2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, the cursor on my months-old MacBook Air M1 has frozen in the middle of the screen. Fortunately, I have a second Mac, which I am using. It’s a bit clunky, and I got a late start, so this Water Cooler will be too short.

Also, reader suggestions are welcome. On the M1, I’ve tried resetting the NVRAM and the PMC, and booted into Safe Mode. Nothing avails. My guess is that Bluetooth is unhappy because the mouse it expecting is no longer present (I am traveling and didn’t bring it). Right now, I”m letting the M1 run out of power, in the hopes that will unf*ck whatever it is. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

This woodpecker sounds like it’s breaking off entire branches!

Also, I missed World Swift Day:

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At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

Vaccination by region:

Good news!

Case count by United States region:

A little uptick.

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

Continued good news.

Test positivity:

Uptick in the South.

Hospitalization (CDC):

Continued good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Continued good news

Covid cases worldwide:


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

Molasses for brains:

“Biden won’t embrace filibuster reforms even as the rest of his party does” [Politico]. “President Joe Biden isn’t budging from his desire to keep the filibuster in place; at least not yet. And activists demanding reforms are growing increasingly befuddled by the administration’s hesitance. With more Senate Democrats expressing a willingness to abolish or modify the legislative filibuster, which establishes a 60-vote threshold to move most bills through the Senate, the White House on Monday continued to deflect on the issue. ‘The president’s preference is not to get rid of the filibuster,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, repeating Biden’s position on maintaining the rule. ‘His preference is not to make different changes to the rules, to the filibuster rules.’ Psaki’s statement was a reassertion of the White House’s long-standing position. But it came at a semi-critical juncture for the filibuster reform movement. On Sunday, one leading opponent of eliminating the filibuster, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), expressed a willingness to make some changes to the rule, prompting a wave of jubilation among progressives who have pushed for reforms. The president’s reluctance to go as far as one of his party’s most moderate members puts him at odds with civil rights leaders, labor and social justice advocates, as well as an increasing number of Democrats in and out of Congress. Eventually, they say, Biden is going to have to address the issue more directly rather than stick to carefully-crafted statements.”

Trump Legacy

“Trump Successfully Wore Pants Correctly at Rally: Report” [New York Magazine]. “While any public comments made by Trump tend to cause controversy and a large number of the former president’s critics stand eternally ready to scrutinize his actions, few could have expected an out-of-focus video of the former blogger’s crotch to make headlines this weekend. In the possibly doctored video, which circulated across the internet on Saturday night, it was not clear whether or not Trump had a fly on the front of his pants. Sans other evidence, some came to the obvious conclusion that Trump had put on his pants backward, not realized it, traveled from wherever he put on his pants on to the stage of a political rally in North Carolina without him or anyone else noticing his pants were on backward, or without him having to try to go the bathroom, sit down, or attempt to use his pockets. Regardless, questions were asked, laughs were had, and #TrumpPants trended on Twitter.” • I saw these memage go by and I felt a great weight settle on my shoulders. Why do Democrats keep doing what doesn’t work?

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “April 2021 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Again At Series High” [Econintersect]. “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future job growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings year-over-year rate of growth SIGNIFICANTLY improved and continues in expansion…. Remember one year ago we were entering a recession and we are comparing to the weak numbers one year ago. Still, there are a lot of job openings – which is at series high.”

Trade: “April 2021 Trade Balance Improves” [Econintersect]. “Trade data headlines show the trade balance improved with exports numerically rising faster than imports.”

Small Business Optimism: “United States Nfib Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States stood at 99.6 in May 2021, slightly down from the previous month’s five-month high and well below pre-pandemic levels. It was the first decline in morale this year, as small-business owners were concerned about labor shortages and growing inflationary pressure. A record 48% of small businesses surveyed could not fill open jobs, even with many of them offering higher pay; while higher inflation was making it harder for them to plan ahead.”

Debt: “April 2021 Consumer Credit Expanded” [Econintersect]. “Headline consumer credit expanded in April and near expectations. Our analysis of the unadjusted data shows annual growth is now growing year-over-year…. Student loan year-over-year growth rate marginally declined and remains in an overall slowing trend. Not only does this data set suffer from backward revision (at times moderate to significant enough to change trends -, but the use of compounding (projecting monthly change as annual change) by the Federal Reserve to determine consumer credit growth rates exaggerates the volatility in this data…. There is little evidence that loan defaults have increased due to the recession and pandemic.”

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Retail: “Key Ingredient of Luxury Skin Cream Yields $11 Billion Fortune” [Bloomberg]. “Zhao Yan built most of her $11 billion fortune selling cosmetics giants a chemical they can’t live without. Now she hopes to become even wealthier by going directly to the masses with the compound—hyaluronic acid, or HA—in her own line of skin-care products. ‘We can compete with the top brands in the world,’ says Zhao, 54, chairwoman of Bloomage Biotechnology Corp., which makes about half the global supply of HA…. Bloomage, which has developed special fermenters to bring down the cost of manufacturing HA, makes hundreds of variations used in skin creams, medications, and more. The company is now moving beyond its behind-the-scenes role and selling branded goods, first in China and soon in Europe and the U.S.” • Special fermenters….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 48 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 8 at 12:39pm.

Health Care

“Schools forge ahead without CDC guidance, some leaning away from masks” [ABC]. (For the CDC on schools, see here and here.) • Nothing to prepare the public mind for ventilation issues, good job CDC.

Police State Watch


Groves of Academe

“Why do people feel like their academic fields are at a dead end?” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. “[F]or now I want to stress one big idea: Encouraging not just novel research, but research in novel directions. Asking questions no one has asked before. Using methodologies no one has tried before. Creating new fields that don’t have an established hierarchy of prestigious journals and elder luminaries. Finding new veins of ore to mine.” • Fine in theory, I suppose, but the example used is AI, which to my mind is about as close to The Bezzle as it’s possible to be. (I’m not sure I’m comfortable with mining as metaphor, since are scholarship and science really extractive?)

