2:00PM Water Cooler 6/14/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as usual I accumulated too much over the weekend to sort. More in a bit. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day


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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. I’ve been thinking of new charts to monitor to alert us to the next outbreak, assuming there is one, but for now, the data from the South means I’ll stick to the status quo.

Vaccination by region:

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

Case count by United States regions:

Continued good news, though perhaps the decrease is slowing a little?

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):

Looks to me like Florida, capital of Latin America, has joined Texas in breaking away from the pack.

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

Not entirely good news.

Test positivity:

Up 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

Capitol Seizure

“Oregon House ousts GOP rep for helping protesters enter state Capitol” [The Hill]. “The Oregon House on Thursday voted 59-1 to expel Republican state Rep. Mike Nearman, who was accused of helping far-right protesters enter the state Capitol in December. The vote is the first time the legislative body has ejected a sitting representative…. [Nearman] simply said it is against the Oregon Constitution to close the state Capitol to the public and it was ‘a place they had a right to be, a place the legislative assembly had no right to exclude them from.’… Oregon House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said the incident could have led to someone’s death. ‘[Nearman] made a decision to intentionally come up with a plan to let people into the building [when] he did not know how that would turn out and he was comfortable with that,’ Drazan said… ‘I am not comfortable with that. There could easily have been a death on that day.'”

Biden Administration

Oh, dear:

“Biden to name Pulse Nightclub a national memorial” [USA Today]. “President Joe Biden said on the fifth anniversary of a mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that he will sign a bill naming the site as a national memorial. The deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in U.S. history left 49 people dead and 53 people wounded as ‘Latin Night’ was being celebrated at the club. Biden said in a statement Saturday that he has ‘stayed in touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have turned their pain into purpose’ and described the club as ‘hallowed ground.'” • See Vox: “New evidence shows the Pulse nightclub shooting wasn’t about anti-LGBTQ hate.” But The Narrative is all-important, especially when it allows Biden to perform empathy.

Trump Legacy

“Biden’s ex-COVID adviser faults Trump administration for “deadly sins” at start of pandemic” [CBS]. “In an interview with ‘Face the Nation,’ Slavitt said the country would have grappled with the pandemic last year regardless of who was in the White House, but detailed the three errors made by the prior administration: Former President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the virus and its existence; his quashing of dissent from public health experts; and his stoking of divisions across the country.”

Republican Funhouse

UPDATE “Maricopa County Audit Tests an Already Fractured Arizona GOP” [The Dispatch]. “[T]he real power lies with Randy Pullen, former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and treasurer of the Republican National Committee. Pullen now serves as the Maricopa County audit liaison alongside fellow audit spokesman Ken Bennett, who previously served as president of the Arizona Senate and secretary of state of Arizona…. Pullen claims that the recount will be completed by the end of June. As of Wednesday, more than 1.7 million of the county’s 2.1 million ballots have reportedly been counted…. . Audit organizers also aren’t being shy about their long-term goals. ‘What will come out of this is the entire process for how you do this large of an audit will be written up,’ Pullen said. “It will be a plan that someone else can take and use as the basis for doing something similar to this.’ The idea is already gaining traction among rogue Republicans in swing states. Three members of the Pennsylvania Senate toured Maricopa County’s election site Wednesday and told reporters they plan to launch a similar audit in their own state…. Pullen later informed me that all of the volunteers for the audit have signed nondisclosure agreements and are prohibited from speaking with reporters.” • Oh. Seems legit. Very good wrap-up.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Recall fever strikes California as angry voters take on politicians in large numbers” [Los Angeles Times]. “During the first five months of 2021, active recall efforts — those in which an official step has been taken — have targeted at least 68 local officials in California, according to a Times analysis. The total has already surpassed the number of local recall attempts seen during four of the last five years in California, according to Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan website that tracks American politics and elections…. The increase in recall attempts targeting local school board members has been “unprecedented,” said California School Boards Assn. spokesperson Troy Flint. School board members account for two-thirds of the local officials targeted for recall this year, with many campaigns targeting multiple members of the same board. It’s too soon to say whether the upswing in filed recall attempts will actually lead to more special elections later this year. More than a few of those 68 attempts have already fizzled. Several stalled out of the gate with filings that didn’t meet election code standards, while others failed to gather enough signatures during the requisite timeline.”

UPDATE “Column: Why the Democrats’ voting rights bill will fail and what they can do about it” [Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times]. “HR 1’s collapse comes at a time when electoral democracy is under threat. Republican-controlled state legislatures are still passing new laws to make it harder to vote. So it’s time to stop mourning HR 1, which has always been a long shot, and start thinking about what needs to happen next…. First, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York should take Manchin at his word that he genuinely wants to pass bipartisan voting reforms, and ask him to convene his vaunted negotiating group of 20 Senate centrists to work on them…. Second, Democrats should expand a second election reform measure, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which Manchin says he supports. The bill would update the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of racially discriminatory laws to seek Justice Department approval for new election rules. The Supreme Court effectively gutted the law in 2013, but left room for Congress to pass an improved, updated version…. Third, and perhaps most urgent, Congress needs to make it harder for anti-democratic politicians to overturn the results of the next presidential election. That means rewriting the 1877 Electoral Count Act, a once-forgotten but justly maligned statute that Trump tried to use last year to block the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral vote….The law allows state legislatures to overrule their own voters in the event of a ‘failed election,’ without defining what a failed election might be.” • More auto-kinbaku-bi. The Democrats tied themselves up in knots by refusing to put a horse’s head in Manchin’s bed and abolish the filibuster, gaining an enormous jouissance of helplessness, as they so often do. McManus offers some sensible ways out, so we’ll see if anything comes of it. I doubt it. This addresses the “failed election” issue–

