2:00PM Water Cooler 4/29/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

From El Salvador. Who knew there could be a bird species called the “Thick-knee”?

“Man busted for trying to smuggle 36 birds into the US under his clothes for birdsong contests” [Boing Boing (Re Silc)]. “Authorities at New York City’s JFK Airport nabbed Kevin Andre Mckenzie, 36, for attempting to smuggle nearly three-dozen finches jammed into hair rollers from Guyana to New York City for birdsong competitions.” • Don’t be like this person.

* * *


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:

I know that these are daily vaccinations. But the pandemic is a multiplicative process. To me, the best curves of all would be rising continuously until there’s a sudden drop, because there’s nobody left to vaccinate. It’s too soon to see these numbers dropping. This should worry people. (The Northeast jump was an enormous reporting error, now rectified, though I still have not been able to find it mentioned anywhere. Readers?)

“Millions Are Skipping Their Second Doses of Covid Vaccines” [New York Times]. “More than five million people, or nearly 8 percent of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign. Even as the country wrestles with the problem of millions of people who are wary about getting vaccinated at all, local health authorities are confronting an emerging challenge of ensuring that those who do get inoculated are doing so fully. The reasons vary for why people are missing their second shots. In interviews, some said they feared the side effects, which can include flulike symptoms. Others said they felt that they were sufficiently protected with a single shot. Those attitudes were expected, but another hurdle has been surprisingly prevalent. A number of vaccine providers have canceled second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply or didn’t have the right brand in stock….. While millions of people have missed their second shots, the overall rates of follow-through, with some 92 percent getting fully vaccinated, are strong by historical standards. Roughly three-quarters of adults come back for their second dose of the vaccine that protects against shingles.”

Liberal Democrat triumphalism:

Note, as Rattner does not, the dip starting around April 9. To be fair, note the clear inflection point as the more competent Biden administration took hold. Oh, wait…

Case count by United States regions:

Continued good news. I’m not used to this at all. The spin:

“Biden: Coronavirus Vaccinations Are Path to More Normal Fourth of July” [UN News]. “President Joe Biden on Tuesday reiterated his goal of seeing a more normal July 4th amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that vaccinations will be the path for getting there. Biden said that everyone who has gotten a coronavirus vaccine was doing their ‘patriotic duty, helping us get on the path to Independence Day.’ Over 29% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” • Remember how Fauci kept moving the goalposts upward on when herd immunity would be reached? Wherever those goalposts were, they weren’t at 29%. I like Biden’s framing, though.

“New York City, Former COVID-19 Epicenter, To ‘Fully Reopen’ On July 1” [NPR]. “New York City, which one year ago was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, will ‘fully reopen’ for business on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The announcement marks a stirring rebound for a city that lost more than 10,000 people in just the first month of the pandemic.” • Not including international flights at JFK and Newark, I assume, because that would be really, really stupid. I also don’t know what these July 1 projections are based on (readers?), and I do try to keep track–

Lambert here: I added a black anti-triumphalism line to show that what is now normal was once horrific. I also added a green line that simply extrapolates the current rate of decline into the future; it crosses the x axis, for time, around 42 days out, on June 10, so July 1, so somebody who thinks additively, instead of multiplicatively, might seem to make sense. Personally, I’m not confident in such an extrapolation. I would need to see vaccinations increasing, not decreasing. I would want to know what is being to prevent international travelers (including truckers from Canada and Mexico) from bringing new variants into the country. I would also like to see policy based on what science really does tell us is the main mode of transmission — airborne — because otherwise the ventilation issues that enable the virus to spread won’t be fixed. I think this thread describes elite thinking and behavior throughout the pandemic under both administrations:

A hard lockdown for 60 days with people paid to stay home would have brought the virus to zero, as even Andy Slavitt knows, and said. I guess the biggest reason I don’t think that green line will go to zero is that our elite’s response has been half-assed, is half-assed now, and will continue to be half-assed.

The Midwest in detail:

Continued good news. The Michigan curve is nice, but still at level only exceeded to last Fall’s peak, 154 days ago. 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 nicely. California also dropping. Texas flat.

Test positivity:

Down, except for the West, now flat.


Still heading down, except for a slight rise in the Northeast.

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

Good to see those deaths dropping. The fatality rate in the West has fallen again, for reasons as mysterious as those that caused its rise.

* * *


“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’s still, small voice of calm” [Financial Times]. “Biden’s speech displayed US politics at a surreal juncture in its history. As a veteran centrist, Biden is surprising the country and the world with the multitrillion dollar scale of his ambitions. But he lays his plans out in the folksy tones of a grandparental homily. On the other side of the aisle sits a Republican party that is scanning everything Biden does for signs of senility and cultural radicalism. He betrays no traces of the former and is offering very little on the latter. Contrary to recent viral rumours, Americans will still be able to eat hamburgers on July 4. Biden will doubtless be munching his in full view.” • ‘Tis a consummation greatly to be wished. UPDATE Oh, the “still, small voice” allusion. Here it is, 1 Kings 19:11-13:

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

(Majestic prose.) As you can see, the “still small voice” is the voice of God (or at least Elijah’s God). Now, I know the Biden hagiography is just a little thick right now, but surely conflating Biden with God is over the top.

UPDATE Anyhow, I don’t feel calm. I feel anesthetized. As for example by charts like this:

That chart looks a soccer ball sewn by a stitcher on acid. Why are the seams where they are? Why are the panels in the order they are? Wouldn’t a list — hear me out: the items could be ranked by amount, largest first — be easier to read and more informative? Who did this?

UPDATE I can’t even:

And Shakespearean! Neopolitan! This is a “Presidential Historian” speaking…. Anyhow, the “belongs to” was a highly unfortunate locution:

UPDATE “The Trump Policy That Biden Is Extending” [David Frum, The Atlantic]. The deck: “In his speech on Wednesday night, the president continued his predecessor’s attacks on the idea of free trade.” • That’s a damn shame. And I am sure that as we go on, the continuities between Trump and Biden will become more evident, as they did with Obama and Bush.

UPDATE “Democrats seek to push Medicare expansion as part of Biden’s $1.8 trillion families plan, defying White House” [WaPo].

Obama Legacy

Clarke & Dawe skewer “The West Wing” — in 2011 (!!!):

Democrats en Deshabille

Inside-Outside strategy:

Those on the Outside cannot control those on the Inside absent countervailing political power (“Make me do it”). So there’s no point whinging about what those on the Inside do. Build power, instead. Sadly, DSA looks like the best institution for doing that… A 30’s-style CP would really concentrate the minds of the liberal Democrats, but that’s not where we’re at….

Republican Funhouse

“Advantage, GOP” [FiveThirtyEight]. “It may seem dramatic to suggest that Republicans are overriding democracy to win power when Democrats currently control all three elected legs of the federal government: the presidency, Senate and House. But in order to secure them, Democrats had to go above and beyond winning a simple majority of votes, like a tennis player having to ace all of her serves on a particularly windy day.” • Idea: Democrats should write more of us bigger checks*, instead of trying to win “a simple majority of the votes,” as they have been doing for years, with — to put it kindly — mixed results. NOTE * Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Own the Libs; Get Vaxxed” [National Review]. “Fellas, Trump himself got vaccinated, and it was glorious. In doing so, he rubbed the liberals’ faces in the fact that, under his watch, in one of the most astonishing American miracles since the moon shot, we got three different vaccines manufactured by the tens of millions and ready to go. They were all approved within twelve months of the first COVID death in the U.S., and at every step of the way, every liberal from Bangor to Berkeley mocked Trump for saying he would make it all happen. Trump fans should take this vaccine in the spirit of dunking on all the libs who doubted the mighty thrusting force of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. Last March 5, nine and a half months before FDA approval of the first shot, Trump asked his experts whether we might see a vaccine ‘within a few months,’ and Anthony Fauci instantly corrected him: ‘A year to a year and a half.’ When Trump said in August that he was hopeful we’d see a vaccine by November — it would be November 20 that Pfizer submitted its data to the FDA to request emergency approval — CNN got so far over its skis that it actually ran a bizarre Fact Check of the Future upbraiding the president, pointing out that the obviously irrefutable and always-correct super-duper expert Fauci was still insisting the vaccine ‘would likely not be available widely until ‘several months’ into 2021.’ Say it with me in Trump voice, friends: WRONG. Fauci turned out to be mistaken about so many things that he was like the Hillary Clinton of medicine.” • I don’t care about Fauci’s mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable in science. Null results are important, too. What really irks me to this day is Fauci’s Noble Lie on masks, for which he has never been held accountable, possessing as he does impunity as a liberal Democrat icon. Well, that and ramping Gilead’s stock.