“The Tiger Mom and the Hornet’s Nest” [New York Magazine]. “Only 200 students enroll each year, less than half of Harvard’s 1L class. In turn, these students are set afloat on even smaller boats of 16 to 18 students — the ‘small group’ — captained by a single faculty member who introduces them to the world of the law and of Yale Law School…. Small-group professors get a budget for socializing, and most of this student’s small-group gatherings were held at bars or a house where there was drinking. Not all small groups drank together — some went apple picking or played stickball — but that in itself wasn’t unusual. Rubenfeld would often send out emails with the subject line ’emergency drinks,’ and there were lots of emergencies. He would buy the first round. One night, at Cask Republic, the student ordered Scotch. She liked Scotch, but she says now that, if she’s honest with herself, her choice was also a performance, a show of toughness. Rubenfeld, impressed, ordered a second round of whiskey just for the two of them. When he drank, she remembers, Rubenfeld would start leaning toward her, touching her arm or the small of her back as he joined a conversation, or staring into her eyes.” • 200 students a year, the elite of the elite of the elite… One really has to wonder what these students are really being prepared for.

“Nikole Hannah-Jones at the Summit” [National Association of Scholars]. ” I am among those others who view Hannah-Jones’ principal contribution, “The 1619 Project,” as an abject failure of both accurate reporting and well-founded historical interpretation…. She compounded these errors by refusing to correct them when they were brought to her attention by a who’s who of eminent historians, and she further compounded those errors by lying about what she originally said. She did that, for example, when she declared that she had never said that the year 1619 was the ‘true founding’ of our country. It was right there on the cover of the original ‘1619 Project,’ and Hannah-Jones repeated it many times in subsequent statements. But at some point around September 2020, the phrase mysteriously disappeared from the digital version of the project maintained by the New York Times, and Hannah-Jones herself declared that she had never said such a thing.” • This must also be the first time that the National Association of Scholars, a conservative venue, has mentioned the World Socialist Website approvingly! (I think the question to ask 1619 proponents is: “If slavery were not profitable, would it have persisted?” I think the only defensible answer is “no,” which also makes profit the driver, not racism.)

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

Yes, but what did the dish start?

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Brazilianization of the World” [American Affairs]. “The West’s involution finds its mirror image in the original coun­try of the future, the nation doomed forever to remain the country of the future, the one that never reaches its destination: Brazil. The Brazilianization of the world is our encounter with a future denied, and in which this frustration has become constitutive of our social reality. While the closing of historical horizons has often been a leftist, indeed Marxist, concern, the sense that things don’t work as they should is now widely shared across the political spectrum. Welcome to Brazil. Here the only people satisfied with their situation are financial elites and venal politicians. Everyone complains, but everyone shrugs their shoulders. This slow degradation of society is not so much a runaway train, but more of a jittery rollercoaster, occasionally holding out promise of ascent, yet never break­ing free from the tracks. We always come back to where we started, shaken and disoriented, haunted by what might have been.”

Always a bright side:

I hate all these “we” stories:

“Our lives.” Somehow, I don’t think essential workers have suddenly taken up rollerskating.

Guillotine Watch

“Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan” [Franklin Foer, The Atlantic]. After a lengthy build-up: “[T]o say that Bezos’s ultimate goal is dominion over the planet is to misunderstand him. His ambitions are not bound by the gravitational pull of the Earth.” Oh my! But wait, here’s the final sentence: “He is fixated on the distance because he knows it belongs to him.” I’m not really being fair to the article, which is well-researched and worth a read. But Bezos, as a world-historical figure, seems, if his teenage ambitions are realized, on the scale of Napoleon. Or Genghis Khan. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, and I’m not sure Bezos-designed space colonies would be livable. For anything.

Class Warfare

“Employed in a SNAP? The Impact of Work Requirements on Program Participation and Labor Supply” [NBER]. “Using linked administrative data on food stamps (SNAP) and earnings with a regression discontinuity design, we find robust evidence that work requirements increase program exits by 23 percentage points (64 percent) among incumbent participants after 18 months. There is a 53 percent overall reduction in program participation among adults who are subject to work requirements. Homeless adults are disproportionately screened out. We find no effects on employment, and suggestive evidence of increased earnings in some specifications. Our findings indicate that, per dollar of public expenditure, eliminating work requirements would likely transfer more resources to low-income adults than other programs targeting the same population.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

“Staffers at The Atlantic Unionize” [WWD]. “Unionization is showing no sign of slowing down in 2021. The Atlantic is the latest media outlet to have their staffers form a union, with 80 percent of staff writers, copy editors, fact checkers, editors, art directors, engineers and producers at the magazine signing cards in favor of The Atlantic Union, part of the NewsGuild of New York. It also represents the likes of The New Yorker, Wired, The New York Times and Reuters. In its mission statement, the new union stressed that it has faith in the outlet’s leadership, but in a time of upheaval in the media industry it wants to ensure that all staffers are justly rewarded for their work and free to speak their mind on matters of concern.”

And The New Yorker:

News of the Wired

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

lyman alpha blob writes: “Water lilies from Maine.”

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Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

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

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

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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:

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

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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. Pat

    Just a thought, did you try deleting the mouse from the acceptable devices?

    If searching for it is causing problems, that might help.

  2. cocomaan


    This all seems like good advice, but I once called my county mental health service when I saw someone having a clear mental break in public (shouting at someone that wasn’t there, talking about how they’d stolen his money.)

    Mental health services, or whatever they were, told me to call the cops for a “wellness check.” I asked if I should call the emergency number or some other number. They said that they didn’t know and gave me a dispatch number.


    I hate all these “we” stories:

    These used to bother me, but I now just insert the tacit “[Royal] We,” for the upper crust who actually gets the New Yorker. They just play to their audience.

    1. a different chris

      > just insert the tacit “[Royal] We,

      Yes you get it! Maybe eventually Lambert will. I don’t know where he thinks he is coming from, to wit:

      He spends a lot of time delineating the differences between the people that post this stuff, and the “essential people” — and then he gets put off when said Twits use “we”???

      To me it sounds like they do realize that they are part of a different world, and thus speaking to a different audience than said essentials. Whether they look down on said essentials (likely if unconsciously) or if they just look at them like they are Martians, it still is arguably an honest take.

      Shorter me: Replace “our lives” with “everybody’s lives”, now that would be insulting. “We all have been reduced to Hello Fresh on the veranda” with “Everybody has been reduced to Hello Fresh…” — do you see what I mean?

