2:00PM Water Cooler 5/28/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day~

I believe I am hearing a crow, running water, and a woodpecker!

From Hungary:

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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. All the charts are becoming dull — approaching nominal, if you accept the “new normal” of cases, for example.

Vaccination by region:

Still whoopsie.

“Nearly half of Americans have at least one vaccine shot as Covid case counts fall further” [CNBC]. “CDC data shows 49.9% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine shot, with 40% having completed a full vaccination program.” • That’s really not very much, and nowhere close to any of the goalposts for herd immunity Fauci kept moving. So I don’t see how, on its own, vaccination can give an account for the steadily and majestically decreasing case count (see next chart). Perhaps Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions were far more effective than they get credit for being? Perhaps many, many, many more Americans than we thought can “trust their immune system” because they have already recovered from it? Summer weather? Or all combined….

“How do I get cash prizes from California’s $116-million COVID vaccine lottery?” [Los Angeles Times]. From part of the rules: “The California Department of Public Health will try to contact you by phone. If they can’t reach you on the first try, they will try again, repeatedly, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. But if you can’t be reached within 96 hours after the first attempt at contact, they may drop you and move on to the next eligible prospective winner.” Oh, only during working hours. Good, good. We’ve often linked to stories that show that the largest percentage of the unvaccinated is not the “vaccine-hesitant” (as if it were a psychological problem) but working class people who can’t take time off for the jab, and can’t risk losing days of work to side effects. Do the doofuses who are in love with the lottery fad really think working class families optimize for breadwinners who skip work to win the lottery? Again, as we have seen from the very beginning, Rule #1 of the United States response to Covid has been: Do not interfere with the wage relation!!! Paid time off for the jab? Fuggedaboutit!!!!!

Case count by United States regions:

Continued good news. I must confess that temperamentally I am ill-equipped to cope with such an extended run of good news. I fall back on the good old New England response, when faced with a beautiful summer day: “We’ll pay for this!” (And since New England still has a winter, we do, we do…).

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

Continued good news.

Test positivity:

More good news.

DIVOC-91 no longer updates hospitalization and death so I went and found some substitutes; neither provide regional data.

Hospitalization (CDC):

More good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

A little uptick.

Covid cases worldwide:

I think it makes more sense to look at all regions rather than individual countries (even if we know, for example, that WHO’s Southeast Asia is mostly India by sheer weight of numbers, even though many individual countries are having issues). And why is Africa such an enormous outlier? Readers?

* * *


“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

“So Much For “Transformational” Joe Biden” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. ” Just a few weeks ago, we were being told in headline after headline that Biden was a ‘transformational’ president who’d heroically abandoned fruitless efforts at bipartisanship and moreover had conquered the fear of deficit spending that kept Barack Obama from fulfilling his own ‘transformative‘ destiny. Insiders regaled us with tales about how this administration exiled the Clintonian tricksters like Larry Summers who robbed Obama of his legacy by whispering false worries about inflation….. Then a few weeks ago, on Meet The Press, Yellen reverted to form and said that Joe Biden ‘has made clear that permanent increases in spending should be paid for, and I agree,’ adding that ‘over the long run, deficits need to be contained.’ After that came the Post story and word that the administration had backed off a host of plans, including a proposal to lower prescription drug costs, while also engaging with seeming seriousness in ‘bipartisan’ negotiations on an infrastructure/jobs bill…. Translation: Biden is worried about deficits, and having Republicans on whom they can pin lower budgetary outlays is once again politically useful. Therefore, bipartisanship is back, fiscal restraint is back, maybe even austerity is back. Good times! Whatever one’s feeling about the appropriateness of any of these policies, it’s clear the messaging surrounding them has undergone a near-complete turnaround almost overnight, which would normally prompt at least a raised eyebrow or two in media. But all that’s happened is that the moment the Biden administration stopped talking about being ‘transformative,’ the White House press quietly did the same, in silent recognition that they’ll all be selling a different product for while. Joe Biden’s journey to ‘transformational’ status and back has been an expert political PR campaign. It took a year, and Biden’s camp never had to break a sweat.” • Normally I don’t like to run Substack excerpts, but this is spot on. To be fair to the press, brunch awaits, and after that a nice long nap!

