2:00PM Water Cooler 7/13/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, when updating, I somehow mis-pasted the original text for Water Cooler instead of the text with UPDATEs. Sorry for the confusion. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Another bird recorded in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from a Missouri wetlands. There’s a lot going on! The dove sounds hoarse.

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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:

Oof. This after 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health established has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols.

Case count by United States regions:

Oof. Increased slope. The slope is nothing like it was 476 days ago, but upward it is. We should know the impact of travel and all the family gatherings by July 4 + 14 call it July 21 or so. And of course summer camp, Bible School, etc. (Note that these numbers are if anything understated, since the CDC does not collect breakthrough infections unless they involve hospitalization, and encourages states and localities not to collect the data either.) I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line. Note that the country as a whole is near where the Northeast (mostly New York) was at the peak of its crisis in the first wave.

Covid cases top ten states: for the last four weeks (hat tip, alert reader Lou Anton):

California passes Texas, hoo boy. Missouri down, but Louisiana, Georgia, and Nevada are up.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report July 8 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better. This chart updates Tuesdays and Fridays, presumbly by end-of-day.)

Test positivity:

South running away with the field.

Hospitalization (CDC):

No bad news yet.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

No bad news yet, though there is a little upward blip.

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up.

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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

“McCarthy Expects Pelosi To Veto Right-Wing Appointees To Capitol Riot Probe” [Forbes]. “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday predicted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will use her power to block appointees she deems too right-wing to the select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack, offering a rare glimpse into his thinking on the committee…. The text of the resolution creating the committee gives Pelosi the ability to appoint all 13 of its members, with a requirement that she “consult” McCarthy about 5 of them.” • It has occurred to me that one reason the space of the House 1/6 investigation as been so slow, despite the earth-shattering nature of the event, is that nobody knows how to handle the likelihood of FBI involvement in the riot, as in Malheur (nine informants on site), and the Michigan kidnapping case (twelve), and many others. It’s worth noting that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, one of groups involved in the riot, was a prolific FBI informant.

Biden Administration

“The Memo: Biden struggles to impose his will as problems multiply” [The Hill]. “But the president’s difficulties are many in number. Combined and left unaddressed, they add up to a general sense of chaos that offers an inviting target for his opponents.” • So looking forward to 2022, which the molasses-brained Biden administrations seems to think is a decade away….

“Top Biden ally pleads with him to scrap filibuster for election reform” [Politico]. “House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told POLITICO Biden “should endorse” the idea of creating a carveout to the legislative filibuster in the Senate for legislation that applies to the Constitution. In effect, the reform would make it possible for Democrats to pass their sweeping elections reform bill and another bill reauthorizing key sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act with just Democratic support. It’s a sentiment the congressman says he’s shared with White House counselor Steve Ricchetti and Office of Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond as well. ‘I’ve even told that to the vice president,’ Clyburn said. Biden could ‘pick up the phone and tell [Sen.] Joe Manchin, ‘Hey, we should do a carve out.’ Clyburn said, referring to the centrist West Virginia Democrat who has resisted filibuster reform. “I don’t care whether he does it in a microphone or on the telephone — just do it.’ Clyburn’s comments are the latest attempt by senior Democrats to find a way around Republican opposition to their election reform legislation. Biden himself is set to embark on a more aggressive campaign to try and move public opinion behind those bills.”

Biden on Afghanistan. Sensible:

From February 3, 2020. The “successor ideology” rationale for staying in Afghanistan always struck me as weak. Certainly an odd use for the military!

“Voters Chose Boring Over Bombast. They Got Biden’s Penchant for Pontificating” [New York Times]. • Oh, so that’s what they did?

“There’s a Good Reason Biden Singled Out Railroads for Criticism” [Business Week]. “Biden’s order touches on one of the most sensitive issues in freight railroading: reciprocal switching, which is akin to net neutrality for the internet except that instead of electrons it deals with rails, switches, and long trains laden with everything from coal to soybeans. Under reciprocal switching, a railroad can pay a competitor to deliver cars for it to a customer that it has no way of reaching otherwise. Reciprocal switching breaks the monopoly control that a railroad has over its captive customers…. [T]he Association of American Railroads, which said the executive order ‘throws an unnecessary wrench into freight rail’s critical role’ in transportation. ‘For decades,’ it said in a statement, ‘large corporations dissatisfied with paying fair-market rates to ship products by rail have sought to leverage political influence to change that framework and force railroads to hand over traffic to competitors who might charge less.'” • Decades! Decades, I tell ya!

Democrats en Deshabille

“Pelosi and a lifetime of trading” [Unusual Whales]. “So far, Pelosi’s family has done very well trading over the last year. Her one year returns for her stocks is 45.59%, and her option returns are 66.7%. This is pretty incredible, for an average return of her stocks and options is 56.15%. The S&P, with its raucous best performing year, is only up 36% from last June. Most of Pelosi’s gains are quite interesting, given the timing of her plays. For example, she was able to get into TSLA, DIS around stimulus news, NVDA before American Semiconductor funding was announced, among a long list of interesting picks.”

Nina Turner’s real enemies:

Still waiting for Obama to stick the shiv in. Or Michelle.

“John Fetterman’s tattoos explained: Lt. governor of Pennsylvania enters Senate race” [The Focus]. “Today, 8 February, he’s announced his entry into Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate race. He kicked off his campaign with a statement that reads: ‘I believe the union way of life is sacred. I believe in healthcare as a fundamental, basic human right. I believe in environmental justice, I believe our criminal justice system needs a significant overhaul. I believe that the war on drugs needs to stop and we need to legalize marijuana across this country. I believe that the LGBTQIA community deserves the same rights and protections that the rest of us enjoy in this country.”

“Gov. Cuomo loses NY transit union support amid ongoing scandals” [New York Post]. “Cuomo has been under fire for months amid dueling investigations, including an impeachment inquiry, into several allegations of sexual harassment and his administration’s handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths. Federal investigators are also probing alleged misuse of state resources to write his $5.1 million pandemic memoir, “American Crisis.” The governor has denied any wrongdoing. TWU backed Cuomo in his 2018 reelection bid against Cynthia Nixon, who made the governor’s management of the MTA a key issue. [TWU International President John Samuelsen’ at the time blasted the actress-turned-pol as an out-of-touch ‘opportunist’ with a grudge against MTA workers. Samuelsen said the tables have turned with the barrage of scandals orbiting Cuomo. ‘How could the labor movement support someone for governor who engaged in workforce criminality, sexual harassment?” he asked.” • The same way liberal Democrats support Bill Clinton? More: “The former Cuomo ally also groaned about plans to split the MTA’s top job into two positions and use non-union labor at Grand Central Terminal, as well as the Cuomo’s response to reports in 2019 of overtime abuse and fraud at the Long Island Rail Road.” Sure is odd that Cuomo isn’t getting The Full Kavanaugh™.

Republican Funhouse

“Trump, DeSantis lead CPAC straw poll” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) led the pack in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) straw poll for the 2024 GOP presidential nominee. Trump held a commanding lead, with 70 percent of those who responded to the survey saying they would vote for him in the Republican primary if it were held today. DeSantis came in second with 21 percent. But when polling the 2024 Republican primary ballot without Trump, DeSantis led the pack with 68 percent of the vote.” • It is true that electing Trump a second time would own the libs in the worst possible way. If they accepted the results of the election, as they did not in 2016.