      I have heard that people talk funny in the Nor’ East. I guess we can just write Lambert’s weird takes off as that.

    2. Liebowitz

      “This is a question we get a lot! Step 1: Do not call the police.”

      Invite them into your house and let them camp on your living room floor, or in the garage, or backyard. Put your philosophy into practice and help welcome them not just to your community, but into your life. Learn from them and do everything you can to share with them.

      1. ambrit

        We actually did something like this with a young man back after the hurricane. It was an education in the limits of tolerance and patience. There are some people in this world who are, for all intents and purposes, broken. This young man was one such. He stole from us and literally did not understand why we were upset about it. Basically, the concept of “other people’s possessions” was not in his thinking skills set. Everything he encountered was “his.”
        One of the biggest Neoliberal confidence games carried out in the past fifty years was Reagan’s dismantling of the Federal and Federally supported State level mental health infrastructures. The young man mentioned above would have been an inmate of such an institution, and done well there. For this reason alone I sincerely hope that Ronald Reagan is frying away in Hell.

    3. Chris

      I say “Someone is having a medical emergency.” For the sake that a paramedic is sent and the unhoused person can possibly receive some medical attention.

  3. flora

    Beautiful water lilies. Was the photo taken from a canoe whilst paddling across the shallow part of a lake?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That one was actually taken from the shore of a man-made pond in the city park that was built on top of an old landfill. But the closeup does make it seem a little more exotic ;) Very nice little pond though – there is a giant snapping turtle that I spotted in there last year. It’s been around for at least 15-20 years according to anecdotal evidence of other pond watchers, which explains the one-legged ducks you see from time to time.

      There is another water lily picture that may appear someday and that one I did take from a kayak in the shallows of a lake.

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    I saw these memage go by and I felt a great weight settle on my shoulders. Why do Democrats keep doing what doesn’t work?

    1 – They aren’t as smart as they pretend to be…. but we knew that one.
    2 – They are nerds. Not the “I have a lvl 32 Half-Elf cleric and a rock collection” type but the insidious hall-monitor/sucking up to teacher/”Miss! Johnny got out of his seat when you stepped out of class” type. They can’t help themselves.

    1. Alfred

      If something worked for the people, things would change, that would open up a whole can of worms, so they got good at looking busy. When they have their lunch and dinner meetings with their lobbyist handlers though, you can bet they are working hard.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      3 – Memeing about Trump’s pants gives Dem voters something to bond over and Tweet about that isn’t the dawning realization they were sold a bill of goods.

      4 – Without Orange Man bad/stupid, what else do the Dems have?

      1. Geo

        That so many people were obsessing over a close-up of Trump’s crotch, analyzing it and theorizing about it, says a lot more about their “focus” regarding politics than anything else.

        1. jonboinAR

          My brother’s an obsessive-like never Trump-er. I don’t get it. I mean, I got nothing. We can’t talk about it because we’ll both get mad. He’s probably putting up memes about Trump’s pants or whatever the issue is this time.

          1. Geo

            Got quite a few like that in my circles and feel your pain. It’s frustrating. Mention Cuomo, Fauci, Hunter, or anything else that detracts from TrumpBad and they look at you like a flat-earther.

            Too much partisan “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thinking and not enough “it’s a big club and you aren’t in it” thinking.

    3. Edward

      “Why do Democrats keep doing what doesn’t work?”

      They can’t think outside their own point of view and imagine the mindset of the general public. They are like a salesperson who can’t think in terms of what the customer wants but only in terms of what they like.

    4. R

      British English has separate terms for PMC vices:
      – creep = teacher’s pet
      – swot = geek (or is it nerd?)

      Is there a difference between geek and nerd? The impression I have is they might both have a collection of D&D figures but the geek would be too shy to tell you when you asked and the nerd to maladjusted to stop. Which in British English would make a nerd closer to a spod.

    5. Left in Wisconsin

      I saw these memage go by and I felt a great weight settle on my shoulders. Why do Democrats keep doing what doesn’t work?

      Of course it works. It’s working perfectly.

      1. albrt

        Right. Projection keeps the media from noticing that Joe Biden can’t put his own pants on (probably).

    6. calmly

      3 — It does work, but for a different goal.

      I know it’s been said before, but the people who trade in said memage are mostly just trying to signal belonging to the rest of their group. That’s why it’s so hard for them to let Trump slip out of the public eye: as a vehicle for displaying one’s bien pensant to the group, Trump memes have little training wheels; it’s quite difficult to fall off. If this theory is correct, then, the more socially insecure people actually feel, the more they feel compelled to meme, which is what I think we’re actually looking at here.

  5. synoia

    In the statistics, it might be illuminating to have a Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere graph, normalized for the hemisphere’s population..

    Why? The Hemispheres have different seasons, and have different numbers of people.

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    One of Margaret Thatcher’s signature starter dishes was blended beef consommé, cream cheese and curry powder, left to set in ramekins and topped with a layer of jellied soup.

    I had to look up what a ramekin was. Per the wiki; “Ramekins are usually designed to resist high temperatures, as they are frequently used in ovens or, in the case of crème brûlée, exposed to the flame of a cooking torch.” Which instantly made me think of Lady Sybil Ramkin from Discworld.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Mifune-san: I also spotted the culinary treasure:

      One of Margaret Thatcher’s signature starter dishes was blended beef consommé, cream cheese and curry powder, left to set in ramekins and topped with a layer of jellied soup.

      Surely, after eating austerity slime like that, it is no surprise that she privatized public goods and, eventually, forgot that there is such a thing as society.

      As I keep saying, luckily for the U S of A, there will always be an England.

      1. John A

        It does sound disgusting, but then again Thatcher’s first degree was in chemistry. She must have done plenty of experimenting in labs. Am surprised she used ramekins rather than petri dishes. But what is ‘blended’ beef consomme and how do you jelly soup? She first rose to fame when in charge of education, she abolished the daily milk ration for school kids, which earned her the moniker, Thatcher the milk snatcher. Maybe the cream cheese was actually the snatched milk that had curdled and she used curry powder to mask the taste.

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          she abolished the daily milk ration for school kids
          wtf? What was the rationale for that? Other than she hated the poor

          1. ambrit

            From what I have read, I get the feeling that Margaret Thatcher hated everyone, especially herself.

