2:00PM Water Cooler 6/25/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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 all falling together. Looks like the bribes were a dead cat bounce. We should know whether sending Kamala out to reverse the situation was a success or not (I’m guessing no, because why would it?)

Case count by United States regions:

Decline now flattening. Delta? See World, below. (The increase in Delta would still swamped by the decrease in Alpha, etc. For awhile.)

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):

Texas and Florida, capital of Latin America, neck and neck.

Covid cases top ten (hat tip, alert reader Lou Anton):

Tourist states disproportionately represented, IMNSHO. Readers? (I’m replacing the big states (NY, FL, TX, CA) with this one.)

Test positivity:

South bounces back.

Hospitalization (CDC):

Continued good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Continued good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

Big jump in Europe, with a nasty vertical slope. Delta?

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“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

UPDATE “Plea deals may be in the works for 6 people facing criminal charges in U.S. Capitol riot” [Arizona Republic]. ” All six defendants are facing multiple felony charges, including conspiracy, civil disorder, disorderly conduct, obstruction of law enforcement and entering a restricted building or grounds. Federal investigators say the six advanced and unlawfully entered the U.S. Capitol. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly set their next court date for Aug. 6, which he said will allow time for the government to turn over remaining evidence to defense attorneys and also time to discuss ‘non-trial dispositions of this matter going forward.’ Court documents say Felicia Konold was seen on the day of the riot with the leaders of the Proud Boys, an extremist group with ties to white nationalism. The federal complaint alleges she was part of a group march led by the Proud Boys along Constitution Avenue, where members could be heard shouting chants such as, ‘Whose streets? Our streets.'” • Not to be overly cynical, but I wonder how many of the six are cops? If the FBI is anything like the Czar’s Ohkrana, three at least.

Biden Administration

“The Daily 202: Biden has a lot more bridge-building to do on infrastructure deal” [WaPo]. “President Biden yesterday celebrated a bipartisan infrastructure deal in which “none of us got all that we wanted,“ then sold it to wary progressives by vowing to kill it if they don’t get more of what they — and he — want in a companion bill. Given the dense parliamentary thicket through which the two proposals must slog to reach Biden’s desk, tweeted exuberance about the breakthrough could either be farsighted or end up as a minor digital display in the Museum of Disappointment.” • Vowed? Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

UPDATE “Biden administration sues Georgia over its GOP-enacted voter restrictions” [Politico]. “‘Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,’ U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit. And Kristen Clarke, the head of the department’s Civil Rights Division, said the changes in Georgia would disproportionately hamper black voters’ access to the polls. ‘The provisions we are challenging reduce access to absentee voting at each step of the process, pushing more Black voters to in-person voting where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines,’ she said. While suits under the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 can be brought over election practices simply because they disproportionately impact minorities, Garland and Clarke notably alleged that the new provisions in Georgia are intentionally discriminatory: meaning that the Justice Department believes it can prove that the state legislature purposefully sought to diminish the voting power of African American voters.”

UPDATE “Wall Street Sees Big Wish Granted in Biden’s Infrastructure Deal” [Bloomberg]. “It’s just two words of jargon near the bottom of the infrastructure plan the White House posted Thursday — ‘asset recycling’ — but for a slew of investing titans that longed to see that phrase, it’s reason to rejoice…. “The bipartisan group that put this bill together has been keenly focused on the importance of private investment, including the concept of asset recycling, which has been championed by infrastructure funds for a number of years,” said DJ Gribbin, the former special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy from 2017 to 2018 who is also a senior operating partner at Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. President Joe Biden’s administration could kick off an asset-recycling initiative with federal government-owned power and generation companies such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Bonneville Power Administration, Gribbin said. He added that government-owned dams around the country that generate hydroelectric power and haven’t been well maintained could also be part of the program. Other federally-owned infrastructure that investors have long coveted include the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. Asset recycling — a policy many credit as being coined in Australia — features the sale or leasing of infrastructure such as roads, airports and utilities to private operators.” • Some compromise! Alert reader Grant comments:

I am originally from Chicago. This is a pathetic bill and all of these rich frauds should be ashamed of themselves. Essentially, it is going to be the privatization of Chicago’s parking meters going national. Biden is a disaster as president and his party is going to get destroyed in 2022 and thereafter.

I’m sure selling the TVA is going to set them in solid in Border States for generations.

UPDATE And on the pay-fors:

So, ramping up debt collection from the IRS and and recouping from restaurant and retail workers…. It’s a proven electoral winner!

UPDATE “Manchin says Democratic-only infrastructure bill ‘inevitable'” [The Hill]. “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Thursday that it was “inevitable” that Democrats would move forward with a separate, Democrat-only infrastructure package — it was just a question of what the size and scope will be. ‘Reconciliation is inevitable because basically Republicans I understand on the tax they don’t want to undo anything on the 2017 [bill]. For those who didn’t vote for 2017, there should be some adjustments. I’m open to that,’ Manchin told reporters. Manchin’s remarks are a huge boon for Democrats because the party needs all 50 of its members to support reconciliation — the budget process that lets them bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. Manchin has been careful to not say if he would be supportive of using the budget process to craft a larger, Democratic-only infrastructure bill as he and a group of senators tried to lock down their smaller bipartisan agreement. That got a significant boost on Thursday when Biden endorsed it, though the group still needs to sell and shore up support from their colleagues.” • Sausage inna bun!


UPDATE “One city ‘ready to explode’ as US murder rates surge in pandemic” [Reuters]. “The per-capita murder rate climbed 30 percent in 2020 among 34 major cities surveyed by Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Murders in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago accounted for 40 percent of the 1,268 additional people killed in 2020, compared to the previous year, in the cities Rosenfeld studied. In the first quarter of 2021, the research showed, the murder rate had declined from a peak the previous summer but was still up 24 percent over the first quarter of 2020. U.S. President Joe Biden pledged on Wednesday to go after the “merchants of death” who traffic illegal guns and to boost funding for local law enforcement nationwide.”


UPDATE “Ten Things We Now Know About the White Working Class Vote in 2020” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. ” The shift against Trump among white noncollege voters was almost entirely driven by men. They shifted 7 points against him, while women in this group barely moved at all (.2 points). This is a not a widely-appreciated fact, to say the least.” • Since uncredentialed white men are essentially racist and sexist, it’s unclear what Biden’s appeal can possibly have been.