Note the trust in Amazon:

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “24 April 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 525 K to 617 K (consensus 558 K), and the Department of Labor reported 553,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 655,750 (reported last week as 651,000) to 611,750.” A cautionary note: “Job’s loss since the start of the pandemic is now 81,167,000. Many in this number are now employed or have dropped out of the workforce as all programs continuing claims number is 16,559,276, down from last week’s 17,405,150.”

GDP: “Advance Estimate 1Q2021 GDP Is 6.4%” [Econintersect]. “The advance estimate for the first-quarter 2020 Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a positive 6.4 %. This growth is an improvement from the previous quarter’s growth of 4.3 % if one looks at quarter-over-quarter headline growth. The year-over-year rate of growth also significantly improved and is now in expansion…. I am not a fan of the quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but year-over-year growth is now in positive territory as it is being compared to the beginning of the recession.”

* * *

Tech: “CEO of $2B company pushed out for taking LSD before meeting” [The Hill]. “On Monday, a company ousted its chief executive officer and co-founder because he used LSD in 2019. Justin Zhu was experimenting with drugs to boost his focus, but the illegal drug goes against marketing startup Iterable Inc.’s company policy, which resulted in him being kicked out…. Based in San Francisco and created in 2013, Iterable Inc. is a mobile-optimized email marketing solution that enables marketers to test and send personalized emails optimized for mobile without coding, Bloomberg reported.” • I love the idea that our mobile infrastructure was designed by CEOs tripping on acid. It explains a lot.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 60 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 29 at 12:21pm.

The Biosphere

“25,000 Barrels Possibly Laced With DDT Are Found Off California Coast” [New York Times]. “This week, a group of scientists shared the results of an extensive mission focused on mapping the area [12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles]. They counted more than 25,000 barrels that they believe may contain DDT-laced industrial waste. In an interview, Dr. Terrill compared the search to space exploration. In areas where they had expected to find, say, a single moon, the sonar images hinted at something more in the vein of the Milky Way…. “As these drums potentially lose their containment function, the materials will make their way into the environment and food web,” Dr. Terrill said. This should not affect people swimming or surfing in the area, Dr. Valentine said, because DDT does not dissolve in water. But it may have already entered the food chain, working its way into fish and other marine life, he said…. Senator Feinstein said she planned to ask the Justice Department to find out which companies dumped the barrels and to hold them accountable. Her office declined to elaborate on which companies would be investigated.”

Health Care

“Choosing Safer Activities” [CDC]. These are the CDC’s new charts on when and when not to mask:

Not exactly wallet-sized, are they? The amazing and horrible thing is that once you understand Covid is transmitted by aerosols, you can follow one simple rule: “Don’t share air.” You can work out the logic for any individual situation from there.



Everybody’s a Critic

This is Manet?

What’s with the spotlights?

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

The British culinary imagination:

In another video, “Danny” masks up (“Remember, we’re in this together guys”) so I don’t want to mock him. I just find the whole video a little mind-boggling.

Department of Feline Felicity

Fern, Sid’s older and putatively more responsible sister:

Maybe I should have filed this under Games. Do people really fall asleep playing games?

Class Warfare

I love this style of advertising because it’s literally commodity fetishism:

This, from August Sander, “Peasants going to a dance, Westerwald, 1914”:

This, 1948:

And this, 2021:

The great John Berger (see NC here) commented on Sanders’ photo in his famous essay, “The Suit and the Photograph”:

Now make an experiment. Block out the faces … with a piece of paper, and consider only their clothed bodies.

By no stretch of the imagination can you believe that these bodies belong to the middle or ruling class. They might belong to workers, rather than peasants; but otherwise there is no doubt. Nor is the clue their hands — as it would be if you could touch them. Then why is their class so apparent?

Is it a question of fashion and the quality of the cloth in their suits? In real life such details would be telling. In a small black and white photograph they are not very evident. Yet the static photograph shows, perhaps more vividly than in life, the fundamental reason why the suits, far from disguising the social class of those who wore them, underlined and emphasized it.

Their suits deform them. Wearing them, they look though they were physically mis-shapen. … None of their abnormalities is extreme. They do not provoke pity. They are just sufficient to undermine physical dignity. We look at bodies which appear coarse, clumsym brute-like. And incorrigibly so.

Berger wrote of German peasants in 1914. He could have written the same words of British workers in 1948. Or American workers in 2021. Personally, I think all workers should have nice things. That includes nice clothes.

News of the Wired

“A theory of how developers seek information” [Austin Z. Henley]. “A person, known as the predator, seeks information, known as the prey, in an information environment made up of patches, which could be code files, program output, log data, a stack trace, debugger information, etc. The predator navigates within and between patches using links (e.g., a shortcut to jump to a function’s definition or a button in a menu) that have some cost (e.g., effort and time) until the predator’s information goals are satisfied. In a patch there are information features (e.g., words and graphics), which may include the prey. Each information has a value to the predator (possibly a zero value!) and a cost (e.g., the time to process the information). Some information features act as cues that provide a clue as to what a link may lead to…. The predator always has three choices: forage within a patch, navigate between patches, or enrich the environment. Foraging within the patch involves processing the information features at their current location. Navigating between patches involves traversing a link to go to a different patch that can hopefully satisfy the predator’s goals. The third option involves the predator changing the environment, such as bookmarking a code location or performing a text search, which produces a new patch with search results.” • This would imply the trees and plants don’t seek information. I don’t think that’s true.

“The physical limit of trick shots in billiards” [Gizmodo]. “How many collisions can a billiard ball make before we have no way of knowing its eventual trajectory? The joker in the deck is gravity, a force that no one can entirely “screen out,” no matter where they are in the universe. It makes a difference in the path of molecules and the path of billiard balls. For the first collision of a billiard ball, we can control the variable so well that we don’t really have to think of gravity as anything other than the force holding the ball on the table. We control all the variables that matter: the placement and force of the hit. After a couple of collisions, we’re less able to determine where the balls go. Even on an idealized surface, there are many options depending on the exact force with which the balls meet, and the forces acting upon them. After six or seven collisions, you don’t just have to worry about the gravity of the Earth, but of the gravity of the people walking around the table. Exactly where these people are, and the gravitational pull their mass exerts on the balls, will determine whether the balls go one way or another. This means that, unless a pool player can carefully weight the people around the table, determine where they stand, there’s no possible way for anyone to be certain of the trajectory of a ball after six or more collisions.”