          2. HotFlash

            Times were tough in the UK when the Heath govt was re-elected, and Mrs. Thatcher was Minister of Education. So the Tories went a-cost-cutting and one of the programmes that got curtailed was the free milk program. It had been instituted after WWII, when Britain was still in the grip of rationing (paying back those war debts, you know), but the govt provided milk for free to pregnant women, presumably nursing mothers (can’t find info on that), and children right through grade school. School-age children apparently got it in schools. Maggie signed off on cutting the programme for students over the age of seven to save money, but apparently she did not originate the plan and even felt bad about it later. The British press dubbed the future Prime Minister “Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher”

            1. The Rev Kev

              I don’t think that she regretted it as much as the flak that she copped for doing so. That scheme only cost £4 million annually and probably helped the British milk industry to boot. I mean seriously – £4 million? For government, that is a rounding error. And all that milk helped a generation of people develop good bones and was an investment in their future health. But here is the tell. If she really regretted it, when she became Prime Minister, why did she not restore it? She could have said that it was a sign of the better times that he government had delivered so now was the time to bring it back. But she never did.

            2. aleph_0

              Thanks for the story; this story made the last piece of Stewart Lee’s fantastic Scooby Doo/Thatcher bit hit way harder.

          3. Tom Bradford

            wtf? What was the rationale for that? Other than she hated the poor

            I’m old enough to remember the 1/3 pint of milk in bottles (glass in those days) we received at school – I even served as a milk monitor at the time.

            I believe the original philosophy behind ‘school milk’ was that it was ‘laced’ with vitamin D to prevent rickets, which was a genuine problem for poor kids in the ’30s and ’40’s. However by Thatcher’s day few kids had rickets so you no longer needed preventative measures, plus of course someone’s (ie her) taxes had to pay for keeping the impoverished at least marginally healthy so it had to go.

            1. Count Zero

              The great thing about free school milk was that a lot of kids didn’t bother picking up their little bottle. At the end of morning break a few of us grubby urchins generally hung around the stacks of crates eyeing the surplus. We would then be given permission to help ourselves. I was frequently guzzling a pint or two of free milk. F(amily blog) Thatcher.

        2. R

          Consomme naturally jellifies when cold because of the beef gelatin in it. The blended should read “a blend of”, I.e. the beef and cream cheese and curry powder are homogenised.

          Even explained, it sounds revolting. I think the more telling vignette is that Mrs Thatcher was proud of her seminal work as a food chemist in inventing My Whippy, an ersatz ” ice crean” made from air and wood pulp (cellulose for texture, vanillin for flavour).

    2. CanCyn

      Ramekins I know, but jellied soup??!! That I had to look up. Found the following, which sounds not so bad https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/jellied-consomm. My parents, of Scottish and English descent, used to let the juices from roast beef ‘gel’ naturally (not sure of the culinary chemistry that caused the gelling to happen but they didn’t add anything). They spread it on toast, it was tasty. The recipe in the link must make something similar.
      First impression remains though … The Wicked Witch’s signature appetizer sounds straight out of a Kraft recipe book. Like a savoury Jello 1-2-3 for those of you who remember that processed food diy layered dessert. I can’t only add that there is a reason for English cuisine’s poor reputation.

      1. Utah

        The juices that gel are from the natural collagen inside meat. Collagen and pectin (the stuff that makes jelly set) are similar in their chemical shape. So think of it as animal pectin. Fun fact: jello, before it was a brand and just a type of cooking, was originally made from calves feet. They had to be a certain age to work best, but I no longer remember what that age is.

        1. jr

          You can make a similar gelatin from the bones. I take cooked, cleaned chicken bones and roast them until brown. You don’t have to cook em again but roasting is a dry heat so it’s going to have different flavoring effects than when the bones steam inside the meat.

          Then with the tip of a knife puncture a small hole on either end of each bone. This is so the water can flow through and push out the good stuff inside as the bones steep. A crock pot is best as it gently as it percolates the water through the bones. Never boil as it atomizes fat.

          Then you get chicken Jello. Richer than stock, add to soups, sauces, etc. I reserve the layer of fat on top for pan frying as well.

        2. Chris

          …and please always to remember, within the remnants of the British Empire, the coloured stuff made from meat bones is “jelly”, and the solidified fruit stuff is ”jam” (unless the fruit is filtered out before the liquid sets, in which case it’s also “jelly”).

    3. Procopius

      Well, Lady Sybil is a very formidable person in her own right, as shown in The Fifth Elephant. Thanks for pointing it out — I didn’t catch the connection, and it’s very apt. “Cooking torch,” indeed.

  7. griffen

    Breaking news, Trump was a yuuge fan of the young rap duo. Indeed they made him desire to jump, jump.

    Trump’s an OG, dontcha know. His other music choice was Color Me Badd.

    1. chuck roast

      I’m thinking that Ole’ Joe has no interest in changing things because he would have to be awake and alert to carry out such an agenda. Being a geezer, he is probably thinking about his next nap if he is not actually napping. These very focused activities can take up quite a bit of a 24 hour day…and we are not even talking about nine hours in the rack. Those of us who populate geezer world, and Ole’ Joe is certainly one of us, understand this powerful dynamic. Four years of this and all the Repubs have to do in 2024 is nominate a guy who is ostensibly awake and the White House will be theirs.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Biden is old argument ignores history and more importantly his Team Blue elite backers. They knew Biden has always been a front man for right wing policies who would browbeat leftier types into supporting bad ideas or at least not fighting. Someone had the Delaware Senators go out and vote with Manchin.

      2. Nikkikat

        Yes, Ol’ Joe is just a seat filler until the next Republican monster man gets elected.

  8. Mikel

    “The Brazilianization of the World” [American Affairs].

    Favelas for everyone!

    Hope we look as good….

  9. makesi

    In you’re in the Philly area go to Rolling Thunder Skating Center on a Saturday and check out the moves! Skating is a cheap and sober way to have fun. When I was growing up lots of kids–working class kids–had birthday parties at the rink. Roller Derby is a whole world too.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, and the skate dancing near the Bandshell in Central Park has always had a broad make-up (or at least it did back in the day and last time I passed by)… but somehow I don’t think that’s what New York was picturing.

  10. enoughisenough

    “academic fields are at a dead end”.