UPDATE “They Seemed Like Democratic Activists. They Were Secretly Conservative Spies.” [New York Times]. “Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca were part of an undercover operation by conservatives to infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns and the offices of Democratic as well as moderate Republican elected officials during the 2020 election cycle, according to interviews and documents. Using large campaign donations and cover stories, the operatives aimed to gather dirt that could sabotage the reputations of people and organizations considered threats to a hard-right agenda advanced by President Donald J. Trump. At the center of the scheme was an unusual cast: a former British spy connected to the security contractor Erik Prince, a wealthy heiress to the Gore-Tex fortune and undercover operatives like Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca who used Wyoming as a base to insinuate themselves into the political fabric of this state and at least two others, Colorado and Arizona. In more than two dozen interviews and a review of federal election records, The New York Times reconstructed many of the operatives’ interactions in Wyoming and other states — mapping out their associations and likely targets — and spoke to people with whom they discussed details of their spying operation. Publicly available documents in Wyoming also tied Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca to an address in Cody used by the former spy, Richard Seddon. What the effort accomplished — and how much information Mr. Seddon’s operatives gathered — is unclear. Sometimes, their tactics were bumbling and amateurish. But the operation’s use of spycraft to manipulate the politics of several states over years greatly exceeds the tactics of more traditional political dirty tricks operations.” • Interesting….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Pregnant,” perhaps, but with more than meaning:

Well, when you think about the institutions that lean liberal Democrat, you’ve got the intelligence community, the national press (assuming those to be separate), the Silicon Valley platforms, and now the officer class in the military. That merger of state and corporations… well, it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ general business activity index for manufacturing in Texas decreased 2.4 points from the previous month to 34.9 in May of 2021. The new orders index came in at 20.8, down from 38.5 in April but more than triple the series average of 6.3. Similarly, the growth rate of orders index came in at 19.5, down from 32.3 but still elevated. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell 18 points to 15.7, a reading still well above average and indicative of healthy output growth.”

Rail: “Rail Week Ending 19 June 2021 – Continued Slowing In Intuitive Sectors” [Econintersect]. “Total rail traffic has two components – carloads and intermodal (containers or trailers on rail cars). This week again both carloads and intermodal continued in expansion year-over-year – with the rate of acceleration of growth slowing. We review this data set to understand the economy. The intuitive sectors (total carloads removing coal, grain, and petroleum) expanded 13.6 % 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 +25.8 % to +20.6 %”

Inflation: “May 2021 Real Income And Expenditures – Inflation Continues To Impact\” [Econintersect]. “The data continues to be affected by the pandemic, comparisons to the recession one year ago, and now inflation. Inflation is now significantly impacting growth.” But: “The real issue with personal income and expenditures is that it jumps around because of backward revisions – and one cannot take any single month as fixed or gospel. This month’s backward revision.”

Consumer Sentiment: “United States Consumer Sentiment” [Trading Economics]. “The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for the US was revised lower to 85.5 in June of 2021 from a preliminary of 86.4 and below market expectations of 87.4. Still, it was the second-highest reading since the start of the pandemic.”

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Tech: “WD My Book NAS devices are being remotely wiped clean worldwide” [Bleeping Computer]. “Western Digital My Book NAS owners worldwide found that their devices have been mysteriously factory reset and all of their files deleted. WD My Book is a network-attached storage device that looks like a small vertical book that you can stand on your desk. The WD My Book Live app allows owners to access their files and manage their devices remotely, even if the NAS is behind a firewall or router. Today, WD My Book owners worldwide suddenly found that all of their files were mysteriously deleted, and they could no longer log into the device via a browser or an app. When they attempted to log in via the Web dashboard, the device stated that they had an ‘Invalid password.’ ‘I have a WD My Book live connected to my home LAN and worked fine for years. I have just found that somehow all the data on it is gone today, while the directories seems there but empty. Previously the 2T volume was almost full but now it shows full capacity,’ a WD My Book owner reported on the Western Digital Community Forums. … Unlike QNAP devices, which are commonly connected to the Internet and exposed to attacks such as the QLocker Ransomware, the Western Digital My Book devices are stored behind a firewall and communicate through the My Book Live cloud servers to provide remote access…. It is believed that a threat actor performed a mass scan of the Internet for vulnerable devices and used this vulnerability to issue the factory-reset command.” • Yikes. I’m not five years old, so I haven’t connected my Western Digital My Books to the Internet — and I hope you, readers, haven’t either — but I do connect the laptop to which the drives are connected to the Internet. Hopefully that’s not a problem (and I was, luckily perhaps, on the road with my hard drives packed away when this went down). If I had lost years of photography I would have been grief-stricken, so thanks WD.

The Bezzle: “Squire Patton Boggs’ restructuring chief named Purdue Pharma bankruptcy examiner” [Reuters]. “A government lawyer has selected the head of Squire Patton Boggs’ global restructuring practice to investigate the independence of a special committee that struck a deal with the Sackler family members who own the OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP. The U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog, the U.S. Trustee, selected Squire’s Stephen Lerner for the role, according to court papers filed on Thursday. The appointment comes a week after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York said he would allow an examiner to explore whether the special committee of Purdue’s board was influenced at all by the Sackler family members in reaching a settlement that protects them against opioid-related litigation. The judge said during a contentious court hearing on June 16 that he did not know of any evidence to suggest the deal was negotiated unfairly but would bring in an examiner anyway out of fear of misleading press reports.”

Tech: “Google Delays Phaseout of Advertising Cookies Until 2023” [Bloomberg]. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google will eliminate advertising cookies in its Chrome internet browser by “late 2023,” the company said, pushing out a timeline that the $378 billion digital advertising industry is watching closely. Google first pledged in 2020 to remove third-party cookies within two years, barring the software trackers that let marketers use browsing data from other websites. The company then began trials of software tools to replace cookies with a solution that allows ad targeting without identifying individual consumers or letting prices for online ads crater. The tools have received a lukewarm reception from some media and marketing companies. ‘While there’s considerable progress with this initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,’ Vinay Goel, a Chrome engineering director, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.” • Ecosystem.

Tech: “Eight Tips to Google Like a Pro” [News Literacy Project]. “This infographic features hyperlinked example searches that demonstrate exactly how your results will look when you apply these eight tips… 2. Limit your results to news from standards-based sources.” • “Standards-based sources” is good. I wonder if it will propagate.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 39 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 25 at 12:21pm. No longer stuck in neutral!

Health Care

UPDATE Google butchers aerosols:

Two points: (1) Aerosols fill a room, like cigarette smoke. That’s how superspreading events happen: When one highly infectious person fills the room with virus. That’s why “close proximity” thinking is wrong. (2) There is not one single study showing fomite transmission. This is, I assume, misinformation. And hopefully not disinformation.

