2:00PM Water Cooler 6/11/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

No hammering, but a lovely duet.

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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, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Vaccination by region:

Up and down, up and down….

Case count by United States region:

Now an uptick in the South That’s unfortunuate, just as we’re opening up.

Here are the case counts for the last four weeks in the South (as defined by the US Census: ” Alabama

Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia):

Interestingly, the uptick in the South is caused by Texas alone. That argues against the idea that air conditioning is the cause. Perhaps the Delta variant? Or, simply because of geographic proximity, the new “Mexican variant”? (This variant, T478K, does not yet have a Greek letter.) Bolstering this theory:

Webb County is Laredo, on the Mexican border. Speaking against this theory:

Bell County is north of Austin, not on the border at all. If only we had some kind of contact tracing in place… Followed by analysis of the strains.

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

The uptick in Texas, shown also above.

Test positivity:

Uptick in the South.

Hospitalization (CDC):

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

Biden Administration

“Infrastructure hits a hurdle on the left” [Politico]. “Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said her members will not vote for any bipartisan deal unless top Democrats commit to teeing up a reconciliation bill ‘at the same time.’ ‘We can’t just allow one thing to go through and then take all the pressure and the momentum out,’ Jayapal said, ticking off a list of Democratic priorities that would likely be left out of the kind of roads-and-bridges bill that Republicans have backed. ‘We can’t just leave women out. We can’t just leave child care out.'”

UPDATE “Bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal would cost about $1 trillion” [CNBC]. “An infrastructure plan crafted by a group of Senate Democrats and Republicans would cost roughly $1 trillion, a price tag that leaves the senators with work to do to win over members of both parties…. Senators have not announced how they plan to pay for the investments. The proposal “would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” the 10 lawmakers who reached the deal said in a statement Thursday…. While the White House considers the bipartisan proposal, Democrats have started to set the groundwork to pass pieces of the president’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan by other means.” • Good. And let’s soak the rich while we’re at it.

UPDATE “Vaccinate the World” [New York Times]. “In a speech in England yesterday, President Biden cited “our humanitarian obligation” in announcing that the U.S. would buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and donate them to poorer countries. G7 leaders are set to announce today that they will collectively donate 1 billion shots by the end of next year. After Biden’s speech, Natalie Quillian, the deputy coordinator of his Covid response, told us: “We are acting with the same urgency and applying the same whole-government approach that we have applied here domestically.” But those donations still leave the world very far from having enough doses anytime soon. In all, at least 10 billion more shots are probably needed.” • Oh. So it’s like the infrastructure bill, then? Too little, too late?

Democrats en deshabille

I hoisted this description of the Democrat base from alert reader NotTimothyGeithner yesterday:

A good deal is made about the current PMC class here, but it starts with this reliable group that simply want a pat on the head and despise change. Getting these people, its the same people, to even adopt VAN, the Team Blue voter database, was incredibly difficult. I hate MacAuliffe with a passion, but he mentioned in one of his books how late Team Blue was into investing in computer databases. For these people, its not about winning its about being cool for admiring the commemorative plate version of JFK. Their attitude about doing more than a bar-b-qu/fishfry/their particular event is part of the reason for the rise of groups like DSA. Even the brake fixing operation down in New Orleans (?) is a function local Team Blue committees could throw together.

I remember a committee meeting when I was in high school, and those smucks couldn’t even figure out how to authorize and pay for a billboard because of the timing requirements of the billboard company and the next meeting. These people thought I was brilliant because I proposed we vote on a budget allocation for the committee to spend on their own authority since they already had the money allocated for advertising purposes with approval of the committee. Its frightening how many people in that room went to the same public Ivy I did. The guy who detailed the problem and simply shrugged his shoulders was a history professor. In retrospect, he’s probably a perfect example of Hannah Arendt’s warning about historians becoming overly specialized and too narrow. I might be giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he knew anything about anything. Their useless nature was part of who they were.

It doesn’t matter where you go. They are all like this. To a certain extent, I think DSA should focus on seizing the committees as opposed to individuals focused on seizing the committees. Its subtle.

Can other readers with actual experience of the Democrat Party at the volunteer slash state and local level comment? Is it indeed all like this? That would explain a lot.

He did say it with a smile in his voice:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers” [Reuters]. “While reports of threats against Georgia officials emerged in the heated weeks after the voting, Reuters interviews with more than a dozen election workers and top officials – and a review of disturbing texts, voicemails and emails that they and their families received – reveal the previously hidden breadth and severity of the menacing tactics….. The ongoing harassment could have far-reaching implications for future elections by making the already difficult task of recruiting staff and poll workers much harder, election officials say.” • This is “night rider” stuff. Let’s not forget that fascism was invented here in the good ol U.S. of A, in the post-Reconstruction South. This scares me a lot for than symbolic stuff, and even legislation. Maybe we should make threatening an election worker a Federal crime, and string a few of these clowns up. (FBI involvement seems to be limited to voters, and doesn’t include election officials. Federal election offenses seem to be categorized as election fraud, patronage crimes, campaign financing crimes, and civil rights crimes.)

UPDATE “Democracy Is Already Dying in the States” [The Atlantic]. “In his calls for bipartisanship, Manchin is effectively giving Senate Republicans a veto on whether Washington should respond to an offensive against voting rights that red-state Republicans are advancing. Martinez Fischer echoed all of the state-level officials I spoke with when he told me that although the bipartisanship Manchin wants on voting rules might be ideal, it ignores the reality of how Republicans are acting in the states today.”

UPDATE Lee Carter is my choice for President:



Stats Watch

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 05 June 2021 – Moderate Slowing In Intuitive Sectors” [Econintersect]. “We are now seeing great rail growth as the data is being compared to the coronavirus lockdown period last year. The intuitive sectors (total carloads removing coal, grain, and petroleum) expanded 16.5 % year-over-year for this week. We primarily use rolling averages to analyze the intuitive data due to weekly volatility – and the 4 week rolling year-over-year average for the intuitive sectors slowed from +35.5 % to +30.0 %. When rail contracts, it suggests a slowing of the economy.”

