2:00PM Water Cooler 6/28/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

I think I’ll continue along with thrushes. A lot going on in this one!

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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 rising together. Kamala did the trick? Hard to believe.

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):

“Unavailable due to system maintenance.”

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Continued good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

Big jump in Europe. 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

“Donald Trump’s January 6 The view from inside the Oval Office.” [New York Magazine]. “‘I didn’t mean it literally,’ Trump said.” • A timeline of events.

Biden Administration

UPDATE “Biden’s frantic weekend saves infrastructure deal but leaves him on thinner political ice” [CNN]. “Biden’s extraordinary weekend effort to walk back his own remark on Thursday, interpreted as a threat to veto the bill if it did not arrive at his desk alongside a multi-trillion dollar Democratic spending plan, appears, for now, to have succeeded. Republican senators publicly accepted that his comment linking the two bills — “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it” — was a flub. But the President still gave other GOP opponents an opening to portray the two measures as a deceptive two-step…. The parallel tracks of the two bills add up to a complicated formula constructed in order to get a 60-vote majority in the 50-50 Senate for infrastructure while offering an incentive to those Democrats who think the deal is far too small. It reflects the fact that the political balance in Washington is too narrow for Biden to guarantee passing big bills. He faces trouble from his right among Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate and from the left of his own party, which has the capacity to rupture a narrow House majority. everyone understands the President will seek to pass a second bill — the White House has mentioned a figure of $4 trillion — containing much of the “human infrastructure” social spending taken out of the narrower deal to appease Republicans.” • Maybe if we moved the Pentagon to Charleston, WV?

UPDATE “White House prepping big assault on monopolies” [Politico]. “The White House is crafting an executive order aimed at promoting competition throughout the U.S. economy, a move aimed at lessening the stranglehold of dominant players in industries ranging from banking and agriculture to shipping and air travel, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The order, which could be issued as soon as this week, fits in with a growing theme for President Joe Biden, who has elated progressives by appointing advocates of tougher antitrust enforcement to top jobs at the White House and agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission. It would also mark a big shift in the government’s approach to the concerns about monopolies that have swelled during the 21st century: No longer content to just enforce antitrust laws, the Biden administration would use federal power to actively spark competition in a vast array of businesses. The order isn’t final and hasn’t yet been presented to Biden, the people said. The White House said Monday that the president has made no decisions about signing such an order.”

“America’s Defense Industry Is A Corrupt, Incompetent Mess” [The American Conservative]. “The Lockheed Corporation, predecessor to the F-35’s embattled designer Lockheed Martin, was responsible for building some of the most impressive aircraft in history. Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects, nicknamed “Skunk Works” as a reference to a 1940s comic strip, built aircraft that played a pivotal role in countering the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The F-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter to shoot down another jet, a Soviet MiG-15 fighter over Korea. The ultra-lightweight U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flew high over Soviet territory, taking photographs of military installations from up to 80,000 feet and evading early surface-to-air missiles. The A-12 and SR-71 spy planes added extreme speed to extreme altitude, blazing past Soviet air defenses at up to three times the speed of sound. Skunk Works was effective because its top-notch engineers were allowed to operate with relative freedom from Lockheed’s bureaucracy and management constraints, and even encouraged to bypass standard procedures when necessary. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find that same can-do American spirit at Lockheed Martin. According to a former employee, the F-35 project has become as much a jobs program as a national defense priority. And the Project On Government Oversight has extensively reported on Lockheed Martin’s incompetence and corruption throughout the two-decade-long program. If Lockheed Martin were a serious organization as it was during the Cold War, it wouldn’t operate like this. And if the Department of Defense were run by serious people, it wouldn’t allow defense contractors to engage in fraud, waste, and abuse on this scale. Lockheed Martin might be drawing the most fire right now over the F-35, but the company’s behavior is emblematic of a defense establishment with severely distorted priorities. So it’s time to put it all on the chopping block.”


“Transgender student wins bathroom battle after Supreme Court rejects school board appeal” [ABC]. “A transgender man from Virginia has won a years-long legal battle against his former high school over its refusal to let him use boys bathrooms when he was a student. The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected the Glouchester County School Board’s appeal of a lower court decision that found its transgender bathroom ban is unconstitutional…. ‘The decision to deny certorari affirms that transgender students are protected by Title IX,’ said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President. ‘Everyone has the right to high-quality, public education without the fear of being discriminated against simply for being brave enough to show up as you truly are. This is a battle Gavin Grimm has been fighting for over four years—we are grateful that his resilience, courage and determination has finally been rewarded.'” • Well, the themes for Campaign 2022 are shaping up nicely: Bathrooms, cops, and Critical Race Theory.

UPDATE “John Roberts: The man in the middle” [Desert News]. “Barrett joined the court and the [John Roberts] became the superfluous sixth vote.” • Long article from a Federalist Society member, worth reading, but that seems to be the gist.


UPDATE “Bill Kristol says he wouldn’t be surprised by Michael Flynn presidential bid” [The Hill]. • Why is Bill Kristol still being quoted? Why are any Bush or Obama administration people being quoted?

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Sex is back, but it’s going to be different – and hot” [Guardian]. “elcome to the summer of love. The Whoring 20s, Shot Girl Summer, the smell of meat and lotion. A bus passed by yesterday, its side painted with an advert encouraging passersby to “vax, wax and relax”. The new sexual revolution is here, and all it took was a deadly pandemic and a year indoors. It’s true, it’s coming, look, there!… It’s going to be a good summer. It’s going to be an interesting summer, with moments of pain, and the sometimes bastard thoughts that make us human. It’s going to be hot, but in ways that occasionally burn, a humid bewildering kind of heat. It’s going to be the summer of complicated, radical, ageing, queered, distanced, unlikely love. Welcome, enjoy, and please wash your hands.” • Nice touch, reinforcing fomite transmission at the end. Well played. In any case, this is the subtext of almost everything “we” are reading about this coming summer. And the Yankee in me (“Winter is coming”) says “We’ll pay for this.” And I am no prude! Carpe diem….

“The Mayor’s Race Isn’t (Quite) Decided Yet” [New York Magazine]. From last week, but the voter breakdown is interesting: “this election is very much Adams’s race to lose. Wiley’s support came largely from gentrifying areas of Queens and Brooklyn, her best precincts running in nearly a straight line down the waterfront from Astoria to Red Hook, but she also did well in northern Manhattan, places where Adams also ran strong. Many voters in those areas who picked Wiley as their No. 1 choice very likely chose Adams as their No. 2. The Garcia vote is more distinct. She dominated in Manhattan below 96th Street and picked up support in conservative white ethnic areas in outer Queens and outer Brooklyn and on parts of Staten Island. Her alliance with Andrew Yang over the last several days of the race, in which they campaigned across the city and passed out literature with both of them on it, will surely help her. Yang got just under 12 percent of the vote. With his fervent base of support following his cues, she is expected to pick up more than two-thirds of his vote, which would close the gap with Adams significantly.”

UPDATE “The Two Paths of Political Strife” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. “The City Council could very well be a tumult next year. At least two Democratic Socialists of America members won their races outright and two others have a chance of winning in RCV. Even if DSA is limited to two Democrats, there will be many DSA adjacent members entering the body, with unapologetically left politics. The eventual winners of the races for seats held by Margaret Chin, Robert Cornegy, Jimmy Van Bramer, Darma Diaz, Karen Koslowitz, Brad Lander, Fernando Cabrera, and Eric Ulrich could all have successors with politics to the left of them. Progressive seats are being replaced by members with similar views. This bloc will be very potent in the next Council, especially since outer borough Democratic machines will likely lack the power to pick another speaker. At the same time, the moderate wing is bound to get louder—if not bigger, too. …. Imagine all of this—new leftists holding citywide posts and chairing Council committees—with someone as incendiary as Eric Adams in City Hall. If Adams is there, he will have won with his own formidable coalition, and be ready to do the bidding of the powerful real estate developers and financiers who will want a return on their investment.” • I confess that Yang’s entry anesthetized me to this race, which was far more interesting than I thought. (It baffled me that Yang would seek the office, even as a springboard to national office, which didn’t work for Giuiliani or Diblasio or anyone else.)

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 by 3.8 points from the previous month to 31.1 in June 2021, moving further away from April’s near three-year high of 37.3 but notably higher than its series average of 2.8 and indicative of greater activity. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose 13.7 points to 29.4, reflecting strong output expansion.”

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Housing: “High Housing Valuations Move Inland” [Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis]. “In the current housing boom, three of the five divisions with average housing valuations above the national average are inland—namely, the Mountain, West North Central and West South Central divisions. Even more striking, average housing valuations in all five inland divisions are higher now relative to the national average than they were at the peak of the previous housing boom. Conversely, average housing valuations in all four coastal divisions are lower now relative to the national average than they were at the previous boom’s peak. Thus, compared to last time, the housing boom has moved inland.”