“The New Science of “Fatigue Resistance” [Outdoors]. “Endurance athletes, specifically bicyclists. “[W]hen I asked [Peter Leo, a doctoral student at the University of Innsbruck] how to develop fatigue resistance, he did have a few practical suggestions. One is that running low on carbohydrates seems to make fatigue resistance worse—an observation that dovetails with other data from the Breaking2 project, which found that taking in 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour improved fatigue resistance. In training, Leo and his colleagues hypothesize that the volume of training you do is more important than the intensity for developing fatigue resistance. And you might try including intervals or sprints toward the end of a longer ride, he suggested: four x 8:00 hard with 4:00 recovery after three to four hours of lower-intensity riding, for example.”

This is what a magnificent public space can look like, since I am sure most everybody in charge of writing infrastructure requirements has forgotten:

* * *

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 (EH):

EH writes: “From Brooklyn Botanic Garden May 2019…”

“… – and my front yard same month.”

Somehow that curved sidewalk fence at top right makes me think of New York slash Brooklyn.

* * *

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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. Carla

    Re: Lambert’s comment on NYC re-opening

    “Not including international flights at JFK and Newark, I assume, because that would be really, really stupid.”

    I don’t know what you thought was happening, but this is what IS happening — flights from Mumbai to NYC:


    The stupidity of our fearless leaders is literally beyond belief.

    1. Old Jake

      Looks like your attention got some attention

      Access Denied
      You don’t have permission to access “http://www.united.com/ual/en/us/flight-search/book-a-flight/results/rev?” on this server.

      Reference #18.f4bc3b17.1619722395.9851b3c

    2. fumo

      Being curious, I found availability for flights from India to Australia a couple of days back. They were thousands of USD, natch.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Jut watched on the news a few minutes ago where two Aussie cricketers manged to get back from India into Australia via Doha in spite of the Prime Minister saying that this was shut down a coupla days ago. Sure they are in quarantine now but you wonder what other loopholes other countries have, like in the US for example.

      1. Alfred

        Was it the concierge service from the imfamous black card from American Express, or one of the other ones?

  2. jsn

    “Personally, I’m confident in such an extrapolation.”

    Regarding your green line, shouldn’t this read:

    “Personally, I’m not confident in such an extrapolation.”

  3. Arizona Slim

    When it comes to wearing masks, I think that people in Asian countries are on to something. Mask wearing is a thing, and I think it makes a lot of sense. Not only can it prevent me from sharing my germs, it can prevent me from being dosed by other people’s germs.

    1. Mme Generalist

      I can’t remember now where I read it, but some years ago (2009ish?) I read that the Chinese, at least, wore masks primarily against air pollution. Anybody else remember that? (If I can find a link, I’ll come back and post it.)

      1. JTMcPhee

        The masks they wore were health theater. The smog they were immersed in contained not only the nastiest of carcinogenic particulates, but they were of the smallest size and so would go right through the cloth and paper masks people were wearing then. As the pollution would today. A little historical article from 2014:

        “ A quick history of why Asians wear surgical masks in public,”

    2. zagonostra

      I’ll take my air sans mask. Who would have thought that taking a deep breath of pure clean air would be a rarity…I know, Jack London. I forgot what essay I read where he expounds on the importance of clean air. I think it was one where he was describing how he was going to design and build his own house. It was probably prompted by all the stagnant foul air that he breathed when he went underground to write The People of the Abyss.

        1. zagonostra

          Maybe I can rent it…the Jack London essay I was thinking of was, THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL

          For countless thousands of years my ancestors have lived and died and
          drawn all their breaths in the open air. It is only recently that we
          have begun to live in houses. The change is a hardship, especially on
          the lungs. I’ve got only one pair of lungs, and I haven’t the address of
          any repair-shop. Wherefore I stick by the open air as much as possible.
          For this reason my house will have large verandas, and, near to the
          kitchen, there will be a veranda dining-room. Also, there will be a
          veranda fireplace, where we can breathe fresh air and be comfortable when
          the evenings are touched with frost…

          Three sides of it will be open. The fourth side will divide it from the rest of the house. The three sides will be screened against the creeping, fluttering things, but not against
          the good fresh air and all the breezes that blow. For protection against
          storm, to keep out the driving rain, there will be a sliding glass, so
          made that when not in use it will occupy small space and shut out very
          little air…

          It will be a happy house–or else I’ll burn it down. It will be a house of air and sunshine
          and laughter. These three cannot be divorced. Laughter without air and sunshine becomes morbid, decadent, demoniac. I have in me a thousand generations. Laughter that is decadent is not good for these thousand


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Experience with SARS set norms ahead of this pandemic.

        Which is fair. The piece in WaPo from an epidemiologist describing their mistakes — too lazy to find the link — said as much.

        These were good faith mistakes. Science evolves. What is unforgivable is that the mistakes have persisted for over a year and have now hardened into conventional wisdom — like surface cleaning for fomites, which for SARS-COV-2 is hygiene theatre.

        1. ambrit

          Given how much of our politics is ‘theatre,’ is it any surprise to find a category of “hygiene theatre” ensconced in the “Official Narrative?”

    3. curlydan

      and then there are the other uses of masks that the pandemic has helped me realize:
      Masking when gardening/raking
      Masking when something smells bad
      Masking makes me less worried about my breath (I’ve bought a lot less gum lately)
      Maksing hides my big nose and might make me look better!

      so masks have many uses. I’m just hoping the next pandemic might require something to cover up my bad posture ha ha

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      Making sure my mask is on before entering a bank, convenience store, or liquor store always gives my inner child a giggle as well.

    5. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Sharing germs is a good thing IMO.

      Anyone remember the Vikings sharing water at the beginning of The 13th Warrior ;-)

      If Globalization caused us to wear masks, then F Globalization!!!

    1. Alfred

      Thx, very interesting. Especially this:

      “For a wage that a white man cannot exist on, the Filipinos will take the job and, through the clannish, low standard mode of housing and feeding, practiced among them, will soon be well clothed,” the message from Rohrbach read, according to a 1930 article in the Pajaronian, “strutting about like a peacock and endeavoring to attract the eyes of the young American and Mexican girls.”

      A week later, California GOP Rep. Richard J. Welch introduced legislation to curtail Filipino immigration. “This is the third Asiatic invasion of the Pacific coast,” he said in Congress, the Healdsburg Tribune reported. (In the same breath, he denied that he was prejudiced toward Filipinos.)

      All this stoked the furies of Californians, fearful of Filipino men stealing their jobs and their girls.

      And today we have Kamala saying, ‘I don’t think America is a racist country but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country,’ she told ABC’s ‘GMA”
      ‘One of the greatest threats to our national security is domestic terrorism, manifested by white supremacists, and so these are issues that we must confront and it doesn’t – it does not help to heal our country to unify us as a people to ignore the realities of that,’ she said.

      It might put her out of her tortuous misery if someone clued her in about classism.

  4. tommysrange

    I really disagree with you giving so much power to the CPUSA. Though their rank and file did much good, It only lasted a few years, until Moscow sent order to stop it. There was a much more huge socialist and anarchist radical foist from 1890’s to 1930’s. The on and of membership of the IWW from 1915 to 1925 and those it influenced, was bigger, just for one example. WE forget that ‘radicals’ don’t and didn’t get counted, since they are usually not counted members of a specific party…… “Those on the Outside cannot control those on the Inside absent countervailing political power (“Make me do it”). So there’s no point whinging about what those on the Inside do. Build power, instead. Sadly, DSA looks like the best institution for doing that… A 30’s-style CP would really concentrate the minds of the liberal Democrats, but that’s not where we’re at….”
    I do TOTALLY agree with the outside power gist of your comment. That is seriously where we are lacking. And I, of self professed far left in Bay Area since the 80’s , hang that around ‘our’ necks. Back in the 90’s a mass bottom up org should have been the main thrust…non violent, class and anti racism based, but militant…….not summit jumping….which Graeber does address in Direct Action….a must read book….