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Shipping: “Why the world is in a shipping crisis” [Business Insider]. “Ocean shipping powers our ability to buy a massive variety of inexpensive stuff. This system needs many things to function, but I’ll distill those into a few important elements: Massive ocean-faring ships; Containers on the ships; Places for the ships to park so that the containers can be unloaded. And, all of those things have broken at some point in the last year and a half! In fact, many of them are still broken. Here’s how that happened and why the shortages are still going on.” This is a very good explainer. More: “Above all, when something goes astray with ocean shipping, there’s a major butterfly effect. A ship that’s unloaded two weeks late in Los Angeles is also going to be two weeks late when it arrives back in, say, Chittagong, Bangladesh to load up on IKEA furniture. The ship before that may have been two weeks late, too, so the carrier might just cancel the ship IKEA was expecting space on, Sundboell said. Then IKEA will have to scramble for another way to move your nightstand — and potentially every order they had after that, which will now be pushed down the road.” • Tight coupling…. Well worth a read.

The Bezzle: “Uber paid ‘incredible’ amount to avoid landmark judgment” [Australian Financial Review]. “Uber paid a ‘life changing’ $400,000 to a driver so she would drop a legal challenge that could have forced the company to overhaul its business model and pay its workforce minimum pay and conditions. The Transport Workers Union used parliamentary privilege at a Senate inquiry on Thursday to reveal the confidential settlement the company’s on-demand delivery arm had made with terminated driver Amita Gupta shortly after three Federal Court judges made critical comments about its arguments at trial. The settlement, some 26 times more than what [Former UberEats driver Amita Gupta] was likely to receive under the law, revealed how far the company would go to avoid paying minimum wages, the union said. ‘The most telling feature of this settlement was the extent of the settlement,’ TWU national secretary Michael Kaine told the inquiry. ‘I think it’s very clear that UberEats wanted to ensure that there were no risks that its exploitative system would be overturned by the full court and they were willing to pay an incredible amount of money, a life-changing amount of money, to the Guptas to make sure that moment in time did not occur.”

The Bezzle: “El Salvador Plans To Use Electricity Generated From Volcanoes To Mine Bitcoin” [NPR]. “‘I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos,’ President Nayib Bukele tweeted. ‘This is going to evolve fast!'”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 11 at 12:41pm. Being stuck in neutral like this gives me the creeps.

Health Care

“Third member of U.S. FDA advisory panel resigns over Alzheimer’s drug approval” [Reuters]. “A third member of a panel of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has resigned in protest over the agency’s decision to approve Biogen Inc’s (BIIB.O) Alzheimer’s disease treatment [eteplirsen] despite the committee’s recommendation against doing so. Aaron Kesselheim, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School who had served on the FDA’s advisory committee for nervous system drugs since 2015, told Reuters on Thursday he was stepping down from the panel. ‘My rationale was that the FDA needs to re-evaluate how it solicits and uses the advisory committees … because I didn’t think that the firm recommendations from the committee in this case … were appropriately integrated into the decision-making process,’ Kesselheim said in an email…. The 11-member committee voted nearly unanimously in November that Biogen’s drug should not be approved, citing inconclusive evidence that the drug was effective.”

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

Finger-lickin’ good:

Our Famously Free Press

“The Curious Rise of Twitter Power Broker Yashar Ali” [Los Angeles Magazine]. “It’s probably not a coincidence that Ali has amassed his power and influence just as traditional journalism outlets have been suffering through a death spiral. Between 2008 and 2019, newsroom employment has dropped by more than 23 percent. The bleeding out of the industry has led to new levels of desperation. Every day Ali is inundated with pleas from journalists to retweet their stories, which can result in significant traffic boosts. A top editor at Insider (formerly known as Business Insider) recently circulated an internal memo urging staffers to seek out retweets from Ali to optimize the impact of their stories. The fact is, like it or not, Ali’s feed is impossible to ignore, and traditional newsrooms are struggling to keep up. After Ali published his Rick Jacobs piece, the L.A. Times dispatched a team of reporters to pursue the story and ran a string of follow-ups. Ten years ago, it was a link on the Drudge Report that prompted newsroom backslapping. Now it’s a retweet from @Yashar.”

The Agony Column

“Real Covid Sex Stories: Secret Pod Hookups, Illegal Swinger Parties, Lunchtime Sex, and More” [The Washingtonian]. “Another girl did ask if she could call me Fauci during sex. She said it with a straight face. I pretended that I didn’t hear and kept going, because how do you even address that? I’m not going to say yes, because that’s going to be weird. And if I say no, that kills the vibe. She didn’t say anything else, and she never called me Fauci. I think the only way you can make that weirder is if she had brought a Fauci mask and asked me to put it on.” • I imagine during RussiaGate, the request would have been for “Mueller.”

Class Warfare

“Alabama’s Coal Miners Are Striking for Their Lives” [Kim Kelly, The Nation]. “The Warrior Met picket line is really a grouping of 12 small outposts, stationed in front of each entrance to the sprawling mines. Many of the mine entrances are isolated, set down wooded country roads with no cell-phone service; there are never more than a few people out there, because the company finagled a court injunction limiting the number of people allowed on the line at a time. It also called in both state and local police as well as its own private, armed security to surveil the pickets and enforce the cap, which began as a paltry six but was bumped up to 10 following an appeal. Both the company and the union fly drones overhead to keep an eye on the lines, and police are a constant presence at the larger entrances. It’s a recipe for tension, especially when the scabs and supervisors pass in and out and the community is small enough for folks to know exactly who has sold them out by crossing that line. At the end of May, after leading 300 miners on a march, 11 UMWA leaders were arrested for blocking the entrance to Mine #7 and refusing to leave; they were taken to the Tuscaloosa County Jail and kept overnight. The company’s silence at the bargaining table has grown deafening, and those escalating tensions have recently reached a fever pitch, as the UMWA alleges that company employees have begun waging blatant acts of violence against the striking miners. Thanks to the watchful eye of the UMWA’s drone, footage of a brazen vehicular attack surfaced earlier this week.” • What a concept, actual labor reporting. This is a must read.

“Amazon to maintain pace of warehouse work despite regulator’s citation” [Seattle Times]. “Amazon is donating $12 million to the nonprofit National Safety Council, a workplace safety advocacy organization, in part to establish a cross-industry task force on the type of muscle, joint and ligament injuries that make up 40% of the injuries sustained by Amazon’s warehouse workers, MacDougall announced at the conference. The donation will also be used to research ways to lower the incidence of such injuries, including through grants to small businesses and universities and by funding competitions to find new ways to address workplace injuries. Amazon has previously committed to lowering by half the incidence of muscle and joint injuries among its workforce, part of founder Jeff Bezos’ recently announced vision of turning Amazon into the ‘Earth’s Safest Place to Work.’ The company will not publicly release data about its progress on reducing injuries, MacDougall said Wednesday, but will share injury statistics with the National Safety Council.” • Looks like the National Safety Council will have plenty of crippled guinea pigs for its studies!