Manufacturing: “Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification” [Seattle Times]. “The FAA cited a long litany of concerns, including a serious flight control incident during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020, when the plane experienced an ‘uncommanded pitch event’ — meaning the nose of the aircraft pitched abruptly up or down without input from the pilots. Boeing has yet to satisfy the FAA that it has fully understood and corrected what went wrong that day. The letter was signed by Ian Won, the manager of the local FAA office that judges whether Boeing has met all regulatory standards. He also told Boeing that a critical avionics system proposed for the airplane does not meet requirements. And he expressed concern about proposed modifications involving late changes to both software and hardware in the electronics of the jet’s flight controls. ‘The aircraft is not yet ready,’ Won wrote. ‘The technical data required for type certification has not reached a point where it appears the aircraft type design is mature and can be expected to meet the applicable regulations.‘ An FAA official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely, said the drag on 777X certification is now ‘the subject of a lot of attention’ at high levels both within the agency and at Boeing.” • “Now.” Only now?

The Bezzle: “Michelin-starred restaurants touted this caviar as the best in local, sustainable products. But it wasn’t what it seemed” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “For years, chefs at some of the Bay Area’s most lauded three-Michelin-starred restaurants have proudly worked with a celebrated seafood farm just outside Sacramento called Passmore. They’ve plated the ranch’s caviar atop delicate egg custard and decorated its smoked sturgeon with wild strawberries for customers who pay more than $300 for the privilege of eating the best — including what they thought was hand-raised, sustainable product from Passmore. But now, some chefs are severing ties with the farm as its founder, Michael Passmore, tries to explain why much of the fish he sells isn’t actually raised on the farm — and that Passmore hasn’t produced any caviar in more than two years. Instead, the company has been buying the prized cured sturgeon roe from countries like France and China and repackaging it as its own….. The revelations are the latest episode in a series of high-profile incidents in the food and restaurant industry involving businesses sourcing ingredients that don’t align with their farm-to-table missions. This year, the New York Times reported that famed Pacific Northwest restaurant Willows Inn routinely bought produce from supermarkets that staff told diners was grown on the restaurant’s own farm. (The chef denied the allegations.) In May, Bay Area-born sustainable meat company Belcampo admitted to mislabeling some meats as Belcampo-raised products when, in fact, they were purchased elsewhere. Perhaps most explosive was a monthslong investigation by the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times in 2016 that found many popular farm-to-table restaurants weren’t working with local farms at all.” • Fraud, fraud, fraud, fraud. If there were no newspapers, we could eat in blissful ignorance!

The Bezzle: “U.K. Financial Regulator Bars Crypto Exchange Binance Markets” [Bloomberg]. “The U.K.’s financial watchdog just took one of the most significant regulatory moves to date against a crytocurrency exchange as global scrutiny of the industry hardens. Binance Markets Ltd., an affiliate of top global crypto bourse Binance, was told by the Financial Conduct Authority it has until the evening of June 30 to confirm it has removed all advertising and financial promotions, according to the authority’s register. The exchange must also make clear on its website, social media channels and all other communications that it’s no longer permitted to operate in the U.K. Binance Markets won’t be able to resume U.K. operations without prior written consent….. The move extends a regulatory crackdown on the cryptocurrency sector amid concerns about its potential involvement in money laundering and fraud…. A “significantly high” number of cryptoasset businesses aren’t meeting the required standards under the money laundering regulations, which has resulted in an unprecedented number of businesses withdrawing their applications, an FCA spokesperson said.” • If it’s too whiffy for the UK….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 28 at 12:05pm,

Rapture Index: Closes down one on earthquakes. “It has been several months since a quake has caused major damage in any zone” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.)

Health Care

UPDATE “All classrooms to have 2 air purifiers next year, New York City officials pledge” [Chalkbeat]. “To help curb the spread of COVID, all 56,000 New York City public school classrooms will be equipped with two air purifiers by September, according to the education department. Already, the department has distributed 100,000 air purifiers to schools, and they are working to ensure each classroom has two air purifiers by the time schools fully reopen this fall. The air purifiers are high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, which lower the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Ventilation has emerged as one of the most critical COVID prevention strategies, and HEPA filters are among the most efficient at capturing human-generated viral particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” • There is power in a union.

UPDATE “Clinical Application of Nasal Filters: An Observational Study on the Usability of Nasal Filters in Managing Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis” [The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice]. Fom the Abstract: “A recent park study found a substantial preventive effect of a new nasal filter for seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, the nasal filter still needs to prove that it is sufficiently convenient and comfortable for everyday use during a regular pollen season…. Of 834 new users, 630 stated interest in continued use of the filters. On the basis of the findings of this large observational usability study, the nasal filters appear sufficiently convenient and comfortable to use and thus clinically relevant for symptom management for many allergy sufferers.” • It occurred to me that nasal filters would be one answer to the use of people who need to remove their masks in order to eat or drink; it least it would prevent ingesting the virus. I can’t find anything about nasal filters and Covid, though. OTOH, nose plugs are a fashion item!

The Biosphere

“How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs” [Nature]. “On a clear day, the view from the ruins of Göbekli Tepe stretches across southern Turkey all the way to the Syrian border some 50 kilometres away. At 11,600 years old, this mountaintop archaeological site has been described as the world’s oldest temple — so ancient, in fact, that its T-shaped pillars and circular enclosures pre-date pottery in the Middle East…. The people who built these monumental structures were living just before a major transition in human history: the Neolithic revolution, when humans began farming and domesticating crops and animals. But there are no signs of domesticated grain at Göbekli Tepe, suggesting that its residents hadn’t yet made the leap to farming. The ample animal bones found in the ruins prove that the people living there were accomplished hunters, and there are signs of massive feasts. Archaeologists have suggested that mobile bands of hunter-gatherers from all across the region came together at times for huge barbecues, and that these meaty feasts led them to build the impressive stone structures. Now that view is changing, thanks to researchers such as Laura Dietrich at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. Over the past four years, Dietrich has discovered that the people who built these ancient structures were fuelled by vat-fulls of porridge and stew, made from grain that the ancient residents had ground and processed on an almost industrial scale1. The clues from Göbekli Tepe reveal that ancient humans relied on grains much earlier than was previously thought — even before there is evidence that these plants were domesticated. And Dietrich’s work is part of a growing movement to take a closer look at the role that grains and other starches had in the diet of people in the past.” • Shorter: Not meat. Beer!

Our Famously Free Press


(Malone is Inventor of mRNA vaccines and RNA as a drug.) (UPDATE Malone was a key figure in the development of mRNA. I apologize for taking Malone’s inflated bio at face value; I should have backfilled my more measured comment to the post. Interestingly, when I went looking, all the links were junk, but more importantly Malone had no Wikipedia entry at all. There was, however, a German WikiPedia entry (which supports my “key figure” formulation). I concluded from these two facts that Malone was being censored by the platforms. Notice that none of this affects the brute fact to which Malone draws attention.) Smith is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (!) and a member of the Atlantic Council. Perhaps one way to look at our elites is that they are one and all entangled in dense networks of conflicted interests; Malone has seen one pattern woven into the rug, but the entire rug is woven of the same kind of pattern, although with different threads. And in some ways, it’s all perfectly normal; board membership is a perk, when you reach a certain level. And speaking of Reuters–

“US ranks last among 46 countries in trust in media, Reuters Institute report finds” [Poynter Institute]. “The United States ranks last in media trust — at 29% — among 92,000 news consumers surveyed in 46 countries, a report released Wednesday found. That’s worse than Poland, worse than the Philippines, worse than Peru. (Finland leads at 65%.) The annual digital news report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford also found some improvement in trust in nearly all the countries surveyed — probably thanks to COVID-19 coverage — but not in the U.S. where the low rating was flat year to year.” • Various explanations, most speculative, none including self-criticism on content (WMDs, RussiaGate, etc.).

But when it happens, trust is a beautiful thing:

“Mike Gravel, Unconventional Two-Term Alaska Senator, Dies at 91” [New York Times]. “Mike Gravel, a two-term Democratic senator from Alaska who played a central role in 1970s legislation to build the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline but who was perhaps better known as an unabashed attention-getter, in one case reading the Pentagon Papers aloud at a hearing at a time when newspapers were barred from publishing them and later mounting long-shot presidential runs, died on Saturday at his home in Seaside, Calif. He was 91.” • The Times wouldn’t know a principled act if it bit them in their assets.

“BuzzFeed announces plans to go public via SPAC, targets $1.5 billion valuation” [CNBC]. “The company, merging with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, is targeting a $1.5 billion valuation. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. BuzzFeed also plans to acquire Complex Networks, a digital publisher that specializes in streetwear, music and culture, for $300 million. The deal is made up of $200 million in cash and $100 million of equity in BuzzFeed, the company said. It added it will ‘immediately accelerate BuzzFeed’s revenue growth.’ The SPAC could help strengthen the company’s position to acquire other digital media companies, BuzzFeed co-founder and chief Jonah Peretti told CNBC’s ‘TechCheck.’ Peretti said there’s a ‘lot of other attractive opportunities out there.'”

