By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, I have thrown in the towel on fixing my trackpad — clearly a software issue, since the mouse works on the login screen — and so I am reinstalling MacOS (just like we used to do for Windows). It’s only going to take three hours, also like Windows. Ugh.
Bird Song of the Day
I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?
Up and down, up and down….
Case count by United States region:
Now an uptick. That’s unfortunuate, just as we’re opening up.
Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):
An uptick in Texas.
Uptick in the South.
Continued good news.
Deaths (Our World in Data):
Continued good news
Covid cases worldwide:
“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
“Inside Biden and Manchin’s Joemance” [Politico]. “Biden has largely remained quiet about the senator’s insistence that infrastructure bills be bipartisan and his opposition to both filibuster reform and the sweeping elections bill that expands voting access. Biden and his senior staff are regularly in touch with Manchin, according to a White House aide. And Biden appointed Manchin’s wife, Gayle, to the Appalachian Regional Commission…. ‘Biden’s very perplexed by Manchin. He doesn’t know how, or what he thinks. Or what he really wants,’ said a lawmaker who has spoken with Biden recently. ‘That makes it hard for the president to ‘get him,’ so to speak.’….. Bipartisan talks are still playing out on infrastructure, for example, meaning it’s not yet time for Biden to secure Manchin’s vote on a more aggressive, partisan proposal. And the 50-member Senate Democratic majority lacks the votes to change the filibuster rules even if Manchin were to entirely reverse his hard stance against reforming it.” • It only takes 51 votes (not 60) to change the filibuster, and Harris, as the presiding officer of the Senate, can vote.
“Analysis: Biden ambitions on infrastructure, voting, guns hit Washington buzz saw” [Reuters]. “Biden came into office in January promising to harness the power of bipartisanship for grand action to tackle COVID-19, fortify the American economy and fight racial injustice. ‘If Democrats can’t come out of this year without saying they solved the problems they were elected to solve, that will be trouble,’ said a Democratic strategist who coordinates with the White House, speaking on condition of anonymity. The path to do so through Congress is not clear, the strategist added.”
“The Democrats Successfully Crafted a Bipartisan Bill. It’s a Failure in Every Way.” [The New Republic]. “The Senate voted 68–32 Tuesday to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a wide-ranging package promoted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Todd Young, aimed at countering unspecified threats from China…. One component is likely to end up as a $10 billion giveaway to Jeff Bezos’s spaceship company. Another hands a $52 million blank check to microchip manufacturers. Republicans were able to whittle the bill’s most promising components—$100 billion for the National Science Foundation, for instance—down to a pittance. Even foreign policy hawks were disappointed by the resulting package, though they arguably won more than those pushing for it in hopes of beefing up R&D…. Reaching bipartisan agreement on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act has not bred goodwill for future deals. Neither has it given voters a clear reason to believe that Democratic rule will make their lives better. If anything, the bill has created a wealth of opportunities for Republicans to extract giveaways for their donors. It does not make climate policy more likely, particularly given how much time Schumer burned to make it happen.”
“Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats ‘burning precious time’ with GOP talks” [The Hill (Re Silc)]. “‘Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc,’ Ocasio-Cortez added.'” • ”Etc.” Indeed!
“Administration officials perplexed by Harris’ border answer and worry it will overshadow her trip” [CNN]. • Well, every time I see a photo of Biden at some podium, there’s Harris in the background, as if they’re getting us used to it. Will that practice stop, at some point?
“Biden replaces Trump executive orders targeting TikTok and WeChat” [The Hill]. “Biden reversed orders put in place by Trump that targeted TikTok, WeChat and eight other communications and financial software applications. Biden’s order provides criteria for identifying software applications that may pose “unacceptable risk,” such as applications that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, applications that are involved in malicious cyber activities or applications that collect sensitive personal data. The president is also directing the Department of Commerce to make recommendations to protect against harm from the sale, transfer of, or access to sensitive personal data, including identifiable and genetic information. The order also directs the department to make recommendations for additional executive and legislative actions to further address the risks associated with foreign adversary connected software applications.”
“Garland defends Justice Department moves seen as pro-Trump” [Politico]. “During a Senate budget hearing, Garland said he was aware of the controversy triggered by the Justice Department’s actions defending Trump in a civil suit and seeking to maintain secrecy around memos sent to former Attorney General William Barr as he responded to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…. In the past week, the White House has issued statements on three occasions to distance itself and Biden from Justice Department decisions or legal filings.”