“That $5 Uber Ride, $8 Burrito, and the Brutal Costs of “Cheap”” [Jacob Silverman, The New Republic]. “Linking rising prices to workers’ demands for better wages is becoming a widely used trope…. These headlines are about assigning blame: Your lunch just got more expensive thanks to the guy behind the counter…. It helps, then, to expand the aperture and take a look at how some of these companies are husbanding their vast resources. Chipotle is doing very well, making more than $350 million in profit last year, matching a similarly profitable 2019. In 2020, Chipotle’s CEO was paid $38 million, but that’s only part of the picture. In recent years, the fast-casual burrito chain, like many large companies, has conducted hundreds of millions of dollars in share buybacks, which are used to juice a firm’s stock price, often to the benefit of executives exercising their own stock options. And a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows that, in the first three months of 2021, its labor costs actually decreased by 10.2 percent. (Chipotle also benefited from ‘lower avocado pricing,’ it noted in a release.) As Congressman Ro Khanna said on Twitter, commenting on the company’s CEO pay, ‘Chipotle is not raising prices because of rising wages.’ It’s doing so out of greed, to preserve, and even boost, the extraordinary compensation of its executives, directors, and primary shareholders….. From Chipotle to Uber, these are obvious examples of class war, of senior company leaders and influential shareholders continuing a decades-long tradition of underpaying frontline workers in order to reap the benefits for themselves. It is all the more insidious that when workers clamor for more—for dignity, union membership, personal protective equipment, and higher pay in workplaces that often remain dangerous—they are cast as malcontents or layabouts content to mooch off unemployment benefits.”

“These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more” [WaPo]. “The experience of 12 business operators interviewed by The Washington Post who raised their minimum wage in the last year points to another element of the equation: the central role that pay — specifically a $15-an-hour minimum starting wage — plays in attracting workers right now. Nine of the businesses had announced pay increases to at least $15 an hour since March, amid concerns about hiring in the face of the tight labor market. The other three increased wages last year. The business operators spoke about the challenges associated with increased labor costs, with three saying they had to raise prices for consumers. One of those, as well as two that did not raise prices, said they had to reduce some seasonal staffing or staff hours to make up the cost. Enrique Lopezlira, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on the low-wage workforce, said the stories were a sign, albeit anecdotal, that the market was functioning as it should in the face of excessive demand for workers. ‘The more employers improve the quality of the jobs and the more they think of workers as an asset that needs to be maximized, the better they’re going to be able to find and retain workers long term,’ he said.” • ”he more they think of workers as an asset.” Still capitalism, though!

“The Poor Subsidize the Giving of the Rich” (interview) [Frank News]. “For example, in estate planning, there are trusts called Walton GRATs (grantor retained annuity trusts), that let you pass along billions of dollars to your heirs without paying any inheritance taxes. Republicans are always trying to repeal estate taxes, but the fact is a lot of people are barely paying their estate taxes as is; there are other ways to shuttle money to future generations. The degree to which wealthy people are able to do this was a surprise to me, and it came about because Congress made a mistake and never bothered to fix it. And everyone in that world now uses these trusts, which were declared legal in 2000. Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Dustin Moskovitz, all used these trusts to pass crazy amounts of money to their heirs.” • But was it a mistake? 

News of the Wired

“Why Can’t I Sleep?” [UCSF Magazine]. “There’s no question that the brain is doing astounding and essential work while we’re unconscious each night. It is processing memories, emotions, and new knowledge; recharging the immune system; flushing away toxins; and restoring our mental and physical energy. But no one is quite clear how it all works…. How does sleep create physical restoration? What role does it have in energy? What is the difference in brain activity for someone who reports getting a “good” sleep as opposed to a “poor” one?” • For years I thought I was a poor sleeper. Then I started falling asleep to podcasts, specifically, The History of Rome. Turns out I would fall asleep eight or ten minutes into the first track, say The Cataline Conspiracy, and then wake up many centuries later, in the reign of Nero. Quite a confidence builder! And, if the soothing voice of a podcast doesnt’ work, counting backwards from 400….

A thread on flat-earthers:

I have never met a flat-earther, but I suppose if you take a planetarium around, you’re going to attract them. Interesting tactics, though!

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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 plan (GlennF):

GlennF writes: “Attached is a photo I took this morning on my daily constitutional around the neighborhood. I think it is a lilac as it has a very strong scent. It was a little windy so parts are a little blurry. Also, do you know where the term ‘daily constitutional’ originated?” I do not. Readers? Not only are walks good, walks where you look up at the sky, not down at your shoes, are better. They are literally uplifting. Also, I am here for blurred motion; I like long exposures that show it. As with these lilacs (mmmm!).

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If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2021

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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. Samuel Conner

    Poking around this site (prevalence trends by county):


    the estimated prevalence of active COVID cases in Webb county is about
    1% of the population.

    In Maverick county, also on the border, it is an astonishing almost 5%

    other border counties are much below 1%


    The entire state of Nebraska is estimated to be at “controlled” or “end stage” trend, in the terminology of this site.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Nebraska stands out on the CDC county tracker as well by being the state showing mostly if not all blue (low transmission)

    2. R.k. Barkhi

      The actual cause of the infections in texas is really o.d.ing on Chump. People who voted for the 2x loser n impeachment wizard have weaker immune systems n are far more susceptible to infectious.. uhh… diseases. I know this is a fact cause i got it from P, who got it from Rush off the Limbo’s neighbors sisters cousins wife,a confirmed radical Ambidextrous Sympathy for the Devil playing unsociable Ism whose license plate says “777” – the Mark of the Breast.

  2. flora

    re: democrate in deshabille:

    A good deal is made about the current PMC class here, but it starts with this reliable group that simply want a pat on the head and despise change….Their attitude about doing more than a bar-b-qu/fishfry/their particular event is part of the reason for the rise of groups like DSA. ….

    …those smucks couldn’t even figure out how to authorize and pay for a billboard because of the timing requirements of the billboard company and the next meeting. ….

    Sounds like people more attracted to the enjoyable aesthetic of being “on the left” than in mastering the often tedious work of what used to be called the nuts and bolts of politics. My 2 cents.

    1. km

      Or they get so tied up in the latest idpol fretting and consciousness-raising exercises, at the expense of getting anything done.