“Senate Republicans Propose Cuts to Rural Broadband Plan” [Brick House]. “In its infrastructure plan, the Biden administration initially proposed $2 trillion in spending over eight years, containing a $100 billion investment to reach 100% broadband coverage and access. The White House’s fact sheet pledged that the plan, which is currently being negotiated with Senate Republicans, would bring broadband to the more than 35% of rural Americans who lack high-speed internet access. Biden’s plan prioritized investing in municipally-owned local networks of the kind that cable industry lobbyists have battled for years. Laws that prohibit government-funded broadband are in-place in at least 17 states, some of the industry’s anti-competitive practices that have resulted in internet access that’s both pricey and spotty. Powerful telecom incumbents have long lobbied against competition and under-invested in rural areas, leaving the country with a digital divide that caused even greater problems during the coronavirus pandemic, with its heightened need for remote learning and work. Last month, Senate Republicans countered Biden’s infrastructure plan with a proposal for a $568 billion package with a smaller broadband investment of $65 billion. President Biden agreed last week to meet Republicans at that level to demonstrate his willingness to compromise, even though Mitch McConnell stands adamantly opposed to spending even a dollar more than the GOP proposal.” • How Rooseveltian. 2022 is a mortal lock for Democrats, fer sure.

“Democrats are falling for Republicans’ fake negotiations again” [The Week]. “Let’s be real: Republicans obviously don’t want Biden to pass anything. They want to string him along with fake promises of bipartisanship, running out the clock on the Democratic majority, until they get a chance at taking control of Congress in the 2022 midterms. If that happens, they will try to strangle the economy by demanding massive austerity every time the government needs to pass a budget or raise the debt limit — trying to create a recession that Biden will be blamed for, so that the Republican nominee (probably Donald Trump) will be elected in 2024. This is exactly what Republicans like Sen. Chuck Grassley did the last time Democrats controlled Congress and the presidency — promise an illusory bipartisan compromise to make proposals worse and eat up time, then vote against them anyways.” • If Biden were truly Rooseveltian, this stuff would be rammed through already, as I’m sure reader know. It boggles the mind that whatever we are to call this system is so resilient.

“US tells Russia it won’t rejoin Open Skies arms control pact” [Associated Press]. • Another continuity with Trump.

Stats Watch

Personal Income: “United States Personal Income” [Trading Economics]. “Personal income in the US decreased 13.1 percent month-over-month in April of 2021, compared to market expectations of a 14.1 percent drop and after jumping by a revised 20.9 percent in March when most Americans received $1,400 checks as part of Covid-19 stimulus. Within government social benefits, “other” social benefits decreased as economic impact payments made to individuals from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 continued, but at a lower level than in March. Unemployment insurance also was down, led by decreases in payments from the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.” • Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

Consumer Sentiment: “United States Consumer Sentiment” [Trading Economics]. “The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for the US was revised slightly higher to 82.9 in May of 2021 from a preliminary 82.8, matching market forecasts. The reading still pointed to the lowest consumer confidence level in 3 months, amid falls in both current conditions and expectations. Meanwhile, inflation expectations remained elevated for the year ahead.:

Inflation: “April 2021 Real Income And Expenditures – Inflation Now Impacting” [Econintersect]. “The data continues to be affected by the pandemic, comparisons to the recession one year ago, and now inflation. Inflation is now seriously impacting growth… The note from the BEA says it all: ‘The estimate for April personal income and outlays was impacted by the continued government response to COVID-19. Economic impact payments associated with the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (which was enacted on March 11, 2021) continued but were at a lower level than in March. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.'”

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The MNI Chicago Business Barometer in the US increased to 75.2 in May of 2021 from 72.1 in March, the highest level since November 1973 and above market expectations of 75.2. Demand provided a boost to business activity, but supply chain constraints remain…. Companies continuously noted delivery delays due to transportation issues and material shortages.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 22 May 2021 – Strong Year-over-Year Growth” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic – which has been in contraction for over one year – is now surging as it is being compared to the pandemic lockdown period one year ago.”

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Retail: “Dick’s Sporting Goods gets serious about golf boom” [Yahoo News]. “The golf boom is continuing this year as people look for fun, socially distanced outdoor activities during the pandemic. And that has caused executives at Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) to reach into their cash coffers to upgrade the shopping experience at their important Golf Galaxy stores so they keep pace with rivals such as the PGA Superstore. Somewhat under the radar, Dick’s said on an earnings call Wednesday it would spend $20 million to bolster its Golf Galaxy stores in a bid to capture market share in the red-hot golf equipment market.” • So, social distancing means go long golf. Easy to see, once stated!