“Fact check: Story about man arrested for putting fake arrows on Ikea floor began as satire” [USA Today]. “The posts appear to be poking fun at Ikea for its large warehouse and customers getting lost in the maze of all the showrooms. The circular design and one-way layout of the store is designed so that customers can’t see what is coming next and fear that they will miss something that they need, according to The Conversation. Because of the difficulty of revisiting a certain item later in the shopping trip, customers are inclined to pick it up and put it in their cart… The story originated on a satirical website and the posts are making a joke out of Ikea’s store layout.” • Given the givens, it’s hard to believe that there have been no copy-cats to the satire.

Hard to imagine the same comment, regendered, being applied to, say, James Clapper. But why?


Dungeon’s and Dragons is “Midwestern Folk Art’? Thread:

This is amazing! Can readers add any information?

Big Brother Is Watching You WatchQuoting Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism:

[E]very suspect was noted on a large card in the center of which his name was surrounded by a red circle; his political friends were designated by smaller red circles and his nonpolitical acquaintances by green ones; brown circles indicated persons in contact with friends of the suspect but not known to him personally; cross-relationships between the suspect’s friends, political and nonpolitical, and the friends of his friends were indicated by lines between the respective circles. Obviously the limitations of this method are set only by the size of the filing cards, and theoretically, a gigantic single sheet could show the relations and cross-relations of the entire population.

Facebook’s social graph is that “gigantic single sheet”; the data structure is identical. Of course, you have to cross out “suspect” and write in “consumer” (or so we assume) but… no biggie. One might take some comfort in the face that the Ohkrana was ultimately a spectacular failure, although they might have done better if they hadn’t been working for the Romanovs.

The 420

UPDATE Honoring travelers everywhere:

Poetry Nook

Sappho, fragment 16 (Mary Barnard translation):

A more modern take:

Zeitgeist Watch

How it started, how it’s going:

Class Warfare

“Climate, carbon and class” [Adam Tooze, Chartbook]. “If there is to be a stabilization of global emissions it will involve a U-turn in the trajectory of consumption, particularly amongst the top ten percent of households in North America, the Arab world and Asia….. Whatever our choice of terms, we can hardly avoid the conclusion that if there is to be an energy transition, under prevailing conditions (an assumption some may wish to challenge), it is this social class that must make it, simultaneously as decision-makers, consumers and investors. And it must be made across the entire world. It is a challenge of a kind that the global bourgeoisie has never faced before. It is a challenge that puts in question the cohesion and collective intelligence of that group – which, as history tells us, can hardly be taken for granted, even at the best of times.” • This is a must-read. Speaking of “can hardly be taken for granted”:

“Wealth Accumulation and Opportunity Hoarding: ClassOrigin Wealth Gaps over a Quarter of a Century in a Scandinavian Country” (PDF) [American Sociological Review]. “First, we find that class-origin wealth gaps have increased in recent years, whereas income inequalities are fairly persistent among men, and increasing among women. We find that educational attainment is important for channeling income inequality, but that education is less important for understanding wealth gaps. Second, we document differences between people whose family contexts were most highly endowed with economic capital and those who grew up in families that were engaged in cultural fields or the professions. Finally, we highlight how analyses based solely on net worth neglect important ways class origin perpetuates and accelerates wealth inequalities via the acquisition of debt. We argue that recent decades have fostered new instruments for opportunity hoarding that are most successfully used by the sons and daughters of the economic upper class.” • “Opportunity hoarding” has a nice ring to it.

“Where Jobless Benefits Were Cut, Jobs Are Still Hard to Fill” [New York Times]. “The divide raises a fundamental question of what a healthy labor market looks like. Does it mean workers are on such a knife edge that they feel compelled to take the first job that comes along? Or is it one in which employers are the ones who have to scramble and feel pressured to raise wages and improve working conditions? Are the economy and the public better off when workers get to be choosy or when employers do? ‘One way you might define normal is when employers and workers have the same idea of what an appropriate package looks like, and then the issue is matching up the people with the jobs,’ said Katharine G. Abraham, an economist at the University of Maryland and a former commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ‘Clearly part of the problem now,’ she said, ‘is that what employers and what workers think is out of whack.'” • See, there’s no such thing as class conflict.

“The foodies are back, but where are the workers?” [Sightlines]. “The table shows that the excess demand indicator for the U.S. is 11, and that nearly all the localities we looked at show excess demand for restaurants vs. the supply of potential restaurant workers. The localities currently facing the largest gaps between demand for restaurants and supply of restaurant workers are those local economies that rely strongly on tourism and the provision of leisure/hospitality services—places like Palm Springs, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, and yes, even the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Economic activity in these places was practically shut down during the pandemic, and while the demand side of the economy has quickly gone back to full speed with many visitors now fully vaccinated (56 percent of the US adult population as of June 21 according to the CDC), the supply side of the economy—fundamentally constrained by the available workforce—is unable to go from zero to 60 so fast.”

“U.S. Unemployment Rescue Left at Least 9 Million Without Help” [Bloomberg]. “[A]t least 9 million Americans thrown out of work by the pandemic… didn’t receive any unemployment benefits despite the largest deployment of economic aid in U.S. history, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek estimate based on a review of more than a year’s worth of U.S. Department of Labor data. That’s a hole in the safety net as big as the population of Virginia…. Half the 64.3 million people who sought help through the regular unemployment program from March 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, were rejected or not paid, the data show. That’s twice the rate during the Great Recession. … To be sure, the scale of the help has been remarkable. About 49 million workers—30% of the U.S. labor force—received at least one weekly payment, according to the data. More than $750 billion in unemployment benefits has been paid by the U.S. Treasury, compared with $28 billion in 2019. Yet this crisis has illustrated the system’s frailties, including aging IT infrastructure, understaffed state agencies, and often arbitrary rules. The data also highlight stark differences among states. California paid more than 70% of claims for regular unemployment during the 13 months beginning in March 2020, while Montana didn’t pay benefits to 89% of those who applied. The maximum payment ranges from $235 a week in Mississippi to $855 in Massachusetts. Almost all states offer 26 weeks of benefits in normal times, though in Alabama the limit is 14 weeks.” • Cheer up. It’s not nearly as bad as the health care system. And averages conceal:

“Do US firms have an incentive to comply with the FLSA and the NLRA?” [Petersen Institute for International Economics (!)]. “In the case of the [Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)] minimum wage and overtime provisions, typical willful violators are required to pay back wages owed and in some cases additional penalties, if detected by the Department of Labor (DOL). Based on available data on the penalties levied, a typical firm would need to expect a chance of at least 78-88 percent that its violation would be detected in order to have an incentive to comply with the FLSA. In practice, the probability of detection many firms can expect to face is likely much lower than this. In the case of the [National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)], a firm that fires a worker illegally is required to reinstate the worker with back pay if the violation is detected. Based on empirical estimates of the effect of unionization on firm profits, a typical firm may have an incentive to fire a worker illegally for union activities if this illegal firing would reduce the likelihood of unionization at the firm by as little as 0.15-2 percent. These analyses illustrate that neither the FLSA nor the NLRA penalty and enforcement regimes create sufficient incentive to comply for many firms. In this context, the substantial evidence of minimum wage and overtime violations, and of illegal employer behavior toward unions, is not surprising.”

“What’s so bad about critical race theory?” [Sam Kriss, Idiot Joy Showland (Temporarily Sane)]. “The movement that critical race theory broke from is critical legal studies, or CLS. Briefly, CLS argues that the law is not as it presents itself, an impersonal arbiter between equal persons, but instead exists to uphold structures of inequality within society. This is not a particularly novel insight…. Critical race theory has its own intellectual roots (more on that shortly), but its history as a movement is usually traced back to the CLS conferences of the mid to late 1980s. At the 1986 conference, a long and panicked spat broke out after participants were asked ‘what is it about the whiteness of CLS that discourages participation by people of colour?’… If critical race theory’s organisational history is grounded in the split from CLS, in its intellectual history it begins as a response to the perceived failure of the civil rights movement. Thanks to decades of activism, black Americans were legally identical to whites, formally equal in a system that now claimed to operate on a racially neutral basis – but for millions, things had simply not improved.” • Hard to excerpt. Worth a read, and certainly better than the Quillette-inflected material out there.

