. I also remember watching an episode of the BBC “the money programme” about Taiwan in the late 90s I think. It showed a brand new TSMC fab being commissioned and machines being lifted into the fab through a hole in the wall. What struck me was that the road to the fab had not even been completed. I thought “how the hell can we compete with that?” And the rest is history.

    1. flora

      My state, (often and justly the butt of jokes about its financial ineptitude), knew decades ago that its groundwater levels, the state’s groundwater sustainability, and groundwater’s importance to cities and agriculture was key to the state’s future. State laws and regulations about allowable draw down rates and recharge rates are ahead of Cali’s understanding, as many Cali lege members and Cali state Geo Survey/Nat Resource agencies have directly said. Cali, imo, is correct to balance the interests of private for-profit pumping operations against public water needs in towns, cities, and state agriculture.

  8. Toshiro_Mifune

    Guillotine-Worthy Zillow Listings

    2 beds / 4 baths / 8,881 sqft

    Ummm…. that’s some odd room allocation. Also one of the bathrooms appears to be carpeted.

    1. Alfred

      “Also one of the bathrooms appears to be carpeted.”

      I was on a visit to a person and their toilet seat was carpeted (shag)–I must confess I adopted the male posture.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Mifune-san: First odd fact is that the place is in Ashland, Oregon, best known for its Shakespeare Festival. So who is in the market for the place? One hardly can buy it on a stage manager’s salary.

      Yep: An ostensible 9,000 square feet and two bedrooms. That takes some real planning. Suppose a couple moves in with a kid. They wouldn’t even have a guest bedroom.

      The swirly flooring is just plain tricksy.

      All in all, I get six million dollars worth of Lady Galadriel goes to Sedona and buys an Aubrey Beardsley print and something about Art Deco and ents. Very unhappy ents.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Few if any locals – or even, really, many Oregonians will be able to buy such a thing.

        Having been born and raised in OR though the target market is just south – Californians. Sell off their $20,000,000 1-bedroom bungalow in SF or Santa Barbara and move to Oregon to a nice, small, fixer-upper, like the one in the listing…and live that outdoorsy laid back Pioneer Oregon lifestyle.

      2. Alex Cox

        Unfortunately the Shakespeare festival drew many wealthy people (who can afford second homes like this one) and California retirees to Ashland. If you check the listings there are other monstrosities such as this.

        Like many attractive towns in the west, Ashland is unaffordable to anyone other than the wealthy or the elite PMC: fortunately there is a university, SOU, which requires numerous administrators. Working class people tend to live in Medford, 15 miles to the north. There are also two small working class towns in between – Talent and Phoenix. Both were devastated by last year’s fires, which destroyed about a third of the housing.

    3. Tom Stone

      It’s probably a 2 BR due to waste handling constraints or for tax reasons.
      It’s not a bedroom without a closet and a wardrobe doesn’t count…

  9. FriarTuck

    RE: “Are You A Gaming Snob?”

    As someone who has considered gaming a core hobby for 28 years, I judge this question to be moot.

    Videogaming is a hobby that has multiple dimensions to it. Like film, the techniques for conveying an experience have different subjective interpretations by the audience. The medium also has the added dimension that is regulated by the available technology, so YMMV can be taken to an extreme. Modding can alter the experience to a greater degree after publication, and because copyright law hasn’t kept up with the times, modding game experiences is seen as a legitimate (if somewhat gray area) way of further mediating experiences. Many times, as with the commenter’s mention of Bethesda games, it works largely into the original copyright holder’s benefit.

    Look at the recent release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake: it was an old game (1997) remade by the original creators, in ultra-high fidelity, with different gameplay systems, that deviated from the original game’s plot. Would it be “snobbish” to say that you found that original was a better experience? Would it be “snobbish” to say that if you can’t enjoy the original because its simplistic polygon graphics are too much of an obstacle? These are all subjective descriptions of your experience. If you were to say that any of these experiences are “objectively better”, that’s where I’d have to push back and ask about the core of what a value judgement of entertainment, and perhaps, art is.

  10. petal

    Kind of dig that house except for the absolutely ridiculous price(2 bedrooms?!?), and the carpet. I don’t understand the fricking carpet. I dig the woody bits like the staircase and trees, and the stones. It’s quirky. And the view is nice. I could live on that patio and be happy as a clam.