Democrats en deshabille
“The Opposition Opposes” [Eschaton]. “I keep saying this, but it’s actually appropriate for Mitch McConnell to behave as he does (mostly). Doesn’t mean I like him! He’s a Republican! I don’t like Republicans! But he’s doing what an opposition is supposed to do.” • Atrios has made the same point many times over the years. There’s no point whining about Republican obstructionism, particularly if you’re not willing to ask President Manchin to do anything about it.
“Republicans and the Great Replacement” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. “With nothing else left to hold onto — no economic program, no religion, no flag — is it any wonder that conservatives are looking for something new to unite around? And here comes the Great Replacement theory, offering one unified explanation of why conservatives are declining in cultural and political power. It’s all about Them. The newcomers. Resist the inflow of aliens, and perhaps the center-right nation you remember can be restored.” • If you Photoshop out the funhouse mirror effects, isn’t this pretty much a reaction to Ruy Teixeira’s theory of the “Coalition of the Ascendant?” Teixeira was at CAP, the belly of the liberal Democrat beast, and his theory was central to Democrat strategizing for many, many years.
“Arizona ballot audit backed by secretive donors linked to Trump’s inner circle” [Guardian]. “Republicans in the Arizona state senate, which authorized the inquiry, allocated $150,000 in state funds to pay for it – just a fraction of the projected overall cost, which is still unknown. The state senate had enough money in its operating budget to pay for the investigation, the Arizona Mirror reported in April, but chose not to pay the full price. Instead, the effort is being paid for by private donors, who remain hidden from the public, according to a review by OpenSecrets and the Guardian. Arizona Republicans and Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company overseeing the review, have refused to say who is providing the rest of the money.” • Oh.
Realignment and Legitimacy
“No More Excuses” [Discourse Blog]. From January 2016, after Warnock and Ossoff won the Senate for Democrats: “With control of the Senate in their hands, they have no more excuses. If Democrats do not do big things in the next two years, it will not simply be because the bad Republicans are blocking their path. It will be because the Democratic coalition—even after crucial evidence that boldness is politically beneficial—is not willing or capable of transformative change….
One of the good ones:
I helped get health insurance for half a million people.
I helped thousands of diabetic people pay for insulin.
I helped legalize cannabis.
I helped end the death penalty.
I helped workers own their own cooperative businesses.
I helped people unionize.
I'm gonna sleep well.
— Lee J. Carter (@carterforva) June 9, 2021
Too bad Carter isn’t the Democrat candidate for Governor, instead of that corrupt, Clinonite oaf McAuliffe.
“Former Department of Health data analyst Rebekah Jones announces campaign for Congress” [WPTV]. “Jones has alleged that she was forced to manipulate COVID-19 data while working for the Department of Health. DeSantis and other state officials have denied this. Gaetz, meanwhile, is embroiled in scandal involving a federal investigation into whether the Republican congressman from Florida’s panhandle paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex.”
“The Story of How Same-Sex Marriage Went From Fringe to Mainstream” [New York Magazine]. “I think that there’s really an elite opinion story here that’s different than the popular opinion story. There were three trials over gay marriage: In Hawaii, in 1996, in federal court in San Francisco in 2010, and then, a few years later, in federal court in Detroit. And every time, the problem got worse and worse for opponents of same-sex marriage. In each case, a state had to present a rationale for excluding gay and lesbian couples from marriage. And they could not find credible, expert witnesses. They wanted to argue that, basically, the children raised in same-sex households were worse off than those in opposite sex households. And there actually was not social science research that demonstrated that. But also, I think there was a cultural shift. Even in 1996, gay marriage may have been polling at 27 percent nationally, but finding a tenured academic anywhere in the United States who wanted to be seen as the face of that opposition in a high profile trial was impossible. And ” • That is my reading: It was “coming out of the closet” that did it, an enormous collective effort conducted with great courage. I’m not sure what the equivalent would have been for “pro-choice” (a neo-liberal slogan if ever there was one), but clearly reliance on the courts, attractive though that is to the PMC, was not a substitute for it, sadly.