UPDATE “The mRNA Vaccines Are Extraordinary, but Novavax Is Even Better” [Hilda Bastian, The Atlantic]. “But the fascination with the newest, shiniest options obscured some basic facts. These two particular mRNA vaccines may have been the first to get results from Phase 3 clinical trials, but that’s because of superior trial management, not secret vaccine sauce. For now, they are harder and more expensive to manufacture and distribute than traditional types of vaccines, and their side effects are more common and more severe. The latest Novavax data confirm that it’s possible to achieve the same efficacy against COVID-19 with a more familiar technology that more people may be inclined to trust.”

UPDATE “Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated” [Associated Press]. “The stories of unvaccinated people dying may convince some people they should get the shots, but young adults — the group least likely to be vaccinated — may be motivated more by a desire to protect their loved ones, said David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington University’s school of public health in the nation’s capital. Others need paid time off to get the shots and deal with any side effects, Michaels said.” • Gawd forbid we should ever think about the workplace.

The Biosphere

“Lipid exchanges drove the evolution of mutualism during plant terrestrialization” [Science]. The tweet is better than the Abstract:

“Breakthrough study shows defining traits are forged the moment we’re born” [Frontiers] (original). ” Our results show that connectivity in these functional brain networks varies across infants and maps onto individual differences in behavioral temperament. Specifically, connectivity in the fronto-parietal network was positively associated with regulation and orienting behaviors, whereas connectivity in the default mode network showed the opposite effect on these behaviors. Our analysis also revealed a significant positive association between the homologous-interhemispheric network and infants’ negative affect. The current results suggest that variability in long-range intra-hemispheric and cross-hemispheric functional connectivity between frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex is associated with individual differences in affect and behavior. These findings shed new light on the brain origins of individual differences in early-emerging behavioral traits and thus represent a viable novel approach for investigating developmental trajectories in typical and atypical neurodevelopment.” • No doubt can be connected to epigenetics, i.e. to class.

“Dirty secrets: sediment DNA reveals a 300,000-year timeline of ancient and modern humans living in Siberia” [The Conversation]. “We found Denisovans were present at the cave, on and off, from 250,000 years ago until 60,000 years ago. And they were the only humans at the site between 250,000 and 200,000 years ago, so we can now say with more confidence they likely produced the stone tools recovered from these layers. Denisovan fossils and ancient DNA have been found at only one other site, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Meanwhile, Neanderthals first appeared at Denisova Cave about 200,000 years ago, with a variety of DNA that was previously unknown. They vanished from the site about 40,000 years ago, around the same time Neanderthals disappeared in other parts of Eurasia. Importantly, we could only find traces of Neanderthal DNA in sediments dated to between 130,000 and 80,000 years ago at Denisova Cave — and none of Denisovans. This time interval coincides with a major change in Earth’s climate: the start of the last interglacial. This was a relatively warm period similar to the present. It marked a switch from one type of Denisovan DNA before 130,000 years ago to another after 80,000 years ago.” • And speaking of sediments, this extraordinary article–

“The Day the Dinosaurs Died” [The New Yorker] (works in Safari reader. From 2019, still germane, well worth a read). Extremely dramatic and almost impossible to extact. The meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs hits, then fast forward a geological epoch (or two?): “At the bottom of the deposit, in a mixture of heavy gravel and tektites, DePalma identified the broken teeth and bones, including hatchling remains, of almost every dinosaur group known from Hell Creek, as well as pterosaur remains, which had previously been found only in layers far below the KT boundary. He found, intact, an unhatched egg containing an embryo—a fossil of immense research value. The egg and the other remains suggested that dinosaurs and major reptiles were probably not staggering into extinction on that fateful day. In one fell swoop, DePalma may have solved the three-metre problem and filled in the gap in the fossil record.” • Well worth a read. As a bonus, a strong Florida Man flavor.

“Tiny Fossils From Alaska Reveal Dinosaur Life in the Arctic” [New York Times]. “Deposits of baby dinosaur bones and teeth in northern Alaska, reported Thursday in Current Biology, suggest that a number of species survived year-round above the Arctic Circle — enduring freezing temperatures, food shortages and four straight months of darkness, as well as the occasional snowstorm. The first polar dinosaur footprints were found in 1960, stomped into the Svalbard archipelago. Over the following decades, evidence of dinosaurs at both Arctic and Antarctic latitudes emerged. This led to curiosity about how they managed — especially in the northern regions, which, while warmer than they are today, still turned into frozen landscapes of perpetual night during winters. ‘How the heck did they do that?’ said Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum of the North who worked on the new study. Perhaps the dinosaurs were snowbirds, spending summers up there before migrating south, he said. ‘Or did they somehow tough it out? Or do something crazy, like hibernation?'”

“Take this stream and shove it” [Water Quality Monitoring and Research]. “I know some will hate this paragraph, but I think it needs to be said. Over the past 20 years, the ag establishment and the watershed’s farmers have made a mockery of efforts to improve the drinking water source serving 1/6th of Iowa’s people, and Iowa’s appointed and elected leaders, including supreme court justices, have for the most part endorsed this. Supported by Iowa’s economic and political establishment, the larger body of the watershed’s farmers have no intention of trying to reduce nutrient pollution, and this has always been so. I’ve seen firsthand on many occasions the hostility to change, and this was before both lawsuits. I’m not stating this as a casual observer.” • Great blog. Anybody who follows Iowa politics should read it.

Lay in a good supply of MERV-13 filters so you can build your box fans against the smoke:

“So you want to acknowledge the land?” [High Country News]. “Land acknowledgments rarely mention the fact that when Indigenous people were removed from their ancestral land, they were forced to abandon sacred ceremonial sites. These sites were, and still are, pillaged and ruined by colonial settlers. Personal collections of “artifacts” amassed from looting sacred sites in Arkansas and Oklahoma eventually wound up in the University of Arkansas Museum Collection. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, passed by Congress in 1990, required that some items be returned to the tribes’ descendants, but many remain stored in the museum’s collection. Indigenous students can attend the university without ever even knowing about the beautiful art and cultural heritage created by their ancestors and currently shelved behind closed doors. Museum staff have started working to improve outreach to Native American students, and I’m hopeful that new and lasting partnerships can raise awareness about local Indigenous history and begin to heal the injustice done to First Peoples. However, as long as the narratives remain in the hands of academia, stripped of cultural significance and deprived of an accurate historical narrative, the collection simply contributes to the institution’s continued erasure of the original residents and their descendants, in a kind of cultural genocide. Tribal governments should be empowered to research, care for and share their own cultural objects at the University of Arkansas and elsewhere.”