    1. JustAnotherVolunteer

      The house is hideous but 700+ acres on a ridge in southern Oregon might just be worth the price. This thing has been on the market at gradually sliding prices for years – might be approaching the tear down price point.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        J A V: Aha. That’s the attraction. One can have one’s own hobbithouse in one’s own Shire.

    2. Jen

      Not just carpet: teal carpet. Who on earth puts teal carpet anywhere? Well, I did almost buy a house with teal carpet in every room but with the goal of getting rid of it. Guess if you can afford the house, you can afford to replace the carpet. Then the radon test came back and the house was practically glowing.

      The views were, indeed awesome.

  11. Alfred

    “You can go into debt taking a shower.”

    I read water warnings going on starting in the late 90s. It drove me to make sure I had rural property with a well. This took a lot of planning on my part. Then, my driller hit ledge and kept going because I was not home, making my well (16 years ago) cost twice as much. I was upset. Now I wonder if they inadvertently did me a favor. My water is still excellent, and did not suffer from the drought here about 6 years ago. I also thank myself for knowing that if I was a renter I would be homeless. Today I heard horror stories on the bus from renters. One woman had no idea she was paying another’s electric bill until the apt became vacant. I still have panic attacks about my SS (and everyone else’s) being absorbed into the great void. Am I crazy?

    1. Jason

      I still have panic attacks about my SS (and everyone else’s) being absorbed into the great void. Am I crazy?

      No, you’re astute. But that’s often mistaken for crazy.

    2. ambrit

      No, you are not crazy.
      Most ‘younger’ people will not think about the status of Social Security until they come close upon it’s lower boundary. That shifts in a major way once one crosses the Rubicon of “retirement” (TM), either voluntary or not.
      The present vector of political movement in America is still strongly Neo-liberal in nature. Keep shrinking the portion of the National Budget dedicated to the populace and redirect said budget tranches into the pockets of the Oligarch class and their enablers.
      I am still worried about some stealth “privatization” of Social Security. Medicare is already part of the way there. Could we imagine “Social Security Advantage Plans?” I’m certain that Wall Street can.

      1. Alfred

        I regularly contact my reps ( Sanders, Leahy and Welch) about this creep into privatization and usurpation. It’s the only thing I can think of to do. They are good people, but is that enough at this point? If/when voters no longer matter, I wonder if I have lived too long. I ain’t leaving. It used to be a point that the sheer volume of people on SS mattered.

        1. Jason

          I’m going to start contacting my reps again. I stopped because I got sick of the cookie-cutter responses.

          I receive SSDI and I worry about it as well. Crazy me.

  12. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

    The guillotine-worthy house is very ugly. It looks more like something from a theme park, than a domicile.

    What is just as ugly to me is the over-used HDR photography realtors feel compelled to employ; it burns my eyes.

    1. Tom Stone

      Take another look at that house, visualize the same floor plan without the added ugly.
      That’s a nicely laid out house, and it has a somewhat fire resistant exterior.

  13. Adam

    NC commentariat, has anyone heard of any links between the J&J Vaccine and dogs developing tumors (I suppose dogs were used in initial trail phases?)? I was about to get the vaccine today, but my mom spoke to doctor who is researching a link and thinks there is something there and convinced me to wait (after she had been very, very enthusiastic about me getting a vaccine).

    Apparently the doctor is going to send me some information, but I’m not sure how the doctor is going to have my email address given that my mom wouldn’t remember it. As such, I tried searching online to see if I could find any information on the potential link and came up with absolutely nothing.

  14. phemfrog

    Its not people listening to their governors. Its seasonality. The places that surged last year surged again around the same time. They are coming down again around the same time. (surges last march were not tested enough to show up as really large). there are some good epidemiologists highlighting this, but they are drowned out by the masses. the magnitude of the peak does seem to be modulated by a combination of immunity post-infection, vaccination rates, NPIs (masks/lockdowns), and individual susceptibility to COVID-19. Comparing different geographies with very different government policies makes this clear. (Note: I do NOT deny that interventions can work, but they do not do as much as we think, especially the way the west did them) . To me it is as simple as comparing Texas and California. Very different policies, both very large and spread out with urban centers and lots of rural folks, but they both have similar cases per million (TX 99000/CA 95000) and similar deaths per million (TX 1700/CA 1500). I simply think that it is WAY more complex than mask mandates and lockdowns.

  15. Librarian Guy

    Regarding “The Free Market is Dead”– “It may be that the change feels more radical from inside the Beltway than out.”