Shipping: Covid will be screwing up tightly coupled supply chains for some time:

The Bezzle: “Tesla reportedly scrambling for IC supply” [DIgitimes Asia]. “In the first quarter of 2021, there were reports saying that Tesla had already piled up enough IC parts for its target production of 500,000 EVs. However, speculations have emerged recently indicating the firm is short of semiconductor parts, and it has even admitted that it has been feeling the pinch. The firm’s recent decision to remove mmWave radar sensors from its EVs highlights the shortage of its IC parts, said the sources. Some reports have even claimed that Telsa is not ruling out the possibility of buying foundry houses as alternatives. It is doubtful for such an effort in terms of technological and geopolitical concerns, said the sources.” • Big if true!

Manufacturing: “Boeing puts off 787 deliveries again to provide more information to the F.A.A.” [New York Times]. “The current delay… stems from the same issue that caused the previous disruption: a concern with shims used where parts of the plane’s fuselage come together. Boeing used a statistical analysis to identify where inspections are needed, but the F.A.A. remains unconvinced that the approach is sufficient.” • Boeing does love them their shims, ’cause that’s what you use when your parts don’t really fit. See this post from 2020 for a round-up of Boeing’s manufacturing and quality assurance issues with shims (the other word to watch for being “dimple”). Although all the stories make light of it, this is not a small problem, and could affect the structural integrity of the 787 tailfin. (Incidentally, Google is just horrible on this topic. My search for “787 shim faa inspection” in the past week turned up posts from 2020 and 2012 (!).

Infrastructure: “U.S. says $11.6 billion NYC-area tunnel project reaches milestones” [Reuters]. “Two U.S. agencies on Friday said a planned $11.6 billion project to reconstruct and add a new tunnel between New York City and New Jersey reached two key milestones that will allow it to advance and receive federal funding. The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration jointly issued the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Hudson Tunnel Project, key steps for the project that is a crucial economic link in the U.S. Northeast….. The Hudson Tunnel Project is one component of the Gateway Program, a major project to overhaul much of the aging rail infrastructure in the New York City area.” • Here is the Hudson Tunnel permitting dashboard. I don’t know whether Buttigieg just announced this, or accomplished it. My guess is the former.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 40 Fear (previous close: 36 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 28 at 12:09pm.

Health Care

“Caution to the Wind” [Mother Jones]. “[W]hen they turned on the ionizers in their own stainless steel chamber, the two engineers couldn’t detect any meaningful change in air quality. At first they thought the devices must not be working. After consulting the manual and running the tests again, they got the same results. Both researchers cautioned that their experiments were informal and confined to the two specific devices they tested. But the conclusions were unambiguous: ‘Installing this unit in a classroom’s HVAC was as good as putting a brick in a duct,” Novoselac wrote in an email to another researcher.'” • Pass this along to your school board, assuming the ionizer scam artists haven’t already bought them all steak dinners.

“We Need To Get Real About How the Pandemic Will End” [Zeynep Tufecki, Insight]. “The B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India, looks to be substantially more transmissible compared with even B.1.1.7, which was bad enough. The data is preliminary, and I really hope that the final estimate ends up as low as possible. But coupled with what we are observing in India and in Nepal, where it is rampant, I fear that the variant is a genuine threat. In practical terms, to put it bluntly, it means that the odds that the pandemic will end because enough people have immunity via getting infected rather than being vaccinated just went way up. We seem to be holding onto the comforting fiction that we will eventually get around to vaccinating people in countries that have so far either had success keeping out the pandemic completely, or have had small outbreaks before, while they just keep up mitigating a little longer. I do not believe that the story we tell ourselves is realistic. First, these countries can only hold the virus at bay for so long. Even quarantining all people arriving, and greatly limiting who comes in can only work for so long. See what’s happening in Taiwan: it takes only one slip-up plus a few amplifying events for a country to see its case load quickly rise. Second, if a variant is more transmissible, all our “non-pharmaceutical” interventions will be much less able to hold them at the same level. Something even more transmissible than B.1.1.7 may be very, very hard to stop outside of vaccination (or, yes, immunity through mass infection). Three, some places have already been keeping out the virus for more than a year–that success can’t last forever. Four, those countries which lack both widespread prior immunity from previous outbreaks (like us!) and widespread vaccination (also like us!) are sitting ducks. Something like this variant can burn through such populations like a firestorm.” • Making the Biden administration’s lethargy all the more reprehensible, whether the terms be moral or realpolitik.