“Trumpworld wants distance from QAnon even as the ex-president winks at it” [Politico]. “This past weekend, two promoters of QAnon conspiracy theories were given press credentials to Donald Trump’s MAGA rally in Sarasota, Fla. The men took selfies with their badges, taunted journalists covering the event as ‘fake news,’ showed off their wristbands printed with the movement’s slogan — “#WWG1WGA” — and generally reveled in the access they’d scored. Not everyone was happy to see them there. Trump’s press team said the two men, Jeffrey Pedersen and his podcast co-host Shannon Shadygroove:, were not welcome, and had registered for the rally with “Red State Talk Radio,” a network that has sent people who, a Trump aide said, ‘appear to be legitimate’ to events before. Pederson and Grooove were later identified as QAnon followers by Alex Kaplan of progressive watchdog group Media Matters, after which Trump’s team said they are considering a new policy to verify reporters ahead of events to prevent people like the two men from gaining access. On top of that, they said they will continue efforts to tamp down on the proliferation of swag that promotes the conspiracy at Trump events and rallies.” • To be fair, RussiaGate never had merch. But perhaps NPR already sold liberal Democrats all the tote bags they need?

“Critics Corner with Grover Norquist” [American Compass]. “People used to say that we had a three-legged stool. You have the social conservatives, the economic conservatives, and the foreign policy conservatives, and that was the coalition, the fusion that put together the modern Republican Party. The problem is the free market economics pretty well written out, absent the Soviet Union, what’s the unifying thesis of defense? And social policy, well, define how. So that didn’t really work very well. The way that the modern Republican Party, the Reagan Republican Party, the Conservative Movement operates is that it is a coalition of groups, individuals, and structures that on their vote moving issue, what they want is to be left alone by the government…. And so around the table, what people want is to be left alone. It’s not all a question of cash, it’s a question of being left alone, do what you want.” • Or, as we say, “lead my life.”

“The obscure foundation funding “Critical Race Theory” hysteria” [Popular Info]. “A Popular Information investigation reveals that many of the entities behind the CRT panic share a common funding source: The Thomas W. Smith Foundation.” • I think there’s less here than meets the eye. Since the “entities” include the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, ALEC, AEI, and a bunch of NGOs that don’t get funding from the Center for American Progress, the Smith Foundation looks like another run-of-the-mill donor, to me.

“Lift Black Voices: Engage with ‘The 1619 Project’ on Facebook Hub” [Pulitzer Center]. • Funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook Journalism Project, The Rockefeller Foundation, and so forth.

Obama Legacy

“Obama releases 2021 summer reading list, continuing tradition” [The Hill]. • Interestingly, a book about the Sacklers, when even WaPo faults Obama for his inaction in the opioid crisis.

“‘This Is a Scandal’: Documents Reveal Obama’s EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking in 2011” [Common Dreams (jo6pac)]. “”The Obama-Biden administration approved the use of toxic PFAS chemicals for fracking a decade ago,” said [Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch], ‘and all these years later, President Joe Biden’s practices haven’t seemed to change a bit.’ ‘The Biden administration has claimed to be concerned about PFAS contamination throughout the country,’ Hauter said. ‘Biden himself pledged during the campaign to halt new fracking on federal lands. Meanwhile, this administration is approving new fracking permits at a pace similar to Trump, with no letup in sight.’ Earlier this month, whistleblowers at the EPA accused the Biden administration of continuing the ‘war on science,’ with managers at the agency allegedly modifying reports about the risks posed by chemicals and retaliating against employees who report the misconduct.” • 

Realignment and Legitimacy

This is totally not political:

That nothing workers do as workers excercising their class power can ever be political could be said to be the unspoken central dogma of the “successor ideology.”

“How Not to Cover Critical Race Theory” [FAIR]. “It’s textbook backlash politics: Racist police violence sparked a movement demanding a re-examination of racism in America and systemic reform that might challenge white privilege, so the right launched its own movement to shut down conversations about race and white privilege in any and all institutional arenas, most prominently schools, government offices (including the military) and corporations, that could possibly make that happen.” • Which totally explains why the Biden administration is giving cops more money and Democrat loyalists like Clyburn were yammering that “Defund the police” lost them the election. More, from Kimberlé Crenshaw: “When we start dictating what can be taught, what can be said, and what is unsayable, we are well, well down the road towards an authoritarian regime.” • I think “how to cover” CRT — as with any movement — is to look at its social basis, as Yang and Taibbi did last week. There’s none of that here.

A nation of snitches (1):

Shade of The Lives of Others.

A nation of snitches (2): “Citizens, Not the State, Will Enforce New Abortion Law in Texas” [New York Times]. “People across the country may soon be able to sue abortion clinics, doctors and anyone helping a woman get an abortion in Texas, under a new state law that contains a legal innovation with broad implications for the American court system. The provision passed the State Legislature this spring as part of a bill that bans abortion after a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat, usually at about six weeks of pregnancy. Many states have passed such bans, but the law in Texas is different. Ordinarily, enforcement would be up to government officials, and if clinics wanted to challenge the law’s constitutionality, they would sue those officials in making their case. But the law in Texas prohibits officials from enforcing it. Instead, it takes the opposite approach, effectively deputizing ordinary citizens — including from outside Texas — to sue clinics and others who violate the law. It awards them at least $10,000 per illegal abortion if they are successful. ‘It’s completely inverting the legal system,’ said Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas at Austin. ‘It says the state is not going to be the one to enforce this law. Your neighbors are.’ The result is a law that is extremely difficult to challenge before it takes effect on Sept. 1 because it is hard to know whom to sue to block it, and lawyers for clinics are now wrestling with what to do about it.” •

Stats Watch

Small Business Optimism: “United States Nfib Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States increased to 102.5 in June of 2021 from 99.6 in May, reaching the highest level in 8 months…. ‘Small businesses optimism is rising as the economy opens up, yet a record number of employers continue to report that there are few or no qualified applicants for open positions. Owners also are struggling to keep their inventory stocks up with strong sales and supply chain problems’, Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist said.”

Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “Annual inflation rate in the US accelerated to 5.4% in June of 2021 from 5% in May, hitting a fresh high since August of 2008, and well above forecasts of 4.9%. Biggest price increases were recorded for used cars and trucks (45.2%), gasoline (45.1%), fuel oil (44.5), utility gas service (15.6%) and transportation services (10.4%).” • Effects of the chip shortage rolls downhill.

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Inflation: “Global supply chains are no longer offering the protection from inflation they once did. Some economists say the secular forces such as globalization that have long helped keep prices in check are reversing, and… the shifts that have intensified during the pandemic may mark the end of a long era of low inflation and trigger new responses from policy makers” [Wall Street Journal]. “For one thing, the benefits of global trade, supported by low shipping costs that kept consumer prices in wealthy nations reined in, may have run out. Governments are facing protectionist pressures and companies are reassessing vulnerabilities of complex, far-flung supply chains following the shortages of the pandemic. At the same time, the price-damping impact of e-commerce may have peaked.”‘

Commodities: “Global prices for coffee beans are climbing and supplies are thinning out…, amid broad developments in supply chains that could drive up costs at the breakfast table. Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee producer, is facing one of its worst droughts in almost a century and the country’s coffee harvest this year is expected to drop by the biggest year-over-year amount since 2003” [Wall Street Journal]. “That comes as global coffee consumption is expected to exceed production this year for the first time since 2017, with consumer markets now adjusting following the pandemic-driven upheaval that upended traditional buying patterns. Other producing countries are reporting better harvests but their exporters are coping with logistics problems, including protests blocking ports in Colombia and a shortage of shipping containers and skyrocketing freight costs in Vietnam.