UPDATE “What Happens When Republicans Simply Refuse to Certify Democratic Wins?” [David Atkins, Mother Jones]. “So what happens in 2024 if President Biden or Vice President Harris win the Electoral College, but local Republicans on county boards with majority Democratic votes refuse to certify the election; when state legislatures who have seized control of certification refuse to certify their state tallies; when a potential Republican majority in the House of Representatives refuses to certify the Electoral College tally? What happens when they refuse to certify Democratic wins in purple state Senate races, throwing control of the Upper Chamber into limbo and chaos? What happens if Biden/Harris wins the popular vote by 8 million votes and 30 electoral college votes, only to see Republicans in states like Georgia and Wisconsin decide that their GOP legislatures will send electors for Trump or Tucker Carlson or Josh Hawley instead? What happens if Democrats legitimately add to their lead in the Senate, only to see Republicans refuse to certify those tallies as well, keeping GOP Senators in place for the next session?” • I must say that the Democrat Party establishment body language is pretty relaxed about all this. As BradBlog comments:

“An SUV rammed into protesters in Minneapolis, killing one and injuring another. Then protesters yanked the driver out.” [CBS]. “A vehicle drove into a group of protesters in Minneapolis late Sunday night, injuring two, and one of them later died at a hospital, police said. The motorist may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to investigators. The demonstration was the latest in the Uptown neighborhood since a Black man wanted on a firearms possession charge was shot and killed there by law enforcement earlier this month.” • The shot man’s name was Winston Smith, which is a little too on-the-nose.

“The Delusions of the Radical Centrist” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. One cheer for Lindism: “Lind’s worldview has its insights. His contention that democracy is hollow in the absence of working-class organization is empirically sound and badly underemphasized in elite discourse. His insistence that America’s “meritocracy” is a “mostly hereditary class system” is similarly well-founded. And his account of the college-educated’s near-monopoly on social power in contemporary society is edifying. It is easy for urban professionals to take our preeminence in the mainstream media, popular culture, and Democratic Party for granted. But our disproportionate cultural and (within blue America) political power is real and historically novel.” But: “Nevertheless, Lind’s insistence that America’s dominant class is a (vaguely defined) professional elite — rather than a smaller cohort of ultrarich capitalists — is tendentious at best. And this is far from the only defect in his political analysis.” • Well, the Kossacks work for the Czar. This isn’t hard.

“TWISTED SOURCES: How Confederate propaganda ended up in the South’s schoolbooks” [Facing South]. • Propaganda works. And Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the work that the United Daughters of the Confederacy did.


Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Consumer Inflation Expectations” [Trading Economics]. “Median year-ahead inflation expectations in the US jumped for the 7th straight month to a new record high of 4 percent in May of 2021. Expectations also went up for home price and rent price changes, earnings, income, and spending growth. Meanwhile, median inflation expectations at the three-year horizon increased to 3.6 percent from 3.1 percent, the second-highest level ever. The increase at both horizons is particularly pronounced among respondents age 60 and over and among those with a high school degree or less.”

* * *

Marketing: “Are advertisers coming for your dreams?” [Science]. “[B]rands from Xbox to Coors to Burger King are teaming up with some scientists to attempt something similar: “Engineer” advertisements into willing consumers’ dreams, via video and audio clips. This week, a group of 40 dream researchers has pushed back in an online letter, calling for the regulation of commercial dream manipulation. ‘Dream incubation advertising is not some fun gimmick, but a slippery slope with real consequences,’ they write on the op-ed website EOS. ‘Our dreams cannot become just another playground for corporate advertisers.’ Dream incubation, in which people use images, sounds, or other sensory cues to shape their nighttime visions, has a long history. People throughout the ancient world invented rituals and techniques to intentionally change the content of their dreams, through meditation, painting, praying, and even drug use. Greeks who fell ill in the fourth century B.C.E. would sleep on earthen beds in the temples of the god Asclepius, in the hopes of entering enkoimesis, an induced state of dreaming in which their cure would be revealed. Modern science has opened a whole new world of possibilities. Researchers can now identify when most people enter the stage of sleep where much of our dreaming takes place—the rapid eye movement (REM) state—by monitoring brain waves, eye movements, and even snoring. They have also shown that external stimuli such as sounds, smells, lights, and speech can alter dreams’ content. And this year, researchers communicated directly with lucid dreamers—people who are aware while they are dreaming—getting them to answer questions and solve math problems as they slept. ‘People are particularly vulnerable [to suggestion] when asleep,’ says Adam Haar, a cognitive scientist and Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who co-authored the letter.” • But… the money!

The Bezzle: “Airbnb and Vrbo are teaming up to shut down repeat party house offenders” [CNBC]. “Airbnb and Vrbo, Expedia’s home-sharing unit, are teaming up to combat repeat ‘party house’ offenders. The companies announced Friday they’re developing the Community Integrity Program, an industrywide collaboration to share information on removed listings and strengthen action against repeat offenders They’re asking other short-term rental industry companies to join the program, which is intended to launch in the U.S. in the coming months.” • Took them long enough.

The Bezzle: Go back to your other day job:

The Bezzle: “‘Fiat is Immoral, Evil Money’: 3 Days in Miami with the Bitcoin Faithful” [Decrypt]. “More than 12,000 of them paid for tickets to the two-day conference ($1,500 for standard tickets, $19,795 for “Whale Passes” that come with an extra day of networking and a few VIP parties), and an estimated 50,000 people descended on the city for the weekend, with or without tickets to the conference. It’s the biggest in-person event Miami has hosted since before COVID-19 lockdown, and the biggest Bitcoin conference ever.”

Tech: “What are you legally allowed to say at work? A group of fired Googlers could change the rules.” [Recode]. “The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the US’s top enforcer of labor rights, just expanded its complaint against Google to include three more fired Google workers. Those former employees say the company retaliated against them for protesting its work with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)… The NLRB first filed its complaint against Google in December 2020, saying the company was “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees” who were exercising their legal rights to discuss workplace issues with their colleagues, including firing two employees. In an amended complaint filed this Wednesday, the San Francisco regional office of the NLRB stated Google was similarly in the wrong for firing three other employees involved in workplace organizing around the same time… Meanwhile, tech companies such as Coinbase and Basecamp have tried to quell internal debate by banning political discussion at work entirely. But the Google NLRB case shows that when politics are inherently intertwined with a company’s business — something that often applies to tech companies when their services are used globally by billions of people, including national governments and world leaders — those boundaries can blur. Generally, employees don’t have a constitutional right to free speech at work. But under US labor law, companies are not allowed to punish workers for discussing wages or working conditions in what’s called “protected concerted activity.” Typically, though, the type of activities that are protected are ones that more obviously relate to the terms of workers’ employment, like asking for better shifts or refusing to work in an unsafe environment. In this case, the three Google workers being added to the complaint, all software engineers, were not asking for higher wages or longer lunch breaks. Instead, they were protesting work that they viewed as unethical.”