    Sorry to ask the obvious, but– what “change”? We know the inside the beltway crew all believe in TINA (don’t just believe, but to be literal are invested in it), so– Is it like the God that Failed?

    They won’t allow Neoliberalism to end even or even undergo marginal “reform” as it proves deadly to their societal structures. So isn’t this kind of article just like going to a horror film for them, a few chills imagining the plebs and non-meritocracy will ever get a scrap of material benefit or change?

    1. ambrit

      Let us go all pseudo-classical on this and assume an operatic production of “Twilight of the Living Dead.”
      Our hero, Ceofried, can battle Populist Dragons to possess the ‘Gold Ring’ that guarantees a good harvest. (Sorry. I’m mixing my mythologies a bit.)
      Eventually, as is denied by our Overlord Class, the Fat Lady will most definitely sing.
      Alas, many of us are now, and will soon be, paying with our lives for seats at that Festival.
      “Can you carry a spear?” says it all.

        1. ambrit

          Ah, an appeal to “classical” kultur.
          The neo-liberals think that they strive to possess the ‘Gold’ ring, however, it is but brass.
          I take solace that even Wagner had the wisdom to prophesy the “Twilight of the Gods.” We “lower orders” will suffer as we always do, but carry on through the collapse of the “higher order.”
          Even the Valkyries cried out.

    2. Alfred

      I had the misfortune to work for some of the “inside the beltway” dead and believe me, they live in a different “reality” they are insistent that exists and that their very lives depend on our participation for their continued lives–it used to fill me with terrible dread and I fled.

    3. Acacia

      Is it like the God that Failed?

      Or, as Thomas Frank put it: “the God that sucked”.

  16. grayslady

    Anecdote re CDC instructions: Was waiting to receive my second Pfizer shot today and standing 6 feet from a young woman who said she, too, was there for her second shot. She said her occupation was clinical testing, and, as far as she was concerned, Pfizer was the best vaccine. She mentioned that her mother had received both doses of vaccine (presumably Moderna), passed the 2-week safety period following the second shot, and then she came down with such a severe case of Covid that she had to be hospitalized. Personally, I’ll be continuing to wear my mask. Just ordered 5 more boxes on sale.

  17. Lee

    After an all too brief period of post-vaccine reduction in anxiety, I’m turning my YIKES! dial back up 11.

    According to epidemiologist Bhramar Mukherjee the number of cases of Covid-19 in India might be as high as 20 times higher than have been reported. There are currently ~330K cases reported and the current test positivity rate is 20.3%

    1. Lee

      Looking at the wrong numbers, brain not working optimally. There have been a total number of ~17 Million cases reported in India, which could mean there are as many cases in India as there are people in the U.S.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “We need to face the hard truths of hotel quarantine”

    The first expert our federal government were listening too was a UK one that was also telling Boris to go with herd immunity. A problem here is that it is the federal government that allows people back into the country but it is the States that have to manage the hotel quarantines. America had their Dr. Fauci to give crap advice that was politically motivated. Well we here in Oz had our own Dr. Fauci in the form of Dr. Brendan Murphy who said last year too that masks were unnecessary and perhaps dangerous. And since then he has gotten a promotion. Bully for him.

    All the recommendations that the author makes in this article are logical and consistent with the way that it should be done but Scotty from Marketing is resisting and he is also refusing to let federal isolated properties be used for quarantine but insists that it has to be done in city hotels. Just to add some spice, the uni education industry is screaming like a stuck pig that we have to bring back all the foreign students at once or else their finances will suffer but offer no plan how to do that. Would that include students from India at the moment, fellas? Because flights from India have now been shut down for the duration. As Lambert says, it is all about the aerosols and this is what this guy who wrote this article is saying – and who is he is president of the Australian Medical Association WA – but Scotty is not listening as the only person he seems to be listening to is the Big Fella-


      1. The Rev Kev

        Frustrating is not the word for it. There has been articles indicating aerosol transmission on NC that appeared a year ago and yet they are still arguing about it around the world. No wonder ‘IM Doc’ gets frustrated. A year ago there were also film clips from China showing the workers to be wearing full body suits in dealing with hazardous places – like quarantine hotels. And yet until recently, even the nurses in our quarantine hotels were wearing only simple surgical masks. And as for using dodgy rent-a-guards to guard these hotels as was used, the less said the better. And our top medical authorities want us to trust them?

  19. Cuibono

    I don’t get the fuss about the Jefferson paper. i read it and find it well argued. if it is being used to argue against airborne spread of covid i don’t see it in the article itself

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