Shipping: “New data-sharing platform for shipping industry aims to reduce inefficiency: Heng Swee Keat” [Straits Times]. “new digital infrastructure for the shipping industry aims to smooth out the kinks in cargo handling processes, anchoring ways for logistics players to optimise operations. This could unlock more than US$150 million (S$202 million) of value for the supply chain ecosystem in Singapore each year, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (July 13). He hailed the service, called Singapore Trade Data Exchange, as a breakthrough for the industry, which is at present marked by ‘significant inefficiencies.’ ‘Logistics players face frequent congestion at depots and warehouses,’ Mr Heng observed. ‘They are not able to fully plan due to limited visibility of where the cargo is in the supply chain.’ In addition, shippers often have to complete multiple forms requiring similar pieces of information, while buyers are unable to accurately track their orders. Having a common data infrastructure will allow firms to exchange information, giving them access to previously unavailable or hard-to-obtain data such as real-time cargo location. This will help industry players optimise cargo handling and operations. The new service, announced by Mr Heng at the Asia Tech x Singapore Summit, is the brainchild of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Alliance for Action on Supply Chain Digitalisation. The alliance, which was set up last year, is led by PSA International group chief executive Tan Chong Meng and Trafigura Group Asia-Pacific chief executive Tan Chin Hwee.” • Maybe. Common data infrastructures are hard, because insurgents are the ones who tend to want standards; dominant players want the standards to reflect what they do.

Tech: “A New Tool Shows How Google Results Vary Around the World” [Wired]. “Search Atlas makes it easy to see how Google offers different responses to the same query on versions of its search engine offered in different parts of the world. The research project reveals how Google’s service can reflect or amplify cultural differences or government preferences—such as whether Beijing’s Tiananmen Square should be seen first as a sunny tourist attraction or the site of a lethal military crackdown on protesters.” • So far as I can tell, the new tool is not available to the public (see this Twitter thread). Am I missing it?

Manufacturing: “The Boeing 787 has a new nose issue” [Air Insight]. “The FAA has identified another manufacturing quality issue on the Dreamliner. The Boeing 787 has a new nose issue in the pressure bulkhead area. It has been found in undelivered Dreamliners during inspections, the regulatory agency confirmed on July 12 in a statement to Reuters and later by Boeing. We don’t know for sure if this is a completely new issue or if it is related to the previous quality issues in this area. Problems in the nose section 41 have been identified since October, when Boeing, the FAA, and 787-suppliers started an extensive review of the Dreamliner production and quality processes. As we discussed in our story in April, the 787 has a number of quality issues. The first was found in August 2019 in the aft fuselage and included incorrect shimming between sections 47 and 48. This has been traced to a software issue that incorrectly read the size of the shims, which are tiny pieces of composites that fill up any gaps where the sections join.” Boeing CEO David Calhoun last month: “[T]he FAA rightfully wants to know more about the analytics and process controls that we put in place, which are different than the ones that we had previously, so that we could be more perfect.” More perfect? Be that as it may, more on shimming here at “Manufacturing woes.”

Supply Chain: “The global semiconductor shortage is reaching construction contractors and other service businesses that use small work trucks. Auto makers are prioritizing high-margin vehicles for the retail market as they try to stretch chip supplies across their factories, [which] is squeezing the availability of cargo vans and other smaller trucks that fill service-sector fleets” [Wall Street Journal]. “The inventory crunch shows how the impact of the chip shortage is cascading across businesses beyond the retail automotive lots, affecting a growing range of commercial operations. In some cases, the squeeze is hampering companies’ ability to expand operations to meet booming demand in areas such as construction. Some buyers say trucks they bought last year are still in storage, awaiting chips. J.D. Power says 14% of vehicles sold this year were to fleet customers, compared with 22% in 2019—a difference of roughly 695,000 vehicles.” • Hopefully, the chip shortage is impacting the Internet of Things, and we’ll figure out we don’t need it.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 37 Fear (previous close: 38 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 13 at 1:19pm.

Health Care

“Inverse association between hypertension treatment and COVID-19 prevalence in Japan” [International Journal of Infectious Diseases (acacia)]. From the Abstract: “Cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 depends on angiotensin-converting enzyme II. Angiotensin-converting enzyme II is homologous with, but acts antagonistically to, angiotensin-converting enzyme and has the critical function of protecting the lungs. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are major antihypertensive agents. Thus, we aimed to analyze the impact of the prevalence of preexisting hypertension on the local spread of COVID-19.” And: “Prevalence of COVID-19 inversely correlated to the ratio of treated hypertension.” Further: “In our study, the type of hypertensive medication could not be evaluated. In Japan, calcium channel blockers are the most commonly used antihypertensives.”

“The Kids Are Alright” [David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine]. “In fact, for all the consternation that the United States responded to the pandemic by abandoning individuals to fend for themselves — a narrative belied by the data, which shows a roughly average level of stringency in our public response and a remarkably generous level of social-welfare spending, as Alex Tabarrok, among others, has noted — this principle of universal and shared burden has guided an enormous amount of our pandemic response: We have treated the disease almost as a uniform threat as a way of encouraging uniform vigilance. The best way to stop deaths was to stop cases, went the thinking, which dovetailed naturally with every parent’s intuitive caution and desire to keep their kids healthy and uninfected — and distrust, perhaps, of anyone who suggested that your child would be fine if she got sick. But whatever we told ourselves in doing so, we didn’t pull those kids out of school and put them in masks for their own. We did it for the sake of others. But on that point mass vaccination in the United States has utterly changed the landscape of the pandemic: not only by protecting those who have received shots, indeed astonishingly well, but by changing the calculus for all those who haven’t, by eliminating almost all of the mortality risk of the population at large. All told, 80 percent of American deaths have been among those 65 and above. According to the White House, 90 percent of American seniors are now fully vaccinated. Which means that while more cases are likely and some amount of hospitalization and death, as well, vaccines have eliminated the overwhelming share of American mortality risk, with the disease now circulating almost exclusively among people who can endure it much, much better — kids especially. The country’s whole risk profile has changed. But our intuitions about risk tolerance haven’t — at least not yet.”

“When and how will we know if we need Covid-19 booster shots?” [STAT]. “Public health officials, not pharmaceutical executives, will be making the final call on when and whether booster shots will be needed. Pfizer and other manufacturers will surely try to push for approvals; Moderna is already testing a Delta-variant-specific booster. Depending on how their conversations go with vaccine regulators at the Food and Drug Administration, companies may apply for a change to their emergency use authorizations (or to the vaccine license, if they secure one before applying to change their vaccine label to a three-dose one). But unless the FDA agrees to the change, and unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends use of an additional booster — in some or all of the people who got the Pfizer shot — this will remain a two-dose vaccine. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s Covid adviser, made that clear after a Monday meeting with Pfizer, where the company briefed key administration advisers on its as-yet-unpublished data. The company has said the data show that ‘a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination.’ Fauci said that anyone who thinks a decision on booster shots is imminent isn’t reading the situation correctly.” • Imminent. C’mon, let’s be fair. Moving the goalposts takes time! It’s a skilled operation!

“Opinion: Vermont’s and South Dakota’s covid infection rates are remarkably similar — but their outcomes are not” [WaPo]. “In the spring of 2020, governors had to make decisions with little federal guidance and little historical precedent. But by that summer, it was much clearer how to curtail the disease, protect public health and manage the economy carefully. By following the science, Vermont saved an enormous number of lives and has now reached a degree of population immunity through vaccination that makes large outbreaks unlikely. Embracing a policy of “personal responsibility,” South Dakota did little to protect its residents, leading to the deaths of more than 2,000 South Dakotans and the suffering of tens of thousands more. To avoid more unnecessary outbreaks, we need to learn from states that have successfully weathered the pandemic, follow the science and keep vaccinating Americans.” • I’m not sure this comparison — Red State bad, Blue State good — is fair. A Covid chart watcher can see that New York, California, Texas, and Florida all performed poorly, despite different regimens. Two Blue States, two Red States. And so–

Thinking in binaries is gonna kill us all:


“The American West is drying up before our very eyes” [Spectrum News 1 (Wukchumni)]. “Lake Mead supplies water to several major cities in Arizona, California and Nevada. Ninety percent of Las Vegas’ water comes from Lake Mead alone. Elected officials in western states have already began enacted policies to limit water use during this dire time. California Governor Gavin Newsome recently issued a drought emergency proclamation for 41 of the state’s 58 counties. The proclamation empowers the state to take greater control over water resources. The water that flows through the Hoover Dam also helps create electricity for the western U.S. Due to the record low water level, less water is flowing through the dam, lowering hydropower by 25%. With less energy production, rolling blackouts have been more common across California this year as above-average heat strikes cities from the Desert Southwest to the Pacific Northwest…. If we continue on the current trend we’re on, the day may come where some painful water cuts will have to be made to conserve what water is left.”