Manufacturing: “Ascend by Cirium Weekly Team Perspective: Boom – is it all just noise?” [Cirium]. “The big news item last week was the announcement that United Airlines had agreed to purchase 15 Boom Overture Supersonic Transport (SST) aircraft. There are huge technical, financial, environmental and certification challenges for Boom, and it is an arguably strange decision from an airline that has recently made much of its environmental and sustainability targets…. At Mach 1.7 the Overture cannot be scheduled for two round-trip transatlantic flights per day. Time zones mean a regular 7pm departure from New York would arrive at London at 4am. Thus the extremely high purchase price ($200 million?) will be spread over comparatively low monthly utilisation of perhaps 2,000-2,500 hours a year. In summary, it seems extremely doubtful a new SST will enter service this decade. Instead the technological focus is likely to remain on reducing fuel burn and retaining the flexibility to deal with future business cycles and shifts in demand.” • Interesting!

The Economy: “Seven High Frequency Indicators for the Economy” [Calculated Risk]. For example, travel:

The Fed: Monetary policy and the labor market?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 49 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 14 at 12:50pm. Still stuck in neutral!

Rapture Index: Closes up one on drought. “Several nations are suffering from drought conditions” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187(Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.)

The Biosphere

“Newly detailed nerve links between brain and other organs shape thoughts, memories, and feelings” [Science]. “But new studies have shown signals carried by vagal fibers climb beyond the brainstem, revealing a broad interoceptive network in the brain that interprets internal changes, anticipates the body’s needs, and sends commands to fulfill them. The network includes brain regions involved in more complex cognition, which means the nerves monitoring the body’s basic workings also respond to—and influence—how we remember, process emotion, and even construct our sense of self.” • So much for mind-body separation?

Health Care

It’s beyond ridiculous that YouTube/Google is playing this role, in general and in this particular case:

YouTube flipflopped on the lab leak theory, and within months. But it’s not that YouTube shouldn’t be playing the censor; it’s that they shouldn’t exist at all. They should be broken up, along with the other platforms.

Our Famously Free Press

“Why Has Local News Collapsed? Blame Readers.” [Politico]. “In 2009, just as the apocalypse befell the newspaper industry but while local news was still in relative abundance, many readers gave it an apathetic shrug. A Pew Research Center survey from that year found that an astonishing 42 percent said they would miss their paper ‘not much’ or ‘not at all’ if it vanished. They said this even though 74 percent conceded that civic life would suffer ‘a lot’ or ‘some; if their local newspaper died. Their apathy ultimately expressed itself in financial terms…. For all the praise directed at local news and the importance of preserving it, the dirty secret of today’s newspapers is that there’s not all that much local news coverage to save anymore. A 2018 Duke University study of 16,000 local news outlets (including broadcasters) in 100 communities deemed only about 17 percent of articles as truly local (i.e., they took place in or were about the local municipality), and just over half were hard news. Another 2018 finding by Pew revealed that only 16 percent of Americans get their news “often” from a newspaper, further lowering the status of the press. Another marker of how scarce local news has become: Last year, when Facebook went prospecting for local news to include in a new section called ‘Today In,’ it found that one in three of its users lived in places where there wasn’t enough local news published to sustain the section. ‘New Jersey was the worst place for finding local news on Facebook, with 58 percent of users unable to do so on any day in the last month,’ Recode reported. Maybe what the Pew respondents were really saying is you can’t miss what’s already gone.” • It’s really, really hard to believe that there’s no local news in New Jersey. (I’m also not sure I agree with the thesis. The Patch network, late of AOL, exists. Currently they are in 1254 communities. Now, whether any of the Patch sites are hard-hitting scandal sheets I don’t know, but their stories are always as good as the wires. So maybe Political, Pew, etc., aren’t looking in the right places.

“The Podcasting Hype House From Hell” [The Verge]. “But with Vincer and the hype house, Himalaya got more than it bargained for. In less than a year, what was intended to be a schmoozy haven for creators turned into a perplexing world of cocaine, dog poo, and unpaid bills, according to more than a dozen people who spoke with The Verge. All the stories centered on one man: Vincer…. t’sIt’s simultaneously easy and incomprehensible to understand how Vincer has lasted in the industry for years. He’s charismatic, funny, and has conviction on whatever he’s selling you. Plus, he’s fun — if you’re the type of person who likes partying with your boss.” • Turns out that the Chinese money (Himalaya) was smaller and dumber than hyped….

The Conservatory

Several readers mentioned Drive-By Truckers in yesterday’s Musical Interlude on The Clash, so herewith:

The Tube

“Mare’s Hair” [Los Angeles Review of Book]. The lead: “I have consulted with several friends and we all agree that Mare’s roots index a year or two of neglect, max. What happened?” This is really great. Since I don’t watch TV, I can’t speak of the show (“Mare of Easttown”), but I must admit that as a guy I never would have thought of this angle (which does seem to be worth looking at, given the rest of the critique). Well, the light bulb goes on, I guess!

Imperial Collapse Watch

“4 Toilet Habits From Around The World (That Will Surprise The Average American)” [Cracked]. As opposed to most toilet paper-heavy cultures, many parts of Mexico have a strict ‘no flushing TP; rule. Instead, ‘used’ scraps of toilet paper are to be discarded in a trash can like all the other scraps. The reason for this is obvious. Mexico isn’t exactly flush with sanitation funds — and that public project money has an easier time finding its way into someone’s pocket than in their pipes. As a result, public sewer systems have such old and frail poop chutes they easily strain under the weight of a few wadded-up balls of paper. What’s less obvious is why Mexico, but also many other places like Greece, Beijing, Ukraine, and Egypt, have nevertheless clung to toilet paper… But all of these countries have something else in common aside from having to handle their wastebaskets wearing Medieval plague beaks; they’re all victims of “sanitary imperialism.” As former colonies or poor neighbors of the U.S. and the UK, they were prime targets of these world powers’ push to make their pooping habits the world standard in the early twentieth century. Through world fairs, model homes and, most importantly, the moving pictures, the West threw its flush toilets ticker tape parades and touted them as one of the benchmarks of a civilized society. Unfortunately for those nations on the periphery of this influence sphere, America forgot to mention that their old sewer systems were in no way compatible with the new model — thereby creating a double system far too expensive to adapt in either direction– a unique kind of frustration felt only by the people of Mexico and anyone who has ever upgraded to a new Macbook.”