“How Mass Incarceration Makes Us All Sick” [Health Affairs]. “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an unusually stark illustration of the long-standing harms of America’s policing and incarceration practices. There are few better infectious disease incubators than US carceral facilities, where there have been at least 661,000 COVID-19 cases. Due to political refusals to adequately address overcrowding, poor health care, and poor living conditions, incarcerated people in jails and prisons have been at 5.5 times greater documented risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 3.0 times the risk of death relative to those in the general population. But these figures are almost certainly considerable underestimates. No one knows the real number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in jails and prisons because there exists no reliable system for collecting data, ensuring proper testing protocols, or supervising conditions inside a system well-known for human rights abuses, perverse incentives, and coverups. What we do know is that for every COVID-19 case inside, there are many times more in surrounding communities as a consequence of spread from outbreaks at jails, prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Carceral institutions are highly porous with the commuter flow of more than 405,000 guards and 30,000 people who are released from jails and prisons each day. In 2019, local jails alone featured 10.3 million annual admission-release cycles. Jails and prisons are not like Vegas: What happens there does not stay there. ”

The Biosphere

“Three Exxon refineries top the list of U.S. polluters” [Reuters]. “Exxon Mobil’s U.S. oil refineries pump out far more lung-damaging soot than similarly-sized facilities operated by rivals, according to regulatory documents and a Reuters analysis of pollution test results. The three Exxon refineries together averaged emissions of 80 pounds per hour, eight times the average rate of the seven other refineries on the top-ten list, some of which are larger than Exxon’s plants, the analysis shows. The top polluter, Exxon’s Baton Rouge refinery, averaged 138 pounds per hour. The performance reflects the firm’s inadequate spending to cut emissions, said Wilma Subra, a Louisiana-based scientist who formerly served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.”

“Deep sub-surface “microbial dark matter” hasn’t evolved since Pangea” [Massive Science]. “At two miles below ground, the sun last touched the buried rock when carbon dioxide filled the sky, before the days of Earth’s oxygen. Drops of water formed time capsules for early microbial life to survive the deep sub-surface, their methods and madness hidden from Earth’s surface for millions of years. Despite accounting for about 10 percent of the planet’s total biomass, we know little of these organisms, which scientists have called ‘microbial dark matter.’…. One species was Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, or CDA, a sulfur-breathing microbe that has spent the last several hundred million years in total isolation, its only companion the radioactivity spilling from its rocky confines…. Scientists originally discovered CDA in a South African gold mine, and later in both North America and Eurasia. This geographic separation let researchers study how CDA evolved after millions of years. The team used DNA sequencing tools to read the genomes from individual cells. Strikingly, the CDA genomes from all three continents were nearly identical. While cross-contamination was obvious initial explanation, the team found no evidence of CDA spreading by air, land, or sea. Nor did the microbes stall as spores. All were actively respiring and replicating. After ruling out all of these possible reasons for their results, the researchers concluded that as the supercontinent Pangea split, between 55-165 million years ago, these microbes hit pause on evolution. CDA is a living fossil, subverting evolutionary change yet surviving millions of years of changes to our planet, including a mass extinction.” • Remarkable! The crocodile seems to have evolved little in 200 million years, but that’s an eyeblink in time compared to CDA.


“River Runner” [Sam Learner]. “Click to drop a raindrop anywhere in the contiguous United States and watch where it ends up.” I spent far too long playing with this. It’s an animated flyover!

Our Famously Free Press

Nobody told him:

“The flailing Washington Post gets a new leader, with no time to lose” [Press Watch]. • The greatness that was Marty Baron, that putz. How on earth does a newspaper backed by the world’s richest man “flail”? Maybe if they installed a heliport? Maybe this is how…

“Bezos Weaponizes The Washington Post Homepage” [David Sirota, The Daily Poster]. “A few years after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he said it was because it ‘is the newspaper in the capital city of the most important country in the world’ and ‘has an incredibly important role to play in this democracy.’ Now, with more and more legislators scrutinizing his company’s business practices, his newspaper is playing that role — as an advertising platform in defense of Amazon. On Tuesday, hours after the Washington Post reported that the D.C. attorney general is bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, the front page of the Post’s website was festooned with native ads from Amazon portraying itself as a devoted supporter of a higher federal minimum wage. The Post ads, which appeared almost like editorial content, are part of a broader campaign by Amazon highlighting its support for a $15 minimum wage. Left unsaid: Amazon only begrudgingly agreed to a higher wage for its own workers after serious public shaming.” • “[T]his democracy” not “our democracy”….