    If anything, the problem is expecting fast novelty in fields that REQUIRE slow learning and deep, slow research.

    The best methodologies are the ones that DON’T CUT CORNERS, and ensure the results are based on best practices, and the best practices are the established ones. Logical fallacies are still a thing, even if people find them tedious to avoid, avoid them we must.

    Expecting “novelty” is to betray the disciplines and essentially welcome sub-par work. It’s specious and wrong-headed.

    And using AI? This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is cart-before the horse nonsense.

    1. HotFlash

      Well, indeedy. But our institutions of higher learning are dealing with a glut of PhD candidates, whose theses are each supposed to be ‘an original contribution to the field’, and thereafter with PhD’s whose hiring, tenure, and grants are dependent on publication in journals, which have been ‘twigging’ into more and more specialized areas to provide places for publication of a lot of trivial writing which adds little to the sum of knowledge. My BFF’s two proposed thesis topics, both of which would have been original contributions, were turned down by her thesis advisors, one b/c the guy who actually knew about the subject was slated to be head of her dept and would be ‘too busy’, and the other guy knew nothing about tthe topic — ‘not a grammarian’. She ended up being assigned a topic which had been conclusively dealt with in a then-recent 16-page article. Nonetheless, she slogged through two years of tedious work which failed to come to the conclusion that her advisor wanted (and which had been conclusively disproved in the aforesaid 16 page article). Her thesis was sent back again and again for more work. The poor woman ended up with a nervous breakdown and her thesis unapproved.

      And that was 40 years ago, it’s only gotten worse.

      1. enoughisenough

        There are sooo many good questions to ask of the material, still. In my field, I think of dissertation-length research questions all the time.

        You don’t have to throw out methodology to be a creative scholar. The article we’re commenting about simply overstates its case.

        Your friends sound like they had conservative, bad dissertation advisors.

        Frankly, there are too many conservative topics these days because of the contraction of the academy. It’s not so much a “glut” it’s that positions are being cut, departments are being cut and Phds are facing an impossible situation, job-wise.

        They may be afraid to stick their necks out, with new, creative research, lest it get harder to find a job.

        Furthermore, scholars have less time to devote to research as they are given larger class loads and bigger administrative/committee duties, not to mention the jobs aren’t tenure-track, and many people have to re-apply for new jobs YEARLY, and the application process is a HUGE time suck.

        It’s the environment that’s not conducive to good research, not that the fields have somehow stagnated. The academy is being SABOTAGED, is what’s happening here. People don’t seem to realize the squeeze that going on.

        In fact, when googling for the below article, most search hits were advocacy pieces on *how to defund universities FURTHER*!! We are in a shockingly anti-intellectual age.


        1. Acacia

          Just to add a data point here, I believe that something like 76% of all university level instruction in the US is done by adjuncts on temp contracts, or grad students for whom the teaching is considered part of their training (and thus unions are waved off by university administrators and commitment to teaching is frowned upon by thesis committees, because it’s “not research”).

          In other words: there’s a lot of exploitation in higher education. Makes me think of the children of the elite in Ancient Rome being tutored by Greek slaves.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      So Zhao’s secret is Women hooked up to all kinds of gadgets as they birth HA?

      Gross lol ? but kinda believable!

      1. ambrit

        Yep. Since there are so many “surplus” women in China, not to mention Uighirs, Karens, Tibetans, and others, it makes sense. Go with what you have the most of!
        Hope you’re enjoying the Great Northwest. Right now, the North American Deep South is enduring highs around 90F every day with humidity in the eighty and ninety percent range.
        It’s fricasseeing weather!
        Stay safe!

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I actually just left my job and the PNW to come back to the Deep South! Here in Metairie, I finished cutting my parents grass with their electric lawnmower and I am fn DRENCHED!!! Between the Heat and the Rich Food, all Becnel wants to do is take a NAP!
          Hope you’re doing well, MI amigeaux!

          1. ambrit

            You always were a ‘rabble rouser!’ [Coming from me, that’s a compliment.] The PNW should have been a ‘natural’ for you.
            Some tidbits about the ‘culture shock’ of living in the PNW versus Da Olde Saut would be good to read. (I’m not ashamed to say that I know that that is an assignment, but, here we are!)
            Glad to see you home! {Isn’t it ‘funny’ about how “special” the New Orleans area is to those who grew up there? I’m an immigrant who married a local and even I’m infected with that bug.}
            All the best from the Half-horse town.

  11. Eloined

    Thanks for raising the 2019 Atlantic profile of Bezos which hones in on his core ambition. For the leaders of SpaceX (Musk) and Blue Origin (Bezos), every dollar spent on the factory and warehouse workers of their earthbound businesses means, per their fractional ownership, at least several fewer cents available for manifestation of interplanetary destiny.

    I’m reminded of Paul Tillich and his conception of ‘ultimate concern.’

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The Bezos/Musk mindset is a far cry from the following, which is one of seven things filmmaker Natasha Deganello Giraudie learned while making the film “One Word Sawalmem” with co-director Michael “Pom” Preston of the Winnemem Wintu tribe of Mt. Shasta:

      Our current environmental crisis is the result of misguided policy, economics, education, and commerce, but at its core, it is a spiritual crisis. As such, it requires us to recognize ourselves in nature and nature in ourselves. It means being in relationship with nature, which requires the acknowledgment of the natural world consisting of beings rather than things to be consumed. It means that in all our decisions, we consider the well-being of all humans and the more-than-human world for generations to come. It means rematriation, which Indigenous people around the world are urgently calling for: rendering the Earth sacred again. Spiritual awareness is the often unsung and dismissed form of intelligence, which is meant to complement our rational minds. Spiritual commitment requires humility to learn not only about our animal and plant and mineral neighbors on this Earth, but to learn from them as our elder teachers.

      1. Eloined

        A good read there, thanks. In a test of either temporal or environmental sustainability, I’d put my money on spiritual commitment over the personal “sacrifice”-making we’re implored to engage in for various complicated reasons.

    2. Pelham

      Bezos wouldn’t be a problem if we as a society started from the rational, clear premise that no one, no matter how talented and hard working, could ever really be worth $1 billion. Or maybe even $100 million, let alone 150 billion.