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        ISO blew up when the leadership was shown to have covered up a sexual assault by one of its own.

        Most of its members I knew have migrated to DSA, which, based on my unhappy dealings with them in a UFT (NYC teachers) opposition caucus, is a less-than-good thing. Hopefully, their tic-like sectarianism will be sufficiently diluted by numbers.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      It’s just not true that the IWW had a larger following than the CP. Also, the years 1915-25 include the period when the IWW was effectively destroyed, due to its opposition to WWI; the organization’s brief heyday was the years between its founding in 1906 and the war. Additionally, many Wobblies who stayed politically active became Communists (Billl Haywood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and many rank-and-filers). Another limitation to the IWW was their inability/refusal to sign contracts with employers, even when they won a major strike (as in Lawrence, Mass), the gains were short-lived, and the organization couldn’t build on them.

      They were an important, prescient – their model of industrial unionism formed the basis of the CIO – and very courageous bunch, well worth learning about, but they never had the reach of the CP, whose influence extended to Unemployed Councils and many other mass organizations, and even in crypto fashion via Hollywood (Humphrey Bogart having run guns for the Spanish Republicans in “Casablanca”).

      Well over a million people passed through CP membership from the ’30’s until the Cold War, and its influence extended far beyond that, through the Popular Front, and during the US-Soviet alliance against the Nazis. Open Communists in NYC – Benjamin Davis and Peter Cacchione – ran and won on the CP (and American Labor Party) line during this period, and congressman Vito Marcantonio (the most successful radical politician this country has ever produced) was closely associated with the Party. Large swaths of NYC in this era had a Socialist culture, but for better or worse it cleaved heavily toward CP/Popular Front-style politics.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Trick shots–

    Yeah but it will be no sweat for Elon or Bill or Jeff to save us all with some last minute, Hail Mary geo-engineering fix. It will all go very well, I’m sure.

  6. Wukchumni

    “25,000 Barrels Possibly Laced With DDT Are Found Off California Coast” [New York Times]
    25,000 barrels on the bottom of the sea
    Santa Catalina is a-surrounded by DDT
    Santa Catalina, the island of toxicity
    Toxicity, toxicity, toxicity
    Water all around it ev’rywhere
    tropical trees and the salty air
    but for me the thing that’s a-waitin’ that’s environmental despair
    It seems so distant, 25,000 barrels, restin’ in the water serene
    A nightmare of a bad insecticide dream
    Twenty-six miles from LA, so near, yet far


      1. The Rev Kev

        But wait – it gets better. So the government use to dispose of barrels of radioactive waste out to the ocean. They would just roll them off boats like so many depth charges. Problems was that they tended to float. So they simply had a machine-gunner riddle those barrels full of holes until they sank. True story that.

  7. Alfred

    —>”What really irks me to this day is Fauci’s Noble Lie on masks, for which he has never been held accountable, possessing as he does impunity as a liberal Democrat icon. Well, that and ramping Gilead’s stock.”

    They are mostly all in on the insider trading, and ya gotta be a useful tool for any job, or you get thrown out. If you can lie and survive, maybe you can do a little good along the way.

    I feel a bit nauseated after writing that.

    1. Pat

      Fauci has always had a good bureaucrat streak a mile wide. While he is willing to be swayed by both science and data, his first position (one that will do a great deal of damage) is always going to be the one best serving the current bureaucracy and its owners. Be it lockdowns, masks, virus transmission (AIDS and Corona), etc. He will take the friendly position first and pivot if necessary after the fact. And I consider most of the information we have regarding treatments and vaccines to all be curated to be bureaucracy, aka Big Pharma, friendly.

  8. Lee

    “25,000 Barrels Possibly Laced With DDT Are Found Off California Coast” [New York Times]…Senator Feinstein said she planned to ask the Justice Department to find out which companies dumped the barrels and to hold them accountable. Her office declined to elaborate on which companies would be investigated.”

    Let’s hope neither her, lack of discretion, apparent senility nor her investment interests prevent her from doing the necessary.

    1. IMOR

      Re: odd chart of Biden’s proposals.
      Of course, nothing countable let alone newsworthy for decades now about a 7% war spending increase, on top of years upos years of same.

    2. Robert Gray

      > “As these drums potentially lose their containment function, the materials will make their way
      > into the environment and food web,” Dr. [Eric] Terrill [of Scripps} said.

      He’s got a way with words, has Dr Terrill. Drums losing their containment function sounds an awful lot like … ‘when they start to leak’!

    1. JTMcPhee

      As with radionuclides in the Fukushima water being dumped into the common ocean, and air emissions and discharges of pollutants and contaminants, and as has always been the case up until we choke on our own filth, “dilution is the solution to pollution.”

      I did a field investigation while at EPA, me and a guy named Ralph or something who had been transferred from the Corps of Engineers. We were checking the behavior of a coke plant (the combustible stuff for steel making, not the drink) on the south side of Chicago near Lake Calumet.

      The company exec who was to escort us around the huge site had arranged to have strings of railroad cars blocking the dirt roads leading to the lakefront, where a whistleblower had told the agency that the company was discharging plant contaminants without a permit. Ralph was ready to call it a day and go find a steak house with liquor service, but I found a way around the rail blocks down to the shore. Sure enough there was the pipe, not gushing at the moment but the outwash are in the lake made it clear what they were up to.

      Ralph was doing a good imitation of a job interview with the exec, cozying up to him. He obviously was not interested in documenting the patent violations. And at one point in his discussions of the sociology of pollution with the guy who was doing the polluting, he offered this:

      “Hey, you know how in Vietnam they had these big multi engine planes with spray bars, and sprayed stuff all over the country? What I think is al the industrial amd radioactive waste ought to be tanked up and loaded onto big fleets of those planes, which would then fly around a high altitude and squirt it out into the air. That way everyone would get a little bit of the pollution, which is only fair because they buy the products that make the stuff in the first place.”

      An interesting take on the concept of “distributive justice,” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distributive%20justice

      Ralph eventually got fired for using Superfund money to hire hookers when he was out in the field, doing investigations and also “response actions” where he was the “on scene coordinator” with a kind of a blank check to draw on the money in the federal Superfund accounts. Probably got his moral lead from the way the Corps of Engineers seems to do bookkeeping , a lot of the time…

    2. jonboinAR

      I remember reading, probably in the ’90’s, that, while peregrine falcons had been reintroduced to the Channel Islands, all the eggs had to be hatched artificially due to DDT in the food chain.

  9. ProNewerDeal

    Any biomedical Pros (IM_Doc, Ignacio, etc) in the NC community have an informed opinion on the Johnson adenovirus viral vector type vaccine?

    Would you take it personally?

    The non-biomedical Pro yet very generally informed Ian Welsh noted adenovirus viral vector type vaccines have existed for 40 years. Personally I feel more comfortable with this type of vaccine than the new mRNA vaccines.

    It appears as though in my County it MAYBE possible to specifically receive this vaccine now at a specific 1 of the County’s public health vaccination centers.

    1. Dean

      I have had the Moderna vaccine but I would take the J & J or AstraZeneca vaccines.

      The J & J vaccine uses a human adenovirus vector. But it is not an attenuated virus (as was common for many vaccines) but rather a genetically modified adenovirus that is replication deficient. So it cannot cause the typical respiratory diseases common for adenovirus. I do wonder if it is less, or even ineffective in individuals who have had previous adenovirus infections as antibodies to the adenovirus vector may prevent the delivery of spike protein gene to cells. AstraZeneca vaccines avoids this potential problem by using a chimpanzee adenovirus vector.