Sports Desk

“Mike Tyson says psychedelics saved his life, now he hopes they can change the world” [Channel News Asia]. During his reign as heavyweight champion of the world, no one was more feared than Mike Tyson, who obliterated opponents with ruthless efficiency. But all the while, the troubled superstar was at war with himself, battling an abusive voice in his battered head that led ‘Iron Mike’ to the brink of suicide. He said that all changed when he began taking psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as ‘magic mushrooms,’ and other similar consciousness-altering substances. Now the boxing prodigy from Brooklyn is experiencing a career renaissance that he said is the result of psilocybin-powered mental and spiritual exploration. ‘Everyone thought I was crazy, I bit this guy’s ear off,’ an upbeat Tyson told Reuters, referring to his infamous 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield. ‘I did all this stuff, and once I got introduced to the shrooms … my whole life changed.” To be sure, many people have had negative experiences with psilocybin, which can cause disturbing hallucinations, anxiety and panic. Medical professionals studying them warn against self-medicating or using them outside of an approved medical framework. But Tyson, who turns 55 next month, and impressed in his November exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr, said he has never felt better. ‘It’s scary to even say that,’ said Tyson, who is also a cannabis entrepreneur and podcast host. ‘To think where I was – almost suicidal – to this now. Isn’t life a trip, man? It’s amazing medicine, and people don’t look at it from that perspective.'” • I think this is just great, and good for Tyson.

Class Warfare

Euthanize the NGOs. A long thread, starting:


If the United States had, in fact, pulled out of WHO, that would have left the Gates Foundation as the largest donor. Not a confidence builder.

News of the Wired

As long as the neighbors can’t see:

Also see “The Air Bath” (PDF), from Gerald B. Webb, M.D., Colorado Springs, CO (undated). A testimonial:

DR. ESTES NICHOLS, Portland, Me.: I was surprised that Dr. Webb didn’t refer to the experiment of Joe Knowles, who lived in the open without any clothes to see whether he could live. The most striking part of that experiment was that when he trapped a bear he was able to kill that bear without a stone. The demonstration was disputed by various newspaper men, who said that it was impossible, but he showed the bear in Portland, and I wouldn’t have wanted to get near it. It did prove one thing-that it did increase muscular strength.

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

Teton Time writes: “I also included a rainbow we saw today on the Highway through the Teton National Forest in the Snake River Canyon. It has been explained to me that the high altitude – at this point about 7000 feet – causes the light to refract differently – making the rainbows very bright, very huge and very colorful. It is truly amazing to see these mountains decked out with rainbows.” Readers, there are some trees in this photo, so I’m following the letter of the law, but I felt we could all use the sight of a rainbow (cf. Genesis 9:13).

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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. Alfred

    I have mixed feelings about crows, as I frequently interrupt murder going on by going out and yelling at them to stop eating fledglings and baby squirrels. I am fond of ravens, however, don’t ask me why.

  2. buermann

    “I don’t see how, on its own, vaccination can give an account for the steadily and majestically decreasing case count ”

    Cases fell like this the same time last year without anyone being vaccinated, so there’s a seasonal effect at work, with people crowding in-air-conditioned-doors in the south threatening additional waves in areas with low vaccination rates, e.g. Alabama.

  3. Alfred


    This is the word that should be left out when describing why NGOs end up “working against the social, economic & political changes necessary”

    I keep hoping people will wake up.

  4. Alfred

    I am so done with… you know, I can’t even say decrepit old white men, because that’s not the problem, they are just the tools and I will just be letting myself out the back door now…

        1. Massinissa

          I can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic. If you’re being serious, the system they’re upholding is fundamentally a class system, and upholding patriarcy is a secondary or even tertiary interest of theirs.

          1. Alfred

            What I mean is the power structure that they attach themselves to in order to be able to play with the big dogs. Where would Hils have been if she divorced Bill? Certainly not in a position to be annointed Dem nominee for prez. The LDPs are out for themselves, and not in the least interested in making the world a more decent place for women. They are willing to throw women under the bus to support their own position as favored by TPTB. They do whatever it takes to be part of the club and be trusted with power not to give it to the wrong people.

  5. Dcblogger

    I think the press loves Biden because he saved them from the twin dangers of Bernie and Trump. Because they really can’t tell the difference between a man who wants to give everyone health care and a man who incites mob violence.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Healthcare means people can quit their jobs. The people abused by celebrated members of the media such as Matt Lauer would simply wield power again. It wouldn’t solve all problems, but for a major media figure, losing the power to abuse would be tantamount to having to pretend to like McDonald’s while Trump calls them names instead of whatever was served by Shrub when Shrub called them names. The DC glitterati hated Bill because he put out lousy spreads when he became President.

      1. Alfred

        “Healthcare means people can quit their jobs.”

        YES! thank you. The few need to be crushed by the many when it comes to this.

        1. Arizona Slim

          And when they do, look out. “Take This Job and Shove It” will be our new National Anthem. I am especially fond of the Johnny Paycheck version.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘losing the power to abuse’

        Is that like when the same people go to a restaurant and abuse the waitresses because they know that in America, those waitresses need those tips they can give in order to make a living? There was an article some time ago where a restaurant gave their staff a working wage and abolished tips and a lot of customers were very upset at losing this power that they had over staff.