Employment Situation: “United States Jobless Claims 4-week Average” [Trading Economics]. “The 4-week moving average of US jobless claims, which removes week-to-week volatility, fell to 402.5 thousand in the week ending June 5th, from 428.0 thousand in the previous period. It was the lowest level since March 2020, when the pandemic first hit the US labor market.”
Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “Annual inflation rate in the US accelerated to 5% in May of 2021 from 4.2% in April and above market forecasts of 4.7%. It is the highest reading since August of 2008…. Biggest price increases were recorded for gasoline (56.2%), used cars and trucks (29.7%), utility gas service (13.5%), transportation services (11.2%) and apparel (5.6%). Shelter costs were up 2.2% and food also went up 2.2%.”
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Retail: “Merchants Weigh Fewer Cashiers, More Curbside Pickup Post-Covid” [Bloomberg]. “More than three-quarters of top executives at merchants in the food and beverage, retail and hotel industries said the pandemic has forced them to focus on their digital platforms, according to a survey released Wednesday by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the payments provider FreedomPay. That includes a rapid shift from legacy systems to things like touchless checkout….
The Bezzle: “The Worst Business Ever” [The Irrelevant Investor]. “It’s hard to make a profit when you don’t make any money. This describes the state of the food delivery business, which according to the founder and CEO of GrubHub, ‘is and always will be a crummy business.’* It’s hard to believe he actually said this, but then again, he’s not lying…. Food delivery just isn’t a very good business, like Maloney said. During the height of the pandemic, their competitor DoorDash, the biggest player in the space, ended up with 90 cents on the average order of $36, according to the WSJ.”
The Bezzle: “Don’t Call Bitcoin a Bubble. It’s an Epidemic” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “After a year of watching charts of epidemics in different countries, comparing R-0 rates, cases, vaccinations, excess deaths and all the rest, and applying moving averages to sinister lines snaking across graphs, maybe we should now use our new-found familiarity with epidemiology to give us a new mental model for how markets work, and how they become overpriced. Epidemics are, as we all now understand, an intensely social phenomenon, born of the way in which we interact with each other, and sometimes thwarted by our choices not to interact with each other — just like market manias….. Bitcoin has run into moments of speculative excess that certainly look like bubbles several times already — but as I’ve pointed out before, the price has gone on to recover. The analogy of a fad, or of a virus that finds a way to mutate, is a better one than a bubble. Many of the most extreme investment manias in history involved the introduction of genuinely exciting new technology, whose valuation was difficult to fix initially. This applies to canals, railroads, and motor cars. There is a burgeoning literature in defending bubbles as a by-product of healthy excitement over investing in new technologies — but it’s impossible to support a true ‘bubble’ like the South Sea Bubble or tulipmania. Defending investment fads or epidemics makes far more sense.” • Actually an interview with Robert Shiller, but I thought Auther’s quotes were more interesting.
Tech: “Amazon Sidewalk Shares Your Internet With Neighbors: How to Opt Out” [NBC]. “Amazon launched its Wi-Fi sharing system Sidewalk on Tuesday as a way to extend internet service between Amazon devices like Echo smart speakers and Tile trackers. And unless you opt out, your Amazon devices will automatically be enrolled in the program.” • Ugh. If it’s so great, why wouldn’t people opt-in? Amazon also keeps emphasizing that your neighbor won’t be able to see your data (and I wonder what the over-under on months to disprove that is). But Amazon will. So….
Tech: “Internet outage: which websites and services were hit by Fastly issue” [Guardian]. “The internet outage caused by a fault with cloud computing service Fastly took down thousands of websites in multiple countries, affecting governments and businesses in sectors ranging from media to online retail and telecoms. The interruption was relatively brief, lasting slightly more than an hour in most cases and occurring mid-morning UK time, before many people in the US will have woken up. Nevertheless, it choked off the flow of millions of pounds in revenue to corporations including Amazon, Boots and eBay. All government websites using the gov.uk domain were swept up in the outage….” • If your government depends on a platform….