News of the Wired

“Shakespeare’s Sonnets” (podcast) [In Our Time]. • Don’t cancel Shakespeare! When the Victorians bowdlerized the sonnets, they changed Shakespeare’s pronouns! A fun podcast, full of close readings by knowledgeable scholars, although I have never heard a more spectacular misreading of Sonnet 130 (“My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun”). Agatha Christie, amazingly, said it best in Dumb Witness: “[The scientist,] Donaldson peered at [Poirot] through his pince-nez. ‘I see no occasion to blink the truth. I love Theresa Arundell and I love her for what she is and not for any imagined qualities.’”

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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 (KP):

KP writes: “Here is a flower I found on the beach.”

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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. Mikel

    “Well, the themes for Campaign 2022 are shaping up nicely: Bathrooms, cops, and Critical Race Theory…”

    All the bathrooms in the streets for the homeless are unisex.

    If the cost of living doesn’t make the campaign talking points, people are talking about a lot of nothing.

    1. John

      That is true. All and sundry; all animals are equally free to urinate and defecate in alleys and sleep under bridges. Equality at last.

      1. jsn

        Unless whoever it was did it last time slides through another few trillions in “reconciliation.”

        Cares Act suggests there may be at least one D apparatchik in proximity to power who actually wants to govern.

        Not proven, but circumstantial evidence exists.

  2. Mikel

    I searched and you all don’t have a “WTH??? ” section for things like this:
    “The study, conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, suggests that people vaccinated with those shots may not need boosters, as long as the virus does not mutate or give rise to new vaccine-resistant variants. It also found that people who have recovered from COVID before being vaccinated “produced the most robust serologic responses,” showing they enjoy a strong immune response….”

    So protection will last for years if all the things that have already happened hadn’t happened already….

    1. IM Doc

      If this is referring to the same study I think it is – the N was 12. And it was not very well delineated what exactly some of their endpoint definitions were.

      Another big problem I have seen a lot of lately – extrapolating big assertions from in vitro studies in perfect conditions. This is not what the vaccines will be dealing with in the real world.

      I saw this same amazing headline the past few days – from articles like this – and the NYT – and immediately called my virologist friend – IS THIS REALLY THE CASE? – answer – a big meh. Maybe – but not a very comprehensive study in his opinion.

      I hope beyond hope it is true – but the tell in your above quote is the following – as long as the virus does not mutate or give rise to new vaccine-resistant variants. That is a very big if – and really negates the fireworks of the headlines in my opinion.

      Having these kinds of things litigated in the mainstream media in my opinion is doing far more harm than good. This is medical science – everything at this point is a hypothesis – and the way many of these articles are framed makes a non-informed reader feel certainty.

      1. Mikel

        “…and the way many of these articles are framed makes a non-informed reader feel certainty…..”

        Exactly. And where these headlines are framed says alot too…this was “Marketwatch” and not “Healthwatch”.

      2. Yves Smith

        As we’ve kept saying, the big Imperial College studies suggest that immunity to getting Covid (not a vaccination) is typically 6 to 8 months. Pfizer said its immunity lasts “at least” six months. Moderna is talking about needing a booster after 8 months, based on data (who’d have thunk it?). Moderna almost certainly has a bigger sample than 12.

  3. allan

    “tasteless, boring, probably irreversible”

    The Masque of the White Death.
    Not quite as bad as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, but pretty bad.
    The good news is that, as at the Amy Coney Barrett coming out party,
    very few of the glitterati were wearing masks.

  4. Alfred

    OK, let’s try again.
    Shakespeare taught me many things that would keep me from being used and bamboozled. But that seems to have been the object of his plays, to shine a light where the people who attended could see into the heart of the culture at all levels. I have taken his lessons to heart, and piss people off regularly following his (characters) advice.

    Thanks for the sonnets, what a pleasure.

  5. JBird4049

    tasteless, boring, probably irreversible pic.twitter.com/x72vhBzPDE

    — Well There’s Your Problem Podcast (@wtyppod) June 27, 2021

    Those before and after pictures of the theater shows a God d— desecration of gorgeous architecture. As a twitter commenter said, “Jesus, better to preserve its dignity (even by demolishing it) than by letting this happen to it.”

    1. a different chris

      When the squids evolve as the next intelligent life form on the planet, and they get to the point where they are digging up the remains of our crap civilization, the ancient language experts are going to be scratching (with more than one tentacle) their head over what the word “progress” could possibly mean.

  6. a fax machine

    re: “Climate, carbon and class”

    Global capitalism successfully exported pollution to poor countries in the same way gentrified cities and suburbs export pollution and ugly things to the local ghetto, poors’ containment zone and industrial district. Everyone wants a Tesla but nobody wants electroplating vats; everyone wants an expressway but nobody wants a freight spur because of the noise. At this point, the only thing stopping it will either be a total rejection of plastic consumerism and global trade or ecological collapse and revolution. I’m warm towards the latter.

    There was also much knowledge and social trust lost in this. The drive to get everyone into new service jobs deprived industry of experienced manufacturing engineers who are needed to actually construct this green future. So long as those people are shoved to the margin of society they’ll continue associating green work with social humiliation and dismissal. The lack of respect for the lower half by the top 1% is what will ultimately do the entire system in, either in the form of violent social revolution or climate change wiping out their investments. Consider if we had another Dust Bowl – food prices spike as people migrate to new regions. Traffic through dusty regions effectively stops, and commerce logjams nationwide as speculators take a loss. And vice versa, if major coastal flooding takes out a large port like the one in LA then global commerce stops. If Saudi oil does not flow then cars become unusable and that industry collapses too. Targeted attacks on Saudi refineries would cause a permanently unfixable situation. Same for rare earth mines in Chile or Africa, if they are closed by striking workers.

    All of this speaks to the untenable nature of capitalism. It won’t make it to 2100.

  7. Geo

    “Bathrooms, and cops, and Critical Race Theory, Oh my!” Election 2022 will be another tumultuous stroll down the yellow brick road as everyone seeks out their Wizard of Oz – and those who say it’s just some dude behind a curtain pulling levers will be ridiculed and locked out of social media.

    1. Alfred

      It really is a comprehensive list–it includes a Google team effectiveness guide. Thanks for posting–this runs the gamut and is very interesting.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Genetic fallacy aside, Malone is a key figure in the development of mRNA and mRNA vaccines. So I think you may have been triggered. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says, but surely he is prima facie correct on the conflicts of interest here?

      1. Arthur Dent

        Triggered? Huh? No, just surprised that you’d post a tweet by him. It is very easy to see CoIs everywhere and sometimes one must be careful not to assume the existence of a CoI implies wrongdoing. Selection bias. You assume too much my friend.

        1. urblintz

          Can you point to where in the article you linked Robert Malone is referenced? I couldn’t find him mentioned anywhere. In an interview I saw he said he was fully vaccinated.

        2. flora

          So you’re saying his linked in today’s WC tweet info about Smith is false or untrue or, if true, doesn’t represent a conflict of interest for Smith?

          (Waiting the the MSM to report serious conflicts of interest by someone important to the official narrative ™ is going to be a loooong wait. imo.)

          1. Arthur Dent

            I’m not claiming the CoI is untrue, just surprise at the posting of a tweet from a person I gathered supported the notion that the spike protein is cytotoxic which arose from an apparent misrepresentation/misunderstanding of a Scripps study.

        3. hunkerdown

          No. Conflicts of interest are 100% voluntary and are an announcement of intent to defraud the public, until proven otherwise. Elites do not and have never deserved any presumptions in their favor. He is the one who needs to act here, choose ONE pie to stick his finger it, and cut ties with the rest.

          We don’t care for level-1 NATO think-tankists obviously here on a paid mission telling us how not to feel about their bosses. Might want to sell all your Pfizer stock though.

          1. Arthur Dent

            Ad hominem, much?

            > We don’t care for level-1 NATO think-tankists obviously here on a paid mission telling us how not to feel about their bosses. Might want to sell all your Pfizer stock though.

            Isn’t this presumption of guilt?

            > Conflicts of interest are 100% voluntary and are an announcement of intent to defraud the public, until proven otherwise.

            These comments are supportive of a witch hunt. Not constructive.

            1. jsn

              These CoIs exist because of the systematic decriminalization of them in the 80s & 90s under the euphemism “deregulation” which makes it sound like the regulated behavior wasn’t criminal: it was and isn’t now.

              From homeless encampments everywhere we no longer notice to accelerating mortality particularly amongst the “essential”, the evidence is in.

              Maybe you know them, maybe in person they are nice people. Institutionally they are people who have chosen to turn a blind eye to the harms done by the institutions they benefit from.

              In this criminogenic institutional environment, I’m with hunkerdown, ”Conflicts of interest are 100% voluntary and are an announcement of intent to defraud the public, until proven otherwise.”

              1. Arthur Dent

                So you’re basically assuming that anyone working for or associated with a (large enough) institution (healthcare, education, tech, finance, govt, etc) is involved in a criminal enterprise? While likely not legally criminal, definitely immoral. Okay, not defending the behavior, and what I will say may smack of whataboutism, but how exactly do, say, you excuse the obvious dependence you have on the very criminal structures you critique?