Class Warfare

“What the Rich Don’t Want to Admit About the Poor” [Ezra Klein, New York Times]. “The truth of our politics lies in the risks we refuse to accept, and it is rising worker power, not continued poverty, that we treat as intolerable. You can see it happening right now, driven by policies far smaller and with effects far more modest than a guaranteed income.”

“Why The New Yorker’s Stars Didn’t Join Its Union” [New York Times]. “[Editor David Remnick] has tried to be reassuring, even as the prospect of putting out the print magazine without editorial staff members looms. No matter what happens, Mr. Remnick told writers on one recent Zoom call, he would not ask them to cross virtual picket lines.” • But perhaps they would, all on their own. Love me, love me, love me, I’m a labor aristocrat…

News of the Wired

America is back!

Avoiding a collision:

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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 (lyman alpha blob):

lyman alpha blob writes: “More water lilies from Maine.” A symbol of enlightenment…

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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. Mycroft

    Should Biden be allowed to drive a car?
    Care for children?

    Be the president?

    To keep the sexworker politican Kamala Harris away from power?
    Most definitely, let’s keep Joe in the saddle, it’s a better alternative.

    Could some general please hide the nuclear football however?

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Should Biden be allowed to drive a car?’

      They let Prince Phillip drive until he was 97 years-old. Right up to the point when he crashed into another women. He gave up his driver’s license three weeks later but he still drove around his estates. The Crown Prosecution Service announced that prosecuting Philip would not be in the public interest so that’s how it goes.

    2. none

      Oldie: the Pentagon showed good judgement in giving Trump such a big nuclear button. They wanted to be sure he couldn’t press it with his tiny hands…

  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    I’ve been to Disney World. I’ve never stayed at the Grand Floridian, but its kitsch. Its fun.

    Oh, that is someone’s house…

    1. shinola

      Looks like something from a “reality” TV show titled “Homes of the rich & tasteless”

    2. crittermom

      Despite all the ‘pretty’ (*gag*) inside and out, the lawn is dead! lol

      No matter. They shouldn’t have one anyway. A waste of water. Just as this ‘house’ was a waste of wood and land.

    3. Adam Eran

      I’m not sure I’m on board here. Frank Lloyd Wright’s admired “masterpiece” Falling Water is an unlivable moldy mess. His Phillips 66 building in Bartlesville OK has a pentagonal elevator that has never worked right. The “artistic” Le Corbusier built workmen’s apartments with ceilings that were inches above the average workers’ height.

      This is the state of fancy architecture. Ghery and his fellow starchitects tear a hole in the urban fabric, and his acolytes shout “fabulous”!

      I’m with Homer Simpson: “This chili needs more beans, Marge. Less artsy, more fartsy.”

      Homer would dig the kitschy house…and it’s more livable than what we’ve been calling “art.”

  3. jr

    Re: dreams

    This is truly a hideous thing. Not only do we not really understand what dreams are, we don’t know what role they might play. But along comes advertising to pollute even this most personal of spaces. I get that the researchers and the corporate smooth-brains care only for the power and money. But the people who will line up for such treatment, well it’s hard to not hold them in contempt. How dead must one’s soul be to willingly submit to such an influence?

    1. eg

      Once they figure out how this works, Alexa/Google Home and the rest of the spy-speakers will be doing it to their hapless owners on the sly ..

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: The Lost Cause miseducation.

    Not being around for this stretch, its tough to tell, but a couple of items seemed to be missing. To me they seem more seductive for the Lost Cause than what is presented in the article.

    -the mythology of the Southern generals.
    -most white people didn’t even own slaves.

    With the latter issue, its not gross, but its problematic because it ignores antebellum Southern culture and government. I feel like these items can really spread. Or this would explain why Confederate flags are flown by people who have absolutely no reason to fly them, not that anyone does, but country clubs throughout the South host the descendants of the plantation class.

    1. Carolinian

      Well there was a very popular Hollywood movie about The Lost Cause that, while it portrayed the South as foolish, very much glamorized its inhabitants. Here’s suggesting that the popularity of Gone With the Wind–for many years the highest grossing movie of all time–reflects Jim Crow attitudes that were nationwide at the time, not just held by brainwashed Southerners.

    2. The Rev Kev

      You still get southern propaganda popping up. Like in that 2003 film “Gods and Generals” which was a prequel to the 1993 film “Gettysburg”. Definitely Confederate propaganda that if you have not seen it. I prefer the attitude from that other film – “Night at the Museum” – where the guys tell the Union & confederate mannequins that they gotta stop fighting. Booth wins, slavery’s bad and he hates to burst their bubble but they get Allman Brothers and NASCAR so chill.

      1. Carolinian

        still get

        From almost twenty years ago–doubt those shows would get made now.

        Or perhaps not then if not from Civil War buff Ted Turner who bought the MGM library just so he could own Gone With the Wind.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Killer Angels is worth reading if you haven’t. Thats the line from the movie :) Michael Shaara won a Pulitzer. His son, Jeff, who wrote a prequel and sequel, Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure did not.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Got a copy of “Killer Angels” on my shelf which was the basis for the film “Gettysburg” of course. I was really looking forward to “Gods and Generals” when it came out and when I saw it, it was a case of WTF? Still, I think that one day there is a good film to be made out of the Appomattox campaign so long as they do it the way that they did “Gettysburg” as in ‘this is the way that it happened’. At least there is always the Civil War podcast to listen to-


          1. Carolinian

            When I lived in Atlanta some years back Civil War re-enactments were still quite popular at the various nearby battlefields. I believe the TNT cable channel made extensive use of re-enactors for the Gettysburg production. You wonder whether woke has made the whole topic of the Civil War toxic in this day and age. But there was a time when the history at least was very vivid for those of us living in the midst of it, taking weekly hikes on the battlefields etc.