“North Texas is closer to building ‘devastating’ reservoir. Residents are fighting back” [Star-Telegram]. “On Wednesday, members of the Texas Water Development Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2022 SNorth Texas water planners included the reservoir on their list of strategies, with an expected completion of Marvin Nichols during the 2050s. Officials in Northeast Texas wanted the reservoir delayed until at least 2070, which would stall the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s ability to apply for state and federal permits.tate Water Plan, a blueprint that is created every five years through submissions from 16 regional groups….. ‘We would have hoped, just like everyone else would, that we could conserve our way out of building any new projects,’ [J. Kevin Ward, general manager of the Trinity River Authority] said. ‘No one wants to build a project if they don’t have to.” Well, except real estate developers. More: “We need the water for the Metroplex for it to continue to grow according to population projections, and we represent probably 30% of the economic activity in the state of Texas.'” • See, there’s your problem….

Under the Influence

“How should an influencer sound?” [Vox]. “[W]hat’s most interesting to watch about YouTube voice and the influencer accent is how normal people have adapted to it in their own, regular-person TikTok videos and Instagram stories. If you listen closely to enough people’s front-facing camera videos, you’ll hear a voice that sounds somewhere between a TED Talk and sponsored content, perhaps even within your own social circles. Is this a sign that as influencer culture bleeds into our everyday lives, many of the quirks that professionals use will become normal for us too? Maybe! Is it a sign that social platforms are turning us all into salespeople? Also maybe!” And: “As more of us pivot to this kind of life, a life of talking into our cameras, performing authenticity, and building precious clout, it’ll be interesting to see how YouTube voice evolves. Perhaps the frequent up-and-downspeak will turn toward the monotone of TikTok voice or the staccato influencer voice or whatever voice is suited to the platform that comes next. Perhaps it’s a faceless audio-only app like Clubhouse or some kind of virtual reality massive multiplayer online game where we need to figure out how to listen to each other in real time or else we’ll be eaten by a robot dragon. I, for one, look forward to a universe where “door-to-door salesman” isn’t the voice I hear radiating from the internet every day.” • Pivot. Another word that I hate.

Guillotine Watch

“Bringing beloved regional landscapes to Amazon’s HQ2” [Amazon]. “Inspired by the native ecologies of the mid-Atlantic region, the design team for HQ2’s PenPlace will deliver an inclusive community park for Arlingtonians, Amazon employees, and visitors alike.” Here is an image:

Just so we’re clear, that green patch labeled “forest” is not a forest. And the building isn’t a “helix.” It’s an enormous screw. For obvious reasons.

Class Warfare

“The First Mill In The United States” [Richard Vague, Delancey Place]. From Vague’s An Illustrated Business History of the United States: “Many of the women and young girls who worked in the booming textile factories of Lowell, Massachusetts, came to be known as the ‘Lowell Girls,’ or ‘female operatives.’ They usually ranged in age from fifteen to thirty, and many were the daughters of farmers who were seeking economic independence or looking to bring in extra income for their families. The first workers in the mills were from the region, but as cotton mill work increased, many immigrant women joined the workforce. These years saw some friction: labor protests erupted in which these young women asserted that they were the ‘daughters of freemen’ with rights that could not be ‘trampled upon with impunity.’ Although the work was arduous and the hours long, women remained the backbone of this workforce throughout much of the nineteenth century. In 1844 the Lowell Girls formed one of the first female labor organizations in the country, the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association, whose president, Sarah Bagley, was a vocal proponent of workers’ and women’s rights.” • We have the same story today in Bangla Desh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar….


“The Best Teeth-Whitening Toothpastes and Kits, According to Dentists” [New York Magazine]. “We spoke to six different dentists all who say hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient you should be looking for in whitening products.” • Let’s remember that teeth are a class marker.

News of the Wired

Language aside:

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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” (PM):

PM: “Idylwood park. Redmond, WA.”

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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. eb

    Hmmmm……First no Watercooler, then to comments with some witticism, as I’m posting comment…..”oh, there’s waterooler”, quickly dump wit, back to site….Waterooler not to be seen !? Aggressive editing ? Or problems this end?
    Maybe later.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Problems your end, I think. I did a small update at about the same time as your comment, but that (depending on your setup) should not cause the page to disappear.

  2. Carolinian

    want is to be left alone by the government

    See this morning’s Boston Review Link about “Neoliberalism’s bailout problem.” (hint: they don’t really want to be left alone)

    In fairness it should be said some of my state’s Republicans did object to the big 2008 bank bailout on ideological grounds. Luckily for Wall Street there was market whale Pelosi to push the bailout through. So perhaps the Boston Review should have really been writing about the Dem party’s whale problem. Shouldn’t congress people be banned from owning stocks? They could always take up art, like Hunter.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Luckily for Wall Street there was market whale Pelosi to push the bailout through

      Obama jawboned the Congressional Black Caucus. That is what pushed the bailout through. To their credit, the Republicans hated it (and they were in line with public opinion; calls were something like 200 to one against).

        1. Nikkikat

          The media was also very present in the bailout. I seem to recall a stock ticker for days on screen and the media pushing the bail out in hysterical terms.
          The present state of real estate in particular is a direct result of the many bad, bad issues rising out of that bailout. The congressional Black caucus unfortunately sells out every time it would seem.

          1. Josef K

            I’m sure Hank Paulson (along with others in the Bush regime) threatening Martial Law if the Mother of all Bailouts weren’t approved Right Now had nothing to do with it. What a card!

        2. Cas

          Not at first. Remember Paulson getting down on his knees to plead with Pelosi to support his bailout proposal (aka ransom note)? Of course once she agreed, she used her legislative skills to make it happen, and her insider status to continue to enrich herself.

          1. Carolinian

            All coming back to me now. Guess it was my outrage at a Dem bailing out the banks that exaggerated her role in my memory.

  3. Isotope_C14

    So far as I can tell, the new tool is not available to the public (see this Twitter thread). Am I missing it?

    I will check the thread when I get back to a PC, but I was watching “black bear news” on rokfin, which is quite an enjoyable climate collapse live stream, he had his twitter open, and I have all my settings the same as his, but from Germany the “trending” is different. Was set to US and all that. Perhaps because I run ABP with twitter that was it, though I doubt it.

  4. Carolinian

    Re Lake Mead–meanwhile Lake Powell upstream is both going down on top and filling up from the bottom (it catches hundreds of river miles of sediment that once passed into the Grand Canyon). Someday it will be Powell Falls and you will be able to mostly walk across it.

    Once should say it’s not all the fault of AGW because the Colorado river pact was famously created during a wet cycle year and we are now in the dry cycle

    1. Andrew Watts

      Our current generation of politicians are a bunch of lame butt female dogs. Back in the day when the Oregon Republican Party didn’t show up for the quorum count they were busy getting smashed at the casinos and dog tracks. There was only one pol sober enough to head back to do his job when the state police came looking. Nowadays they flee the state to Idaho of all places.

      The Texas Democrats are just as big of losers as them. We should pass a federal law that requires a two drink minimum before breaking quorum. They should also flee to someplace cool like Hawaii and not pretend to be doing a political junket or something.

      Rabble, rabble, rabble.

      1. rowlf

        I’m not very impressed by the GOP state legislatures pushing voting laws. All they had to do was frame the new laws as preventing Russian interference in Our Democracy, but no, they couldn’t event take that step. Morons. It was served up on a platter after the last four years. Political Tee-ball of all things.