    2. Acacia

      the twin dangers of Bernie and Trump

      Yes, perhaps we could say “the Scylla of Trump and the Charybdis of Bernie”.

  6. fresno dan

    “Mike Tyson says psychedelics saved his life, now he hopes they can change the world” [Channel News Asia].
    So if you were interested in shrooms, how would you go about getting them…legally?

    1. Alfred

      Mike Tyson says psychedelics saved his life

      this is so full of shit from the get -go, he has a PR machine. so effing what. As a domestic violence “survivor” I loathe this guy’s money macihne

      1. Massinissa

        the man has his own adult animated cartoon, one that makes fun of old Hannah Barbera type stuff like Scooby Doo. Its called Mike Tyson’s Mysteries.

        And here I was thinking the era of celebrity cartoons was over. Not super sure how his money machine keeps cranking at his age.

    2. ambrit

      You would probably not be able to find legal Psilocybin mushrooms yet.
      The “old fashioned” way to get shrooms is to find a cow pasture nearby that is not, shall we say, ‘high profile.’ On cool, humid mornings during certain times of the year, the mushrooms will grow from out of cow patties. (Yes, you read that right. There are good reasons to refer to one’s psychoactives as your “s—.”)
      The trick is to stay unobserved. Since mushrooms are spore fruiting entities, once you find a spot with the desired fungi growing, you can be fairly certain that you can find the same fungi growing there on future excursions, given proper environmental conditions.
      I have seen mushrooms, of all types, grown indoors. This is usually in a closet, or, up North, I’m told, in a basement. A substrate of decaying matter, often cow droppings gathered from “the wild” is used to “seed” the fungi in. There are excellent resources available online about growing mushrooms at home. I do, however, caution against setting up too ‘revealing’ a data trail when researching anything remotely illegal on the internet. As this week’s Grand Jury meeting demonstrated, the “authorities” have many tools to track any ‘deviant’ behaviour they desire. The authorities are not afraid to use those tools to track down “miscreants,” whether with a ‘legal’ search or not.
      Thus, I counsel one to find an “underground” bookstore and purchase, with cash, leaving no identifiers, a paper tome on “Home Mycology” and related matters. Double masking is an optimal behaviour here.
      Legality in US: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/mushroom-laws-by-state
      I have read that the State of Oregon has legalized mushrooms, as have Denver, Colorado, Oakland and Santa Cruz, California.
      See: https://www.omarfigueroa.com/the-legality-of-magic-mushrooms-in-california/
      Be careful and make sure that, if you do ‘trip,’ to have a trusted friend and or mentor around. The first time using such a substance, you will not know your own tolerance level or proper dosage schedule for the various levels of ‘experience’ you desire.
      Appropriately enough, Hendrix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxHS9lTUN4Y
      (An indication of just how screwed up the Internet has become; I could only find this copy of the original album version of the song. It is herein associated with a Ken Burns film, and when one chases the film down, one ends up in a subtle sales “experience” aimed at making money for Burns and PBS. Nowhere on YouTube or Google could I find another link to the original album version of the song.)
      Any way, as ‘Hearts of Space’ likes to say; “Safe journey space fans. Wherever you are.”

      1. jr

        I briefly experimented with micro-dosing Psilocybin, for about three weeks. It worked, I really felt a difference taking only .2 grams once in the morning, better attitude, more active.

        Then I mentioned it to a buddy and he said “Yeah, but have you tried to stop?” So I did and I got irritable and moody pretty quickly. To be clear I am not a good baseline for these things because of my bipolarity drug treatments. I asked my shrink about shrooms and bipolar and she said there was only one small study, so I kind of did my own on the side.

        For those not familiar with shrooms, be cautious and go light. They can have a very scary side where you spend hours wrapped in the gooey tentacles of your darkest thoughts, wishing you hadn’t taken the whole 1/4…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I could only find this copy of the original album version of the song. It is herein associated with a Ken Burns film, and when one chases the film down, one ends up in a subtle sales “experience” aimed at making money for Burns and PBS. Nowhere on YouTube or Google could I find another link to the original album version of the song.)

        I couldn’t either. The full album, yes. Different versions, yes. The original, no.

      1. John

        Mushrooms pretty much available in Washington, DC since enforcement against them was put on lowest priority.
        My niece recently got some chocolate mushroom candies. I like eating them as identifiable mushrooms.
        The trick is to get our Congress Critters on high daily doses. No microdosing for them.