      1. Hepativore

        A case in point would be the Balloon Juice blog, post-2016. They consider themselves to be on the left, but since the 2016 the only thing you hear from them is idpol PMC shrieking, Russiagating, hippie-punching, and Trump Derangement Syndrome delusions. All of the real leftists have abandoned the commentariat or were driven out by posters like Annie Laurie, a die-hard Hillbot

        1. km

          For Team D, that *is* what they want to get done, followed by brunch at little joint with great reviews.

          For the PMC, consumption is identity.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Exactly my experience!

          But…I have Balloon Juice to thank for directing me to this blog as someone in their comments posted about it ?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        This description makes it sound like these are a far older longer-standing deeply-entrenched group of talking bumps on talking logs. Pathetic losers whose one sole single superpower is the ability to suck all the charisma and energy out of a room . . . through the keyhole.

    2. dcblogger

      Sounds like people more attracted to the enjoyable aesthetic of being “on the left” than in mastering the often tedious work of what used to be called the nuts and bolts of politics.

      speaking only for myself, the people I have met on local Democratic committees look down their noses at leftists, as Naderites, and “purity tests.”

  3. tegnost

    If you don’t push people to the breaking point how will you know which parts of the robot to reinforce?

    Also, The 11-member committee voted nearly unanimously in November that Biogen’s drug should not be approved, citing inconclusive evidence that the drug was effective.”
    extremely expensive snake oil…now all those that stepped aside can be replaced with better snake oil salespeople

    1. shinola

      I would imagine that Biogen sincerely believes the drug will be effective at padding their bottom line and they effectively convinced the FDA admin’s that would profit them too.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      it was an “accelerated” rather than a full approval and requires further testing; there was a lot of patient advocacy around it since there are no other remedies for Alzheimer’s…so sayeth my research scientist ex to whom I forwarded the outraged email from the doc who owns the practice I belong to.

  4. Jim Hannan

    The Pima County Democratic Party (Tucson, AZ) is highly invested in voter outreach through technology. I personally live in a precinct that voted 82% for Biden/Harris.

    In 2018 there was a formidable struggle between progressive forces and more establishment Democrats in Pima County. The Sanders tilting candidate ended up prevailing in the county chair race and accomplished much. In 2020 there was somewhat of a rerun with new faces, this time the progressives picked up the entire county slate quite handily.

    VAN is now working seamlessly throughout the party here. I recently was canvassing for Melanie Stansbury in Albuquerque, to win the seat vacated by Deb Haaland. Here in New Mexico VAN and mini Van are also working well.

    There has recently been some comments in NC about Noam Chomsky. He delivered the keystone speech to Pima County Democrats in October, 2020. Here’s a youtube link:


  5. ambrit

    There are many varieties of “Flat Earther” around. As an example, political TINA advocates. If you wander off of their ‘reservation,’ according to them, you will fall off of the edge of the Earth.

      1. ambrit

        I dunno. Even taking religeous upbringing into account, planetary physics is a “hard” science. Examples can be presented in such a way as to have predictable and verifiable results. (Who has ever seen an un-areostatic object float off into space? Regular weights tend to fall towards the centre of the gravity well.)
        Politics is a “soft” science. Much “magical thinking” is incorporated. Socio-political ‘experiments’ do not replicate consistently. Applying “mechanistic” theory to Terran human based socio-political systems denys the idea of “soul” and ‘free will.’ The two above mentioned Terran human attributes might be classified as examples of “magical thinking.” The jury is still out on that question.

  6. ambrit

    Of interest; I have now encountered ‘Home Covid Test Kits’ for sale at the WalMart for (a) two for twenty dollars and (b) two for twentyfive dollars. The ‘cheap’ tests are of the nasal swab variety. There are also saliva versions, which cost a hundred dollars per.
    What happened to “free because it’s a Public Health emergency?” (Rhetorical question, I admit.)

    1. Lost in OR

      My understanding is that the nasal swab is not a pleasant experience. Self-administration seems like a non-starter to me. Like a urinary catheter, I can’t see self-administration going well. But then, I suppose, there’s money to made there somewhere. And available at Walmart… was it manufactured in China?

  7. Isotope_C14

    I sometimes wonder if the flat earther thing is a double middle finger to the PMC. Seems to bother them more than anyone.

    1. Phillip Cross

      No, it’s not anything like that. It just what happens when you have hundreds of millions of total dumbasses reinforcing each other’s delusions online.

      Dunning Kruger³

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Yes, it definitely could be this too. I went to see a John Cleese show a few years ago titled “Why There Is No Hope” and he basically summed it up like this: “Stupid people don’t know they are stupid”

    2. QuicksilverMessenger

      I was tending toward this too- that it’s a major troll effort, to somehow p*wn the smarty pantses. Because just conceptually, are people actually contending that all celestial bodies are just flat disks, like dinner plates, hovering around ‘out there’? How do they explain orbits? No…On second thought- I don’t want to know

      1. BlakeFelix

        Well, I doubt that it is what they believe, but Ptolmey IIRC had a whole complicated system of celestial spheres that actually did a pretty good job describing and predicting the motion of the planets(in the sky as seen from Earth). That was what passed for science for a long time.

  8. Adam

    It seems like Florida has changed their reporting schedule for Covid cases and deaths. Both divoc and Worldometers hasn’t reported anything for a number of days, so maybe it’s now weekly? Seems like bad policy for actually having any handle on what’s really happening although I suppose the low numbers make that less important. Florida was previously reported around ~40 deaths a day I believe, so I’m interested to see what that number looks like when they finally update.

    1. urblintz

      Yes, it’s now weekly and yes it’s bad policy. DeSantis…

      In the days immediately preceding the change, Florida was averaging about 1300 new cases/day.

  9. Laura in So Cal

    Biogen Alzheimer Drug:

    Since my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 2 years ago, I’ve done a lot of reading. This drug (along with many other failed drugs) targets the beta amyloid plaques that CORRELATE with Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of researchers (tho not all) have made the assumption that the plaques cause the disease and that if you decrease the plaques, you decrease the disease. From my reading, the Biogen drug sort-of worked in reducing plaques, but had no other discernable positive effects on the actual Alzheimer’s presentation. Approval of the drug is basically kind of like an EUA…since the disease is progressive and terminal. I guess they’ll just throw stuff at Alzheimer’s and hope it works (at least if it makes $$).

    Many researchers are now coming to believe that the beta amyloid plaques are a blind alley and may be a protective response to the underlying diseased brain in which case reducing them would be ineffective at best.