Tech: “How a single cloud computing customer caused half the internet to go dark” [Vox]. “[T]he outage highlights how dependent, centralized, and susceptible the infrastructure supporting the internet — especially cloud computing providers that the average user doesn’t directly interact with — actually is. This is at least the third time in less than a year that a problem at a large cloud computing provider has led to countless websites and apps going dark…. One of the reasons the Fastly outage seems so wide in scale is that cloud computing service companies like Fastly are consolidating, leaving websites dependent on a shrinking number of providers…. Central to the challenge of systems like Fastly’s, [Christopher Meiklejohn, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Software Research] said, is the fact that these cloud computing systems can involve tens of thousands of servers deployed across the world. It’s very difficult for developers working on new changes to anticipate all the characteristics of the larger system, a scenario that makes it more likely for an error to occur when updates are finally implemented. Companies don’t always have the tools to detect these problems before they happen, though there’s growing research and effort into better solutions.” • Oh.
Concentration: “Worried About Tracfone Merger Approval, Verizon Pretends It Didn’t Exploit COVID Emergency Program” [TechDirt]. “While the program does little to fix US broadband’s bigger competition issue, it’s certainly helping folks; roughly a million folks signed up the first week. And while the majority of the 825 participating ISPs are engaging in the program in good faith, it’s not particularly surprising that some ISPs decided to try and game the system to make an additional buck. Charter, for example rejected users from signing up if they didn’t agree to pay for a more expensive broadband tier once the program ends, which appears to violate the program rules. More problematic is Verizon, which got caught forcing users to sign up for even more expensive tiers if they wanted to apply to the program, resulting in some users being forced to pay more for broadband than if they’d never signed up for government help in the first place.”
Labor Market: “Surprise Jump in U.S. Wages Gives Inflation Debate a New Twist” [Bloomberg]. “[L]ast week’s jobs report showed a larger-than-forecast pickup in average hourly wages for a second straight month. It turns out that whatever the unemployment numbers say, there’s a shortage of people ready to work at the going rate of compensation — prompting many employers to boost pay or offer bonuses in order to staff up…. That raises the prospect of what’s known and dreaded in economics as a wage-price spiral. The idea is that higher wages spur more spending growth that strains production capacity and drives up business costs. In turn, companies raise prices and workers demand even larger pay increases to stay ahead of a rising cost of living.” • Two months and they’re panicking…
Labor Market: “The US Labor Market Is Now A Funhouse Mirror” [Heisenberg Report]. “Job openings jumped to 9.286 million in April, an almost unfathomable print that made a mockery of consensus (8.2 million). In addition to representing a one million+ upside surprise, the headline JOLTS number was a record. And, as the simple figure (below) shows, the word ‘record’ seems somehow inadequate…. Obviously, this suggests labor demand isn’t the problem. We have ourselves a bonafide imbalance. Job openings in accommodation and food services jumped by a record to a record.”
Labor Market: “Why Teenage Workers Are Leading the Recovery” [Bloomberg]. “The job market recovery is looking better for 2023 and 2024, even while this year’s forecasts need to be reined in a bit. The best evidence for the optimistic outlook is coming from a surprising place: teenagers. The last two jobs reports poured cold water on the hope that we could add a million jobs or more for a few months in a row, which means a full employment recovery to pre-pandemic levels is going to take longer than we thought. But booming employment trends among teenagers suggests that over the next few years, strong demand for workers should flow through into higher levels of labor-force participation than we saw in the late 2010s. What makes teenage employment useful to study right now is that teenagers are less affected by the factors holding back labor supply than any other demographic. If they lived at home with their parents, they weren’t eligible for economic impact payments. If they were full-time students, they’d be ineligible for unemployment insurance, making enhanced benefits a nonfactor. They’re unlikely to be parents squeezed out of the labor force by closed schools or a lack of child care. They’re obviously not older workers who may have accelerated retirement plans during the pandemic. And teens were less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19, and so perhaps less likely to avoid working for health-related reasons. They’re also more likely to be drawn to the types of jobs that employers are desperate to fill right now. Teenagers lack the greater levels of education and experience that allow older workers to take on roles ranging from corporate executives to home health aides. Teens are more likely to seek lower-paid service jobs, perhaps on a part-time basis, than any other age group.” • Ritholtz responds–
Labor Market: “What Makes Teen Employment Data So Interesting…” [Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture]. “My pet theory: The lagging minimum wage has kept teens from the workforce. In 2007, before the great financial crisis, the national minimum wage level was a paltry $5.15. This was not all that long ago. For a teenager with even the most modest withholding / FICA, their take-home is so small it’s not worth it to work. You can see that in the trends over the preceding decades. By most measures — productivity, profitability, inflation, exec comp — the minimum wage has lagged badly. Teens did the math, and said WTF, why bother? But the minimum wage began to rise during the financial crisis despite skyrocketing unemployment. It was raised in 2008, and then in 2009, and again in 2010. Post GFC, it’s been $7.25 an hour. Not coincidentally, at exactly that time, the labor participation rate of teenagers began trending upwards. Today, it’s even higher than it was before the pandemic began. Maybe it’s boredom, perhaps some teens just want out of the house where they’ve been stuck with mom and dad and their siblings during the past year. Or just maybe, local employers are raising wages sufficiently to make summer jobs attractive to teens.”