  7. Josef K

    I rode an ANA 787 a couple of years back. Very quiet, very clean-smelling air, no hint of the usual jet-exhaust intrusions; overall, one of the most pleasant long-haul flights I’ve had–relatively speaking since as usual I was in the cheap seats.
    ANA acquired a number of the early _especially_ suspect planes, so I did research the planes used on this route before booking, none were of the stay-away first ~25 planes. Still, I may have dodged a bullet, or rather a shim, and feel like Boeing owes me a t-shirt.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I blame MBA education here. It is something that grinds my gears where you have a manager talking about his ‘product’ and he does not care what he is talking about. So I have heard a Boeing executive when talking about his airliners talking about his ‘product’ while I have also heard a vintner talk not about the wine that he is growing but also talking about his ‘product’. It is like a cookie cutter approach to things where it does not matter what you are making, it is all ‘product.’ But as is seen, you cannot do that approach with airliner. Who knew?

      1. The last D

        In Breaking Bad, Walter White was always talking about his product. Must be a method in their madness.

  8. Carolinian

    Re the departure of Marty Baron–I was ready to tee up “ding dong the witch is dead” on the hi fi but this sounds even worse. Sez Press Watch

    He never came to terms with how deficient the Post was at calling out Donald Trump’s lies and never realized that “not taking sides” shouldn’t apply when one side opposes truth and democracy.

    Buzbee’s most urgent and important challenge will be to establish clear, honest, and principled ways of covering a major political party that is increasingly devoted to subverting the electoral process, spreading disinformation, appealing to bigotry, and sabotaging effective governance.

    Yes the prob with the Post is they are just too darned above the fray rather than that Baron failed to tame their dreadful and all too opinionated subjectivity.

    It could be there are two sides to even the Trump question, much less the Putin question.

    1. Darthbobber

      Yes. Insufficient hysteria would hardly have been my chief complaint about the Bezos Post.

      1. freebird

        It’s hard to concentrate on pursuing world domination if you have a day job to handle too.

      1. Basil Pesto

        the proliferation of streaming services and the need to churn out ~original content~ so as to differentiate the platforms has lead to an efflorescence of televisual shovelware, if you’ll allow me to mix metaphors. Hackneyed conceptual films like Cruella are a result as well. Scrolling through Netflix these days can be pretty bleak. The recent Golden Age of TV I’d say started in 1998 (Sopranos, Oz) and ended 2013/14 (end of Breaking Bad, Mad Men). There’s still plenty of good stuff (I actually prefer Better Call Saul to Breaking Bad) but I suspect it can be lost in a sea of dross. It’s great for actors and crew, though.

  9. jr

    “Democrats are falling for Republicans’ fake negotiations again”

    I find it hard to believe that the Democrats are “falling” for these fake negotiations. It’s their own tactic, “validate and divert”, how could they not see it coming? That and the fact that the Republicans say stuff like Mitch McGollum did, 100% resistance to Biden’s administration, in public. The Democrats are doing their job as the brake on progress, the Republicans continue to tighten down the screws…

  10. jr


    Really interesting talk between Katie Halper and an Israeli Jewish anthropologist, Jeffrey Halper (no relation). It’s superficially about something stupid Deborah Messing tweeted but the discussion of the destruction that Zionism has wreaked on the diversity of Jewish cultures around the world was a real splash of cold water to me. By making Israel the “home” of Judaism, it relegated non-Israeli Jewish cultures and enclaves to a less than second class status: the word “ephemeral” was used to describe them in contrast to Israel. It got so bad that Zionist agents in the late 1940’s were actually engaging in terrorism against Jews in Arabic nations in an effort to drive them into Israel!

  11. Kurtismayfield

    You gotta hand it to the Dems, they are holding true to form and helping more people believe in the Ratchet effect of US politics. Joe, Krysta, and Manchin just gotta keep it up for 18 more months so Congress can go more to the right.

    And their constituents in the PMC are perfectly fat and happy, while they didn’t have to risk anything.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > their constituents in the PMC are perfectly fat and happy

      Fat, happy, and resting comfortably after a long and liquid brunch. It’s disgusting.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Is it that they were sacked? They do seem to have their ducks in a row as regards a future venture together. Maybe a mutual agreement?

  12. Pelham

    Re Matt Taibbi’s (and pretty much every other critic’s) observations on the press: Let’s keep in mind the probability that the vast majority of journalists still working are not in Washington or New York and don’t practice their profession with anything like the self-serving big-shot insiderism that has so thoroughly trashed most of the national reporting from those cities and publications. Not to mention the cable news shows and that prime peacock Chris Cuomo.