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    So Clybie-poo want Biden to “do something” about “eliminating the filibuster” to get some “voting rights” laws passed? Too bad Clybie-poo didn’t think about that when he conspired with Obama and the DemLords to cheat Sanders out of his opportunity to win the DemParty Nomination.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if all eleventeen million embittered Sanders supporters all spent the next few months individually calling all of Clyburn’s offices and phone numbers . . . . with a straight face and a polite voice . . . .and ask how Clyburn feels about his choice for President now? And remind the phone call takers that a President Sanders would have tried to change or destroy that filibuster without having to be begged by a Congressman with no power to make a near-death Biden do anything about anything?

    And wouldn’t it be funny if all eleventeen million bitter Sanderistas also sent cards and letters to that effect to all of Clyburn’s addresses?

    How’d it work out for you, Clybie-poo? You got the man you conspired to get. Happy now?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And if all the Sanders supporters really do send in those millions of calls and cards and letters and the filibuster remains in place anyway, I think it would really be neat if Sanders himself were to twist the knife by saying to Clyburn personally, ” You know, Jimmie-baby poo . . . . if I had been President, we would have gotten rid of the filibuster.”

      And maybe Sanders could say it all over the media too , in such a way as to cause Clyburn the absolute maximum of shame and humiliation and embarrassment . . . . so much of it that some of it could slop over onto America’s First Black President.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Clyburn does not want to end the filibuster, just get a special snowflake carve out for his special bit of legislation. He’s a looter too, just wants some cover for his corruption. Likely black voters will keep him in power as long as he wants it.

  6. Lou Anton

    >So looking forward to 2022, which the molasses-brained Biden administrations seems to think is a decade away….

    Must really be banking on those child tax credits to generate goodwill if that’s the last piece of meaningful legislation between now and then. Also, since they run out sometime in mid-2022, gives them something to blame the other party for. “Those mean republicans took your child survival checks away…a vote us means we’ll FIGHT FOR getting those back.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And I’m waiting for the Whitehouse Switchboard auto-message which says: ” Helen Waite is now in charge of the ‘where’s my $600 dollars?’ department. If you want your 600 dollars, go to Helen Waite.”

        1. jo6pac

          Her line will almost alway be busy or sorry mail box is full call back at another time;-)

        2. ambrit

          You immediately made me think of Rose Mary Woods, Richard Nixon’s personsl secretary; she of the (in)famous “lost” 18 minutes on the Watergate Tapes.
          Her message would have said: “We’re sorry. Your message will be forwarded when we can figure out which button means “On.”
          Woods: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Mary_Woods

    1. jsn

      There remains that other “reconcilliation” opportunity for team Blue.

      If whoever pushed the first $2T through in the Winter has enjoyed the experience of actually governing, whoever that was and is may pull a similar stunt toward the end of Summer.

      The cash burn from such a move could be quite a boost going into 2022. A possibility I’m not counting on since the $2T in Winter was the first opportunity to dissapoint team Blue has missed since the Johnson Administration.

  7. PHLDenizen

    CRT, “Successor Ideology”, whatever the fsck you want to call it is rapidly beginning to kill species incapable of pushing back against it. In this case, companion dogs and cats:


    I’ve been following Nathan for years, own a couple of his books. AFAIC, the pre-eminent expert on animal shelter operations. His takedowns of PETA (Ingrid Newkirk, their founder, stating adamantly “We do not advocate ‘right to life’ for animals.”) and the ridiculous sums of money the ASPCA rakes in, while spending almost none of it on shelters, are important and ignored.

    You should read his books and Substacks, even if they’re difficult to slog through because of the subject matter and details.

    Katja M. Guenther, out at UC Riverside, is a lunatic. Spouting blatantly racist, immoral, and stupid on their face claims like impoverished, inner-city residents should be exempt from animal cruelty laws because capitalism/whiteness/patriarchy/*-isms make that unrealistic for them to comply with and it’s racist to expect them to be kind to their animals. They can’t help it because their socioeconomic status makes it impossible. Which is itself an insulting and racist claim.

    “CRT” is creating a legal framework for an entire class of people to behave in awful ways (if they so choose — I am NOT arguing they are lesser people), sanctioned by the elites with cover resembling the things that give cops immunity. This can be awful behavior in academia, in social settings, in work. It’s not even about violence. Well, maybe intellectual violence.

    But this is a poisonous ideology that needs to be euthanized. If the Republicans succeed, even for the wrong reasons and having no clue what they’re defeating, I’ll give them props for that.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      With a name like Katja M. Guenther, she sounds EuroCulturish, or at least EuroAncestry. In other words, White. A lot of White Progressives try to out-militant the militants with stuff like this. She is just burnishing and buffing her “more radical than thou” credentials with this kind of radical superiority stuff-strutting.

      And she is White. She is the very face of Wokeness.

    2. chris

      Wow. Thanks for sharing that essay. What a well written summary of everything that people go wrong with in woke ideology.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Just finished that essay about Harlan Weaver and what is described is several levels if vileness. And he is only a young guy as well. A person that argues for cruelty to animals is perfectly capable of arguing for cruelty to women down the track as perfectly justifiable and it just needs to see the winds of political change shift direction. In fact, they would even be prepared to bring back child labour once again as ‘those people’ would have no choice in doing so. Unsaid would be who would really benefit from such a reversion. Come to think of it, there was a study that showed a link between children that were cruel to animals and who eventually grew up to become serial killer. What an individual Weaver is.

      1. flora

        Ultra kitch . / heh. But… ultra therefore good. right? Mueller candles in the same category as poker playing dog paintings.

  8. Dave

    “so the right launched its own movement to shut down conversations about race and white privilege in any and all institutional arenas.”

    That’s dumb, the best thing for anyone to do is encourage and foment discussion.

    As a white man, when I’m confronted with the “white privilege” tar brush, usually by a second generation immigrant female,
    I just laugh and say “So What?”

    “Lost ancestors in Civil War, WWI, WWII, parents worked for decades and paid taxes, volunteered in non-profits, I worked, scrimped and saved to get what I have. Privileges, like respect, need to and can be earned by anyone. If you think it’s automatically handed to whites, most homeless men are white.”

    The conversation-ender: “So what did your parents do for you, and what have you done for yourself, to justify your level of privileges or non-privilege?

    1. PHLDenizen

      My mother, who used to be less blinded by all this privilege theory s***, actually told me “well, maybe men deserve it” when I brought up how white men — or men in general — are disproportionately homeless, drug addicted, suicidal, graduate at a lower rate, etc. Her thesis, I suppose, being some kind of gender karma whereby the sins of the entire history of men now demand penance and suffering. Patriarchy comeuppance.

      The world would have fewer wars if women were in charge, that kind of thing. If I have to hear her bang on about “old white men” villains, I’m going to stuff an ice pick in my ear canal.

      I love her immensely, but this straight up sexism fails to foster the kind of understanding and unity to fix a world that victimizes both sexes. And, among the Hillary crowd, seems to be frighteningly common.

      After waxing poetic about the magical qualities of femininity and how its political dominance would turn the world into a utopia, I have to remind her that people like Clinton and Albright are enthusiastic supporters of infanticide, bombing children and their mothers with glee. When she tries to frame it as “well, they have to to compete with men. It’s the patriarchy’s fault”, I hang up the phone or walk out of the room.

      Don’t even get her started with Anyone But Trump failing to make life better.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember someone offering me a very creative reply to that kind of feminazi hatred for men and belief in Woman Supremacy.

        He told me that since archeology and stuff showed that species man lived under a female dominated Matriarchy for 200,000 years, and men were only able to liberate themselves from the Matriarchy a bare ten thousand years ago, that men are owed 190,000 more years of Patriarchy just to get even for 200,000 years of Matriarchist Oppression.