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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 10 at 12:54pm.
“‘Healthcare’ Is the Economy” [MedPage Today]. “If we learned anything in 2020, it should be that public health is not separate from economic health. “Healthcare” is the economy, a meta-market around which $142 trillion in global GDP is linked and flows. It’s ‘system value’ that matters. This is why China is moving away from gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of strategic success, instead introducing the concept of ‘gross ecosystem product’ (GEP), the total value of final ecosystem goods and services supplied to human well-being, as a new standard. The organizing idea is not ‘cost,’ but the ‘production of health’ as a new narrative.” • Somehow, I don’t think the United States would do well by that measure.
“Carbon dioxide peaks near 420 parts per million at Mauna Loa observatory” [NOAA]. “There was no discernible signal in the data from the global economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Let’s Rebuild the U.S. Jaguar Population—Yes, Jaguars” [Scientific American]. “On a chilly January morning in 1964, Russell Culbreath, a U.S. government hunter, trapped a jaguar on the broken hills above the Black River, on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona…. While many of its American cousins live in the Amazonian rainforest, this jaguar and his kin had inhabited the dry cedar breaks and rugged pine-oak woodlands of the American Southwest for centuries. The historical evidence for jaguars is strongest in Arizona and New Mexico, especially in the ancestral homelands of the Apache, Yavapai, Tohono O’odham, Pueblos, Hopi, Navajo and Zuni peoples…. This block of suitable habitat is vast, over 20 million acres, an area the size of the entire state of South Carolina. The U.S. Forest Service manages most of this land (68 percent) for the public good, including the health, diversity and productivity of its ecosystems, with several declared wilderness areas. Native American tribes, which have sovereign rights to manage wildlife on their lands, care for another 13 percent…. Many Americans in the 21st century want to make amends. Nature is ready, as always, to help and to heal. Let us begin with justice for the jaguar, America’s great cat.”
“24,000-year-old organisms found frozen in Siberia can still reproduce” [Guardian]. “A microscopic worm-like creature, labelled an ‘evolutionary scandal’ by biologists for having thrived for millions of years without having sex, has now been shown to persist for at least 24,000 years in Siberian permafrost and then reproduce, researchers have found. Multicellular invertebrates that are solely female, bdelloid rotifers are already renowned for their resistance to radiation and ability to withstand rather inhospitable environments: drying, starvation and low oxygen. They’ve also existed for at least 35m years – and can be found today in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and moist terrestrial habitats such as moss, lichen, tree bark and soil. These tough little critters – which have a complete digestive tract that includes a mouth and an anus – are able to survive hostile environments by halting all activity and almost entirely arresting their metabolism.”
Groves of Academe
“A Matter Of Public Concern”: Virginia Judge Orders Reinstatement of Teacher Who Criticized Gender Policy” [Jonathan Turley]. “[T]he rule does state that ‘School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity.’ Yet, this is ‘when using a name or pronounce to address the student.’ What if a teacher simply does not use a pronoun? If Cross refers to such students by their last name and avoids any pronoun, would that be considered compliance?” • ”Gender identity” isn’t the same as gender? Is this a dumb question?