      The anti-vector immune responses for both J & J and AstraZeneca may limit the number of immunizations to 1 or 2 at most. If booster immunizations are needed (variants or loss of immunity) the mRNA-based vaccines or an inactivated SARS-CoV 2 vaccine (Chinese Sinovac, although there are questions of safety and effectiveness of this vaccine) will most likely be needed.

    2. chuck roast

      I have been hiding in the weeds for a long time, but tomorrow I am moving my geezer butt to the Stop & Shop for the J&J jab. Then it on to a local eatery for some fish & chips.

    3. The Rev Kev

      My wife caught in on the news that about fifty people have had severe reactions to vaccines in Australia – up to and including death – though you would have never know this by watching the news here. Each story of such an event here is book-ended by two caveats. First, they had medical complications already. Second, that any death was not related at all to the vaccination itself. So there was a bald-headed medical dude (wife has seen him on before) on the news that was saying that it might be best for the government to stop these events from going on the news itself and be blacked out. This bald-headed dude knows nothing about human psychology (people would panic if they found this happening) or about social media as in think of the unverified rumours & conspiracy theories that would shoot across Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Yes! one of the very few useful things I learned in consulting was: no news is worse than bad news.

        Unless you’re already at the worst possible case, because that’s what most people fill in the blank with when things like their jobs are on the line.

  10. Dr. John Carpenter

    My favorite thing on the Twinkies pack is the “Vitamin Fortified” logo. I’ve seen a lot of retro junk food ads bragging about being “wholesome” and ok to feed to your children but the implication that Twinkies are a way get your vitamins is a new one to me.

  11. ProNewerDeal

    Anecdotally, the few people I know to be vaccinated have the opinion that they “are safe now” & thus no longer to wear a mask. It seems they incorrectly assume the COVID vaccine provides sterilizing immunity. This includes a PhD Psychologist, who I would have thought would have had enough combo of Biology101/Stats101/critical thinking/followingRealNewslikeNakedCapitalism to know better.

    In my view, convincing vaccinated USians to wear masks indoors where is not required by an authority (like at a big box retailer or government building) will require a big competent public health mass communications campaign. I see no evidence Biden Admin is even attempting this, much less that they are competent to do one. I don’t see this CDC file here as being adequate, even if it were plastered on every TV/billboard/etc

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      I know plenty of fully vaccinated people who plan to continue avoiding being in indoor spaces with others not in their bubble unless they are masked.

      I am returning to the office and with the new guidance MAY decide to share air unmasked for an hour at a time with a single fully vaccinated patient, with HEPA filters in place and allowing an hour between patients to air the office out.

      It is in outdoor spaces that most I know are relaxing a bit. For example, while the guidance designates as “safest” vaccinated people eating indoors at a restaurant, no one I know is buying it. But we are all sure looking forward to outdoor restaurant dining after a year’s absence!

      We all know the CDC is looking out for the population as a whole and not the risk to any one person. In order to maximize vaccination they are willing to overstate the benefits of same but the nonzero risk makes clear that it would be wise for each of us to make up our own minds about which risks are most worth taking to us.

      1. RMO

        “I know plenty of fully vaccinated people who plan to continue avoiding being in indoor spaces with others not in their bubble unless they are masked.”

        That includes me. First shot of the Pfizer last week but I’m basing any decision to forgo precautions not on my vaccination status (or that of the other two people in the house) but on the number of new cases daily here in BC. When it gets down to double digits I may begin to relax… or I may well wait until we get long stretches of zero new case days. We actually were down to multiple consecutive days of zero new cases last summer even here in the Fraser Health District which has been hit the worst. Canada hasn’t botched things as badly as some nations but at the federal level the ball was dropped both with regards to vaccination and border control.

  12. Toshiro_Mifune

    On Monday, a company ousted its chief executive officer and co-founder because he used LSD in 2019. Justin Zhu was experimenting with drugs to boost his focus

    Acid for focus ? …..you’re definitely doing it wrong.

    Also, stop lying and just say you wanted to trip and had just bought a copy of Eat a Peach.

    1. Alfred

      What I understood about the whole LSD experimentation (I am an old) was that it expanded your awareness without you having to do any real spiritual work. The Yaqui take peyote because they believe it contains a spirit that will teach them. My brother took that stuff because he “could see the blood pulsing through his veins, @etc.” Maybe Zhu was looking for some ideas he thought he couldn’t get any other way. I have met spiritual teachers and healers who don’t need any of that stuff to get the same effects. Probably Zhu’s using upset the shareholders.

      1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

        “I have met spiritual teachers and healers who don’t need any of that stuff to get the same effects.”

        The Jewish spiritual Master said that, “The kingdom of God is within you.”

        Which, of course, opens up multiple avenues of inquiry, some of which is ongoing right now. That inquiry can take various forms, such as officially sanctioned scientific inquiry. [ That is, for example, “It is evident that we have too long ignored the field of hallucinogen research, in all of its potential aspects. This is especially true if continuing research demonstrates a clear role for one of its more prominent members, DMT, as an endogenous regulator of brain function.”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088236/ ]

        Or ritual use by shamans and other culturally approved and designated gate keepers, or personal experimentation [ For example, https://archive.org/details/kundalinipsychos00lees ].

        Noting carefully, that the results that one seeks, or expects may not be the results that one eventually gets.

        Specific to LSD and creativity, see for example, “LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process” by Marlene Dobkin De Rios and Oscar Janiger


        Awareness, both at the personal level and at the social/cultural level evolves slowly and only when the proper groundwork has already been laid in advance. That is,

        “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” And again, specific to the ‘spiritual quest’, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” That is why, when true results are finally achieved at the individual level, in this society one may very be considered ‘disordered’, ‘mad’, or ‘out of their mind’, as the experiences of ego dissolution and the turning off, or relaxing of mental filters, can be truly novel and that is especially so if the results persist.. See for example,

        “Huxley and Osmond understand the relationship between psychedelic phenomena and psychotic phenomena: temporarily opening the cerebral reducing valve with psychedelics could produce mental phenomena that resembled symptoms of chronic natural psychoses precisely because both were the result of (acute or chronic) reductions in brain filtration mechanisms.”

        “Unifying Theories of Psychedelic Drug Effects”


        1. Alfred

          “shamans and other culturally approved and designated gate keepers”
          If you mean that this is done to ensure safety and the best possible outcome, I agree. And people who “awaken” are often represented by others to be “disassociating.” This is where spiritual grounding you can trust is needed. A lot of people, including myself, did not want to wait until the point of death to realize what the hay it’s all about. I reached that knowledge, and I can’t share it. I can only work on myself further. I could stop all contact with the world, but I choose not to. A lot of people “have a foot in both worlds.”
          I believe it was Ram Dass’s guru who told him (paraphrasing), “You can take drugs and meet God, but you have to come back.”

      2. jonboinAR

        Waaay back in the day, we took it to get high. I did have experiences with psilocybin mushrooms and peyote that made me think, “Yeah, this stuff might be able to be used for spiritual enlightenment purposes.” Acid, you were just in cartoon land for several hours. That was my “experience”.

    2. Temporarily Sane

      Acid, and weed too, can definitely improve one’s focus and, especially, attention to detail. It all depends on how they are used.