                You are online and have the time to comment here, as I do, and the time to reflect, so we both depend at least on the services afforded by tech. I am not accusing anyone of being a hypocrite, but, at least for myself, I have had to come to terms with the hypocricy of my own life, living as I do in a developed country.

                I do not know where to begin to formulate any solutions to the problems you define, but I agree that they are institutional problems. I stand by the witch hunt characterization above, though, since, for some, faced with what they perceive as rampant immorality/criminality may desire to burn it all down in righteous indignation.

                Again, sounds a lot like whataboutism, and I’ll accept the accusation, but I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and haven’t come to any good solutions that don’t involve me unplugging, which I am reluctant to do.

                1. Yves Smith

                  I suggest you read this post. Our society is corrupt top to bottom. Being tainted to some degree is pretty much required to maintain one’s position in a large organization.

                  I’ve spent almost 30 years working in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector, my entire adult life. When I first started, it was viewed as a most suitable career choice for middle class not particularly aspirational sorts who wanted security, respectability and a recognisable position in the community. It was never supposed to be a passport to significant wealth or even much more than very modest wealth. It was certainly never supposed to be anything which oppressed or harmed anyone.

                  By the early 1990’s the rot, which had started to set in during the mid-1980’s, had begun to accelerate. Most regular readers of Naked Capitalism know how the movie ended. If only it was just a work of fiction. For those of you who have suffered financially, emotionally, physically (or all three) through an unlawful foreclosure, fee gouging, predatory lending, junk insurance or scam financial products you will know what the consequences of an industry which threw away its moral compass and any sense of a social contract are.

                  For those of us on the inside, we don’t deserve any sympathy. But I’d like to offer a glimmer of insight into the conflict that those of us with any sort of conscience wrestle with because it is a conflict which is going to shape our societies over the next generation.

                  Increasingly, if you want to get and hang on to a middle class job, that job will involve dishonesty or exploitation of others in some way. Industries such as finance have seized and held onto larger and larger proportions of the economy.

                  The same disproportionate growth can be seen in financialised healthcare and finacialised education. Naked Capitalism has broken story after story of how these businesses have demonstrated a near-endless capacity for scandal, fraud and wrongdoings of every conceivable sort.


                  Corruption in drug research is a widely acknowledged practice. And that goes double for the efforts to protect blockbuster drugs when they are found out to have serious side effects.

                  I left McKinsey in 1987 because I saw bad practices then, and the McKinsey (and Goldman) of that era were paragons of virtue compared to what they became later.

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > So you’re basically assuming that anyone working for or associated with a (large enough) institution (healthcare, education, tech, finance, govt, etc) is involved in a criminal enterprise?

                  Seems legit.

            2. Yves Smith

              You launch a “witch hunt” by making a multi-font ad hominem and then don’t like having your cooking served up to you? You don’t get to call foul after your misconduct. Your comment is pure projection.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Triggered? Huh?

          Triggered in the sense that you seem to have immediately reacted to the key word, “Malone,” and not the the actual content of what he tweeted. It’s like getting excited about the wrapping of a package without actually opening it. Personally, I think it’s good to know that the former CEO of Reuters is on Pfizer’s board (even though he knows as much about vaccines as the members of Boeing’s board know about aircraft manufacturing). Your mileage may vary, and apparently does. The brute fact presented in his tweet would be true no matter who posted it, whether it be Tucker Carlson or (God rest his soul) Karl Marx. See on genetic fallacy here.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Alfred — Your link is 100% garbage. The article it links to focuses on three articles that the author says anti-vaxxers point to to support their case. None of the three articles is by Malone.

      The only reference to Malone at all is by a commenter way down the thread, who mentions Malone and includes a link to the Darkhorse podcast in which Malone discusses evidence that the lipid nanoparticles and spike proteins do not stay put in the shoulder muscle, and evidence that Ivermectin may be effective in preventing and treating Covid.

      Finally, do you know that Malone himself took a Covid vaccine? Hardly the mark of an anti-vaxxer.

        1. Isotope_C14

          I’m sure most of the scout-brains here (to differing degrees) are all on the subversive list.

          Yves, Lambert, Jerri – I know you all have your different things going on, but if you need a place to hide in der Deutschen Vaterland, ya’ll got my e-mail. If dissidents need hiding, I will support 100%.

          I would help almost all of the readers here, I’d be hard pressed to find one I wouldn’t.

          Not saying Germany is much better, but at least you are paid a living wage here for a day’s work.

          Sadly the tent encampments here in Berlin are increasing as neoliberalism here is 10 years behind the US, and of course the politicians are ready to head right. It worked in the US, why not here!

    3. Industrial Culture Handbook

      “Inventor” only according to Dr. Malone’s twitter, of which a significant portion is dedicated to countering “gaslighting academics” (his words). +1 grain: NaCl, taken, Malone co-authored “Cationic liposome-mediated RNA transfection” (1989) which described one method of “capping” the sequence which improved the volume of sequence replication as measured by bioluminescent protein. Capped sequences or not, the technique producing regulatory sequences from eukaryote genes was published in 1985. Studies of actual in vivo mRNA treatments in animals date back to 1990-92.

      Dr. Malone earned a gov’t whistleblower complaint for proposing a $21 million study during the Trump Administration to study the efficacy of Pepcid AC in fighting Covid-19, and *almost* got the cash. Now he might be trying to pad his credentials.

      His website claims he was awarded a total of $9 billion in indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, grants and contracts over the five-year period between 2011-2016, or the equivalent of the nation of Fiji’s GDP over those same five years or a single year of Iceland’s GDP. I think Malone skipped a decimal place or two in those calculations.

      1. buermann

        I think this is correct, Malone may have made some important contributions over thirty years ago but then seems to have abandoned it (like just about everybody else) because the innate immune response made it non-viable. As the failure of the CureVac trial just thoroughly demonstrated it was Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman’s contributions in the early aughts of replacing uracil nucleosides in mRNA with pseudouridine isomers to disguise it from the immune system that made it a viable technology.

        How do you get to claim to have “invent”ed something if your own invention didn’t work and teams of scientists were working on the same or similar projects and it was other teams’ whose inventions did work?

    4. grayslady

      Where did you get the idea that a man who has spent his entire career in virology and vaccine development is antivax? The oncologist who authors the Respectful Insolence website undoubtedly has some valuable insight on assorted issues of medical misinformation, but I’ll trust Dr. Malone’s observations on vaccines before most anyone else.

    5. Lee

      Malone is no anti-vaxer. He has stated that he received the Moderna vaccine. He may be mistaken but he is knowledgeable and acting in good faith. Insulting him and lumping him and his views in with others who are less well informed is a smear campaign. Such are the times in which we live. It’s little wonder, as noted above, that the “US ranks last among 46 countries in trust in media…” I’m so old that my living memory of being lied to by the press and my government thus producing horrific consequences dates back to the the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

    6. Mike

      Somebody can have both concerns against the covid vaccine and not be an antivaxxer… A good example is somebody who takes a HEP A or Measles vaccine probably doesn’t think twice since they have been deployed for decades without issue. Somebody should think twice about an Anthrax vaccine given its link to gulf war syndrome. Somebody might and should think twice about taking a covid vaccine if it has had limited time on the market and there is seemingly a concerted effort to hide data regarding side effects to the vaccines. At this point reporting of adverse reactions is only voluntary, and as of May the CDC is now only tracking hospitalizations and deaths, not general adverse reactions. That is hiding/obscuring what could be important data.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Somebody can have both concerns against the covid vaccine and not be an antivaxxer

        Indeed. I’m a stroke risk (not because of the commentariat, I hasten to add.) So I watch the blood clotting and vascular disease studies very, very carefully. That doesn’t make me antivax at all.

  8. JBird4049

    And averages conceal:

    Need to keep saying this: The fact that personal income remained at or above trend through the whole pandemic period is a huge policy success — should be the expectation for all recessions from now on. It’s also an important reason to expect strong growth over next few years. pic.twitter.com/DVmi5BkWGv

    — JW Mason (@JWMason1) June 25, 2021

    And ignoring the increasing bifurcation of society into a well off 20% and an increasingly poor 80% makes averages irrelevant and this posting a form of propaganda. But the question is is JW Mason only deluded or is he deliberately ignoring this?

    1. Carla

      He just left out 4 little words:

      “The fact that personal income FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME remained at or above trend through the whole pandemic period is a huge policy success…”

    2. Mikel

      Averages conceal….indeed.
      Every recession fewer people recover. The few that do, recover BIGLY…hence the “average” looking ok.

      Imagine how the “average” would look with a handful of trillionaires?

  9. Geo

    Media trust: “Various explanations, most speculative, none including self-criticism on content (WMDs, RussiaGate, etc.).”

    You’d think that two of the top TV news personalities admitting – in court – that no “reasonable person” would believe what they say might be a clue for them as to why we don’t trust our news media.