    1. R

      AD is defined as neurodegeneration with the presence of amyloid plaques and tau tangles. It can only be a confirmed diagnosis post-mortem. It proceeds step-wise from the olfactory bulb outward through the brain – neuropathology studies show this staging. It is a slow and progressive process. Rapid and/or jerky decline in cognition is probably notbAD but one of many other dementias. Its clinical presentation is not well correlated with the underlying staging and some people with advanced neuropathology maintain normal lives (Canadian nun study).

      The net result of all of these features: it is a nightmare disease to develop a drug for because by the time a patient has frank dementia, it is too late. No little pill is going to replace a CNS neuron. Once you are an adult, they do not reproduce (with some limited exceptions, which may be implicated in depression). This is why trials aim to recruit patients with prodromal AD – mild cognitive impairment – instead.

      Even if you are an optimist, your AD or MCI clinical trial will contain people with advanced disease but modest clinical symptoms and people with no disease, at least not AD, and symptoms, because of the vagaries of clinical diagnosis by signs and symptoms. And your control and treatment group will contain different mixtures of each. Your data will be a mess.

      Despite all these problems, the prize of an AD-slowing drug is huge. However, a vicious group of AD researchers has maintained the primacy of the amyloid hypothesis for years, despite nothing but failures. The level of fighting and denigration of others in AD is extreme. It has taken twenty years for Tau therapies to come in from the wilderness. What is worse is that all if the AD research community and drug development is aware of this – to the extent that when the big ICAD conference allowed non-amyloid speakers in from the fringes, it made industry headlimes – but there is still no concerted effort to reorient research funding from amyloid.

  10. dcblogger

    Local Democratic committees vary widely from place to place. I have always served in urban areas, so no farmers on any committee I served on. Obviously that would be different in a place like Sumter County Georgia. The committees I have served on, well functioning all 3 of them, were dominated by lawyers, teachers, college professors, and union shop stewards, with the occasional small business owner. They all had traditions of things they were used to doing, so getting them to recognize, much less act on, new opportunities was like pulling teeth.

    My friend in Wisconsin tells me that the local town committees do no fundraising, which explains why Russ Feingold had no hesitation in imposing elaborate reporting requirements on local committees. The committees I served on could raise enough $ to pay a professional accountant to preform that task.

    A friend of mine moved from Virginia to Florida (Broward County I think) and was aghast by how dysfunctional they were. It is not just that they did not raise $, they didn’t do anything, or even had any idea that precinct operations was a thing in the world. This is why political consultants hold local committees and grassroots politics in contempt. Also, many political consultants are arrogant. In April of 2000 I did a training seminar on precinct operations for my local committee and invited the local Gore field organizer to speak to us. She did not return my phone calls or even respond to my email. Nothing. complete snub. This was not a a case of come and kiss our collective ass, This was a case of we love Gore, please come and tell use what you want us to do.

    I will say this much for Mark Warner (and I am embarrassed I ever supported him) he realized that Arlington County Democrats had a winning political culture and that if you could spread that across Virginia Democrats would win.

    1. Tom_Doak

      This was not a a case of come and kiss our collective ass, This was a case of we love Gore, please come and tell use what you want us to do.

      They probably laughed as hard about that as I did just now!

      Or maybe they were already busily at work on the hanging chads.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      he committees I have served on, well functioning all 3 of them,

      They all had traditions of things they were used to doing, so getting them to recognize, much less act on, new opportunities was like pulling teeth.

      I would argue if they don’t recognize the opportunities that they aren’t well run regardless of how friendly they might seem or enjoy their social club.

      1. dcblogger

        arguably so, but the committees I served on won most of their elections, often by landslides.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I saw you mentioned Gerry “laughs at his own jokes” Connolly (he does this by the way, maybe he’s improved as a Congressman), but Tom Davis, a likeable guy for a Republican, held that seat for years long after demographics should have shown him the door. He even survived 2006. A landslide is a bit of default. Then of course, the Virginia state senate made those senate seats super safe instead of going for wins. Danica Roem’s win was a huge deal for reasons other than her gender because there were no favors made to take on Bob.

          Now Connolly gets out and hustles like he should, but the inability to take on Davis was just sad. Though that may have been Jim Webb’s campaigns fault. The party just didn’t hit urban targets the way it should, but the Congressionals took on the rural areas because Webb needed to make inroads with black voters. Webb’s habit of going home every night hurt. They had some areas where they didn’t squeeze every vote. There was shifting late when there was a realization the Webb campaign was opening offices but not doing anything. Did you know he wore his son’s combat boots on the trail? :)

    3. fresno dan

      June 11, 2021 at 2:53 pm
      So when I worked at FDA, there was a union and I was a union steward (it was a pretty pathetic union – taking me as a member was pretty indicative of how desperate they were…). Being interested in politics, I volunteered for the political committee. I than found out that inviting a congressman (from Maryland – FDA headquarters is in a Maryland suburb, and had a democratic representative) entailed giving the representative’s campaign a rather hefty contribution. Appeals that the representative would be meeting people who were inclined to vote democratic got the response that I must have two heads. No contribution, no meeting.
      PAY TO PLAY. How naïve I was…

      1. dcblogger

        wow, that reeks. I guarantee, Gerry Connally and Don Beyer are better than that. They may have their faults, but they know enough to show up and take an interest in their base. Even if they don’t vote right, they will at least show up.

      2. Gravity Falls

        This is absolutely accurate. I joined a corporate PAC and I was shocked when our Rep and our Senator arrived once a year to visit with us. The catch? They all walked away with a check.

  11. Utah

    I volunteered for by local Dem party for 2 years in various capacities. I’ve knocked on thousands of doors for candidates that have my same perspective on things and I ran a local school board race. I don’t do that anymore. The beaurocracy leads to so much infighting that they’re not functional. They do all use VAN. But they don’t share data across campaigns. So because we have lots of republicans that are actually democrats here, and lots of unaffiliated voters, we don’t know who is actually persuadable. And the Dem scores mean that people get missed. Dem scores are stupid. And they’re unchangeable because they don’t share data.

    We have a lot of caucuses in my state. And they contribute to the infighting. We’ve spent way more time in central committee meetings fighting about sexual harassment than actually getting anything done. Not that sexual harassment isn’t a thing that should get addressed, it’s that it shouldn’t take two years to address it. And it took that long because nobody wants the men in power who abuse to go away. Because they are prolific fundraisers.

    So that’s my two cents for local Dem stuff in Utah.

  12. Wukchumni

    The Bezzle: “El Salvador Plans To Use Electricity Generated From Volcanoes To Mine Bitcoin” [NPR]. “‘I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos,’ President Nayib Bukele tweeted. ‘This is going to evolve fast!’”
    Its all fun and gains until the market blows up on account of pyrocryproclastic flows…

    The bigger question would be, why is El Salvador not happy with their Yanqui Dollar denominated financial system?