      Firing somebody for taking LSD is absolutely ridiculous. It has fewer harmful effects than weed, practically zero, and does not in any way impair normal cognitive or social functioning. If a company’s management is okay with employees drinking alcohol on their own time, coming down on them for using acid is just stupid.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      Having worked for tech startups for 25 years, typically, when a CEO or other high level exec is fired for something that happened in private (no media coverage, no lawsuits, etc.), the board (or other powerful high-level exec(s)) already want to get rid of him/her, and the said behavior is used as a convenient excuse. If the board and other execs thought the CEO was critical to the company, matters like these are easily (and often) swept under the rug (e.g. see years of bad behavior by the Uber guy). This is probably true of non-tech startups as well, but I only have up close and personal experience with small tech.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Big-billings-generating partner at a law firm I know about, who had a very lucrative major national client in particular and a string of others, got caught dealing commercial quantities of cocaine. That was in fact completely obscured, covered up, sent to the memory hole, and connections to the US Attorneys office and courts apparently unlimbered to allow a completely unwarranted “diversion from prosecution” and community-service penalty.

        Had no effect on his close relationship of decades to the particular client, and as far as I know, not even any impact on his share of partnership billings income.

    4. Aumua

      It’s probably related to the ‘microdosing’ trend that has been popular in Silicon valley in recent years. I could see how minuscule doses might enhance certain kinds of attention.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I believe Lambert shared an article not too long ago about this very thing but I can’t seem to find it right now.

  13. flora

    re: “BeschlossDC reacts to Pres. Biden’s first address to Congress: “I think the style was classic Biden … but in terms of ambition, absolutely Rooseveltian and also Johnsonian.”

    Oh, Michael. I know the fear of cancel culture and of wanting to be on the team. But… seriously? Objective? Historian or cheerleader? Don’t go all Leni Riefenstahl by aiming to please the powers that be for short term gains. What would Haines Johnson say? My 2 cents.

    1. RMO

      Rooseveltian and Johnsonian? Really? Only of he inadvertently plagiarized them. That’s how he made a Kinnockian speech after all.

  14. Toshiro_Mifune

    Do people really fall asleep playing games?

    Yes. I’ve nodded off during long dungeon crawls in both Oblivion and Skyrim.

      1. Alfred

        That “sound on” vid of Sid is disturbing to me–he sounds like he has some respiratory infection.

        1. lambert strether

          Sid, when we was very young, had a polyp of some kind in his throat that threatened his life. They operated and Sid’s life was saved. But his voice ended up a little odd.

          The “kitten thread” is pinned on that account’s page. Sid and Fern are 2020’s brightest spot, not that there were many

  15. Doc Octagon

    “Peasants […]”, 1914 also has an edge, or a certain provocative sting in common with other elevated post-expressionist / new objectivity pieces. Look at their hands. These are miners, young and strong suitors, in the industrial age on the eve of World War I. For wages that bought that them that slick look, they extracted the ore and coal from which the bullets and artillery were made that will soon wound and kill them. The same mass production techniques that created the suits that they could afford for the first time will also create the army uniforms they will wear to the big “dance”. The featureless landscape is halfway to no-man’s land.

    From the German folk “Westerwald Song” [trans]:
    And Gretel and Hans / Gladly go dancing on Sunday /
    Because dancing makes joy / And the heart in the body laughs //
    When the dancing is over / there is mostly fighting /
    And the lad whom that does not please / Is accused of having no grit //

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Doc Octagon. Maybe. It is true that for the first time young men like these were no longer tied to the land forever.

      And here John Berger, the self-proclaimed expert on gaze, gets it all wrong:

      “Their suits deform them. Wearing them, they look though they were physically misshapen. … None of their abnormalities is extreme. They do not provoke pity. They are just sufficient to undermine physical dignity. We look at bodies which appear coarse, clumsy, brute-like. And incorrigibly so.”

      Pure Anglo snobbery. I know who is brute-like.

      Those over-the-shoulder looks, the hat “at 23” as the Italians say, those walking sticks: Who knows where these young men are headed, but they are confident. And they are determined to delight someone’s eye.

      Further, note the sleeve lengths, exactly where they should be. The shoulders fit well. Would that U.S. clothing was now so well made.

      I’ve always been skeptical of Berger’s pretensions. But now that his pretensions are fully on display, I’ll dismiss him. I grew up in a working-class family, and when the men dressed up, they made damn sure that they were snazzy–they had earned the money and a chance to buy a decent shirt and tie.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Don’t know Berger but has the same reaction to reading his quote: more revealing of himself than anything in the photograph.

    2. Objective Function

      “A bayonet is a tool with a worker at each end!”

      (origin unknown, but quoted in ‘Riley, Ace of Spies’)

      ….Regrettably though, TNT, RDX, Tabun and Sarin are capital-intensive

  16. flora

    re:“Choosing Safer Activities” [CDC]

    So, complex formulas plus a side order of Tom Ridges’ 2002-3 safety/danger color codes.
    Alrighty then… /s

    Even if they mean well, and I assume they do, they’re divorced from what’s happening and from how much people now ignore them given the recent history, (Tony WHO?). imo.

  17. upstater

    Now here’s something new, customized setback entertainment screens:

    Is JetBlue’s IFE Personalization Creepy?

    The screen reads “Hi, [first name]!” and then there’s a prompt asking you to confirm that this is in fact you:

    If you state that it’s not you, then the prompt disappears
    If you state that it is you, then there’s the option to enter your last name and date of birth; I suppose in theory there may be future opportunities for customization by linking your TrueBlue account, etc., though it’s not entirely clear what the benefit of this is as of now

    Technology is getting much more better to serve you! Just like “Shhhh, They’re Listening – Inside the Coming Voice-Profiling Revolution “

    1. Watt4Bob

      When I was a kid, we’d take the Empire Builder out of Union Station to Minnesota to visit my Grandparents.

      The place was pretty impressive to a kid from the South Side.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Now that is magnificent, Alfred. Love that sort of grand elegance. Can you imagine what a modern architect would say? They would complain about all that wasted spaces that could be rented out to commerce and the unnecessary costs of all that flourishing that could be put to more better use, say architect bonuses for example.

      1. Alfred

        You know, it does look like a lot of wasted space, doesn’t it? But I remember there being a lot of rooms in the walls of that towering space, used for offices or something, I didn’t know, and restaurants. It was just made to be expansive and beautiful.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Not wasted at all. Otherwise Cathedrals would be multi-storied inside. You need space for grandeur and buildings have a relationship with space after all. This puts me in mind of something I saw in the UK a very long time ago while traveling through there. I saw a mine which nearby had accommodation for the people that worked there. The manager had a suburban home that would be just like a suburban house in Australia while the workers had, well…have you ever seen images of those double-story narrow worker’s home jammed side by side in UK cities? It was like somebody had lifted one section out from the middle of say Liverpool and plopped it int the middle of a broad countryside. It was weird and I wish that I had taken a photo of it at the time.

  18. John A

    Re British cuisine, he got the meal half price thanks to the government ‘eat out to help out’ scheme last summer as the girl at the till explained. This was after the first lockdown, where the idea was to subsidise restaurant meals, to help boost the catering industry. Not sure how much that hastened the second lock down, but his entire meal was £8 something with the discount.

  19. TBellT

    I find myself annoyed by Greenwald more often than not these days but he shared a piece by someone about the NYC mayoral race that I really enjoyed and echoes a lot of what Barkan has said. It analyzes how useless the idpol rhetoric has been for leftists in trying to challenge Yang. As the day gets closer and closer I don’t see how Yang doesn’t win it and ushers an incredibly weird era in NYC politics.


    1. skippy

      Its quite curious this thing called idpol when conservatives were the front runners, sure its an eclectic group, especially when viewed over a few hundred years. Albeit I would argue the distinction is when the labour left abandoned its traditional roots for a share of productivity and went thirdway or attempted to forward certain social advocacy by market based based means to usurp its dominate social narrative.