    “A reasonable viewer would not conclude the contested statement implies an assertion of objective fact.” – Fed Judge on Maddow’s “RussiaGate” claims.

    “These disclaimers put any reasonable viewer on notice that Carlson doubts the veracity of the source of these statements and that the viewer should as well.” – Fed Judge on Tucker lying about Trump accusers.

    But, apparently there are enough unreasonable people (their audiences) to keep the ad revenue flowing so they don’t have to change their ways. Nice that they admit they know their audiences are dolts though. :)

    1. Questa Nota

      Combine those media lie themes with the deceptions in the Michelin bezzle article and a typical pattern emerges. People will try to get away with anything if when they think know that nothing will happen to them. The only ones with any fear are the precariat, proles and other outgroups. They have the fear of God instilled in them while those up line, in that Big Club, remain agnostic.

  10. km

    I have read it from people who know the subject better than I do, that no translation really does Sappho justice, her poetry is like a fine wine that does not travel well.

    1. jsn

      FWIW, from the first time I heard Peter Turchin use the phrase “elite overproduction”, I thought no! It’s opportunity hoarding!

      The former framing says there are too many able educated people, which notion makes my skin crawl.

      The latter says a few bastards are pulling up the ladder behind them which dovetails with what I’ve been watching for 50 years.

    2. Aumua

      I wonder if you realize that anyone who sees this post has already refreshed their browser, and so can already see any new links you have posted. That is unless you are front-running this post ahead of adding the links…

  11. John Siman

    Sappho (Lobel-Page 16) — priamel:

    Οἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον, οἰ δὲ πέσδων,
    οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ’ ἐπὶ γᾶν μέλαιναν
    ἔμμεναι κάλλιστον, ἐγὼ δὲ κῆν’ ὄτ-
    τω τις ἔραται

    Some say a marshaling of horse, some of infantry,
    while others say a massing of ships is the sight most
    beautiful upon our black earth, but I say no:
    it is she who is most beautiful, whomever I love.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      John Siman: Here is Jim Powell’s translation, in Sapphic stanzas.

      Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers,
      others call a fleet the most beautiful of
      sights the dark earth offers, but I say it’s what-
      ever you love best.

      And it’s easy to make this understood by
      everyone, for she who surpassed all human
      kind in beauty, Helen, abandoning her
      husband—that best of

      men—went sailing off to the shores of Troy and
      never spent a thought on her child or loving
      parents: when the goddess seduced her wits and
      left her to wander,

      she forgot them all, she could not remember
      anything but longing, and lightly straying
      aside, lost her way. But that reminds me
      now: Anactória,

      she’s not here, and I’d rather see her lovely
      step, her sparkling glance and her face than gaze on
      all the troops in Lydia in their chariots and
      glittering armor.

      From The Poetry of Sappho (Oxford University Press 2007), translated by Jim Powell.

      [I consider this poem by Sappho to be one of the greatest antiwar poems of all times.]

      1. John Siman

        Well, not anti-war but anti-Homer in the sense that she’s his rival for the honor of greatest poet ever. In the priamel she considers and then denies the superlative beauty of Iliadic heroes and horses and ships: superlative beauty belongs instead, she contends, to κῆν’ ὄττω τις ἔραται — to the one for whom one feels passionate love — in this case, her beloved Anactoria. And since Anactoria’s erotic beauty exceeds any Iliadic martial beauty, Sappho can claim to defeat Homer in this contest, for her subject matter is more beautiful than his!

  12. dcblogger

    Unfortunately, it could be harder because it’s not just “the capitalist class.” Upper-middle class and gentry class people have a higher standard of living because of these cheaper goods and services. The benefits aren’t just economic either: more than a few upper-middle class and gentry class people believe that ‘unskilled labor’ deserves lower wages because they are unworthy of higher wages. That’s where the real challenge will come: not from the economic costs, but from the reality that some people like large wage differences because they allow some people to feel better than others.


    1. hunkerdown

      Nuh-unh, the PMC gentry don’t get to talk their way out of “the capitalist class” when it’s their job to reproduce capitalism.

      It’s well past time to take those “some people” who like to feel better than others, and deny them all access to society until they are broken enough to prostrate themselves to the working class for their morning coffee, every day, forever.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      The upper middle or gentry classes need cheap, exploitable labor far more intimately than the rich. They’re the ones who couldn’t afford to eat preprepared restaurant meals if they were paying fairly for delivery service. They could not afford much private cab travel if Uber drivers weren’t desperate. They could not afford 4000 sq ft houses if the houses were built by men who were paid union scale wages. They could not have as many shoes, suits, or resort vacations without exploitative labor practices. Casual, regular consumption of these pseudo upper class goods and services was beyond the reach of their parent and grandparents in the 1960s and 70s, in large part because workers’ wages were relatively higher, with better benefits, pensions, etc.

      The rich like Bezos rack up more millions and billions when their workers are impoverished, but for them the extra zeros are not as visceral. The upper middle types have to actually cut back on cab rides, restaurant meals, and Hawaiian vacations when the working class gets paid fairly. They would feel the impact of fair and honest wages far more than the rich. I’d feel that impact. Almost everyone writing here would. That’s the rub.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe these upper middle or gentry families will not be happy until the clock is turned back a century and once more they can afford to have cheap personal servants like their counterparts in the east. Maybe they grew up watching “The Brady Bunch” and asking themselves why they cannot afford to have their own ‘Alice’. And Mike Brady was just an architect after all back in the 70s so why not them.

  13. Toshiro_Mifune

    Dungeon’s and Dragons is Midwestern Folk Art…. This is amazing! Can readers add any information?
    The short version;
    Gygax, Arneson, Kuntz, Don Kaye and a few others are generally recognized to be creators of D&D. Thats… nothing new. Gygax and Arneson were the best known of the original group of people involved with the game. They had disagreements over where the rules for the game should be going so Gygax took his vision for it and split it into AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) as opposed to regular D&D (the Basic/Expert version of the rules). AD&D more fiddly and complicated, Basic/Expert more stripped down and simple.
    Arneson eventually left TSR , the company who published the game, and Gygax started moving in Hollywood circles to see if he could get movies made (he couldn’t, he did get a kids Saturday morning TV show though). While that was going on some dealings by other TSR share holders left Gygax out of control of the company he co-founded and Lorraine Williams in charge. She didn’t have much of an interest in games so things were a bit indifferent for a while.
    Blah blah blah – Wizards of the Coast, the company that made the Magic the Gathering card game buys TSR in the late 90s, they in turn get bought by Hasbro about a year later the whole while the game kind of gets a bit blander as it becomes ever more the product of committees rather than visions of individual creators (Queue the Old School Revival in the mid-00s seeking to recapture that). Also, Hasbro, a large corporate entity acts like a large corporate entity with regards to its intellectual property.
    The above is greatly condensed and doesn’t include Dave Sutherland’s work on the rules or Erol Otus’, leaves out MAR Barker’s Empire of the Petal Throne and really too much for me to list.
    However, this is all really well known. Gygax used to write fairly regularly in early issues of The Dragon later just Dragon magazine (TSR’s magazine) about where some of the rules came from, who did what, etc. A whole bunch of different people added into what would eventually become D&D in the same way that a whole bunch of different bands would contribute to what would end up being punk.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I should also add – Yes the early TSR stuff was all in Wisconsin.

      …. now that I think about it there is probably a serious history dissertation on earl RPGs. TSR, Flying Buffalo, Chaosium, GDW, Judges Guild, SJG, etc. all have lots of stories that are likely to get lost soon and all of them, and more, contributed to what would become RPGs and RPGs cultural impact.

      1. Chris Smith

        Google the “Designers and Dragons” series of books from Evil Hat. The ones about the ’70s and ’80s have all those stories that would otherwise be lost.

  14. Jason Boxman

    You can’t make this stuff up, the stupid of ObamaCare.

    One Democratic aide described the Medicaid expansion gap as one of the hardest policy issues they had ever encountered.

    Anything to stop Medicare For All.

    In Congress, health policy aides are exploring whether the federal government could run Medicaid expansions in the 12 holdout states, or if it could provide better insurance subsidies that customers could use to buy private coverage on the Obamacare marketplaces.

    And Liberal Democrats have such cares for the working class, the Medicaid expansion didn’t even go into effect for years and years!

    Eighteen states and the District of Columbia, all with Democratic leadership, joined the program when it began in 2014. Twenty more states have since joined, including six that used ballot initiatives to circumvent Republican legislatures and governors opposing the program. That includes Oklahoma, which will begin enrolling patients into Medicaid expansion this Thursday.

    But at least a Republican is deadly honest:

    Mr. McKeown is, like many other Republicans, opposed to the idea of enlarging the role of public health insurance. He also worries that providing free government health insurance will discourage adults in Wyoming from working — and that those who do work will have to cover the new Medicaid enrollees’ costs in the form of higher taxes.