Fully analog:

No wonder @bombsfall retweets Gumby screens:

Zeitgeist Watch

More on the Britney Spears conservatorship lawsuit:

Nice work if you can get it!

“Into The Unprecedented” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “‘Look at her, just staring at her phone like a zombie,’ the middle-aged woman said in a loud stage whisper which was clearly intended to be heard. ‘She’s sitting in an art museum, right in front of a genuine Monet, and she’s staring at her phone,’ said her husband, not even bothering to whisper…. ‘You do get that I’m not actually ‘staring at my phone’, right? Like, you know I’m having actual conversations and engaging with people and taking in information, don’t you? Do you understand that there’s information on this screen that I’m actively interacting with? This isn’t a TV, I’m not just passively staring at it.'” • Fair. Now, if she’d been taking a selfie….

“Greek priest charged over acid attack on 7 senior bishops” [Associated Press]. “‘The suspect … is a psychiatric patient who is taking strong medication,’ his lawyer Andreas Theodoropoulos said. ‘He did not fully comprehend the consequences of his action … but was responding to a perceived injustice.'” • I can believe it, but I’m also glad the suspect wasn’t on an airplane….

Imperial Collapse Watch

Is climate collapse imperial collapse?

“Collapsed Miami condo had been sinking into Earth as early as the 1990s, researchers say” [Yahoo News]. “A Florida high-rise that collapsed early Thursday was determined to be on unstable land a year ago, according to a researcher at Florida International University. The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment. When Wdowinski saw the news that the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed, he instantly remembered it from the study, he said. ‘I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,’ he said. Wdowinski said his research is not meant to suggest certainty about what caused the collapse. The building was sinking at a rate of about 2 millimeters a year in the 1990s and could have slowed or accelerated in the time since, he said. In his experience, even the level of sinking observed in the 1990s typically results in impacts to buildings and their structures, Wdowinski said. He said that very well could have been the case for the Champlain building in the 1990s, based on his findings. ‘It was a byproduct of analyzing the data. We saw this building had some kind of unusual movement,’ Wdowinski said.” • Hard to believe that Florida real estate developers would sell condos in a building with unstable foundations, but stranger things have happened.

Guillotine Watch

I’ve always had a soft spot for Felix Salmon:

Class Warfare

“Video Games Are a Labor Disaster” [The New Republic]. “In an industry worth $150 billion, mass layoffs and untenable working conditions are surprisingly common, though rarely examined. Most of the video game press is aimed at either the consumer or the investor, and most outlets concern themselves with how a game plays, or how much it sold. Instead, by looking at the labor of video games, Schreier sets out to answer one of the industry’s weirdest mysteries: Why is making video games, something an entire industry of highly paid, intelligent people has been doing for decades, so difficult?… Making big-budget video games takes an enormous amount of highly specialized labor. It is possible for one person to make a game, and even for that game to be a hit, but the biggest, most profitable games released each year are nearly always made by enormous teams of people, working directly or indirectly for those publishers. Because these games are so complex, they are often quite unfinished or bug-ridden very close to their scheduled release dates. Video games are constantly delayed, but they cannot be delayed forever, especially if a large corporation’s earnings report depends on selling a lot of a heavily marketed video game. So many studios enter a period of grueling overwork and mandatory overtime. The practice is so common in the industry that it is simply known as ‘crunch.’ A few years ago, one major studio founder actually bragged about enduring 100-hour workweeks in the period leading up to a major new game’s release. Reporting from Schreier and others calling attention to the exploitative nature of “crunch” led many studios to announce new policies banning the practice, but they are self-policing, and crunch in some cases simply may be outsourced to smaller studios, often overseas, away from the prying eyes of American reporters. After the game is released comes the other problem: Now there is a studio full of expensive video game developers who are no longer developing a video game. (This is one reason why so many publishers develop franchises with annual or semiannual releases, like professional sports titles or war games with dependably high-selling new installments released almost every year.) This can lead to mass layoffs.” • Worth noting that @bombsfall, staff for Fern and Sid, is a game developer, but in a co-op. Fern and Sid:

The Kitten Thread was one of the bright spots of the pandemic year.

UPDATE “Effect of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 on life expectancy across populations in the USA and other high income countries: simulations of provisional mortality data” [British Medical Journal]. “Results Between 2010 and 2018, the gap in life expectancy between the US and the peer country average increased from 1.88 years (78.66 v 80.54 years, respectively) to 3.05 years (78.74 v 81.78 years). Between 2018 and 2020, life expectancy in the US decreased by 1.87 years (to 76.87 years), 8.5 times the average decrease in peer countries (0.22 years), widening the gap to 4.69 years. Life expectancy in the US decreased disproportionately among racial and ethnic minority groups between 2018 and 2020, declining by 3.88, 3.25, and 1.36 years in Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White populations, respectively. In Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations, reductions in life expectancy were 18 and 15 times the average in peer countries, respectively. Progress since 2010 in reducing the gap in life expectancy in the US between Black and White people was erased in 2018-20; life expectancy in Black men reached its lowest level since 1998 (67.73 years), and the longstanding Hispanic life expectancy advantage almost disappeared. Conclusions The US had a much larger decrease in life expectancy between 2018 and 2020 than other high income nations, with pronounced losses among the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations. A longstanding and widening US health disadvantage, high death rates in 2020, and continued inequitable effects on racial and ethnic minority groups are likely the products of longstanding policy choices and systemic racism.”

UPDATE “Study finds big drop in US life expectancy, especially for Blacks, Hispanics” [The Hill].

“When Lenin Returned” [The Atlantic]. • From 1954, still germane. Great Man theory of history. Nevertheless, if anybody, including the Conservative outrage machine, thinks that the Squad, or any politician with national visibility today, is anything like Lenin, for good or ill, they should read this. (Of course “national visibility” is doing a lot of work; if there were a Lenin, we probably wouldn’t be hearing about, well, them.)

News of the Wired

Fight it out among yourselves:

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

TH writes: “This fabulously large Easter Lily was potted on one of our Naples Island walks (Los Alamitos Bay–Long Beach, California).”

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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. George Phillies

    “Standards-based sources” Let me guess. It will include the main stream media but not sites like this one that actually report accurate information.

    Sinking buildings. Some of you will remember the California (iirc, San Francisco) condo tower. There is now video of the Florida tower collapses (it fell in two halves).

    1. ambrit

      I’ll go out on a stalk and say an amaryllis. I’ve grown similar looking plants. The shape of the flower, the colour scheme, and the clustering effect of the blooms all point to amaryllis.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Telomeres: Stick around. I have a feeling you’re not ready to go on tour yet.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            If I stick around, does that make me one of the stamen?