  13. nvl

    HA! I used fall asleep to the BBC ‘s In Our Time. Calm voices, interesting ideas, so relaxed was I that…

    1. Lee

      “For years I thought I was a poor sleeper. Then I started falling asleep to podcasts, specifically, The History of Rome.”

      For Lambert: So, do you wake up in the morning with an irresistible urge to sack Carthage?

      I’ve been using the radio turned down to an indecipherable murmur for years. Maybe I should try edifying podcasts for a change.

  14. zagonostra

    >UPDATE “Vaccinate the World” [New York Times]

    [From text of Biden Speech reference in article]

    Why does below feel so dystopian?

    a new generation of American men and women…working with today’s latest technology, is going to build a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace, health, and stability: COVID-19.

    American workers will now produce vaccines to save lives of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. People they will never meet and have never met in places they’ve never visited and probably won’t have an opportunity to, but lives saved all the same thanks to American leadership and American workers’ hard work and values.

    … we’re a nation full of people who step up at times of need to help our fellow human beings, both at home and abroad. We’re not perfect, but we step up.

    We’re going to keep manufacturing doses, donating doses, getting “jabs” — as they say here in the UK — in arms, until the world has beaten this virus.


    1. Lee

      It’s dystopian because we are a people weary of imperial hubris whether it expresses itself in the form of wars or humanitarianism in far flung corners of the globe when we have yet to properly care for our own. At least that is to what I ascribe the wave of malaise that overtakes me upon reading such over the top tripe.

    2. Ranger Rick

      It’s the horrific metaphors. I would have rejected the speech out of hand if someone wrote this for me.

      “… a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace …”

      “… people they will never meet and have never met in places they’ve never visited and probably won’t have an opportunity to …”

      “… We’re not perfect, but we step up.”

      1. wilroncanada

        zag, Lee and Ranger
        This is Biden’s declaration of Covid war against China an Russia, and maybe Cuba, Brazil, and any other country which dares to develop or make a vaccine independent of dirty ol’ Uncle Sam. I mentioned yesterday that hell might freeze over before the US got its collective ass in gear to actually set up a system of vaccination, with proper sanitation and supplies in much of the third world. Meanwhile, as a story yesterday stated, China is already in the process of distributing 350 million doses to 75 countries, and vaccination its own population for the past two weeks at a rate of 20 million a day.
        What is the US going to do? Send in its armed forces to forcibly dispose of those nasty Chinese vaccines, forcibly take over all the local health administration and forcibly vaccinate those local populations? And if the locals object because they’ve already been vaccinated? Jab them anyway because nothing works as well as US vaccines administered by USians, even if to save them it kills them?

    3. Henry

      It is even worse now that we know they f’d up and the new vaccines don’t behave the way they thought they would. The nanoparticle lipid vesicles don’t stay put at the injection site, but can be found circulating in the blood and scarily can be found to concentrate in the ovaries. The spike protein that the NIH engineered to remain stable in its binding configuration (see patent) and to have an “anchor” that would hold it on the cell surface also seems to be found freely circulating in the blood, which would explain the high incidence of vaccine side effects as we have learned that the spike protein itself is highly toxic and likely to be responsible for much of Covid 19s health impact. This is going to be a huge blow as I suspect after the disbelief wears off there are going to be a few really angry people especially since the media is blocking this information from getting out. One can only hope that it will take the wind out of the sails of the pharmaceutical industrial complex and some reform will be possible. Reference: Dark Horse podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_NNTVJzqtY&list=PLjQ2gC-5yHEug8_VK8ve0oDSJLoIU4b93

  15. Tom_Doak

    I wonder if the rich donors would tell Congress to waive all the pay-Ford, if it became clear that the bills were going to pass and taxing the rich was really the only way to pay for them?

  16. Henry Moon Pie

    Omar and Tlaib vs. Pelosi–

    This tension and AOC’s criticism of Harris’s shooing away of Guatemalan migrants reminded me of Packer’s Atlantic article with its America divided into four parts. One of the most interesting things about his historical tracing of American worldviews back to Andy Jackson was his contention that the Smart worldview and the Just worldview were in fundamental opposition and would soon be in open conflict. There’s evidence close on the heels of the article’s publication that he had that one pegged.

    There are few professional politicians with whom I agree more often than Tlaib and for that matter, AOC. At the same time, there were occasions when I cringed during Bernie’s campaign at some of the Woke music that Bernie felt compelled to dance to, but that’s because the whole IdPol movement for which Packer provided a thumbnail-sketch history is, in my view, an outdated dead end. Achieving whatever its concept is of a oppression-free world will not be worth much in a degraded Earth and a civilization struggling to survive.

    Speaking of Bernie’s campaign, I was fortunate enough to receive Nina Turner’s mailer in anticipation of an August Democratic primary for Fudge’s old House seat. It was focused almost entirely on her Cleveland roots and Ohio political activity though Bernie was included among the endorsers (along with the House members listed above). It emphasized Nina’s “courage to ask for more” and listed 15-20 policy points, most of which were concrete material benefits like eliminating student debt and public college tuition, a lead program that eliminated lead exposure in homes and daycares and M4A, although it was described rather than explicitly named.

    1. km

      If and when Team R implodes, we will soon find out just how little use the PMC yuppies and the BLM types have for one another, other than as allies against a common enemy.

      In fact, take away that enemy, and they will discover that they don’t even like each other all that much.

  17. JBird4049

    >>>“These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more”

    Is this what they call being gaslighted? Reeeaally, actually raising pay to (maybe) match inflation will get more applicants?

    Maybe I’m an innocent summer child, but in California, I don’t think there is any place that even $15 per hour can be considered a “living wage,” so why would anyone work for that as doing so just puts you deeper into poverty and probably into homelessness?

    And some think that communism and socialism are unworkable in the real world, but that modern free market capitalism is? Is this also what I could call a grift? Or a cult?

  18. IMOR

    Perhaps someone should show or describe a links course to Lee J. Carter. Though there are plenty of reasons to be anti-golf. Like, having tried to get good at it.

    1. Wukchumni

      I fought the lawn, but the lawn won
      Grown men whacking off repeatedly
      Trying desperately for a hole in one
      I fought the lawn, but the lawn won


    I have served as a vice chair of my precinct for nearly 12 years. The county Democratic party here is highly active and very well organized. I live in Orange County NC, home of UNC Chapel Hill, so the county and party is completly dominated by liberals and PMC types. They are very conscious that Orange County can run up its vote each election to help push statewide candidates over the top to victory. After Trump won in 2016, the county part organized a very active campaign to assist Dem parties in other parts of the state.