    2. Riverboat Grambler

      I dunno. I don’t know the specifics of the conversations you’ve had, but I’m a white dude, and I don’t have to worry about an employer tossing my application cause my name sounds “brown”. I don’t have to worry about people asking me where I’m “really” from. I don’t have to worry about being inexplicably asked for a second form of ID after I already produced a driver’s license. I don’t have to worry about someone calling the cops on me for going to the “white” part of town and idling in front of some guy’s house that I’m gonna buy furniture from. That last one happened to my girlfriend who is Mexican, and when the cops got there the guy who owned the house had to prove he owned it because he was also brown. I don’t have to worry about that happening to me because I’m white, and I’m also less likely to be straight-up murdered by the cops, though it’s still a distinct possibility.

      I still have to put up with all the BS inherent in our late-stage capitalism, and I sure as hell can’t afford healthcare. I live in a college town so I’m familiar with how obnoxious id-pol rhetoric can be, and I do not have to put up with people disparaging me simply for being a white man. White privilege didn’t rocket me straight into a comfortable middle-class lifestyle, that’s for sure. But I don’t have a problem admitting that being white shields me from certain things that non-white people put up with every day. I think most people on this blog can agree that the US is pretty far from a perfect meritocracy and race is a factor in people’s lives.

      1. LifelongLib

        The things you describe used to be called discrimination, because in a just society nobody would be subjected to them. The injustice is that some people are subjected to them, not that some aren’t. Calling (relative) freedom from discrimination “privilege” implies that it’s a special reward that should be taken away. No, it’s a right that should be enforced for everyone.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the various things you don’t suffer from because you are non non-White are White Privilege, then we should take away your privilege by finding a way to make you suffer all these things at the very same rate that non-White people suffer them.

        For example, if Blue-on-White violence occurs to a lower percent of the White population than Blue-on-Black violence occurs as a percent of the Black population, is that anti-Black discrimination? If it is, then we make the police lower their rate of Blue-on-Black violence down to the rate that Blue-on-White violence now is. But if it is White Privilege, then all we have to do is instruct the police to raise their level of Blue-on-White violence high enough to equal the rate of Blue-on-Black violence. The police would be happy to comply. And presto! . . . no more White Privilege in the arena of Blue-on-Citizen violence.

  9. Samuel Conner

    > “And our public health established has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols.”

    Perhaps they’re trying to figure out how to profit from inexpensive prophylaxis and treatment before admitting that it might be possible.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Bingo! Green cleanup in aisle seven, calling Mr. Shkreli and Ms. Holmes to aisle seven…

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps they are secretly advancing the secret Overclass agenda of raising the death rate.

  10. Mikel

    “Hopefully, the chip shortage is impacting the Internet of Things, and we’ll figure out we don’t need it.”

    More people could use a walk to the light switch and door, than not.
    Meanwhile, again, great innovations for the handicapped. But they hate that being pointed out as the greatest use for these things.

    1. chris

      Yep. Everytime I see an Echo or an Alexa or a Google Home Pod and catch myself cringing at the invasion of privacy it fosters… I think of my friends with blind children who rely on IoT devices to help their kids. I wish there was a way to have those devices in a house so that it didn’t suck all your data and pipe it to Bezos. IMO it’s criminal that families who need that tech cannot have any expectations of privacy.

  11. Hepativore

    I heard that Nina Turner’s lead against Shontel Brown has now shrunk to just a seven-point difference. This is horrible news, as the DCCC smear campaign against her seems to be working. I hope that she can weather the storm, because with a race this close, there is a very high chance that Obama is going to emerge to try and sink Turner’s campaign by endorsing Brown like Clyburne and Clinton have done so far.

    What would be the best defensive strategy for Turner at this point? Can anything be done against Obama’s undeserved political clout?

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps a public-spirited media consultancy could develop a supercut of BHO assuring the banks that he is on their side.

    2. PHLDenizen

      I don’t put much stock in polls at this juncture. Trump still trounced Hillary despite the data. There are so many factors distorting their predictive usefulness, results aren’t final until the race is over — in my opinion. And at least for races this close.

      Being a PA resident, Fetterman looms larger on my radar. His record and ferocious defiance is something I don’t see evaporating if he wins. How that works in the realm of villain rotation and the harmonious RICO nature of both parties remains to be seen. I have high hopes, nonetheless.

      From a Politico blurb on the Turner race: “Turner went negative on the air recently…” I really, really, REALLY hate this negative/positive dichotomy. It’s reductive and facile. Unfortunately it exists and labeling “truth” as “negative” seems to work as a tactic to tank a campaign.

      I’m also not surprised Democratic Majority for Israel has weighed in. The foreign power that shamelessly interferes in our elections in the very manner the Russiagaters insist Putin did. If the BHO brand becomes as toxic as HRC, maybe the numbers will improve.

      Turner should really lean into her wisdom that “voting for Biden was like eating s—.” It’s not hard to turn his record of racism, corruption, and insistence that financial serfdom is a net negative.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Is the Democratic Majority weighing in “for Israel” in this case?

        I had thought the Democratic Majority was weighing in ” for Big Insura” in this case. Was I wrong?
        Was it “for Israel” the whole time? Does anyone have any real facts and date about that in THIS case?

        1. Riverboat Grambler

          Probably both/and. The Dem Big Tent simply doesn’t have room for someone wants M4A and a free Palestine.

        2. hunkerdown

          They’re just calling attention to the fact they’re over 18 and nonetheless still supporting team sports.

    3. dcblogger

      Still waiting for Obama to stick the shiv in. Or Michelle.

      as long as it looks like Turner will win Obama will not endorse her opponent. He will not risk endorsing and his candidate losing.

    4. Big River Bandido

      It’s not Obama’s endorsement that’s important — what’s significant are his instructions to his entire network of donors, politicians, consultants, acolytes, and sycophants. He can send a signal to strongly, mildly, or weakly support a candidate — with time, money and votes, or often with none of those things. He can also send a signal to use all or none of those things to strongly or weakly oppose a candidate. And former presidents can have the power to do worse. If Obama sends the signal, say, to destroy a candidate by whatever chicanery is necessary, everyone gets the message and acts accordingly. And they have, already. It would be foolish to assume that tactic is off the table here.

      Special elections are notoriously low-hanging fruit for political machines, because they occur off-season and are thus historically low turnout. Very easy for corrupt political machines to manipulate.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Could a Movement counter a Machine? Is Sanders watching what is happening here? If Turner and Sanders quietly conferred and both decided that ” this is WAR!” and decided to flood the Turnerzone with endless thousands of Sanderistas helping Turner every which way is best, would it make a difference?

        And if they saw that the only hope of victory was to make Obama and Clyburn and the Big Dems into hate objects, would they do that and could they make it work?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          And if my aunt had wheels, she’d be a bus.

          Is there anyone at this point still holding out hope that Sanders is going to make a move against the Dem machine? Has he even done anything on her behalf in this race?

  12. JBird4049

    >>>”A New Tool Shows How Google Results Vary Around the World”

    Yes, using a vpn will always give you different answers. Same everything, but the supposed address, and get different answers. I have changed my apparent location just to get information I could not get otherwise.

    Ever since The Google Overmind started to manipulate all future search results in regards to an individual’s past searches as well as locations, people have become more embubbled, manipulated, and deranged, while the Overmind’s profits have risen; we have also lost the wisdom of crowds which use to be a great benefit back when it was just a search engine and not a means of control.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I have changed my apparent location just to get information I could not get otherwise.

      Is this an easy enough thing to do that you could you explain how? Because now I’m curious to try it. Thanks!

    1. Carla

      Delta Variant Symptoms
      according to Dr. John Campbell on his youtube channel

      1. Headache
      2. Sore throat
      3. Runny nose
      4. Fever
      5. Cough

      Note: NO loss of smell

      1. JBird4049

        Oh, good. Symptoms so common that there is no way, aside from testing, to even guess if you have a cold or COVID. This just gets better and better.

