2:00PM Water Cooler 7/14/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species recorded in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the east side of Mount Fuji.

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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….

Vaccination by region:

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

“Most unvaccinated people have low incomes” [Axios]. “More than half of unvaccinated Americans live in households that make less than $50,000 annually, according to the latest Census Bureau data. Making it easier for the working poor to get the COVID-19 vaccine, without dinging their already-low incomes, could help boost the country’s vaccination rates.” • Fauci is right about “two Americas.” He’s just drawing the dividing line in the wrong place.

CA: “Delta variant’s spread among unvaccinated Californians threatens new surge of COVID cases, officials warn” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “With nearly half of California residents still not fully immunized against COVID-19 and the highly infectious delta variant in wide circulation, the state could be facing a surge up to two-thirds the size of last summer’s wave of infection despite generally high vaccination rates, health officials said Tuesday…. the state’s reopening coincided with the introduction of the delta variant in California, which is leading to a faster than expected upswing in cases. Fourth of July gatherings likely contributed to the rapid increase. ‘Do we think it will be as devastating as last winter? That seems extremely unlikely,’ Pan said. ‘But we could see a half to two-thirds of what we were seeing last summer.'”

DC: “Are D.C.’s Vaccine Incentives Working?” [Washington City Paper]. “About one month ago, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration started doling out $51 VISA gift cards at select COVID-19 vaccine sites, and entered individuals into various raffles for a chance to win more than just a shot back to ‘normal.’ What has happened since? Sites that offer giveaways have seen an uptick of D.C. residents getting vaccinated…. [DC Health’s Patrick Ashley] told councilmembers that vaccinations citywide have finally become stagnant, meaning D.C. is no longer seeing a decrease. ‘It is good news,’ he assured. DC Health data shows vaccinations started to stagnate late June into early July. Ashley does not just attribute this to financial incentives but other efforts, namely community members who’ve gone door-knocking to try and persuade their neighbors to get vaccinated. He also cited the rise of the delta variant as a motivating factor.”

MS: “‘People are going to die needlessly’: MSDH releases new guidelines in response to spike in Delta variant infections” [Mississippi Today]. “The rapid rise of Delta variant cases and virus outbreaks combined with the state’s low vaccination rate led the Mississippi Department of Health to release a slew of new COVID-related guidelines on Friday. The new recommendations, which will stay in place through July 26, are: All Mississippi residents ages 65 and older, as well as anyone with a chronic underlying medical condition, should avoid all indoor mass gatherings regardless of their vaccination status; all unvaccinated Mississippians wear a mask when indoors in public settings; all Mississippians 12 years of age and older get vaccinated…. State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said that these recommendations were decided on because Mississippians collectively have not done what it takes to protect us all, and MSDH wants to give the most vulnerable individuals the best guidance so they can survive the Delta surge the state is facing.”

OK: “In northeast Oklahoma hospital, beds are full again as COVID-19 delta variant takes hold” [The Oklahoman]. “[Hospitalist Dr. Justin Mitchell] said delta variant outbreaks in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas made their way into the corner of the state where he works. Northeast Oklahoma is the ‘tip of the spear’ in the state’s new wave of cases, fueled by the delta variant, Mitchell said. And it’s likely not long before the highly contagious strain starts to pick up speed in other parts of Oklahoma, too. ‘For those in Tulsa and Oklahoma City to be aware of, it’s probably just a matter of time before the delta variant makes its way down there,’ he said. ‘When you think about the vaccination rates here and our population, there is no reason to believe that it’s going to slow down anytime soon,’ he said.”

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 where the Northeast (mostly New York) was at the peak of its crisis in the first wave.

MO: “Southwest Missouri hospitals begin to surpass winter COVID-19 surge. St. Louis County warns of rising cases” [St Louis Post-Dispatch]. “Hospitals in southwest Missouri are beginning to surpass the level of COVID-19 patients seen in the winter of 2020, and St. Louis-area officials are bracing for infection rates to continue to rise here, too. On Monday, Mercy Hospital Springfield had more COVID-19 patients than at the peak in December, and Greene County’s infection rates showed no signs of retreat. ‘Not only are cases continuing to rise, but they’re rising faster,’ said Aaron Schekorra, public health information administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. In the St. Louis region, hospitalizations for the virus have been increasing for three weeks. Health officials have warned that the more transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 is circulating here and have called on residents to get vaccinated to tamp down its spread. During a briefing Monday morning, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the county’s rate of new cases has risen 63% in two weeks. ‘We’re not expecting a slowdown anytime soon,’ Page said.”