            FWIW, not much demand for bespoke embedded protocol engines these days. Second careers are a b!tch.

            1. ambrit

              You are definitely one of the ‘agriklatura,’ indeed, you are a fount of ‘pistilled’ wisdom.
              (I know that I will suffer mightily in “That Other Place” for my puns, or what I, in my hubris, dare to call such.)

        2. ambrit

          Wow, this is a tough audience. Time to bring out my ‘A’ for amaryllis game.
          I had such hopes. The NC commenteriat is the “flower” of the internet community after all.

  2. Sawdust

    “Breakthrough study shows defining traits are forged the moment we’re born”

    Phrenology won’t die.

    1. Maynard

      Yeah, if this result hold up, in any meaningful way, I’ll eat my hat. But bet you won’t see a retraction if it doesn’t.

  3. Aaron

    First time commenter.

    Can anyone please direct me to the piece I read in Naked Capitalism within the last week or two regarding the lying flat movement in China. If I remember correctly, the piece was a little critical?

    Thank you!


      1. Isotope_C14

        Lambert, I don’t know how you search the old posts – but I love it.

        Would a discord chat server be something people would like to do (and I’m not asking for more work for the core staff to be done – to be clear) – and I’m willing to donate some for a teamspeak channel instead if people have a desire.

        Happy to work on setting it up, it’s more of a gamer thing – teamspeak is, and I generally hate discord.

        There’s quite a few people I wouldn’t mind being able to have a conversation with ’round here.


        1. CoryP

          I’d follow it. Though I’m not sure fragmenting the comments throughout multiple media is desirable.

          I guess there’s nothing stopping one from doing so unofficially, other than the ire of our hosts. But I think we all take that seriously enough not to do so.

  4. hunkerdown

    “Companion bill”, I wonder how many “wary” progressives are childish enough to fall for that well-worn scam vs. personally ambitious enough to perform an impression of being betrayed by what profits them.

    The parallels are most interesting:
    “defining traits are forged the moment we’re born” – Frontiers
    “the course of an endeavor may be divined from the moment of its birth” – the fundamental theorem of astrology

  5. fresno dan

    My bottom line is that based on history – Summer’s leadership at Harvard, his public policy decisions at the White House, his judgments on lots of big things that matter – Summers’ decision making has been deeply flawed.

    Note I do refer to the intemperate tweet or other minutiae, but rather, very big things that matter. Like hurting Harvard’s endowment or adding to the factors that caused the great financial crisis (GFC). These are massive issues, where Summers was called upon to offer his judgment – and blew it.

    Indeed, while some see a skillful political operator, I see a public intellectual and policy wonk whose professional history is a continual series of disastrous decision-making across markets, academia, and public policy.
    As Summers was in the links. Many, many, MANY examples follow…

    1. Dr. R.k. Barkhi

      I agree with you,however,like when discussing “our” bloated military disasters, we need to define “disaster” and note it’s Never one for the military-industrial-banking complex,only and always for the 99.999 % globally.

      Mr Summers has ,imo,proven his worth to the MIBC for as long as I can remember. He makes an almost perfect “negative bellwether” meaning u can reliably do/think the opposite to whatever he recommends if u r interested in improvements for the 99%.

    1. Carolinian

      Yay orts and scraps

      re My Book–I got one as a gift that is still sitting in its box. But isn’t the whole point of home storage that you don’t have to put files on a network or “the cloud” where files are within reach of the darknet (or an incompetent manufacturer)? Maybe Colonial Pipeline was using a My Book.

    2. tegnost

      Now I see what’s in it I hope it doesn’t pass…
      asset recycling…just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse

      1. Nikkikat

        This plan could have come from Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, Obama or even Trump.
        We can always count on good old Joe to get her done.

        1. ambrit

          Nothing will fundamentally change, especially the high level of corruption in “our” governing elites.

  6. Keith

    It would make sense that life military types would embrace the left. After all, they collect a govt paycheck/pension, live in govt housing, shop in govt stores and get govt healthcare. For those with shiny trinkets on their collars, they may even get govt contracts.

    1. a different chris

      But they don’t. They hate the left. When was the last (first?) time one of the Squad was invited to see the troops?

      So you’re saying, and I would agree with this, is that people with rightward views that aren’t actually wealthy don’t make any sense?

      Not only I, but like the entire group of citizens that weren’t of the doesn’t-have-to-work-another-day-in-their-life class starting from The Great Depression to just before Reagan was elected also believed that.

      I still have a really deep suspicion is that there really is “something in the water”.

      1. Keith

        Attitudes in the military tend to be quite divergent. In the end, someone in uniform is just collecting a paycheck. Heck, the Nellis Air Force base hosted a transexual show for the moral of their troops. Doesn’t quite sound like a leftwing thing to me.

        The most fervent military types are the ones who were never in the military- people like Max Boot, Donald Trump, etc. In fairness, the left has also embraced the military, as it serves their purposes, hence the civilian groveling towards military members with a “Thank you for your service.” Always annoying, but worth a ten percent discount :)

        1. ambrit

          Tellingly, around here, the places that ‘advertise’ that Military 10% discount are the liquor and tobacco shops.

        2. Michael Ismoe

          The left’s embrace of the military is completely practical. When the other side controls 98% of the guns, you better be nice to the Praetorian Guard

          1. rowlf

            You may have missed out on the new firearms owners over the last 15 months. They may be new NRA members.

        3. Lost in OR

          Please don’t mistake “the left” for “the liberals”. They’re not the same.

        4. Felix_47

          In fairness Joe Biden, Trump’s contemporary, evaded Viet Nam with “juvenile asthma” which apparently got better since he was a varsity athlete as was Trump. Trump overcame his bone spurs and Biden overcame his juvenile asthma as he got older. Both of them were profiles in courage whose careers the youth of America should look up to.

  7. ChiGal in Carolina

    >Well, when you think about the institutions that lean liberal Democrat, you’ve got the intelligence community, the national press (assuming those to be separate), the Silicon Valley platforms, and now the officer class in the military. That merger of state and corporations… well, it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

    My take is a little different: Thank God the military is holding the line against the nutty Rs who don’t want slavery to be taught in schools. Both the center and right seem to misunderstand what CRT is, each according to their perceived interests.

    It is NOT idpol, and it is NOT anti-American. It IS acknowledging that there has been and continues to be systemic racism in this country.

    Certainly there is a debate to be had as to how to address this going forward. But a là Bryan Stephenson and his lynching memorial, we need to own our history to build a different future. He has said he wanted to create something analogous to Auschwitz in Germany, which is maintained as a significant historical site with enormous cultural and educational importance.