        1. Raymond Sim

          No worries, two weeks or a month tops, and you’ll be able to assume with confidence that it’s Delta. : )

  13. Jason Boxman

    As a side note, The Lives of Others is a film and totally worth your time to watch. It was on one of the film rec lists when I asked a year ago.


    1. griffen

      Oh my goodness, that tweet is priceless. In a highly unsettling, ministry of Truth sort of priceless.

      Earlier we’ve had discussion about Brave New World, and now the powers that be at FBI grant upon this little nugget. Pick your poison I guess. One day it’s Huxley and the next it’s Orwell.

      And the running theme in either/or scenario is PK Dick.

    2. hunkerdown

      Unfortunately, it’s also an episode of the TV series FBI. IMDb synopsis: “After the son of a prominent blogger is kidnapped, the team must sweep through her two million followers to find the culprit; Kristen continues to adjust to life as a field agent with her new partner Stuart Scola.” Heh. Friends don’t let friends align with mainstream media.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The film “Lives of Others” is a haunting film, growing more eerie as the U.S. devolves and the forces of control acquire tools the Stasi might only have dreamed of. That film and the tweet also recall to me how less than twenty Gestapo officers were sufficient to maintain Nazi control over a small city in Germany because they received so much help from the public turning in their neighbors, enemies, and some — their family members.

  14. Mikel


    “Biden allied groups, including the Democratic National Committee, are also planning to engage fact-checkers more aggressively and work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages. The goal is to ensure that people who may have difficulty getting a vaccination because of issues like transportation see those barriers lessened or removed …”

    What does the stated goal have to do with getting into text messages?

    All anybody is going to be talking about in 2022 is the party that is all up in their text messages….

    Go long on “dumb phones”?

    1. Arizona Slim

      So, let’s send texts to each other. And let’s fill them with provocative words. Let’s make those censorship panels earn their pay.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Osama bin Laden.
        Carnivore! Carnivore!

        Hey, see the new Pressure Cooker? I hear its da bommmmb!

        Well . . . . I’m out of date, but I get the idea, I think.

  15. Mildred Montana

    Water: “…If we continue on the current trend we’re on, the day may come where some painful water cuts will have to be made to conserve what water is left.”

    Painful cuts? Like, for instance, not indulging in the North American obsession with showering every day? Oooh, that is indeed gonna be painful for a lot of shower addicts.

    Nobody–I repeat, nobody–needs to shower every day unless they are involved in an on-going intimate relationship or working at heavy, dirty manual labor.

    Didn’t shower but getting a little whiff from the underarms? Save some water and use a deodorant. Works for me.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      What percent of daily water use goes to daily showering? Are there any facts and figures about that?

      1. Mildred Montana

        Good question, drumlin.

        “Home Water Works says that in most homes, showers are the third-largest user of water after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower water usage is 17.2 gallons with the average shower length being 8.2 minutes. The average flow rate is 2.1 gallons per minute.


        Since the average American uses 82 gallons per day (per the EPA), that means 21% of water consumption is going toward showers.

        However, I have to be careful here. This is only home water consumption. Unless the EPA figure includes all uses of water, then there are industrial uses, agricultural irrigation, etc. that will muddy that number. Good recent data are hard to find. (paywalls)

        But my point stands. Save water, shower less.

        1. chris

          Here’s the most recent stats from the EPA.

          Long before we limit showering, let’s fix all the leaks in our pipes. And then let’s decide to stop watering our lawns. Showering and other water uses can be handled very efficiently with different fixtures. Or you can have a well pump and septic system which neatly recycles the water you use.

          I’m against shaming simple life pleasures that even the poor can enjoy. Even if we could limit people’s shower time i wouldn’t want us to do it.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I can think of another approach.

          Save water, shower smarter. Perhaps with a low flow shower head with an in-head-base flow cutoff. Shower a few seconds to get wet. Cut off flow at the cut-off button. Soap and scrub.
          Release flow for just long enough to shower off body-dirty soap. Takes a minute or two. Now shower water use has been reduced to 3 or so gallons.


          Is “warm” water hot enough? It is for me. I get all the “warm enough” water I need for my low flow shower by setting my gas water heater to “off” and just letting the pilot light keep the water warm-enough for my low flow shower.

          Thats “showering smarter, not fewer”. Part of ” Live smarter, not harder”, which will attract more people than “Live harder”.

          1. YetAnotherChris

            This is an excellent comment. I don’t have a cutoff switch but I do find that running the shower as cool as I can stand has therapeutic effects. The real dividend is that it cools the body, much like a dip in the lake, and thus reduces the need for air conditioning.

    2. ambrit

      As for “ongoing intimate relationships;” go ahead and share that shower!
      From what I have read about the toxic properties of deoderants, do without. As long as you aren’t messing up anyone else’s world with it, get to love yourself, as you are.
      Of course now, we aren’t quite yet living in Fremen Seitches.

      1. The Rev Kev

        As an old poster from the sixties said – ‘Save water. Shower with a friend!’

      2. chris

        Although we may well need stillsuits if the current trends in the west continue!

        I can imagine the overwhelming excesses of Padishah Emperor are something our billionaire class aspires to reach :/

    3. Arizona Slim

      I use a little hourglass that contains five minutes’ worth of sand. It’s on the wall of my shower, and I like to play “beat the timer” whenever I take a shower.

      This little device is highly motivational. My showers last two and a half minutes at the most.

  16. ambrit

    Quick Zeitgeist Check-in.
    My YouTube “Home Page” now has a “Covid Information Service” strip of four video links in the third row down every single day for at least the last two weeks. All linked videos are from Status Quo approved “Official” Sources.
    The propaganda has been turned up to eleven; what with wandering pairs of apostolic ‘thought leaders’ knocking on doors, (I haven’t seen any of them yet. Will report back with any sightings ‘in the wild.’) constant propagit ‘actions,’ and smear campaigns aimed at ‘non-approved’ treatment options, etc.
    I had to go to the washateria to do some quilts and sheets. Only the oldsters were wearing masks. All of the young were bare faced. The place had reruns of Law and Order police proceedurals on the big screen television on the wall across from the row of plastic seats. Almost all of the ads were for clothing or food. I was quite amazed to hear ‘full figured’ bras being touted as cheap at $35 each USD. I’d want an entire outfit for that much. Across the street from the wash place in the lower class neighborhood, some husky fellows were removing furniture from an Easy Loan Service store. More payday and auto title loan places are going out of business. There must be a second or third wave of small business bankruptcies happening.
    There has been a wave of small time property crimes as well. Petty crime is definitely on the uptick here.
    Stay safe, y’all!

    1. Even keel

      On the Oregon “temporary” agricultural rule: it is part of the ongoing tussle with big ag here in the state. The rule is “temporary” in a legal sense. By calling the rule “temporary” they get to short circuit certain administrative procedure act hurdles that would otherwise delay, and possibly scuttle, implementation.

      It’s an interesting conundrum. I generally disapprove of using temporary rules like this, and it is a sign of creeping state expansionism. But the content is something I support. I suppose if I were in charge I would stick to the standard route, given that the 110 plus heat wave has passed and there should be time to follow the full procedure.

  17. Wendys

    Thanks for the Eurasian Collared Dove. I hear then a lot but I didn’t know what they were. I clicked on the link to make sure they are here in western Washington.

  18. CoryP

    Unrelated to any of the links, does anyone here know what the hell is going on with Cuba?

    I’m getting a massive propaganda push on social media about how they’re “STARVING” and explainer memes about how this isn’t because of the US embargo.

    I mean, they’ve gotten pretty self sufficient; I find it hard to believe they’re starving in the first place…

    But somethings up

    1. jo6pac

      Heres 2 that are very even and the one I use to read I don’t bookmark any more.