  5. Josef K

    Taking, as an example, the Business Insider article (sorry, from Links this morning). Not sure who’s aware of this, but with these paywalled/subscriber-only articles, often enough there’s a way to get past that (after one DDG’s the title to see if it was published for free elsewhere).

    Re-load the page (when a pop-up covers it asking to subscribe etc), then very quickly click in the middle of the webpage (or the text field if it appears before the popup) and hit command-A then command-C (i.e. select all and copy, on a Mac of course). Be quick! or you’ll miss it (some a you people almost missed it!); pretty often the whole article will now be in your clipboard and you can paste it into, say, TextEdit. Depending on how much non-HTML junk is on the page, you may get the pinwheel for a number of seconds. Delete the non-informational stuff, and read away.

    I’ll give back too much change at the register, but I’ve little compunction about reading articles for free. If the publishers don’t like it, they should up their game.

  6. Mikel

    Re: 1992-2006, >75% of all day-traders quit w/i 2 years

    Don’t know all the ins and outs of day trading, but I assume a lot of them get into options.
    Seems to me, for all the headlines “markets” are supposed to be reacting to, that alot of the up-down-back-forth movements in the stock market are from the roulette wheel, excuse me – “algos” – working overtime to make sure a lot of them expire worthless.

  7. fumo

    Tech: “What are you legally allowed to say at work? A group of fired Googlers could change the rules.” [Recode].

    The potential negative consequences of de facto monopolies goes well beyond the strictly commercial implications. When the monopoly goes rogue, there are no sufficient alternatives for employees (or customers) with ethical concerns to turn to. You can’t ‘vote with your feet’ when those feet are tethered by engineered circumstance to the monopoly in question.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      You can’t bite the hand that feeds you when it is wrapped around throat.

  8. Doc Octagon

    “Biden confuses Syria-Libya […]” except, no, Biden is talking about two separate issues. I don’t know if Aaron Mate isn’t keeping up with world affairs, just being a d-wad, or what, but somebody bankrolled General Haftar’s military campaign with 14 billion counterfeit dinar banknotes minted by Goznak, creating another central Libyan bank. Somebody paid Wagner and RSB Group to act as General Haftar’s infantry in Tripoli, flipping the bird to both peace brokers, Abu Dhabi and Ankara. Which rules out Egypt, Qatar, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, aka the international community. Worth a mention… Oh, wait, Aaron “I helped!” Mate is just retweeting the Republican Nat’l Committee like a big-boy journalist.

    1. Yves Smith

      My impulse was to trash your comment, but it is too much fun to make an example of you instead.

      1. You opening line is Making Shit Up, a violation of our written site Policies. Jake Sullivan admitted Biden made a mistake: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/biden-libya-syria-g7_n_60c77cc7e4b09cc99b882b19

      2. You name call Mate 2x, another violation (“being an asshole”)

      3. You provide no substantiation whatsoever regarding your claim about 14 billion counterfeit dinar banknotes. Neither Mark Ames (and that means derivatively War Nerd John Dolan) nor John Helmer have heard any such thing. While it conveniently sounds plausible, so do many adept fabrications.

      Go spew your bile elsewhere. You are not welcome here.

  9. hemeantwell

    Re dreaming:

    ‘People are particularly vulnerable [to suggestion] when asleep,’ says Adam Haar, a cognitive scientist and Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who co-authored the letter.”

    Just within the article’s own framework, this leaving out a big step: the dreamer, as in the case of the Greeks of yore cited, needs to believe that what is revealed in the dream is sump’n special. Of course it’s true that in our waking state we, to the extent we cannot escape the bombardment of advertising, are steadily being primed, or giggled, or whatever, into believing that a certain commodity is a good thing. But why would we prioritize commodities that appear in a dream? That would require quite a sales effort, on the order of the formation of a full-blown commercial religion.

    To my mind Guy Debord, whose Society of the Spectacle was impressively sensitive to fetishizing strategies in advertising, was on target. A successful sales pitch is kind of like the madeleine that sent Proust into a reverie in Remembrance of Things Past. If you have the doodad, it sets up a fantasized connection to a desired way of life. By now this is obvious, if you watched Mad Men it was foundational to the advertising project it portrayed. And it really helps if people around you are caught up in the same fantasy.

    So this idea of “invading our dreams” is — how to put it? — a good example of clickbait that trades on a naive notion of consciousness. Dreaming, or dream-like processes, are in fact always going on. During the day they are more in the background, though they pop up in various ways, e.g. daydreaming, a more controlled form of dreaming. Once you accept that, then it becomes absurd to worry about someone trying to take over our minds as we sleep. They try during the day. The key, though, is how much we let them succeed, or feel that we have to.

    To take one example, consider attitudes expressed towards the British monarchy. Tom Nairn’s “The Enchanted Glass” is quite good about the powerful cultural mandate to engage in all kinds of cognitive-emotional regression in imagining one’s relationship to the queen (caps refused). For many a maternal experiencing of her is simply obvious, a fact of life, and talk of abolishing the monarchy is like a bid to matricide. Simply refusing to share in the fantasy makes you suspect, and Nairn is very funny talking about the well-established pigeon holes ready for such “eccentrics.” This sort of phenomenon makes the article quoted here seem like something designed to distract from already existing, and much more significant, pressures.

  10. Josef K

    Toilet habits from around the world:

    In about a year in Nepal and India, I really learned to get in touch with myself. The only downside is your left hand is thus an untouchable. If you’re a lefty, an alert local who saw you eating might balk at shaking hands.

    1. GF

      In the USA toilet paper is manufactured to disintegrate after a few minutes in flowing water so it doesn’t end up as a big glob of wet paper at the sewer plant. Notice that one is not supposed to flush facial tissue as it doesn’t have the same self destruct property. Not sure what’s with Mexican TP or the author’s misunderstanding about how TP reacts. From Mar 25, 2020.