        1. John Zelnicker

          No, Alfred, he’s being accurate. It’s in Oświęcim in southern Poland.

          Or, was your comment meant to be snark?

          1. ilpalazzo

            Well it was Germany at that time, or rather occupied territories.

            The distinction is actually a big thing for Polish politics, both internal and external.

            1. Isotope_C14

              I’ve been to the site. I was in a s**t job regarding pay, but it was for good. I was bringing PBSC to cancer patients from EU to USA (bone-marrow to non-scientists) – I only carried bone marrow once, and that is because they only give that to babies. I did this for most of a year, but the flights were killing me. I’m 6’3″ and lufthansa has arguably the most uncomfortable seats for tall people. Although, Quantas I think makes their seats out of Kangaroo bones.

              The place (Oświęcim) is larger than O’hare airport. It was utterly horrifying. I was there on a rather warm day in December, or possibly late November. There were no birds, there was no life, it was like the land was Pet Semetary poisoned – Land that saw such horrors that no life was interested in returning.

              I took the “English” tour and I was with two Scottish girls. There wasn’t much talking between them, nor between me with them. The Polish girl who was our tour guide did most of the talking, and we really had nothing to say back.

              I wish our dumb species would learn from this but unfortunately the psychopaths in charge have no humanity.

              1. Tom Stone

                I saw the movies when I was 12,a neighbor offered to show the kids some historical film…
                “Balmy Rutledge” whose young male lion in the back yard was a little too much for the city fathers.
                His 12′ Boa was lovely and he kept rattlesnakes in the back seat of his car at times.
                Cool dude.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              The distinctions get even finer and sharper. Poles want to be very sure that you understand that Auschwitz was a GERman facility which the GERmans PUT in Poland. It is NOT a “Polish” camp. I gather if you make that mistake in Poland, you will be corrected by any number of helpful Poles.

              (By the way, I remember hearing years ago one of David Emory’s ” For The Record” broadcasts describing the hugeness of the industrial facilities around Auschwitz and the heavy presence of investments from some of America’s richest blue-bloodedest oak-panelest china-teacupest pro-Nazi families and corporations.)

              1. Harold

                It is the Poles who are maintaining it as a memorial. Lots of Poles were imprisoned there also, especially before 1942.

    1. Chris Smith

      Re: CRT

      My former firm hired an “antiracism” consultant last year. According to his CRT presentations, the 9-to-5 workday, expecting people to show up to work on time, and objectivity(!) are all examples of “white supremacy.” You can argue that this is an abuse of CRT, but this is the nonsense that people are forced to sit through in “antiracism” presentations. Add in the current nonsense that asking kids to show their work in math class is racist, and the whole thing is becoming a parody of itself. The valuable insights contributed by people like Derrick Bell, Bryan Stevenson, and Kimberle Crenshaw are at risk of being lost as CRT becomes associated with the above foolishness.

      The same thing happened to Sapir-Whorf in the 1990s as increasing levels of foolishness made “political correctness” a laughingstock. I remember, because I was there.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Totally agree. The center and right working together to make a mockery of substantive change.

        1. ambrit

          I’d disagree a bit and say that the Right knows full well what it wants to accomplish. The Centre doesn’t know it’s a–e from a hole in the ground.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Okay, my bad, I wrote that off the top of my head, sincere apologies to the Poles and to Bryan Stevenson for misspelling his name. Apparently “it was a visit to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, an outdoor site of nearly 3,000 concrete gravestone-like slabs memorializing the millions of Jews exterminated during World War II” that made a big impression on him.

      But thank you all for your insightful comments.

    3. voteforno6

      The officer class is definitely not left wing. There’s certainly a diversity of viewpoints there, but if anything, they may be more right wing than the enlisted types.

      The smarter officers, though, probably recognize that it’s poor leadership to be a foaming-at-the-mouth nutter. If you go down that route, you’re going to alienate some of the people that you’re supposed to be leading. Besides, whatever political differences they may have, they do have at least one thing in the common – they’re all in the military.

  8. Jason Boxman

    That WD data wipe is horrid. I always keep multiple copies of files, plus backups, to try to guard against data loss. For those technically inclined, I commit my photos to a git source control repository with the help of an add-on called git-annex; it tracks file locations and metadata, but keeps the binary data itself out of the git object tree because binaries generally don’t diff well. I synced my photos to 4 different computers, plus I backup to Time Machine.

    I want to carry a copy of everything around on a USB key chain drive, but the reviews of these regarding reliability is horrid, so I haven’t yet.

    Internet connected appliances are without a doubt a disaster waiting to happen, that did happen in this case.

    1. BillS

      The first thing I did to my WD Mybooks was root them and turn off that inane function that permitted them to talk to the mothership and set them up as proper NFS/Samba servers that were visible only to the local network. They’ve been running for years. Google will tell you how to do this. Nothing with personal information should ever be allowed to be visible to the open internet if you value your privacy. The ones I have use an embedded Linux that is pretty easy to work with if you are familiar with the command line interface. ;-)

    2. Sub-Boreal

      Some questions from a non-technical person:

      Is this vulnerable WD device an external hard-drive? Is it connected directly to the Internet, or is the connection through a computer to which it is attached?

      I’m asking because I just lived through the failure of the internal hard-drive on my home desktop. A good technician was able to salvage everything and put it on a new internal solid state drive. I have 3 backups (2 of which are on an off-site machine) that are probably > 95% complete and up-to-date. In this case, they weren’t put to the test. But I’m wondering if I need another layer of backup. I was thinking of getting an external solid state drive, using it back up my hard drive periodically, and storing it off-site.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I wanted to do off site but a safety deposit box in Boston was like 100/mo so I thought better of it. Then covid and the office closed, so couldn’t keep it there.

      2. Skip Intro

        The drive was directly connected to the internet, but only through WD’s cloud interface (in theory). Apparently the vulnerability has been known for some time, but the products were no longed being updated by WD.

      3. Old Sarum

        Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

        There are plenty of online articles on SSDs which recommend them for software but not data as their lifespan seems to be less than hard drives. Start reading about it and looking at Youtube videos, and the rabbit-hole opens its maw.

        My personal advice is SSD for the operating sytem (with associated software), and HD for the data (in the main computer), and duplicate offsite storage of anything that you would hate to lose in a property fire.

        I keep on thinking of burning my photos to DVD Rs for offsite storage but as yet I have not got a round tuit.