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

California passes Texas, but Texas coming up fast. Arkansas still going 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. UPDATE But it didn’t update yesterday.)

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 now slight upward motion.

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

Biden Administration

“OnPolitics: The ‘moral’ case for voting rights” [USA Today]. ” President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia Tuesday using his bully pulpit to warn that right to vote is under assault…. While Biden’s speech Tuesday received praise from some activists, they also urged the president and vice president to do everything in their power — even making changes to the filibuster — to have Congress pass the bills that will protect voters.” • Even! From the transcript:

We’re are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th.

Assassinating Lincoln doesn’t count? Not a bad speech, but who let that through?

Good, but could be better:

It’s only good for one year…

Republican Funhouse

“‘Get on the team or shut up’: How Trump created an army of GOP enforcers” [Politico]. “From the earliest days of his presidency Donald Trump and his political team worked to re-engineer the infrastructure of the Republican Party, installing allies in top leadership posts in key states. The effect has been dramatic — and continues to reverberate nearly six months after he left office. There and elsewhere, state party chairs have been at the center of a raft of resolutions to censure or rebuke GOP lawmakers deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump. In red states, blue states and swing states, these leaders — nearly all of whom were elected during Trump’s presidency or right after — are redefining the traditional role of the state party chair. They are emerging not just as guardians of the former president’s political legacy, but as chief enforcers of Trumpism within the GOP.”

Democrats en Deshabille

“Senate presses forward passing GOP voting and bail bills, as Texas House in chaos over Democrats’ decampment” [Texas Tribune]. “As Democrats fled the state to avoid voting on a GOP priority elections bill that would restrict voting rights in the state, the Texas Senate approved the bill Tuesday with a party-line vote of 18-4. The Senate passed the controversial elections bill — and bail legislation — a day after 51 House Democrats decamped to Washington, D.C., to avoid voting on the elections bill in their chamber. If the Democrats don’t return before the special session ends, the Senate bills will languish. Eight Senate Democrats announced Tuesday they had also fled to the nation’s capital — a ninth was expected to arrive that evening — on the same day as their chamber was set to vote on the elections bill. But the Senate kept a quorum with 22 of its 31 members present and was able to vote on the bill.” • I remain unimpressed. First, the Republicans will surely work out a riposte, like calling another special session. Second, I’ve seen it before; Democrats fought Scott Walker with exactly the same tactic, and it didn’t work. Third, I think it plays badly, in that it reinforces the image that Democrats want to flee the areas of the country they don’t dominate; I think they ought to stay and fight, no matter how. Finally, let me know how things work out with the national Democrats. Texas readers please weigh in!

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NY: Sigh….


“1 big thing: Dems’ House hopes hang on two states” [Axios]. “The Democrats’ “only chance of keeping the House” next year is if they redraw congressional lines to their advantage in New York and Illinois, Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman tells Axios’ Stef Kight…. The GOP is already poised to take advantage of its control of map-drawing in more states than Democrats. But Democrats have a chance to eliminate as many as seven Republican House seats in just New York and Illinois through redistricting in states they control.”

“House Republicans Post Record Fundraising Ahead Of 2022 Race” [HuffPo]. “he committee charged with helping Republicans wrest control of the House in 2022 raised $45.4 million over the last three months, a record quarterly haul during a year without a national election. That total was bolstered by $20.1 million raised in June, the highest ever monthly off-year total, according to numbers shared with The Associated Press before a public filing deadline. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week announced that it had raised $14.4 million in June, bringing its second-quarter total to about $36.5 million — its best ever for that stretch. The large sums signal that excitement is high among donors to both parties as they prepare for what is expected to be a contentious midterm election season. Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the House, but Republicans have history on their side: The party that occupies the White House typically sees large losses in both the House and the Senate. GOP fundraising has also been bolstered by former President Donald Trump, whose name continues to dominate fundraising pleas for small-dollar contributions, even as he continues to spread lies about the 2020 election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Market dirigisme” [Interfluidity]. “Market dirigisme is the name I give to a style of public policy I think we ought to use more. The idea is pretty simple. Governments form preferences over how the polity ought to be but currently is not. Often, what governments should do is to explicitly purchase the changes in behavior they desire from the general public…. Often when a central government wishes to change the polity, it tries to induce changes at the level of subsidiary governments, rather than via citizens and households….. There are deep problems with this style of center-to-subsidiary governance. It’s intuitively attractive, I think, due to a mistaken analogy between government subsidiarity to bureaucratic hierarchy. It feels “rational” or “logical” to work through the “chain of command” rather than have the center try to mess directly with with hundreds of millions of citizens about whose particular circumstances it knows little….A better approach is for the central government to alter the circumstances, and so the preferences, of the broad public. If we’d like denser communities, the central government can simply pay a subsidy to residents of communities growing denser. Elected officials of subsidiary governments no longer face conflicting incentives. If the subsidy is large enough to shift the preferences of the voters to whom local politicians are accountable, politicians will enact real change. If their supporters’ dispreference for density overwhelms the money, they won’t. The size of the subsidy can be set large enough to meet the central government’s objectives while still permitting some communities to opt out.”