    Henceforward, I suggest we refer to these characters collectively as the DC-NY propaganda/disinformation axis, or something similar.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I have heard the term ‘Pravda on the Potomac’ used a couple times to describe the Washington Post. These days though you can call it Jeff’s company newspaper.

      1. Jen

        I’ve heard it called the Bezos Blog.

        Meanwhile I do love Eschaton for referring to the NYT as “that [family blogging] newspaper”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And, er, me. (I believe “Izvestia on the Hudson,” for parallelism, was mine, but it’s been a long time and of course parallel invention is always possible.)

          Those were very innocent days, looking back. It’s much worse now. For example, the only news-gathering organization that got Iraq WMDs right, Knight-Ridder, morphed into McClatchy, and then was dismembered. Meanwhile, the liars and sociopaths who sold the story did very well for themselves, thank you. (Looking at you, David Frum, though you’re by no means the only one.)

  13. The Rev Kev

    “We Need To Get Real About How the Pandemic Will End”

    ‘First, these countries can only hold the virus at bay for so long. Even quarantining all people arriving, and greatly limiting who comes in can only work for so long.’

    At first glance, this is like that saying that with inevitable rape, that you may as well lie back and enjoy it. I’m not sure if the author has an appreciation of history here. So a hundred years ago Australia was infected with the great flu pandemic that was going around the word. It was brought in by returning troops from the Great War and it killed about 15,000 people after infecting a third of the nation. But here is the thing. The flu pandemic went around the world in three major waves with the second being the most lethal. By the time it came here, it was mostly the less lethal third wave that hit here so Oz was not as badly hit as it would have been with a second wave infection. No airlines back then remember.

    So now? A lot of people seem to have their noses out of joint at those countries that have managed to keep this virus at bay. Can it be kept out forever? Unlikely. Can it be kept out until it evolves to a less lethal variation? I am saying yes. So right now it is a ‘holding action’ which buys these countries time. Unfortunately this virus is evolving into a worse version at the moment but it will change again. I note that the people that call for a opening to this virus are typically ones who have a financial interest doing so and are quite happy to accept the annual hundreds of deaths – like that CEO of Virgin Airways (now owned by Bain Capital). A side benefit of this approach is that you get to keep your economy going instead of having it thrown into chaos. So after thinking about the message in that article, I am saying yeah, nah!

    1. juliania

      Thanks, Rev Kev – good points that can apply also to us who mask and stay cautious.

  14. skippy

    Interesting information from a relative in MI in regards to the Social Service Block Grant [SSBG] and receiving a rather large lump sum of money. Would be interested in hearing from more informed U.S. readers and how this all plays out.

    Is this just another market based policy where money is just handed out and then individuals are left to their own devices in the market place or a back door stimulus?

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding the running water Lambert heard in the recording of the call of the Northwestern crows, believe the recording was taken by the water’s edge below the spillway of the ship canal in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle that enables boats to access Puget Sound from Lake Union and Lake Washington through the Ballard Locks. With the history, boat traffic, fish ladder, occasional sea lions and bird life, the locks are a delightful place to have a picnic lunch.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > believe the recording was taken by the water’s edge below the spillway of the ship canal in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle

      Neat! Thank you! (I didn’t realize until your comment that Macauley Library includes a link to the location (for which I assume the birder opted in). One more feature of a wonderful site+

  16. The Rev Kev

    Gawd. I knew that “60 Minutes” here in Oz has been a garbage propagandist op for a very long time now but this Sunday they are doing a smear piece on New Zealand and even the preview is a piece of it. This tweet starts off by saying-

    ‘Just what are the Kiwis up to now? SUNDAY on #60Mins, we thought they were our best friends, but it looks like they’ve ditched us for a fast Chinese buck.’


    1. skippy

      I think the proselytizers are concerned about their flocks and the income streams it affords, not to mention the behavioral conditioning it affords to vindicate their authority and right to administrate over everyone else.

  17. a fax machine

    late night again, but I wanted to follow-up with marco rubio as he wrote this for TAP


    Again lots of imperialism, american do-gooderism, etc but it at least shows that some part of America’s elite are starting to wake up to the fact that global capitalism no longer needs America, and that perhaps global capitalism is bad. It’s also an open admission that American markets, American money, and Americans finance exploitation worldwide.

    As since Marco Rubio is a serious ’24 contender, it hints at a plausible “exit” for the Republican Party – by “exit” I mean a safe offramp away from Trump Onlyism and into something else. It’d at least make for a more competitive election vs Biden steamrolling Trump again, and more audits happening amongst a dwindling Republican base.

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