      1. JTMcPhee

        Disagree on TP being engineered to disintegrate. Lived on a boat for 12 years and had a Class A RV for a while. You can buy TP that does disintegrate to shreds and pulp,, but it is expensive and single-ply and rubs like 60-grit sandpaper. Using those famous TP brands in a marine or RV toilet is asking for a filthy, smelly job of disassembling the toilet parts with poop and pee in situ, removing the clogs caused by that “squeezably soft” stuff and then reassembling and hoping youhaven’t induced some leaks or broken any parts. Many boats and RVs have aftermarket signs in their toilets/heads reading “Do not dare to put anything into this head unless you have eaten it first. Violators get to disassemble and repair. No exceptions!” or words to that effect.

        And now our public utilities are having to deal with the effing “baby and sanitary wipes” and masks and other dreck that is making fatbergs beneath us: https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/09/fatberg-fatty-monster-of-sewer.html

        “But why should I care? I can flush all those problem items away, and nobody can prove I did it, so screw the rest of you!” Maybe it’s time for RFID chips in every sheet of TP and antibacterial wipe and feminine product that is keyed to the owner and operator’s ID information, with AI generating micro bills for each increment of cost associated with dealing with said stuff… it’s only a matter of time, right? With points to be assessed on your social score…

      2. LawnDart

        Yeah GF, I was thinking the same s**t: toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, at least in USA, so I dunno, maybe it’s a local consumer preference thing and instead of buying rolls of TP they can only purchase bags of corn husks or bundles of day old newspapers to wipe their behinds with, so hense the clogged sewer lines.

    2. The Rev Kev

      How about a toilet paper story here that happens to be true. So there was this historian in Spain that had to go to the toilet in some obscure cafe. So he does his business and while waiting sees that the toilet paper is actually old written notes all in a bag which the owner of the cafe must have bought cheap. With nothing else to do, he pulls one out out of boredom and starts reading. He is shocked to discover that what he is actually reading is the personal diary of Prince Phillip II of Spain, if I recall correctly, from the 1500s. He salvages all that he can but there was no telling how many pages got flushed previously.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      ….Or Muslim kids in the streets try to shake hands with you using their left, to see if the idiot foreigner will understand the insult. You give it a long look and then extend your own left. Unless you feel comfortable (i.e. there are Men With Sticks nearby) simply walking away.

  11. dcblogger

    So what happens in 2024 if President Biden or Vice President Harris win the Electoral College, but local Republicans on county boards with majority Democratic votes refuse to certify the election; when state legislatures who have seized control of certification refuse to certify their state tallies; when a potential Republican majority in the House of Representatives refuses to certify the Electoral College tally? What happens when they refuse to certify Democratic wins in purple state Senate races, throwing control of the Upper Chamber into limbo and chaos? What happens if Biden/Harris wins the popular vote by 8 million votes and 30 electoral college votes, only to see Republicans in states like Georgia and Wisconsin decide that their GOP legislatures will send electors for Trump or Tucker Carlson or Josh Hawley instead?

    AOC hops on a tank and declares a provisional government and I am only partly kidding.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      More likely the Republicans find enough sympathetic military and police formations to start their own Franco Uprising 2.0 and start the Spanish Civil War 2.0 which they want to have because they think they can win it.

  12. Daphne

    “or Vice President Harris win the Electoral College”,

    in that case, maybe a pig would fly in through the window and grab the votes?

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Why Has Local News Collapsed? Blame Readers.

    They have been bemoaning the death of local news for the better part of a generation now. I’m not so sure it the readers’ fault – I’d put more of the blame on cutting budgets due to profit motives and also some poor reporting to protect the powerful. Case in point – the big daily Portland Press Herald killed a story back in 2004 documenting a DUI that George W had been pulled over for in Maine and it was eventually reported in a local weekly, but only after the election when it could no longer make a difference. The story was 100% true (it happened years before the election) and could have had an effect not just locally but nationwide seeing as W was running on a Xtian family values platform. More recently the Press Herald sold the building it had operated from for years – petty sure that was due to profit motive. Now it houses a boutique hotel and restaurant serving yuppified overpriced undersized artisanal tidbits. They have also paywalled their online version despite the fact that the articles have plenty of ads accompanying them which presumably the paper turns a profit on. Is it my fault I rarely read their crapified excuse for the news?

    I now get my local news from a small weekly. There are usually just one or two articles on local news, mostly just from a reporter who went to a city council meeting and summarized the most important issues. I’d say it’s far from sufficient, but it’s not nothing either. They also carry LTEs which can often be breaking local news themselves (and are often more entertaining than the actual reporting). Also, it’s free and delivered by the US mail every week to every resident of the town whether they want it or not. Maybe that’s a model to go with and improve upon – pretty easy to tell almost exactly what the circulation is when everyone in town gets a copy.

    1. Pelham

      I believe that as with so many things of real value, there’s no market solution to the problem of journalism. Oddly and from my perspective, there’s a fair amount of good journalism out there but it’s available only in fragments here and there and fails to rise to the level of national or local prominence needed to generate the kind of public impact it deserves. NakedCapitalism is an example. It’s great and everyone should be reading, but it remains marginal.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘a DUI that George W had been pulled over for in Maine’

      Was that the time that he spent a night in the drunk tank back in ’76? And to make it worse, when he was drunk driving, he had his sister in the car with him at the time?

  14. Pelham

    Re the demise of local news and loss of readers: One of my early jobs involved copy editing local stories at a small newspaper in Idaho. Cop shop and other local interest stories were straightforward, readable and informative. But copy about the vital business of city council and county council meetings tended to range between incomprehensible and indecipherable.

    I’m certain (somehow) that weighty business transpired at many of these meetings, but the message seldom came across. Copy editors near tears would occasionally plead they simply couldn’t write a hed on this stuff because they couldn’t grasp what it was trying to say. So I can understand why reader interest might be fading as younger generations imbued with a less grimly determined sense of civic duty might shy away.