      Let us resolve to work for an upper limit on income and a cap on accumulated wealth. For every Bezos blocked from grasping for his second billion, a thousand other clever entrepreneurs with great ideas who would otherwise be stifled may be freed to emerge.

      1. Carla

        @Pelham — I’m with you 100 percent. Upper income limits are essential to rebalancing the economy and the country. Money is power, and a small group of conniving people have way too much of it. If we are to create any semblance of democracy, those few will have to be relieved of their excess.

      2. Procopius

        Many years ago, back when a million dollars was real money, I read a story about some Japanese electronics firm. The founder, a brilliant engineer, had decided to retire. At a meeting of the board, the directors implored him to stay on. They believed, or at least said, that without his brilliant leadership the company would be doomed. They offered him a one million dollar bonus (well, I suppose its equivalent in yen). He just smiled at them, and said, “Nobody is worth a million dollars.” It is true, even if the story was apocryphal. Back in the nineteenth century there were some economists (and a lot of rabble-rousers) who were infuriated by “unearned income.” Back then it was land rent. Now it’s stock options and exploiting workers, who are the actual creators of wealth.

  12. Tom_Doak

    I find it interesting that journalists are unionizing at many prominent platforms, but that so very few of them seem to write much about the importance of unions in other fields of work.

    I suppose their editors have something to do with that. And, of course, the owners! But it’s still poor form.

  13. ambrit

    Re. “..what these students are really being prepared for.” Hah! You are right in one. “..these students” are being ‘groomed.’ Both individually and as a group.

  14. Mikel

    Re: “April 2021 Consumer Credit Expanded” [Econintersect]

    Another reason to expect interest rates to rise. $$$$

  15. a different chris

    . If Biden actually cared about his agenda he would have sat Manchin down early on and asked what he wanted in order to play ball. The fact that Manchin is is a loud opponent shows Biden hasn’t played politics well

    Nope, this is a young man’s take. Wander thru life enough and you will meet a few Joe Manchins Biden isn’t the problem (whether he cares about his agenda or not, and most indications are that he really, really does). Does Robinson think that, a guy who spent the last 6 jillion years in Washington didn’t push every possible button with Manchin if for no other reason than to score a win?

    The Joe Manchin type will never argue to your face. He won’t hash anything out with you because, one on one he is badly overmatched. Yes, even if the other side is Joe Biden. In actuality, he will come across as agreeing with you because he can hardly admit to himself what he really thinks when somebody is trying to change his mind.

    I suspect this: Biden did his best. He knows Manchin, knows he is hopeless but, like a weathervane occasionally points in the desired direction if subjected to enough (hot) air. The gamble did not pay off in this case.

    More importantly, these are adults. Blame Manchin for what Manchin does, not Joe Biden. That attitude, that inability to aim properly, gets you to exactly where the Left is at. Nowhere.

    1. phoenix

      Is this the lib equivalent of Trump playing 4D chess? Sometimes the easiest answer is the correct one. Biden isn’t some political genius and he sure as hell isn’t someone who actually cares about the agenda that got him elected. He’s a pathological liar who only cares about maintaining the status quo and winning the presidency. And he’s senile.

      1. Tom Bradford

        Sometimes the easiest answer is the correct one.

        I agree with a different Chris. The one thing Biden knows above all else is that his years (or perhaps just months?) of Presidency will be his epitaph. He has no need to cultivate interests to cash in on in his post-Presidential future because he doesn’t have one. In a real sense he has nothing to lose by pushing ‘his’ agenda, whatever he believes it to be.

        “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” – Samuel Johnson.

    2. hunkerdown

      You would have us run interference for the center-right by telling us not to watch the center-right party’s rotating heel game. How about blaming the entire Party for EVERY single thing ANY of them do for helping ANY anti-popular interests? Parties are imaginary friends. Imaginary friends do not have a right to exist and they do not have a right to “believe” things.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      “ More importantly, these are adults. Blame Manchin for what Manchin does, not Joe Biden. That attitude, that inability to aim properly, gets you to exactly where the Left is at. Nowhere.

      You are right. All of Biden’s obvious flaws aside, Manchin is a major power center in the Senate, and we live in a democratic republic not a dictatorship. It’s funny how many Democrats are just as unwilling to acknowledge these basic organizational facts as their putative opposites. Of course, if they’d admit it, they’d need to focus on unseating Manchin, and that is a hard, perilous slog. West Virginia will likely barf up a Republican zealot if Manchin falls. He will one day though, and possibly soon. Our nation will then be blessed with some low wattage rendition of Hawley as the ‘honorable’ Senator from WV…… for next 3+ decades.

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      Three issues with your theory:
      1) “Does Robinson think that, a guy who spent the last 6 jillion years in Washington didn’t push every possible button with Manchin if for no other reason than to score a win?”: Is there any evidence of Biden doing this or even needing to do this in the past? All of his accomplishments are very much in line with what the powers that be wanted. Show me an instance of Joe pushing buttons to go against the grain. Also, the media has already crowned Biden the heir apparent to FDR, so what does he need a win for?

      2) “whether he cares about his agenda or not, and most indications are that he really, really does”: Yeah, going to need to see some recipients for that. Not only does this assumption fly in the face of almost 40 years in politics, it also contradicts his presidency so far. I mean, who had heard of a parliamentarian before 2021? Also, Joe Biden owes me $600.

      3) This also ignores the Rotating Villain strategy, which is a real thing and is pretty clearly going on here.

  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Nothing to prepare the public mind for ventilation issues, good job CDC. ”

    Well, if the CDC’s secret real Deep Agenda is to keep covid alive, then the CDC is actually doing a good job. If keeping covid alive is in reality part of the CDC’s Secret Deep Agenda.

    Would it be irresponsible to speculate on the CDC having a Secret Deep Agenda?
    It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

    1. Acacia

      I seem to recall that most chicken feet from processing plants in the US get shipped to… China. Perhaps Zhao Yan is in the loop, and “special fermenters” is hyperbole?

  17. Glen

    Yes, but what did the dish start?

    I was immediately reminded of an old Monty Python bit that included the phrase “opened the sluice gates at both ends”.

    1. Carolinian

      Monty Python….BBC heyday.

      In The Crown we see Thatcher cooking for her cabinet members at No. 10. Apparently she was quite the homebody.