    My own observations are that major campaigns — for president, Senate, and Congress — have very little formal connection to the local county party. Both Obama campaigns parachuted in staffers from outside, who disappeared the day after the elections. There is zilch data shared by these outside campaigns.

    There is a sizable bloc of left leaning activists who have been chomping at the bit for years to change the party. They have gained some positions, and have passed dozens of resolutions including some quite radical ones, that have made it into the state Party platform. And that’s it. For the past four or five years, the activists have been debating and trying ways to force the Governor and congressmen and other office holders to actually do something to implement the resolutions in the platform. I think the major obstacle is simply that office holders have to respond to their money backers, or they lose the means to survive. Very simple and very brutal.

    But another large problem in Orange County is that the PMC types who dominate here are neoliberal true believers. I wrote a resolution condemning NAFTA and free trade agreements, and it created a furious debate and was not adopted.

    The PMC types also adore congressman David Price, who was a professor of political science at Duke University, while the lefty activists have grown increasingly angry and contemptuous of Price.

    Bernie Sanders had a lot of support here, but i heard the bernie bro slur from a few of the PMC party stalwarts.

    In conclusion, i think it was a mistake to some degree or another to dismantle the national party apparatus in the 1970s and 1980s. There seems to be no way to influence office holders other than to be a large donor.

    1. km

      In conclusion, i think it was a mistake to some degree or another to dismantle the national party apparatus in the 1970s and 1980s. There seems to be no way to influence office holders other than to be a large donor.”

      From the DNC point of view, that is a feature, not a bug.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      you must know Rebecca ;-) I worked with her on Medicare for All a few years ago. I have to say, my mom was active with the Orange County Dems starting in about 2006 and was very frustrated with their voter rolls and the inefficiency in their calling operations. Stuff was very outdated and nobody seemed to think it mattered. I don’t remember the details but I recall it was pretty outlandish–fits with Lambert’s observation that the Dems just aren’t interested in voter registration or GOTV except in presidential elections.

  20. Harold

    People should drastically reduce their lawns. Lawn grass is not a native plant. It is not designed for survival on this continent without great expenditures of resources: water, energy, and chemicals. Though I think small lawns for sitting on, walking barefoot (unless you have fire ants), playing some sports (croquet, badminton, and the like) are very nice. But as default landscaping, they really harm the environment and mostly are just for show, with people staying indoors glued to screens, while their sprinklers run incessantly outside.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I hate the noise and air pollution that result from the small motors running to mow and edge-trim lawns.

  21. Keith

    Regarding the gardening on your lawn idea, why give away 80% of your lawn production? A better solution would be to raise animals. In small areas, birds are great. You can get meat and/or eggs. If you raise ducks and geese, very easy to do and need very minimal shelter and care- they prefer the outdoors even in bad weather. Another plus, geese act a great watch dogs and will alert you to any passersby by. During mating season, they will also chase away any two legged interlopers.

    Oh, and for food, they love greens and will act as lawn mowers for you, although you will need to supplement with feed. One word of warning, chicken feed and flock raiser is not good enough for ducks which have their own nutritional needs.

    1. Robert Hahl

      A friend with a small poultry farm told me that he prefers chickens over ducks because the ducks know.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        the ducks know ducks know ducks know ducksnow ducksnow ducksnowducksnowducksnow…

        okay, I give up, what’s the reference?

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Got it, I read it wrong, thought he preferred the (knowing) which seemed too macabre so I was going with word play.

  22. FluffytheObeseCat

    “Trump-inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers” [Reuters]

    This is an impressively good article. Full of specific reports, many of which it indicated haven’t been publicized before. It’s like, real news, presented in a dispassionate manner.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree, it’s serious. And I appreciate the gravity with which Lambert presented it—no whataboutism from the commentariat I notice.

    2. Jen

      It is a very good article. I think there is something broader going on, though. We recently had a cheating scandal at the medical school where I work. It was messy and difficult for everyone involved. I don’t know whether it was through a direct message or a comment somewhere, but our dean was told “he should die.” We had office staff who were asking for panic buttons because they were afraid for their safety.

  23. petal

    Talked to one of the butchers and got the lowdown on the beef situation. He said farmers sold off a lot of their herds during covid because of low demand. Now restaurants, etc, are opening back up, the demand has rebounded-and combine that with lower #s of head and that’s why price has skyrocketed the last couple of weeks. He said “Eat chicken, eat pork.”

  24. ChiGal in Carolina

    Those lilacs! As soon as I saw them I got such a visceral hit of their (remembered) scent I inhaled deeply. Lilacs don’t grow in North Carolina. One of the things I will be looking forward to next spring back in Chicago.

    And good on Jayapal. I hope she sticks to her guns. If Biden is reneging on beefing up workplace protections to workers it’s past time to do a Manchin.

    1. Lost in OR

      In the 90’s I lived for 9 years on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The lilacs were amazing. West coast lilacs are nothing in comparison. Nor the change of seasons. Nor the fall colors. I guess there is something to be said for suffering through those interminable winters. I don’t miss the winters, but I do miss much else about Maine.

  25. chuck roast

    Lee J. Carter? And the guy hates golf? He gives new meaning to being anti-American. How did I miss this guy? Keep me informed. I’ll send him a couple of bucks.

    1. thoughtful person

      Voted for Lee a couple days ago.

      He’s so right on lawns. Sadly, looks like he lost run for VA Gov, and his delegate seat. Got multiple split the vote oponents.

  26. chuck roast

    You never met a flat-earther? Really? I used to see them all the time on my walk home when I lived in DC. Check out 1000 Massachusetts Ave. I walked by once and they were having some sort of soiree on the front plaza. It was weird. There were maybe 40-50 young men milling around, and they were all dressed alike. They had cheap black suits with the Pee-wee Herman fit and thin early ’60s black ties. Like they all came out of the same pod. So, I yelled out, “Hey, I heard you guys worship Herbert Spencer’s bones in there!” I got the dead-eyeball look from the lot of them. So, I yelled it again. Not one of those knuckleheads had a clue.

  27. chris

    Anyone have a working link to the OIG report on the DOI investigation into the clearing of Lafayette Park on June 1, 2020? The report has been taken down and the links I have are all broken.