    I think the problem stems from young reporters ill-schooled in the workings of city or county government being plunged into the thick of things before they’ve got a firm handle on it.

    That said, I’ll suggest a couple of other possible factors for the decline. Sociologist Robert Putnam’s work points to a general loss of interest in local clubs, civic organizations and activities over the past few decades. Ebbing interest in local news may reflect this growing isolation caused by other factors. Meanwhile, various news organizations appear to have followed the lead of New Gingrich when he was speaker of the House in trying to make everything a dramatic national issue through canny use of C-SPAN.

    So what are likely to be the consequences of the loss of local news? One survey found that people lacking a local newspaper or other news source feel their communities are more threatening. And a study found that local spending and taxes tend to rise more when there are no journalists covering their meetings — however incompetently.

    1. Carolinian

      Our local paper serves as civic booster with stories about business openings etc. National stories were always AP. Now they are little more than a website.

      Classifieds and legal ads kept small local papers afloat. The world has changed.

    1. hunkerdown

      Many of us here are old and/or hearing impaired. We love systems theory, but is there no text? (Captions don’t count)

  15. Nikkikat

    With regard to the Google employees and “what employees are allowed to say at work”.
    If google employees are unhappy about google doing evil deeds, wouldn’t said employees also be part and parcel of the evil deed doing?
    And wouldn’t accepting a salary made up of money derived from the evil deeds also be evil too? I am anti war. I would not seek employment at Raytheon. I don’t understand how they think they can stop this company’s odious practices while earning a salary there.

    1. a different chris

      Nothing is completely black or white, all bad or all good. The base Google product, although crapified, is still mind-bendingly useful in the world as we know it. Try to imagine describing it to somebody from Before Times…. So if you’re a bright chap/chapette and you want to do that kind of work, there you are.

      But further if you have moral principles, you don’t run from problems, you confront them. Good for the Googlers or Googleites or whoever. “We are part of this, we know it as well and maybe better than you, and we insist on having a say”.

      And for them, life isn’t that manageable, you sometimes are where you are (got kids?) and you gotta figure it out from there.

      On the employer side of the line, the quality of his employees is why Pichai tolerates this. If you don’t listen to the troops it never goes well.

      Your post fits right into the “if you’re so much aghast at Global Warming why do you drive” BS. Don’t know why I wasted precious time on it, actually.

    2. LawnDart

      The same can be said of many jobs in government, as well as members of the uniparty, be they demopublicians or republicrats.

    3. Acacia

      My guess would be that the first premise here is what doesn’t hold. The employees likely joined Google with some understanding that the company is doing evil to others (perhaps it was dimly-perceived, but it was understanding nonetheless). They rationalized this in the way that many IT workers do: “well, it was their responsibility to read the EULA and be informed about the service, so…”. The truly deluded amongst them might have thought they could “do some good there” by inflecting the corporate culture. It was only when they recognized that the evil was also being done to themselves, that they were treated and managed and censored in a manner similar to Google customers — that’s when they got angry.

  16. Bill Smith

    How should Youtube be broken up? East and West? North and South?

    Or do you mean broken out of Google?

  17. marku52

    There’s a lot of technical analysis in the comments over at Leaham News regarding the Boom SST project announced in conjunction with United.

    Consensus is that it is total vaporware. And United isn’t required to put any money into it until a prototype is flying. So most likely a free promo for Untied, and a chance to pump some investor interest for Boom.

    Incidentally another SST project that was actually more feasible just went belly up.

    There are several article, and alot of tech stuff by their tech analysis Bjorn Fhern.


  18. ambrit

    Why does the mind-body research findings remind me of Bene Gesserit training?
    If Bezos et. al. were involved, I’d seriously suspect someone was really trying to breed a Kwisatz Haderach, have him, or her, born on Mars and come back to start a new religion.

    1. Gc54

      I think Bezos has already drunk the liquid and will soon change into a sandworm to better burrow around Mars, maybe *that’s* what the logo shows.

  19. Dftbs

    It’s comical that crypto-heads don’t realize that dollar denominated crypto, is more fiat than fiat. To paraphrase some guy, “how many divisions does bitcoin have?”

  20. a different chris

    And Ron DeSantis just had an orgasm:


    Here’s the thing: we need Trump to survive until he’s totally discredited, if that’s possible (if not possible then we’re screwed). Because there’s only three ways this kind of Cult Of Personality power gets passed on:
    1) Family
    2) Immediate #2


    3) Astute operators creating and selling their own version of somebody that can’t correct them. Claiming a relationship that can’t be countered. Cherry-picking what worked, ignoring what didn’t.

    I don’t even have to describe how politically useless/incompetent/comical Trump’s spawn are, and as for #2 not only was Trump not gonna do that but Jan 6 completely cooked Pence’s goose.

    And for #3, that somebody gotta be dead. The “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” speech is the ultimate Western World elucidation of this, of course in this case they will have to skip the “bury” part.

    We live in interesting times.

    1. Jen

      I was expecting to see a skeletal figure based on the headline. Instead I saw a guy who maybe dropped a few pounds and laid off the spray tan.

  21. Mikel

    Marketing: “Are advertisers coming for your dreams?” [Science].

    “But..the money..”

    The desperation!

    They. Won’t. Just. Let. People. Be.

  22. a fax machine

    A broken clock is right twice a day, and today it’s the reactionary Q’er George Alexopoulos on demonizing white children for things capitalism did to black people:



    To be 100% clear I disagree with literally, literally everything else he’s ever posted. However, he’s right in this specific regard because when normal people get blamed for racial atrocities they weren’t a party to, they tend to reject all leftism and go into the far right.

    Rather, the de-legitimization of western civ is an important precursor of reactionary politics. And, in it’s own way, it’s how capitalism inevitably destroys itself: it blames the individual for the atrocities created by capital, resulting in people accepting their new label and becoming open fascists and open racists. It’s a learned condition.

    1. marym

      In this case white children are being “demonized” in a cartoon the tweeter drew.

      The reactionary right has always tried to exclude slavery and racism from curricula. See the “Facing South” link above for examples from 1889 through 2010. There are valid reasons to criticize some “woke” approaches to racism, but they’re not the cause of the current fervor on the right. They’re just the latest excuse.