        Try explainingcomputers on Youtube; the following perhaps explains the procedure which has been performed for you recently:


        In short, it is hard to trust any single storage option. The following is a link to an EEVblog video about a storage device failure (with an Australian twang):


        Pip pip!

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘That WD data wipe is horrid.’ Totally agree. Imagine booting up your computer to find that all your work, all our files, all your photos are gone forever. I too have multiple backups as I had a ‘C’ drive die on me years ago and vowed never to be caught again. This was different in that the only thing that was wrong was that those people trusted to an internet connection meaning the possibility of other people controlling their files. And now they believed that company’s promises but have paid for it by losing everything.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Enough such remote wipes and lots of individual citizens will de-cloud their information and re-store it to stand alone memory storage devices stored in their own houses, caves, bunkers, etc.

    4. eg

      I’m an obsessive backer-upper — 4 copies of everything, 3 on drives inaccessible to the web (including an older WD Mybook drive), one of which is kept offsite and only connected and updated once a year. Photos have a 5th working copy that I allow my wife to modify/add to

  9. Wukchumni

    Re: the Big Dry

    It looks as if our cabin community will run out of water at some point before Labor Day… a usually pretty reliable spring fed creek dropping in volume 25% the past fortnight, being quite the indicator of things to not come.

    I noticed as of late the SoCalist movement is crowing about their couple years worth of stored water in reservoirs down south, while where the water is made, we’re going broke-account overdrawn.

    1. curlydan

      what do you and your neighbors do when you run out of water?

      As for SoCal, possession is nine-tenths of the law as they say–but only nine-tenths…

  10. Val

    on opiates for deplored masses on opiates:

    bankruptcy judge bob drain in white plain.

    here we’re enjoying steady soaking rain

    not a robby funnel in caucasoid meadow.

  11. Alfred

    Re losing files, when I was working, the insurance protocol for the accounting computer files was that there had to be 3 backups, two offsite and one in a safe in the office.
    Now, I never keep any files on my hard drive, they are all on USB sticks, because for some reason for years my computers keep crashing and I like to be able to re-load the OS myself. I have never been able to see myself using “the cloud.”

    1. HotFlash

      I had a client back decades ago, in the age of 6″ floppies and TallGrass (remember those?). When I was checking out the setup I asked the office ladies how often they backed up. “Oh, every night!”, they told me. OK so far. Then I asked what they backed up to, “Oh, the virtual drive,” they told me. Face palm.

      on edit: OMG and holy moley. I SwissCowed Tallgrass to check spelling and this came up: Tallgrass Google Drive And then I went inside Google. Somebody didn’t close the door on the way out?

  12. Jason Boxman

    So I’m not surprised the bipartisan infrastructure compromise bill is much worse than it first appeared. As I’ve said frequently: If legislation in Washington is bipartisan, watch your wallet, you’re about to get robbed.

    It isn’t yet clear to me how Biden is any better than Trump. We know on judicial appointments, Schumer doesn’t care and just wants to go home, so it isn’t those. Nor is it immigration. Or COVID policy. Antitrust was progressing apace anyway in the states and probably would have continued under a second Trump term.

    On Google misinformation, I’d be curious what guidelines Google is using these days for its subcontracted workforce that handles quality control of Google Search results. I wrote about this in a different context back in 2019 here:


  13. marym

    Re: “Biden administration sues Georgia over its GOP-enacted voter restrictions” [Politico]

    Also from the Politico link:

    Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco also said the Department of Justice will take more concrete steps to protect election officials, who have faced an unprecedented wave of threats in the run-up to and following the 2020 election.

    Monaco will release a directive to federal prosecutors and the FBI on the threats and instructing them to prioritize investigating those threats. The DOJ is also launching a task force to focus on the threats.

    Memo text: https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/25/politics/doj-memo-election-workers-threats/index.html

    1. rowlf

      It will be interesting to watch to see if this is another case of alligator mouth to get in front of the parade or if there are any actual actions after the lawsuit. I do agree on going hard after anyone who threatens election officials.

  14. jr

    “ Well, when you think about the institutions that lean liberal Democrat…….That merger of state and corporations… well, it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?”

    Rainbow fascism.

  15. jo6pac

    There’s something wrong with the below artical. It was either money wasted or money made because demodogs do this to themselves all the time.

    “They Seemed Like Democratic Activists. They Were Secretly Conservative Spies”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nah! That was a DNC job that was unfortunately aided and abetted by Bernie himself by valuing a DNC plant over the activists that worked for him. In an early confrontation, he backed that DMC plant (I forget his name) and fired a bunch of activists that were protesting about him. The squandering of his funds by these sort of people was an early warning sign that was ignored by most people. If he had trusted his activists, he could have won.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Not going to swear to it without much deeper research but I think that it might have been Chuck Rocha. Hard to find the video now as it is over a year ago now. A female activist let out an epic rant after Bernie lost how they could have won but not only did this person undermine the campaign but that they let in a whole bunch of Democrat union operatives that finished off what was left. If it was this Chuck Rosa, that would have been a strange pick for Bernie as the guy was found guilty only a few years before of embezzlement of union funds-


          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            Jeff Weaver is who I believe we are taking about. His name was the one I remember coming up anytime the activist base complained about being muscled out and the campaign’s values sold out. Rocha just seems to be a typical political mercenary who was probably unnecessary, but Weaver seemed to actively be working against the campaign’s strengths and Sanders went along with it, for reasons never explained.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Could be. Trouble is I would have to dig through a coupla hundred videos to find the one that I saw. But Bernie should have listened to his activists more.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                This all sounds like McGovern self-suiciding his own campaign in 1972 by inviting into the campaign itself some of the same DemParty traditionals he defeated to get nominated to begin with.

                If true, this sounds a bit like evidence of some kind of psychic deformity on Sanders’s part. Perhaps Sanders is/was so totally utterly ” anti-vanguardist” that he destroyed his own campaign by importing Democrat saboteurs into it just so he wouldn’t have to be in a “vanguard leader” type of position.

                If so, it goes to show that one really can overdo one’s faith in the concept of ” mass organization” as though “mass organization” will cancel out the effects of anti-leadership at crucial critical times.

  16. shinola

    “Hard to believe that Florida real estate developers would sell condos in a building with unstable foundations…”

    I assume that’s a bit of snark – but isn’t most of Florida’s southern coastal area “reclaimed” (i.e. filled-in) swampland? Where does their drinking water come from?

    Sinking caused by depleted underground freshwater or saltwater intrusion re-liquefying the underlying swamp – either way this could be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”. Ya know that climate change thing…

  17. Temporarily Sane

    Sam Kriss wrote a nuanced analysis and critique of CRT from a Marxist perspective that is worth reading in full.