  20. XXYY

    I guess the biggest reason I don’t think that green line will go to zero is that our elite’s response has been half-assed, is half-assed now, and will continue to be half-assed.

    Another reason to think this is that there are many places on the graph where the slope could have been extrapolated to zero in a short time. None of these played out that way.

  21. ambrit

    Manet on ergot? Manet had too much absinthe the day before?
    The painting shown is in roughly the same time period as his famous “Olympia.” So, the pictured “landscape” could be a test run for a later piece. Painters do that. Many of them destroy those earlier works.
    The composition of the painting seems not to work well.
    One possibility for the “headlight” effect is if the painting was undergoing a cleaning. Many oil paintings were ‘sealed’ with a layer of varnish over the surface. The varnish will darken over time. Later, the now darkened varnish will be removed to reveal the original colours and brightness the artist intended. The removal of the varnish layer is quite a job. It involves q-tips dipped in solvent and rolled over sections of the varnish. I have seen gently rubbing the surface of the painting with a soft cloth soaked in solvent, usually turpentine, advised for the removal of the varnish layer. This has the drawback of having the potential of being physically destructive of the oil paint itself if the artist layered on the paint with a heavy hand. The oil paint itself can be removed just like the varnish layer. Care is paramount. Professional painting ‘cleaners’ will charge hundreds on up to thousands for a cleaning.
    Stay safe.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      as the eldest son of an art history teacher(explains a lot, no?), what bubble up regarding the spotlight on those two non-fishers, was that they likely paid for the painting.

  22. Pat

    Another vaccine anecdote, three older black women on the bus discussing the vaccine. All of them were fully masked, one had a walker and one used her cart as partial walker.
    The gist: they might, and they made it clear that it was not certain, consider getting vaccinated in the fall. They all expressed various doubts about the vaccines, were well informed enough to note that none of them guaranteed you wouldn’t get it or be able to spread it, and one of them bemoaned the fact that all of them were experimental and none were old school vaccines. They also were adamant that they were masked for the foreseeable future. One declared that they would have to rip the mask from her face.

    I learned awhile ago, you could not make assumptions on NY Buses about people not being Trump supporters, but my first guess would be that none of these women voted for him. So once again I’m encountering people who do not fit the convenient assumptions on people who are not getting vaccinated.

    1. Alfred

      I wish politicians would get over the belief that people are stupid. No one is going to go for the “be patriotic, get vaccinated” BS. The people I know who have gotten vaccinated did it because they felt that in their environment it would be the safest option, and were willing to take the risk of side effects.

      1. curlydan

        How about a $1,400 check to get vaccinated? I kid, but only a little

        P.S. I’m 10 days past my 2nd Pfizer shot. Days 7-9 were uncomfortable with a slight fever and extensive muscle aches. I have heard of no one with such a delayed reaction, but I do have auto-immune issues, so maybe it takes awhile to get my system kick started.

        P.S.S. I’m invited to a goodbye lunch for a colleague tomorrow. Like those ladies on the bus, if we don’t sit outside or the place is not well ventilated, no one better touch my double mask!

        1. Pat

          The public private version is not $1400, but a free Bud!

          Glad you are feeling better and enjoy the lunch.

  23. enoughisenough

    re. the Manet, well, he wasn’t really an “Impressionist”.

    re. the “spotlights”….those are cloud breaks.

    Not realistic, he’s breaking academic traditions deliberately.

  24. Alfred

    “A theory of how developers seek information” “A person, known as the predator, seeks information, known as the prey,”

    This explains my whole “dating” experience. Silly me, I was behaving like a tree or a plant.

  25. dcblogger

    Dorothea Lange captured this iconic photo known as Migrant Mother in 1936. But who was the woman pictured? And how did she and her family feel about its existence in the world? Guest host John Green introduces you to Florence Owens Thompson, her family, and her story.

    1. Lee

      Great story, thanks for the link. My own mother, as a youngster in Weedpatch CA, during the Great Depression also picked cotton, waited tables, and the like. A bit later on she moved to L.A. and, among other things, ran an illegal poker parlor, and worked as a carhop on skates.

    2. Alfred

      Thank you so much for this link, I am so glad to have seen it. From the comments:

      “there is an irony in a native american woman being remembered as some anonymous ‘migrant’ mother”

      There is truth there also. Native Americans had the strength and love of the Earth to survive on the land. I learn from them, and thank them every day.

  26. RockHard

    As far as the extrapolation, what I see is that there’s a pattern in the USA at least with infection rates: asymptotic growth, a plateau, and then asymptotic decline to some new normal. Why the steep rise and then decline? I see this on the national charts but also the more localized ones. I wonder how this works at the county level.

    Iterable item – that’s funny I got hit up by a recruiter today for them. I should ask what the in-office LSD policy is.

  27. flora

    re: “Oh, the “still, small voice” allusion. Here it is, 1 Kings 19:11-13:”

    Thanks for that. To garble the old quote “Ars longa, vita brevis”:

    Deo longa, vita brevis.

    or something like that. / ;)

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    I want to be almost jubilantly hopefull with all the fdr-esque stuff biden and the demparty have been up to here of late, but dammit!…i can’t shake the 30+ years of whinging, laying-upon-the-floor , “reachingacrosstheaisle”, and utter frelling betrayal they’ve given us.
    I’ve learned to not trust these people with a hole in the head, so often have they so condescendingly gone straight into the arms of the filthy rich and those immortal vehicles they ride upon…forgetting all that talk about “The Little Guy” and even “Working Families”.
    So i’m cynical as hell.
    That said, I am also pretty floored by all this…and also by how the gop hasn’t been able to gell around any kind of response, no matter how predictably idiotic, hurtfull and insane it might be.
    Austin tv that i hear from the other room has dan patrick, and others of that ilk, hyperventilating about voter fraud and stolen elections, and their proposed remedies(sic)…a few mentions of “socialism” by party ballgags…and the by now habitual language used by the local talking heads…the anodyne pablum that always subtly implies that gubmit are ba-ud…but without saying it out loud.
    But none of the gop pols is talking about biden’s flirtation with Bolshevik vanguardism or whatnot…at least that i’ve heard.

    Of course, i’ve been a farmer, a carpenter, a plumber, and hvac guy, an electrician, a therapist(!), a nurse(!), a taxi driver,a ditch digger,a chef(open fire and Dutch ovens!)…underlain by chronic cripplehood and interspersed by bouts of weatherpain and exhaustion….the latter, often preceded by a preemptive drunk…and all in the last 2-4 weeks(really, since october).
    So I have paid little attention to anything on the intertubes but the weather and building out the music library(current obsession: the one on the left, Chloe:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQeg3dd-XM0)

    if biden manages to do something meaningful about healthcare, end the idiotic drug war, and bust up big ag in some non-mealy-mouthed manner, i’ll tattoo “Biden” on my frelling arm.
    Until then, i’ll merely hold my fire on the dems.
    (the Right, however….I find i’m writing more letters to tedfuckincruz of late…always addressed to “reptile”. I never veer anywhere close to secret service level assholery, but i’ve been certain to let that guy know what I think of him and people like him and the world they have made, lo, these last 50 years)

    ((oh, and I must add: first response to viewing the picture of ‘peasants” going to a dance:” wow, they’re much better dressed than I am”–said by the guy in the bathrobe, wet from the rain retrieving a beer from the bar down the sunken lane))

    (and!: the sunbeams there in GCS look that way because of all the tobacco smoke. Just sayin’…)

  29. flora

    re: “Advantage, GOP” [FiveThirtyEight]. “It may seem dramatic to suggest that Republicans are overriding democracy to win power when Democrats currently control all three elected legs of the federal government: the presidency, Senate and House. But in order to secure them, Democrats had to go above and beyond winning a simple majority of votes, like a tennis player having to ace all of her serves on a particularly windy day.”