  23. Roxan

    I discovered the ‘pig toilet system’ in Goa. !ooked down the outhouse hole, and there was a pig looking up. The owner said proudly, “Memsahib like verrry much! Built high–pig no can touch!”

    I gathered they sometimes nudge the donor. We did not eat pork there.

  24. Milton

    Re: Rising Covid cases in FL, TX. I’m wondering if summer in the south is similar to winter in most other places in that as the heat becomes unbearable people tend to gather indoors–in air-conditioned spaces that are dehumidified as well. Also, as summer drags on, they’ll be a slight rise in other states as they start to bake.

    1. Arizona Slim

      It is. A lot of people are gathering indoors.

      But that isn’t the case everywhere in the Southwest. Here in Tucson, a couple of neighbors invited me over for a socially distanced happy hour on Saturday.

      I figured that, since it was 108 degrees at 5pm, they’d wait until, say, 7pm.


      They told me to come over any time after 5:30. I did.

      I must say that Dillinger Brewing Company’s Tucson-brewed stout is truly awesome — and strong. Let’s just say that I didn’t do much yesterday.

      A few minutes ago, I saw the husband of this couple bicycling past my house. On his way home from work, and it’s 109 degrees out there.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      You can stop wondering. In the humid deep South people are already hiding in air conditioned buildings. They won’t come out til October. Or on gurneys, en route to a respiratory unit.

  25. marym

    Re: AZ audit

    In addition to ballots being “counted” as they spin by the counters on turntables, they’re being “examined” manually and digital images are being captured.

    Taking the place of the counting tables are three-dozen black, rectangular tables with computer screens.

    Ryan Macias, one of three independent elections observers who have written reports for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, is an expert on election security and technology.

    He said the ballot examination was plagued by a lack of transparency.

    “The process is in constant flux,” he said in an interview. “It’s changing on a daily basis or a weekly basis.”

    The computer software used by ballot examiners has changed week to week, Macias said.

    Instructions for ballot examiners also changed last week, according to Macias.

    There are now just two instructions for ballot examiners: flag ballots that feel lighter or heavier or textured differently than ballot paper or “any anomaly that cannot be captured by the camera or microscope.”

    The computer software will be looking for things like the folds in the ballots, whether the ballot was filled out by a human or a machine, according to Bennett.


    Some twittering today about what appears to be a microscope (Link)

    Republican politicians from AK, WI, MO, GA, CO, MI, OK, TN, UT, VA have also visited. (Link)

    Local news has been doing a great job reporting on all this.

    1. urblintz

      I didn’t… poli-sci major as academic physician offering partisan reflections which he can not know to be factual, designed to frighten and demean . I call bullshit on Mr. Wachter.

      1. Acacia

        Well, a bullshit check is always in order, and I don’t subscribe to all that he says, e.g. I’m not keen on his call for the FDA to fast track authorization of the vaccines, but the delta variant does seem rather more contagious. Or, is that claim also questionable?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          The delta variant is certainly more contagious, the UK situation has demonstrated this quite clearly. From what I can see from the figures, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the vaccines against the delta variant, the devil is in the details. I’ve seen quite a few people who should know better throw out suspiciously precise looking figures based on incomplete data.

          I don’t know the source in that Twitter thread, but I certainly don’t think its BS, but he certainly seems to fall into the camp of ‘the vaccines will save us’.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yup. Ireland just increased the quarantine period for travellers arriving from the UK, which is a classic example of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.

              Allowing the initial spread of Covid from China last spring by not restricting travel quickly enough was grossly inept. Not restricting travel from India as soon as Delta showed its face was criminal negligence in my view. Much worse if its true as suspected that its all because Johnson was trying to keep in Modi’s good books so he could get a trade deal.

          1. urblintz

            yes I should have been specific about calling BS on his “wonderful vaccine” theory and the clearly partisan shaming, not on the seriousness of Delta

  26. Robert Gray

    The excerpt from the [Trading Economics] piece about inflation refers to “those with a high school degree or less.” This is the second time in about two days that I’ve noticed this usage and I have to say that it strikes me as odd. Since when has high school graduation resulted in a degree ? Or is this just another new-fangled thang that I’m going to have to get used to? :-)

  27. Mikel

    Lots to unpack here:

    ” Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology that teaches cells to make a protein that prompts an immune response. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a viral vector, or a modified version of a different virus, to prompt cells to produce the protein that triggers an immune response.
    In contrast, Novavax is a protein subunit vaccine, meaning it uses a fragment of a harmless protein of the virus that’s grown in a cell culture and stimulates an immune response…”

    Novavax sounds like the type of inoculations people have been familiar with for a long time.
    Or am I missing something?

    1. Yves Smith

      From GM, in response to a similar query from me:

      It is not really well established — my understanding is that the nanoparticles are novel — but it has several major advantages:

      1. It could in principle be intranasal, which means sterilizing immunity and no need for vaccination drives — people can just administer it themselves. Right now it is intramuscular, but in principle it can be

      2. It does not need special storage, which, together with 1), can help poorer countries temendeously

      3. It should be somewhat easier to manufacture (Novavax has not been given to anyone outside of trials because they have not been to ramp up manufacturing, but this is because the company had no manufacturing capacity whatsoever just 9 months ago, not because of the technology itself).

  28. Richard H Caldwell

    “Why Has Local News Collapsed? Blame Readers.” — WRONG, blame Ronald Reagan and 40+ years of New Democrat neoliberal complicity in gutting antitrust regulatory enforcement and FCC rules. Readers read what they are presented with. And not because they are stupid or lazy. Presenters present what they can get away with. Don’t blame the Readers, blame the “Adults” who were supposed to ensure that food, drugs, communications, utilities, markets, vehicles, you name it are regulated in the broad public interest instead of the narrow interests of corporate oligarchs. “Why Are There So Many MONSTER Pickup Trucks? Blame Drivers.” C’mon, do the forest and trees thing… “Why Are Car Dealers Allowed to Sell MONSTER Pickup Trucks and Huge SUVs to Soccer Moms? Blame a Bought and Paid-For Congress.” Sheesh…

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