    He argues that it’s self-defeating for CRT’s proponents to pass it off as simply a collection of obvious facts that are immune to criticism [emphasis added]:

    Many of the people most vocally supporting the theory seem to believe that the sum total of its approach is to say that racism exists and is bad. (The Hill article I link above describes it as ‘the idea that students should learn about how race and racism has affected American society in the past and present day.’) Or, in other formulations, it’s simply an expression of the lived experience of black people. The attempts to censor CRT by law are deranged, obviously, but this has a very particular type of cruelty to it. It does incredible violence to a theory to pretend that all its conclusions are just obvious fact; you’re basically implying that no actual thought has taken place. Something similar happens when the advocates of these theories act as if it’s morally impermissible for any white person to ever subject them to critical scrutiny, because nobody asked for your yt opinion. No: if this stuff is thought, then it enjoys the dignity of critique. If it’s something other than thought, then why shouldn’t I just dismiss it out of hand?

    Link:What’s so bad about critical race theory?

  18. Alfred

    This is nice, and no one got it on their phone…

    Police were called to break up a reported exorcism for dead trees in the lumber aisle of a Home Depot in Pennsylvania.
    A Dickson City police officer offered fuller explanation to the PhillyVoice, saying: ‘It was a séance type of thing for the dead.’

    ‘There were two people hanging out in the lumber department doing their little exorcism thing,’ the officer, who was not named, said.

    ‘Some people at the store started picking up that something was happening that was not necessarily normal. Police were called to the store and they were escorted out of the building.’

    The officer said neither of the individuals involved will face charges.

  19. Carla

    Haven’t seen this on NC yet, so I thought I would share. Please forgive me if it is a duplicate. The last sentence is one for the ages:


    Headline: A Scheme to Blow Up the Housing Market Backfired Spectacularly at the Supreme Court

    Lede: Instead of winning billions for shareholders, the plaintiffs handed Joe Biden tighter control over the mortgage industry.

    (I suspect he won’t know what to do with it and will just hand it back, but who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. In any case, do read to the end.)

  20. Librarian Guy

    “Since uncredentialed white men are essentially racist and sexist, it’s unclear what Biden’s appeal can possibly have been.” That Biden is of the same generation as Trump, & that his politics for the last 4 decades have been “essentially racist and sexist” (e.g., boasting about his friendship with the likes of Sen. Eastland, “he never called me boy”!) Not that Hillary was ever remotely a “feminist”, but as to patriarchal tropes, not a dime’s worth of difference between Trump and shambolic Uncle Joe that I can see, other than Joe being trained to admit that “there’s at least 3” genders.

  21. DJG, Reality Czar

    Ruy Teixeira:
    “Even with their declining population share and Trump’s dominance of their group, white noncollege voters still made up a larger share of Biden’s coalition (32 percent) than white college voters (29 percent), according to Catalist.”

    You wouldn’t know it from Biden’s personnel decisions, and personnel is policy.

    Of course, I’m persnickety. I’m wondering how anyone would consider Antony Blinken to be qualified to be secretary of state. (Well, though, after Clinton and Pompeo, maybe he’s a placeholder.)

  22. fumo

    Re the building collapse in Miami: a person living nearby reports that people had been leaving the building because of safety concerns for years and on top of that others had left over rising sea level concerns and were seeking in particular buyers who were naive about the sea level rise situation in Miami, particularly foreign or expat buyers from abroad.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      There should be a movement to get global warming deniers into those buildings.

      ” Of course you can get stucco. ( Boy, can you get stucco).”

  23. saywhat?

    “The stories of unvaccinated people dying may convince some people they should get the shots, but young adults — the group least likely to be vaccinated — may be motivated more by a desire to protect their loved ones, said David Michaels, an epidemiologist at George Washington University’s school of public health in the nation’s capital. [bold added]

    Anything to get young adults to take unjustified risks getting vaccinated, eh? Why can’t their “loved ones” just get vaccinated themselves if their own risk of getting vaccinated is justified?

    Besides which, the idea that the unvaccinated are a more dangerous breeding reservoir for variants than the vaccinated may be completely upside down with the current leaky vaccines?

    1. Objective Ace

      What’s interesting to me is that the AP is creating news here rather then reporting it

      >The AP analyzed figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.
      Among them: Only about 45 states report breakthrough infections, and some are more aggressive than others in looking for such cases. So the data probably understates such infections, CDC officials said.

      What makes the AP qualified to make this statement when government agencies are unable to do so? Is the AP in the business of journalism or scientific research? What methodology are they using?

      1. saywhat?

        Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine. AP

        And here’s another thing that others have noted: Why should those who have had Covid and recovered take a risk with getting vaccinated, especially with a leaky vaccination?

        And why eliminate two control groups, ie. those who have recovered from Covid and those who are at low risk relative to vaccination risk (eg. healthy young adults) with these EXPERIMENTAL vaccines?

  24. Michael Ismoe

    … facing multiple felony charges, including conspiracy, civil disorder, disorderly conduct, obstruction of law enforcement and entering a restricted building or grounds.

    Back in the 60’s, we used to call this Friday night.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Wall Street Sees Big Wish Granted in Biden’s Infrastructure Deal”

    At this point, the best thing that could happen in America is for the infrastructure bill to fail and not be revivable with the 2022 midterms approaching. The other day I termed the phrase ‘Rentier America’ and this bill really works towards that Wall Street ideal.

  26. Nikkikat

    We will certainly hope the bill dies. I feel doubtful. When a hustle like this one comes along, there has been big wads of money handed out. Those wads of money usually win the day.

    1. saywhat?

      I’ve read that one reason the British beat Napoleon was that he was a gold-bug and they weren’t, the British using credit instead.

      And gold is not just barbarous, it’s also unethical since fiat should be as inexpensive as practical.

      Gold as or backing fiat has so many logical, practical, environmental, historical, and ethical problems that it takes a truly rotten inexpensive fiat system to make it look good in comparison – and that’s what we have.

  27. fjallstrom

    The South had one week with 25 million tests and the a return so just under one million per week. Mostly likely data error, or dumping 25 million tests teat were underreported.

    In similar fashion the European spike is France and Netherlands adjusting their numbers on the 21st every month. There is also an increase, led by the UK, that is indeed delta. But that is not the spike your seeing.

    Here is WHO-Europe divided up on countries, on a day-by-day chart normalised for population.

    The countries with most cases/capita has been highlighted. As one can see the slight increase in UK is dwarfed by the massive spike in France. But hover over France on the 20th and you find a similar, but negative number. Ths noise is covering the signal.

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