  18. fresno dan

    Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.
    America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

    To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

    We’re going to call this their true tax rate.

    The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.
    So…are taxes ONLY to facilitate coercion and control, and their only economic purpose is to maintain a separate and elite upper class?
    The American novelist Scott Fitzgerald is supposed to have said once to Ernest Hemingway, ‘You know, the rich are different from you and me. ‘ Hemingway replied, ‘Yes. They’ve got more money. and fresno dan’s corollary, they don’t pay taxes…

    1. Geo

      The section about how they use low interest loans to finance their lifestyles and avoid taxes was a big eye opener for me. Makes sense but had just never thought about that. When I think of a loan I think of “needing money” and barely being able to make payments, not of a way to attain money tax-free. Of course, my interest rates would be much higher and the only collateral I have is a 17 year old cat and my old collection of CDs and DVDs.

      Modern banking really is just a smoothly oiled wealth hijacking machine that siphons poor people’s meager funds through fees, penalties, and high interest into the pockets of the rich to spend on forth mansions and a yacht to put their other yachts on.

      1. fresno dan

        June 8, 2021 at 6:06 pm
        I agree. But the thing that strikes me is how obscure and rare such articles are. We live in an ocean (actually several oceans) of unrelenting baloney on how the free market provides the best of all possible worlds. With the collapse of unions, there is simply not a group with the organization and funds to combat and expose the never ending propaganda that ANYTHING that constrains the wealthy is bad for everyone.

        1. Geo

          So true. Props to ProPublica for this one. I’m sure it will get buried like their Panama Papers report did too but nice to see real reporting on real news going on.

    2. Tom Bradford

      Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

      In my neck of the woods such gains are not defined as income either, unless one trades in assets solely for the purpose of ‘earning’ an income. Capital appreciation in many jurisdictions is subject to a ‘Capital Gains Tax’ levied on the gain realised on sale.

      In my youth in the UK the top rate of income tax was 83% and Capital Gains Tax was 15%!

  19. William Hunter Duncan

    “Regardless, questions were asked, laughs were had, and #TrumpPants trended on Twitter.” • I saw these memage go by and I felt a great weight settle on my shoulders. Why do Democrats keep doing what doesn’t work?”

    As Theodrose over at the Ghion Journal pointed out, in part blaming Trump, this story buried the Fauci email discussion. Reading NPR’s version of Fauci’s emails, I’m thinking it is quite the conspiracy to protect him – they were writing like they are Fauci’s press secretary. Methinks the average liberal Democrat probably thinks Fauci’s emails, if they think about them at all, were released by nasty Trump types or Russians. I know for certain the average liberal democrat still says the word Trump a lot more than Biden.

  20. Riverboat Grambler

    Good lord, the replies to that Nathan Robinson thread… Voters handed the Dems control of Congress, but if they expect Biden to even _attempt_ to actually whip his party in line to pass popular campaign promises they are sneered at and told they are naive little children who don’t understand politics. This is their message for the mid-terms?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Neera just joined the administration. But yes, this is what ignorant centrists have and always done. They are vile people.

      1. Procopius

        “They” deliberately chose to destroy the New Deal. Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council. See Al From’s book, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. The people who voted for them can only be called feckless (well, other things to call them are not appropriate for this blog).

    2. Geo

      ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

      ‘What!’ said the master.

      ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’

      The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

      ‘Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!’

      ‘For MORE!’ said Mr. Limbkins. ‘He asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?’

      ‘He did, sir,’ replied Bumble.

      ‘That boy will be hung,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ‘I know that boy will be hung.’

  21. Geo

    “Somehow, I don’t think essential workers have suddenly taken up rollerskating.”

    Had a group of friends invite me to a roller rink a while back. Tagged along but staring at the mass of swirling people zipping about on a concrete floor with lil’ wheels clacking about beneath them all I could envision was all the ways my not-so-young-anymore body could end up broken on the ground and what kind of long term pains and debilitating costs an injury would bring about.

    I sat it out and watched from the sidelines. Roller skating for someone without high end health insurance is barely more enticing than a game of Russian Roulette.

    1. ambrit

      Full contact sports, which is what roller skating really is, are more accurately an exercise in [Insert name of favourate ethnicity to denigrate here.] Roulette. In that form of the game, one puts only one shell in the magazine of an automatic pistol and then plays the game.

      1. Wukchumni

        …are there electric roller skates yet?

        Saw my 16 year old nephew in action on his electric skateboard which looks like great fun until somebody gets hurt. It really zips along and he controls the speed & braking with a small handheld remote~

        1. michael99

          In my neighborhood there is a guy who zips around on a board that has a single fat tire in the middle. Looks kind of precarious to me but he seems to have no problem staying in balance with feet on each side of the wheel. So it is a handheld remote – that answers that.

        1. Tom Stone

          Russian Roulette is traditionally played with a single action revolver that allows the cylinder to freely spin when the hammer is at half cock.
          Load one round, set on half cock and spin the cylinder once or twice.
          Cock hammer, point at head, pull trigger.

        2. ambrit

          The version of the joke I first learned was Polish Roulette, this from someone I knew who went to University in Poland for a year. (In Poland, I have it from reliable sources, the people tell Russian Jokes.)
          I later heard the joke told as another ethnic group Roulette. Then yet a third ‘out group’ was given pride of place in the genealogy of the always terminal passtime.
          The essence of the joke is that, with an automatic pistol, the first pull of the trigger is invariably the last.

  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    >(I think the question to ask 1619 proponents is: “If slavery were not profitable, would it have persisted?” I think the only defensible answer is “no,” which also makes profit the driver, not racism.)

    But surely these aren’t either/or propositions? Thinking systemically, there is no one driver. Racism made it easier to perpetuate slavery, which was profitable.

    I guess I will have to look into 1619 which I really had no interest in doing. If she is saying that racism was the driver of slavery to the exclusion of class I’d like to know. But if she is saying slavery wouldn’t have been possible without racism that might be more true. Although this country was founded on the exploitation of poor white youth from England through indentured servitude. Distinction without a difference?

    My sister is on the faculty at UNC and is utterly disgusted that the legislature can f*ck with tenure at the behest of a wealthy donor.