” Will the Sacklers get away with it?” [Patrick Radden Keefe, The Ink]. “[B]etween those two guilty pleas, in 2007 and 2020, all these lawsuits start to converge around Purdue. Every state in the union is suing the company. Half the states filed suit against the Sacklers themselves. But all the while, in the background, quietly, the family was pulling money out of the business. Three hundred million here. Four hundred million there. So the company is committing crimes, and the family is still very much calling the shots about what’s happening at the company, and the whole time those crimes are being committed, the family is siphoning money out. The Sacklers ultimately took more than ten billion dollars out of Purdue. They did this because they knew a day of reckoning was coming, and they wanted to be ready when it came. So in 2019, when the family had effectively looted its own company, the Sacklers said, “Too bad about all those lawsuits. The company’s got no money left! We’re kicking it into bankruptcy.” When Purdue filed for Chapter 11, all that litigation was put on hold, so the business could be restructured and hundreds of thousands of creditors could fight over the scraps. Now, the Sacklers have not declared bankruptcy. They still have all that money they took out of the company. But they want to use an exotic feature of the bankruptcy process to evade personal liability. What they’re hoping is that this federal bankruptcy judge in New York will give them a sweeping grant of immunity from any and all civil lawsuits related to the opioid crisis. And they’re ready to sacrifice the company to do it. Protect the family, at all costs.” • “Our democracy,” norms, the rule of law, blah blah blah blah.
“Biden administration will limit mandatory Covid workplace safety rules to health care settings” [Politico]. “The Labor Department will limit long-awaited emergency Covid-19 workplace safety rules to the health care sector, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said Wednesday, a decision that disappointed unions pushing for more expansive rules but that will likely be a relief to businesses worried about new costs. The rules, which have been under White House review since late April and are set to be released Thursday, were expected by both unions and businesses to apply broadly to all workplaces and require workers to wear masks on the job. But the administration has decided it will instead update its optional guidance for general industry and has ‘tailored; the mandatory safety requirements to apply only to health care settings, Walsh said.” • Right. That’s why the occupations with the highest Covid death rates are, in this order, cooks, line workers in warehouses, agricultural workers, bakers and construction laborers. This is a grotesquely bad decision by the Biden Administration, not least because it, er, takes the air out of efforts to make sure ventilation in all work places is safe — which will protect us from the next respiratory virus pandemic. I assume Walsh is doing Biden’s bidding, but that doesn’t make him less of a fool.
““New Bones” Abolitionism, Communism, and Captive Maternals” [Verso]. “When hegemonic leaders—in or out of government— market themselves as the source of “new bones” for social justice, their popularity is often leveraged, but rarely by the masses. Rather, mass media, political parties, and nonprofit industries invest in managing resistance to elite-dominated political-economic orders by raising a favorable profile visibility of their desirable leaders. Black feminist leadership has been celebrated for delivering an electoral victory (Black men were the second largest voting demographic for the Biden/Harris administration, thus Black people were key to defeating President Donald Trump). Still, hegemonic Black leadership—elevated during the Obama administration— has not developed and delivered a system for working and laboring classes to elect and remove “liberation leaders” based on their lack of accountability to under-resourced communities. Since the recent uprisings against antiblack police violence, millions have taken to the streets and hundreds of millions of donor dollars have poured into organizations and monetized political struggles. As Black suffering and protests become spectacles (similar to 19th- and 20th-century lynching) that fuel news, publications, and prestige, non-elite communities still lack access to power necessary to control the legal apparatus (as of 2021 no anti-lynching bill has passed into law) that legitimizes predatory policing. In newly-found markets, movement millionaires emerge to claim not only that they have rightly “earned” their wealth but that they sport new bones for effective leadership for mass and activist cadres that will not be purchased or funded. Increasingly, academics—as rising celebrities or defenders of movement organizations that garner access to considerable wealth—play curious roles in stabilizing civil rights markets and defending questionable accumulations within their networks.” • ”Stabilizing civil rights markets.” Ouch. That’s a nasty twist of thought.
“I Was Paralyzed by Severe Depression. Then Came Ketamine.” [New York Times]. • I would never make light of depression, but speaking of the labor market: “Though my jobs were poorly paid, ketamine allowed me to utilize the skills I’d learned in therapy to reframe experiences in a positive light. Bleaching gym mats in a martial arts studio and washing buckets in a flower shop became meditative practices, rather than drudgery.” • So putting ketamine in the water supply would solve a lot of problems, wouldn’t it?
News of the Wired
“Meet Grace, the healthcare robot COVID-19 created” [Reuters]. • No.
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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 (lyman alpha blob):
lyman alpha blob writes: “Some fungus from near Moosehead lake.”
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