    “We’d be penalizing hardworking Americans to make sure everyone gets on a program,” Mr. McKeown said. “I think it’s terrible, and gets us closer to one-payer health care.”

    Source: Obamacare’s Survival Is Now Assured, but It Still Has One Big Problem

    (Only one big problem?!)

    Even the pandemic isn’t enough to instill a sense of morality in Liberal Democrats, alas.

    1. Alfred

      He also worries that providing free government health insurance will discourage adults in Wyoming from working

      Well this makes me cry, and I am retired on Medicare. Workplaces are not where you get health care. I was repeatedly denied fulltime work because it would mean they had to give me healthcare. The fubar burns

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Workplaces are not where you get health care.’

        I don’t know of any other country off-hand that has this system though there may be some. Maybe Upper Volta or something. Even thirty years ago people could expect to have several careers in their working lives so having healthcare tied to a job sounds like an unnecessary crimp on worker flexibility. And that was back then. Having a government responsible for healthcare takes a burden off business and decreases their costs so the only reason to keep it is so that some business people can have more ‘control’ over their workers obviously. Like the same CEOs wanting their workers back in the offices once more after they have worked from home simply so that they can watch over them and get in their faces again.

    2. Mikel

      “Even the pandemic isn’t enough to instill a sense of morality in Liberal Democrats, alas….”

      For profit sick care is what they have been paid to promote for years and people are supposed to be crazy, conspiracy theorists if there is doubt they are interested at all in public health and well-being.

  15. Alfred

    The Ant Thrush made me think of last week when I wondered if the birds around here ate ants. This is what I found:

    How do birds get rid of the formic acid of wild ants? Both the poison sac and crop are located close together in the ant’s abdomen. Birds that want to eat ants must remove the formic acid but not damage the crop, as it contains up to 30 percent of the total food value of an ant.

    Supporters of the prey-preparation hypothesis believe that birds adopted anting as a means of inducing the hapless ants to rid themselves of the poison. By grabbing the ant’s thorax (anterior), a bird does no damage to the poison sac or crop in the abdomen (posterior). When it passes the ant through its feathers during the anting process, the rubbing action induces a defense mechanism in the ant, causing it to eject formic acid. Anting continues until the poison sac is empty. Then the morsel can be swallowed harmlessly.

    Other uses for ants could be using the formic acid to deter parasites. If you are interested, a place where I started: https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/news/science/anting-widespread-fascinating-purpose-uncertain/

    1. steve

      Mourning Doves routinely practice the passive form of anting, lying with wings spread upon the ants here.

      They will stand around waiting their turns on the favored spots in my leaf mulched beds. Often times Cardinals and Blue Jays are in the queue also. Its always civil, unlike at the feeder.

  16. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding the New York Magazine article about January 6th: oh, well, there goes the Insurrection narrative.

    Interesting that NY Magazine, home to Jonathan “I’m a Peeliever” Chait and all things TDS, should feature reporting that indirectly exposes their five years of coverage of Trump as largely bs. Happily surprised, since I would normally have expected an article telling me to check under my bed for Proud Boys…

    1. Duck1

      Trying to get to an 1876 scenario seems to have vanished in the mists of time. I must have imagined the whole thing, stupes in the WH were thinking Pence had agency?

    2. Procopius

      Could you tell me what issue that’s in? DuckDuckGo is not my friend, and neither is the New York Magazine web site. The article you describe sounds like something I’d like to read, but as far as I can tell it hasn’t been linked at NC. Yet.

  17. Deuce Traveler

    Your hated Libertarian Lurker here…on the D&D comments and the MidWest.

    I just want to start by saying I effin hate Twitter for how it denies a writer structure, grammar, and other tools for expressing coherent thought. I am trying to guess what Aaron King is talking about from his quick snippets. I think he is saying that no one that started TSR and Dungeons and Dragons ever became rich despite it’s vast influence and I would agree with that. There have been books written about the history of the game, so I’ll give a quick cliff notes version of the first creators, and I encourage others to add to my comment or correct it as needed.

    Gary Gygax was a huge fan and amateur designer of tabletop wargames, where each side acted as a commander controlling forces against one another. Napoleonic warfare was the most popular at the time, and tabletop gaming was huge in the Midwest.

    Dave Arneson was a younger player with a lot of energy and imagination. He’s playing tabletop wargames with a guy named David Wesley, David Wesley pushed a game called Braunstein where large amount of players took control of individual combatants in a Napoleonic skirmish. Dave Arneson gets excited about this and shares some of the stuff he learns from Wesley with Gary Gygax. This is all going down in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the late 60 to early 70s.

    Now Gygax is looking to establish a new tabletop wargame that can stand out from the crowd, and since he’s a huuuuge science fiction and fantasy buff (see his famed Appendix N), he decides on Napoleonic warfare with a fantasy theme (rangers instead of riflemen, fighters instead of soldiers, magic-users instead of artillery, etc). He calls this Chain Mail and it becomes popular enough, but Arneson starts trying to play his game using some of the Braunstein influence he gets from Wesley. Since Tolkien is having a revival at the time, this becomes insanely popular and Gygax quickly recognizes the potential.

    Gygax and Arneson write Dungeons and Dragons together. Let me state that Gygax has the professional knowledge, sales experience, and literacy to put together a solid product while the much wilder Arneson is the guy who was the experimenter. Gygax and his close friend Don Kaye get together with the Blume brothers to finance the first D&D box set via the TSR company. It takes off entirely from the tabletop wargame culture around Gygax’s gaming circle. It’s hugely successful, but no one really gets rich.

    Here’s a rundown:

    Gary Gygax of Wisconsin: Eventually kicks Arneson out of TSR, but in turn is kicked out by the Blume brothers and an infamous CEO named Lorraine Williams that the Blumes brought in. Goes through several legal battles that drains whatever wealth he made in the company and is only brought back into some recognition in his final years.

    Dave Arneson of Minnesota: Kicked out by Gygax. Tim Kask was brought in by Gygax to start Dragon Magazine (you guys would love the hippyish Tim Kask). Anyway, when I asked Tim Kask why Arneson was booted, Tim got sad and said money and success went a bit to everyone’s heads. He seems to have liked Arneson, but said Arneson couldn’t stay focused and others had to pick up his slack in the company. Arneson did not make much money either.

    David Wesley of Minnesota: Was hired by TSR for a Valley Forge game, but never really got the name recognition he deserved until recent times.

    Don Kaye of Wisconsin: Don dies a year after D&D is published. This is a twin blow to Gary. Don was one of his best friends and also helped fund TSR. Without his financial backing, Gary has to depend on the Blumes.

    The Blume Family of Illinois: Brian Blume was a fan of the game and hung out at Gygax’s table. His family had money, and so he was the financial backing for the TSR company and his family is the one that mostly profited from the game. When Don Kaye dies, Gary has to depend more on the Blume family, giving them a lot of control over TSR. In the mid-80s, Gary and the Blumes have a large falling out over the direction of the company. Gary wanted a conservative approach, while the Blume’s wanted to be aggressive and buy up other gaming properties to encourage growth. This eventually led to investors stepping in with Lorraine Williams as CEO.

    Anyway, Lorraine Williams is a Berkeley, California girl and the family owned the Buck Rogers IP, which she tried to revive through TSR funding… After she runs the company to the ground, TSR is sold off to Wizards of the Coast and is moved to the west coast.

    Some other TSR alumni:
    Professor M.A.R. Barker of Minnesota starts the first campaign world called Empire of the Petal Throne. This has nothing to do with Tolkien, but instead is a fictional world based on ancient Urdu, South American Indian, and South Asian cultures. This is a wild one. I wish it stuck instead of the Tolkien-like worlds.

    Tom Moldvay of Ohio: Designer.

    Lawrence Schick of Ohio: Head of Design at TSR.

    Frank Mentzer of Pennsylvania: Wrote the later influential BECMI rules after moving to Wisconsin.

    Tim Kask of Illinois: First editor of Dragon Magazine and told me he did his best work high. Gygax was fine with his habit. The Blumes were not. Was never credited for taking Arneson’s work for Blackmoor setting and putting it into a publishable product, but unofficially most TSR alumni recognize him as a co-writer.

    James Ward of Wisconsin: Great guy. Extremely important in TSR’s history. Great taste in board games. Stuck around in TSR after Gygax was kicked out. Highly important for his decision to go against upper management’s suggestions and hire SSI to publish the amazingly successful Gold Box series of D&D video games.

    Rob Kuntz of Wisconsin: Extremely important play tester for early D&D. Some influential game designs.

    Erol Otus of Wisconsin: Famous for the early amateurish, but creepy TSR art. Left the company early to pursue an art degree, but highly influential.