      Cuba launches widespread rationing in face of crisis | TODAY CUBA NEWS

      Home – News from Havana (havana-live.com)

      Thing are tough there but it’s all on Amerika and I think Russia and China will come to help shortly

    2. Andrew Watts

      Social media is blowing up with Cuba-related stuff because some institution is paying a lot of money to generate interest. It’s kinda like how production/distribution companies and streaming services use internet chatter as a measure of business success given the lack of traditional methodology in the dark COVID times. Only it’s a lot dumber because I assume it’s the CIA or their adjacent non-government organizations funding it.

      All I know for sure is that every year around this time the UN holds a vote to lift the blockade of Cuba. And every year a few completely outnumbered countries vote against it. Then the US vetoes the measure because Cuba had a successful revolution against American imperialism. It’s like clockwork.

      The other reason is that the DGI probably killed the Kennedy brothers. That’s what I think anyway.

      1. Even keel

        On Cuba, check out the revisionist history in the Guardian:


        Breathless coverage of this heroic attempt that was foiled by Kennedy’s last minute decision to weenie out:

        Mora was trained in guerrilla warfare in the Guatemalan jungle, then dispatched in April 1961 as part of a 1,400-strong paramilitary force whose mission was to land at night on the southern coast of Cuba and from there put an end to the Soviet-backed revolutionary government.

        The cold war plan, conceived and paid for by the CIA under Dwight Eisenhower and set in train by his successor, John F Kennedy, went disastrously wrong. Kennedy withdrew air support from the invading paramilitary forces, who were overpowered by the Cuban army in just three humiliating days.

        “Coverage” of history like this is, in my opinion, one of the worst parts of “journalism.”

        1. Andrew Watts

          The assumption that if only the Cubans had airpower they would’ve succeeded is in spite of all evidence to the contrary. That pathetic excuse is brought to you by the losers that dropped more bombs in Southeast Asia compared to all of World War II and still got owned by some peasant farmer who thought they were still fighting the French.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those aren’t “merch”. Those are “votive objects”. Show some respect. Is nothing sacred?

  19. Geo

    “Thinking in binaries is gonna kill us all”

    If I had a bumper sticker it would say this. So true on so many levels.

  20. Old Jake

    Regarding that graph of new case detection rate in the US regions, and the remark following…

    “Oof. Increased slope. The slope is nothing like it was 476 days ago, but upward it is”

    Um, look again, the marginal (ie most recent few days) slope is definitely about the same as it was 476 or so days ago. Now, it bears waiting and watching another week or two, but as a naive observer, what I see is concerning.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Obama releases 2021 summer reading list, continuing tradition”

    ‘Interestingly, a book about the Sacklers, when even WaPo faults Obama for his inaction in the opioid crisis.’

    I’m sure that if you could personally check Obama’s copy of “Empire of Pain”, that you would find that it was personally signed by the Sacklers themselves.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence.’

    Can you imagine how things would have turned out if there had been a Royal Bureau of Investigation back in the 1770s? And no, not manned by British but by American Loyalists? Certainly people like Thomas Paine would never be able to find a printer for his works and John Adams would have found himself disbarred as an attorney. Hmmm. Come to think of it, in some ways conditions were better in 1770s America than in 2020s America.

    1. JBird4049

      Nice, let’s pretend Officer Friendly is our friend.

      From the late 30s, all through my childhood, and into the 80’s, in all those movies, it was those dastardly secret police who demanded your papers, did those midnight raids, spied on you, had informers, those stitches, and the interrogation rooms and gulags. The Gestapo, NKVD, SAVAK, and Stasi, later the gentler FBI and CIA, and now today, we have Homeland Security here to protect us with the largest (American) gulag in existence.

      What is that saying about patriotism being the last refuge of a scoundrel?

  23. Mikel

    Re: Booster shot article

    “And a booster for people who got their vaccine less than six months ago doesn’t seem to be on the same degree of urgency.”

    But they still wouldneed to know what kind of precautions they need to be taking with waning protection….not just it’s okay to run around and keep it spreading.

  24. jr

    Dystopian Red Flag of the Day:


    Saager and Krystal sound the alarm at the Biden administration’s push to track and suppress text messages containing COVID “misinformation”. As they point out, if the Dems can do it so can a President DeTrumpis . . .

  25. hunkerdown

    > Bringing beloved regional landscapes to Amazon’s HQ2

    “The tenants arrive in the entrance hall here, are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed…” -Monty Python’s Flying Circus, predicting the future again.

    1. eg

      “Are you suggesting we slaughter our tenants? We requested a simple block of flats, not an abattoir!”

      1. ambrit

        Yeah, well there. Phyrric Victories are known to accompany vast slaughter. Three guesses who makes up the majority of the slaughtered cohorts.

  26. fumo

    Tech: “A New Tool Shows How Google Results Vary Around the World”- • So far as I can tell, the new tool is not available to the public (see this Twitter thread). Am I missing it?

    I don’t think so. “Teaser video” in the splash or holding page (that’s all it is, searchatlas.org isn’t a website) is a hint. I’ve asked “the team” when it launches via email. Not expecting a reply but I’ll post it here if I get one.


    We’re gratified (and overwhelmed) by everyone’s interest in using Search Atlas! It’s currently in private beta. You can join our mailing list to hear more: https://searchatlas.org/signup/

    1. square coats

      At https://searchatlas.org/ scrolling nearly to the bottom of the page, they say “Our tool is currently in private beta. Sign up if you are interested in using the tool, or for updates on the project.” before offering a space to enter your email address to subscribe.

      Who knows if future use will become publicly available or whether or not it will require paid subscription, etc. but at least for now perhaps one can hope for its availability and accessibility in the future.

      I also wonder if the same general results could be had using a vpn spoofing your location to somewhere else in the world?

  27. VietnamVet

    I really don’t see how the Democrats can win next year’s mid-terms even against the crazy insurgent GOP. USA may have bugged out Afghanistan but will still be in Iraq and Syria in defense of the petrodollar. The defeat in Vietnam is still with us almost half a century later.

    Water Cooler’s death numbers from COVID-19, above, show a slight upward trend. The private/public campaign to market vaccines has gotten so obvious and coercive that there likely will be blowback. Who in the hell or the CIA conceived of a response to a worldwide plague that censors and ignores lifesaving alternative off-patent treatments? Doesn’t fund and rebuild the US Public Health Service? The CDC/pharmaceutical industry haven’t even developed a cheap accurate test to identify infected virus spreaders, a year and half later.

    The ruling class named mRNA gene therapies “vaccines” and declared them “safe and effective” without reproductive or long-term safety and efficacy data. To date they continue to censor and ignore the dangerous adverse effects from the vaccines. When identified they say risks of the disease are much worse and add a label warning but do not prohibit the injections. The risk of heart inflammation from the second mRNA jab appears to out weight the risk of the disease in adolescent boys. It is simply impossible for Americans to make an informed consent or risk determination awash in propaganda masked as the truth.

    Climate Change remains unaddressed. If the heat domes and drought continue in the West Coast and Las Vegas runs dry, plus a never-ending plague, next summer, the corruption and incompetence will be impossible to ignore.

  28. Darius

    I hate “pivot” also. It owes a lot to Obama with his “pivot to the deficit,” and “pivot to Asia.” Unintentionally, it got across Obama’s tactical, not strategic, nature. Generals pivot in a battle in response to emerging opportunities and to implement strategy. Obama had no strategy, at least not one he could talk about in public. It was also cute. Trying to create an image of a genius playing eleventy dimensional chess. Too precious for words.

    1. YetAnotherChris

      A lot of people still need to come to grips with being gulled by Obama. It’s hard. I voted for him twice, and I guess I don’t regret those votes per se, being neither a fan of McCain nor Romney. But the gloss was off when the likes of Geithner and Summers moved in. Black Americans took a beating in home equity, but at least we had a “teachable moment” when the police harassed Skip Gates at his home and then there was a beer summit. Pfah. Obama was vaporware.

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