  28. the other Jean

    Regarding Texas covid cases, the Texas Tribune reports the following:

    On June 9, Bell County and Webb County reported 4,750 probable cases that had previously not been included. The county and statewide cumulative totals have both been adjusted. These cases were not included in the new probable cases reported for the state on June 9.


    So these numbers could be old: “Oh, we found this pile of faxes from December, here ya go. Y’all figure it out.” Which has happened more than once with Texas county data. Or there could be a breakout. Dunno.

  29. allan

    Jerry Nadler wakes from his afternoon nap to issue a sternly worded press release:

    “It is outrageous that the Department of Justice may have used a criminal investigation as pretext to spy on journalists, Members of Congress, their families, and Congressional staff. Sadly, after four years of Donald Trump’s corrupting influence at the Department of Justice, we have every reason to believe that these reports are true. Indeed, my concern at this hour is that the corruption may run deeper than has already been reported. We know that the Department, under Attorneys General Sessions and Barr’s leadership, tried to secretly seize data from the accounts of these reporters and of my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee—but we do not yet know how these two efforts were connected, or whether there were additional targets of this gross abuse of power.

    “I am grateful that Inspector General Horowitz has committed to investigating both cases. His work here will be invaluable. An investigation by his office is, however, no substitute for swift action by the Department of Justice.

    “The Committee has been in communication with DOJ, and we have made our position clear. The Department has a very short window to make a clean break from the Trump era on this matter. We expect the Department to provide a full accounting of these cases, and we expect the Attorney General to hold the relevant personnel accountable for their conduct. If the Department does not make substantial progress towards these two goals, then we on the Judiciary Committee will have no choice but to step in and do the work ourselves.”

    That’s when the real work will begin – issuing sternly worded Tweets.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Why the world is in a shipping crisis”

    If this is making the price of stuff go up due to transport problems, then it may account for a lot of the “inflation” that is talked about. So if these transport problems are solved in the next year or two, will this “inflation” then go away? But at the moment, the talk of all this inflation is serving a useful political purpose in trying to get spending bills cut back. You see Senators worry about how to fund $1 trillion infrastructure bills but if they had only given $4 trillion to the wealthiest people in the country last year instead of the $5 trillion given, then there would have been the money needed right there. Yeah, I don’t believe that last sentence either.

    1. VietnamVet

      The pandemic’s shortages and inflation are getting too obvious not to be noticed.

      The first energy crises moved manufacturing overseas to lower wage costs and increase the 1% wealth. It relied on cheap bunker oil for container ocean shipping. For globalization to rebound, there can be no fourth coronavirus spike and lockdown this winter. The mRNA silver bullet must work. Also, there can be no hot war (or even a cold war) with China. Repatriating industry and clean shipping raises prices.

      Surviving war, famine and pestilence requires competence and planning for the future which are in very short supply today in the West.

  31. Wukchumni

    Driving through the Owens Valley near Ridgecrest last week, got a good look at the pistachio orchards in this story from late 2020, this same scenario is playing out in a BIG way in the Central Valley closer to home as every farmer is doing the same damned thing in keeping their trees alive (and looking good!) -a 365/12/7/24/60/60 H2O happy hour~

    I will pump you up!

    What makes makes Ridgecrest such an outlier, it’s the only commercial orchard in the Owens Valley, I believe.

    Dose yourself with dihydrogen oxide before reading, this is an interesting tale

    The Conaways bought 4 acres and built a house in the adjacent town of Inyokern, which like Ridgecrest is nestled in the Indian Wells Valley, a roughly 11,000-square-mile stretch of desert in the eastern Sierra Nevada about three hours north of Los Angeles. When Conaway learned there were tax incentives for farmers, he started planting. By the early 1980s he’d settled on pistachios as his crop of choice.

    That was the right call. California’s pistachio industry, which comprised only a few thousand acres then, today spans 300,000 acres and takes in about $1.6 billion a year. Conaway’s business grew, too. He gave up engineering and now, at age 83, owns 175 acres’ worth of nuts. A decade ago, that was enough to make him one of the more serious farmers around. Successes like his attracted the attention of a Bakersfield pistachio magnate named Rod Stiefvater. In 2011, Stiefvater’s company, Mojave Pistachios LLC, acquired about 1,600 acres near Conaway and planted more than 100,000 trees.

    Mojave sells most of its nuts to the Wonderful Co., one of America’s most powerful agricultural enterprises and the reason pistachios now rank among the country’s bestselling salty snacks. Mojave has established a farming operation on a scale unprecedented for the area. If they’re well-tended, its trees will be fully mature by 2025, turning the once-barren land into a fertile realm worth an estimated $25 million a year.

    That’s a bigger “if” than it might seem. In the arid, isolated Indian Wells Valley, underground aquifers are the only reliable sources of fresh water. To make its trees grow big and strong, Mojave says, it will need almost as much groundwater as the entire Ridgecrest area uses today.

    China Lake has grown at a pace faster than that of Conaway’s and other small farmers’ pistachio trees. The naval base now encompasses 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. Ridgecrest, home to about 30,000 people, remains a sort of company town for the naval installation, which employs about 10,000 active-duty military, civilians, and contractors. The base contributes $36 million in state and local taxes each year, representing about 90% of the town’s economy. In 2019, China Lake said one of its top concerns was encroachment on its groundwater supply, based on a recent assessment of the aquifer’s use, and implied that water shortages could mean the base would have to shut down permanently.


  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    In another thread ( which I can’t find right now) one of our blogging hosts said that Fascism first arose in the USA. That assumes that the militarily defeated CSA was again part of the USA in any real or meaningful way. If one sees the militarily defeated CSA as a region which was militarily occupied but not yet deplantationazified, one might say that modern fascism arose in the Cultural Confederate States, not in the Cultural United States.

    This distinction may well matter if we want to understand some of the sources of the nostalgia for Franco/Pinochet type methods and approaches to politics and governance animating the Republican Party today. And possibly motivating its secret agent Democratic Party collaborators as well.

    In that light, here is a little political talking-head video by ” Beau of the Fifth Column” talking about Joe Manchin and his “bipartisanship-seeking” opposition to protecting the structure of citizen voting rights.

  33. Tracie Hall

    Beautiful lilacs GlennF!
    Vocabulary.com says a “daily constitution” has to do with the health of one’s personal constitution:

    “If you break down constitutional, you’ll find the root word constitute, meaning “to make up or form.” Constitution can refer to the document that forms (or organizes) the government. It can also refer to the structure of a thing, such as a species, or a person. If you go for a “constitutional walk” — in that sense, the word means having to do with your constitution or your health.”

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