    1. vlade

      There’s a body of academic studies (for whatever they are worth), arguing, IMO quite well, that racism was created by the need to have an apology for slavery after white-slavery became more or less extinct. The extinction of white slavery (which happened by mid 18th century IIRC), was really driven by the Church, and racism provided an excuse of “lifting an inferior race” good deed (yeah, right).

  23. 430MLK

    On Nikole Hannah Jones, tenure, and research material:
    This tenure termination hearing at the University of Kentucky, the school’s first in nearly 40 years according to yesterday’s article, was for “significant research misconduct in a number of scholarly papers.” Shi is in a hard-science field, but might make for some sort of comparison.

    “In what could be a first, UK’s Board of Trustees will vote on firing tenured faculty member”


    1. flora

      an aside: Academics encountering free speech issues in the academy, who might once have called the A.C.L.U., have a new organization to call on for defending their rights – one that’s dedicated to free speech in academia and education. F.I.R.E isn’t conflicted about supporting the First Amendment wtr any other cultural issues.


      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        > F.I.R.E isn’t conflicted about supporting the First Amendment wtr any other cultural issues.

        Not conflicted might be an understatement. Eager maybe? Didn’t want to give them my email to hear which cases they are actually fighting for but my guess is it’s the Bakkes of the world…

    2. allan

      Thank you for the link. Removing someone who was already long-since tenured
      (and in fact holds an endowed chair), and a big-time grant rainmaker,
      is almost certainly not based on politics. The story doesn’t give details, but it looks bad.

      BTW, at the same site, there was this story:

      This $1 billion company hailed for innovation is bringing its global HQ to Lexington

      A smart waste and recycling solutions company worth over $1 billion and hailed for its innovation is bringing its global headquarters to Lexington’s City Center.
      Rubicon Technologies, a software platform that provides solutions for waste and recycling to businesses and governments … which has been called “Uber for trash” — was previously headquartered in Atlanta …

      [CEO] Morris wrote in a 2019 letter that his goal is to end waste and that his company “made an early strategic decision to use every tool in our arsenal — customer centricity, small business empowerment, and the strength of digital platforms and data — to transform a stagnating industry whose business model was a threat to the health of our planet.” …

      As Rubicon developed over the past 13 years, the company made headlines as it reached a reported $500 million valuation and added star actor Leonardo DiCaprio to its board of directors. Uber’s founding chief technology officer currently serves on the board of directors.

      The Bezzle just doesn’t get much better.

  24. freebird

    Re: the locked cursor. Sometimes one can bumble into a library or tech store or apple store and ask to briefly borrow a mouse long enough to reset some things.

  25. fresno dan

    At a recent Pentagon press conference, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided a succinct update on America’s longest ever war. “With respect to Afghanistan,” he told reporters, “our primary military objective at this point is a change of mission to conduct a safe, responsible, coordinated, and deliberate retrograde of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in good order.” The operation was unfolding “in a synchronized fashion, shoulder to shoulder with our allies.” Indeed, Milley reported, “we are now in the final phase of that strategic retrograde.”
    Retrograde. I kinda possibly thought I perhaps knew what the word meant. RETROGRADE. Hmmmm…
    Finally, I decided that maybe I didn’t actually know what retrograde meant. So I googled it:
    The term retrograde comes from the Latin word retrogradus, which literally means “backward step.” As the name suggests, retrograde is when a planet appears to go backward in its orbit, as viewed from Earth. Astronomers refer to this as “apparent retrograde motion,” because it is an optical illusion.
    So I also tried Merriam Webster:
    Definition of retrograde (Entry 1 of 3)
    1a(1): having or being motion in a direction contrary to that of the general motion of similar bodies and especially east to west among the stars
    Saturn is retrograde for another week
    (2): having or being a direction of rotation or revolution that is clockwise as viewed from the north pole of the sky or a planet
    a retrograde orbit
    b: moving, occurring, or performed in a backward direction
    c: occurring or performed in a direction opposite to the normal or forward direction of conduction or flow: such as
    (1): occurring along nerve cell processes toward the cell body
    retrograde degeneration of nerve fibers
    — compare ANTEROGRADE sense 1a
    (2): occurring opposite to the normal direction or path of blood circulation
    retrograde blood flow in veins with incompetent valves
    — compare ANTEROGRADE sense 1b
    d: contrary to the normal order : INVERSE
    2: tending toward or resulting in a worse or previous state
    4: characterized by retrogression
    5: affecting memories of a period prior to a precipitating event (such as brain injury or disease)
    retrograde amnesia
    — compare ANTEROGRADE sense 2
    6: RETRO
    retrograde fashion

    So….the US military is going ?West? instead of ?East? in Afghanistan? Or going from Mercury to Mars?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Back during the Korean war, the Chinese crossed the border at the Yalu River and pushed the UN forces back at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Actually, it was more of a route than a battle that led to a full scale retreat back down the peninsular. When asked, A Marine General said at the time“Retreat, Hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.”

      A deliberate retrograde is just more of the same. But it does hide what this military tactic actually is-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FPELc1wEvk (10 seconds)

      1. Tom Stone

        Rev, i read about the actions of Ray Davis during that retreat recently, leading men 14 miles at night across Korean mountains in the middle of a blizzard in order to outflank a blocking Chinese position
        Map and compass for navigation and the maps were not the best.
        If that night movement had failed the 1st Marine Division would almost certainly been wiped out.
        My late Uncle David served with the 1st Marines during the retreat from Choisin and once the USMC service records become available again I’m going to request his.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Tom Stone
          June 8, 2021 at 10:54 pm’

          It was a bad time that. Since you can’t get ahold of his USMC records right now, you might want to check other sources of info such as memoirs of Marines that were there, unit histories, and perhaps he may have been mentioned in a newspaper article once or given his story in one (especially local papers and also after they returned)-


    2. tegnost

      Astronomers refer to this as “apparent retrograde motion,” because it is an optical illusion.
      well that settles that, I guess, although I might prefer inverse contradictory anterograde

  26. Robert Gray

    Re: New York Magazine

    I had to go to the interweb to find out what FOMO means (and I can’t have been the only one?!?). Does that mean that I’m missing out?

    1. griffen

      Only if you truly fear what you’ve missed on! I find the concept a little much but I’m nearing 50 in a short time!

      It’s like the incremental advancement from the YOLO crowd.

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