    David A. Trampier of Missouri: Another famous and early amateur artist. This story is sad. His work is incredible, but last anyone heard of him he quit TSR to work as a taxi driver. His company went under and he died of cancer.

    Guys like Trampier and Otus were shown the door once TSR started becoming successful and became more corporate, but their art is considered more evocative than much of what came after.

    So yeah… D&D was very successful and almost completely dependent upon people in the Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois area. None of them became rich outside of Lorraine Williams and the Blumes. James Ward was probably the most financially successful out of the worker bees, as he was a very good manager of the staff and was also able to navigate office purges. The rest struggled most of their lives.

  18. farmboy

    Gobelki Tepe fascinates, pedestals where honored dead were placed and could be flown to heaven by the vultures. Maybe with the idea of fertility for growing plants, we started burying our dead. Or maybe finding Dad dropped onto some barren desert by a careless big bird was too much. The idea of Heaven in the sky had to come from somewhere as did Hell, buried in the ground.

    1. Alfred

      I am going with observations of attraction, myself. I have found that having the compost pile as far from my house as possible keeps me from having to deal with the useful agents of putrefaction and recycling. Burying flesh and bone keeps flies and bears from appearing, although for bears, it has to be deeply buried. It was a while before some people realized that it had to be kept clear of water supplies. Unless you are in a desert, where things mummify, you have to think of what will show up to “take care” of a carcass.

  19. Harold

    I had the same reaction to the In Our Time reading of Shakespeare’s sonnet 130, which I always viewed as a satire on poetic rhetoric–as stated in the poem itself, but which, unless I somehow missed it, the program’s discussants omitted to mention.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I bet that Brown gets full financial backing from the DNC along with a whole bunch of consultants parachuted in.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: restaurant bezzle

    Nothing new there, always been a lot of grift in that industry. Used to work for a seafood wholesaler who sold high end seafood and caviar to chichi restaurants and saw this type of thing firsthand. Once after work I went out to eat at one of those high end places that grew much of their own food and which was also one of out customers. You could see the gardens surrounding the restaurant so they were at least somewhat legit with their claims, but after eating there I did notice a tendency towards embellishment. We ordered a mackerel appetizer and the waitron said it was very fresh and had been caught by the chef himself earlier that day which I found amusing since my company had delivered the mackerel to them that very morning. At least they were correct about the freshness, if not the provenance.

    With the caviar, things could get more serious. There was one Russian restaurant that we only occasionally dealt with, but at one point their purchaser who was a foppish Brit ordered a bunch of caviar from us all of a sudden and later stiffed us for it. I spoke with other caviar wholesalers to warn them about this guy and found he had contacted them recently too looking for product out of the blue. I found through the grapevine that the purchaser had expensive tastes – he evidently carried one of those little kicky dogs around in a Louis Vuitton bag. The British guy was the only one I had contact with and he made many empty promises about payment before abruptly disappearing. The next time I called, it was a guy with a very heavy Eastern European accent who answered and customer service was not his strong suit to put it mildly. He answered with an annoyed ‘yeah’ and when I told him I was looking for the British guy he said he was gone, and when I told him the restaurant owed us a lot of money, the response was ‘So?’. Trying to piece things together, I called a neighboring restaurant we also sold to and the owner told me that lately he only saw some heavy-set, mean looking guys sitting out front across the street drinking coffee all day, and actual customers not so much. If the restaurant had ever been legit it sounded like it had become a front for something else and I decided it would be in my company’s and my own best interest to stop trying to collect from them.

    My best guess was the British guy had either ripped off the wrong people or been swindled by them, and was desperately trying to produce some legit product to make good. Maybe he couldn’t and the heavies took over, who knows? He definitely seemed worried about something worse than not paying his company’s bills though.

    Definitely a lot of grift in the caviar industry and if you don’t know what you’re doing and just like throwing money around to impress, you may order beluga and wind up with some flying fish roe dyed with squid ink.

    1. Robert Gray

      Foppish. Great old word. But can we really use it any more? ‘Don’t you trigger me with your micro-gressions!’


  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘Silent Movie GIFs
    Roscoe Arbuckle in Out West (1918)’

    Hey, that’s “Fatty” Arbuckle. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton, Monty Banks and Bob Hope but who came to a sad ending after being accused of raping and killing a rising actress in the 1920s-


  22. jr

    Someone was talking about arch-dissembler Jordan Peterson a few days ago and the name of the World’s Most Perplexed Head of Cauliflower, Steve Pinker, came up. I once read an article Pinker purportedly wrote by himself and was a little startled by the sheer stupidity of his arguments. Well, not arguments, assertions. Crazy stuff like the philosophers of old were really scientists but didn’t realize it. Bizarre.

    The fact this man occupies the position he does is a dire sign of the times. He’s a living example of those sidebar illustrations the monks used to fill their books with in the Dark Ages; the pope as a monkey or some bishop as a mule. Here is an article dissecting one of his assaults on literature:


    “What I found was startling, but not altogether surprising in light of Bell’s observations: Mined quotes, cherry-picked data, false dichotomies, misrepresented research, misleading statements and outright false assertions on nearly every page.”

    Finally, this man is an archetype of the fussy haired over 40 type that years of public presentation work has taught me to be on guard against.

  23. Duck1

    Reminds me of a grift in the coffee industry back about the eighties. Guy bought a few million pounds of Guats and re sacked them as °Kona Kai” ie sellling at the Hawaiian growth differential. Carried on for several years before it was exposed.
    De gustibus non est disputandum, didn’t quite work out for the coffee mavens.

    Response to caviar problems

  24. jr


    An interesting interview about the power of meditation with Marjorie Woollacott, PhD, a neuroscience professor at the University of Oregon

    “The paradoxical idea that brain activity operates by actually reducing, instead of increasing, awareness is explained by the filter thesis, the idea that our brains are simply ‘filtering’ a much larger consciousness, reducing it to our ego-consciousness. Do we have any scientific leads on how this filtering actually would take place?

    I think this is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. When I write articles about this filtering process that keeps us from a more expanded awareness I immediately go to our brain and our nervous system and explain how all the input from our five senses is being processed. That’s the first level of filtering. And then there’s the default mode network we’ve discussed, that’s another level of filtering, where your narrative cuts you off from a broader awareness. So that’s my neural story. But it can’t be all of it. Because what we also see is that, even when people describe having left their body in a near-death experience, they don’t seem to necessarily feel an absolute oneness immediately with everybody; they still experience a sense of self.”

  25. JTMcPhee

    Big hit on Lockheed in the links. Something is wrong with the Defense thingy.

    Way past time for such public-private or private public partnerships to be operating.

    Time to privatize the whole thing, so corporate managers and execs can get it back under control, neh? Get it running like a business should run? Get some competition going, hey? That’ll fix it.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification”

    Airbus must be looking at this in some disbelief. Boeing is opening up a massive lane for them to go down and sell their aircraft. If this keeps up, Boeing aircraft will end up being like the F-35. How so? The US will try to force their allies to buy their planes in order to prove their loyalty or something.

    1. VietnamVet

      Boeing, like Intel, PG&E, GE, IBM and Kodak got so taken up increasing shareholder value that it cannot function anymore. Elon Musk has shot astronauts to the Space Station. Boeing’s Space Capsule is in deep limbo as it rewrites its East Indian software. Perhaps the FAA is trying keep its last slipping grip of relevance and is kick-starting Boeing to reinvent good engineering.

      On the other side, CDC and FDA are so regulatory captured that they failed the America people but created a couple of new pharmaceutical billionaires. They are so dangerous that they ended masking and social distancing in the USA as the Delta Variant spikes in highly vaccinated Israel and UK. There is no Plan B. Dr. Anthony Fauci can only propagandize to get vaccinated with mRNA vaccines that have proven sided effects in young women and adolescent boys. Side effects that are identical to a coronavirus infection. Although still a hypothesis, since the necessary data has not been generated, the side effects could only have been caused by the human designed artificial spike protein coded into the mRNA.

  27. Zzzz Andrew

    City comptroller! Hardly are those words out, when a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi troubles my sight: reading the Ross Barkan article, I suddenly recall that Brad Lander and Adam Davidson (known to NC readership as Lord Haw-Haw) were roommates in an apartment on the 5700 block of S Kimbark in Chicago, 30 years ago today. It’s a small world, and far too quick in passing.

      1. Chris

        No idea, really Rev. There was unreliable scuttlebutt a while back suggesting that Whitlam’s ousting was to stop him reporting to parliament on a bunch of US assets. Peter Abeles was on the purported list.

  28. Trogg

    “According to a former employee, the F-35 project has become as much a jobs program as a national defense priority.”

    Subtle right wing spin here, making this seem like a case of a kind of crypto socialism.I guess the American Conservative thinks military Keynesianism is some new thing going on? I’d put the onus on late stage capitalist crapification combined with the increasing brazenness of lobbyists and govt contractors in particular.

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