    Wow! It’s almost like the FiveThirtyEight crew has NO IDEA how our US federal system of representation works! Almost like that! But of course, I’d never suggest the FiveThirtyEight crew is that ignorant of the basic (as in grade school second grade level), well-known, civics class understanding of how US politics works. Nope, I’d never suggest they are that ignorant. / meh

    1. JBird4049

      Nah, it is not that the fine, highly educated crew at FiveThirtyEight has no idea that we live in a 234 year old federal republic whose basic system is covered in required introductory political science and/or American history courses at both high school and college level. That is not including the countless books, articles, and shows that accurately do so in very fine detail. It is that they are paid to become and remain ignorant as that would disturb both them and their phantasy narrative opinion story steaming, propagandistic pile of cow pattties.

  30. Jason Boxman

    Another writer confusing the left with the Democrat left:

    The Krugmanification of the Democrats wasn’t won without a fight. There are fiscal hawks in Biden’s entourage. At one point he even counted Larry Summers as an adviser. That didn’t last: the empowered left wing of the Dems wouldn’t stand for it. But although he is no longer in the inner circle, Summers hasn’t surrendered. Opposing untargeted stimulus checks, calling for more focus on investment, he recently declared the Biden administration’s fiscal policy the most irresponsible in forty years – the result, he remarked bitterly, of the leverage handed to the left of the Democratic Party by the absolute refusal of the GOP to co-operate.

    So what about those heavily means tested checks, for $600 less than promised, to fewer people than the original $600 checks?

    That’s left ascendancy?

    Sure, okay.

    The Democrat left is too busy trying to out-woke itself to concern itself with such things as material benefits for the working class.

  31. Copeland

    Lots of good news in the covid charts above, but look at whats happening in Oregon (where I live) Washington, Nevada and now Idaho, not looking good.

    My county just went from “severe” to “extreme” risk, the highest category.

  32. Michael Ismoe


    Amazon is more likely to do the right thing than Congress. Mother of God, we are doomed. No wonder no one wants to join a union.

  33. Michael Ismoe

    President Biden

    United States government official
    I believe no one should work full time and still live in poverty. That’s why today, I raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for people working on federal contracts.

    Thank you Ithan Omar for mindlessly tweeting out DNC talking points. Uncle Joe is so concerned about government contractors that he forgot about government employees. Here’s a job posting from today’s OPM website:

    Barista (Food Service Worker)
    Air Combat Command
    Department of the Air Force
    Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona
    Starting at $13.97 (NA 4)
    Permanent • Multiple Schedules
    Open 04/21/2021 to 05/21/2021

    FDR would have noticed this. I’d say he’s more like Trump than Roosevelt.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      When Joe said $15/hour, he actually meant $13.97/hour because they already received a $1400 “down payment” check earlier this year.

    2. marym

      Apparently he can make the change for contractors with an executive order but federal employees are subject to the federal minimum wage. Congress has to make the change

    3. marym

      Apparently presidents can make changes for federal contractor wages by executive order. Federal employees are covered under the federal minimum wage law, which Congress continues not to change.

      In a previous EO Biden asked OPM to provide a report with recommendations to “promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees” whatever that means, if anything.

      I’m surprised by your example, because in the 2 minutes of extensive research I did on this it seems as though food service workers are among the many, many people of our highly privatized “federal” workforce:

      “A senior Biden administration official could not give an exact number of federal contractors who would benefit, predicting “hundreds of thousands…These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government, from cleaning professionals and maintenance workers … to nursing assistants who care for the nation’s veterans, to cafeteria and other food service workers who ensure military members have healthy and nutritious food to eat, to laborers who build and repair federal infrastructure,” the official said.”


  34. Peerke

    Naked Capitalism and Yves Smith get a shoutout for the Ivermectin article a few days back from FLCCC’s Dr Pierre Cory at around the 34:40 mark

    1. Peerke

      I should add that there is a lot of good information regarding the anti covid struggles in India, Peru, Mexico etc

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Millions Are Skipping Their Second Doses of Covid Vaccines”

    After so many people had bad reactions to their first dose, I can imagine the reluctance to take up the second. It’s like when a guy decides to wax his legs and how hard can it be as girls do it all the time, right? So he puts the wax strips on and by the time he is finished with the first leg, asks himself how the hell girls can end up doing both legs-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2LOPcZUvYg (27 secs)

    1. Alfred

      I am a big fan of the Stephanie Plum novels, and in Four To Score her boyfriend insults the crossdressing rock band guy she is working with. He shouts, “He insulted my breasts!” and Stephanie answers, “That’s what happens when you have breasts, people insult them! Get used to it!”

      Sorry, maybe OT, just always made me laugh.

  36. Mikel

    RE: new-york-city-former-covid-19-epicenter-to-fully-reopen-on-july-1

    So, they have figured out how long vaccine “immunity” lasts?

    BioNTech’s chief executive and co-founder, told reporters on Wednesday that the vaccine his company created with Pfizer will likely require a third booster shot due to data showing a weaker immune response over time in people who received the vaccine, the Associated Press reported.

    According to studies, the efficacy of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine drops from 95% to 91% after six months. Sahin said people who receive two doses of the vaccine should get the third dose nine to 12 months after the first shot….”

    That’s so far…this one…
    And…since “vaccines” are not stopping the spread of the virus, more variants will continue to pop up.

  37. Expat2uruguay

    Technical paper, includes observation that an unknown quantity of what is currently being reported as P1 virus in South America may actually be C.37:


    C.37 AKA the “Andean variant” is also discussed in this Wall Street Journal article, reported from Fair Uruguay:


  38. Expat2uruguay

    In the post above I said that it is thought that some of the virus that is being reported as the dreaded P1 variant may actually be the new C.37 variant. Since I have to admit that I’m learning this subject as I read each new article, I have to admit that I’m in real Danger of making stuff up inadverdantly. Here’s a better explanation of how a variant could be misreported using genotyping using the standard RT-PCR test:

    According to the professor and coordinator of the Laboratory of Ecology and Virus Evolution of the Department of Phytopathology, Francisco Murilo Zerbini, sequencing can be done in two ways: only in the region of the genome that encodes the Spike (S) protein – responsible for the entry of the new coronavirus in the cells – or by the complete virus genome.
    “Sequencing the region, which encodes the S protein, allows to identify the variants already known and also to select samples with mutations not yet described for that region, that is, possible new variants”, explained the professor.
    The sequencing of the complete genome broadens the detection spectrum, identifying the variants already characterized and also any others that may appear with mutations in other regions of the genome, in addition to that encoding the S protein.
    Genotyping, in turn, is done by the same method that has been used for testing, real-time RT-PCR . In this case, specific reagents (primers and probes) are used to detect the main variants. This procedure, therefore, allows only the identification of variants already known.

    Perhaps I’m not understanding it correctly, here’s the source: https://g1.globo.com/mg/zona-da-mata/noticia/2021/04/26/covid-19-cepas-brasileira-e-britanica-sao-identificadas-em-pacientes-de-vicosa-e-ponte-nova-aponta-ufv.ghtml

    1. Yves Smith

      I love Clarke & Dawes (remember I lived in Sydney for a bit). But they don’t quite fit in the Links format, but are great additions to Water Cooler.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Clarke & Dawes also did a TV series based around them being responsible for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games called “The Games” which showed off their brand of low-key humour and sarcasm-


        Below is a too brief sample which ends before revealing that the 100 meters track has been built only 96 meters long because of the installation of all the underground TV cables-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17NKos-7GCo (3:04 mins)

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