“Buying Democracy in a Good Way” [Dean Baker, CEPR]. “At the moment, at least two Democratic senators (Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona) seem unwilling to go along with voting to weaken the filibuster to allow voting rights measures to pass with a simple majority. As a result, it is hard to see how anything can pass. But, the Democrats can pass bills that involve appropriations with a simple majority through the reconciliation process. This is where the point that Brian made comes in, we can make voting rights about money. Suppose the next reconciliation bill included a provision that gave $1,000 per person to every adult living in a state where the districts are drawn by an independent commission, where basic provisions of access are guaranteed (e.g. two weeks of early voting, no excuse absentee voting), and where elections are run by career civil servants and cannot be overturned by elected officials. We should probably throw in some provisions about mandatory five-year prison terms for harassing or threatening election officials. This is a straight up appropriation bill, it’s not telling states what they have to do, so it should pass muster for reconciliation. It may be the case that Republican states will still insist on their voter suppression measures and rigged districts, and look to blow off the money, as they did with Medicaid expansion, but this would be a very different story.”

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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Commodities: “The U.S. Wheat Crop Is in Trouble” [Gizmodo (KW)]. “Wheat farmers across the country are facing lower yields as 98% of the country’s wheat crop is in areas experiencing drought. In the Northern Plains, the Department of Agriculture said Monday that farmers were projected to harvest their smallest crop of spring wheat—crops planted in the spring and harvested in the autumn—in 33 years. … The region is hardly alone; the USDA also said this week that 68% of the Pacific Northwest’s spring wheat was in ‘poor or very poor’ conditions. At this time last, only 6% of the region’s wheat crop was in this state. All told, the USDA found that 98% of the U.S. wheat crop is growing in areas hit by drought.”

Shipping: “Cargo owners are hoping President Biden’s executive order on business competitiveness helps resolve longstanding problems they have had with ocean and rail regulation. Groups representing retail importers, industrial shippers and agriculture exporters say the White House directive targets entrenched issues over freight transport fees and services…, including charges they say have surged during the past year’s big supply chain disruptions” [Wall Street Journal]. “Those include the detention and demurrage late fees that some shippers say are costing them millions even as ships wait offshore at ports and shipping containers remain in short supply. Freight carriers call the Biden administration’s move an overreaction to recent disruptions driven by the pandemic rather than by fundamental problems in transportation markets.”

Tech: “Inside Facebook’s Data Wars” [New York Times].

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 39 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 14 at 11:50am.

The Biosphere

“Moon wobble to bring surge in coastal flooding in 2030s, NASA study predicts” [CNN]. “Coastal communities in the United States, be forewarned. A ‘dramatic’ surge in high-tide floods is just over a decade away in the US, according to NASA. The rapid increase will start in the mid-2030s, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by the climate crisis… he reason for this expected surge is tied to the moon’s 18.6-year cycle. Right now, it’s in the half that amplifies tides — meaning high tides get higher and low tides get lower. Along most US coastlines, current sea levels have not risen so much that high tides regularly top flooding thresholds.

But that won’t be the case next time around, which is in the mid-2030s. That’s because of how a wobble in the moon’s orbit combines with rising sea levels. The wobble isn’t new — it was first reported in 1728. But how this movement affects the moon’s gravitational pull, the main cause of the Earth’s tides, will spark these new flooding concerns when it combines with rising sea levels. ‘Global sea level rise will have been at work for another decade. The higher seas, amplified by the lunar cycle, will cause a leap in flood numbers on almost all U.S. mainland coastlines, Hawaii, and Guam,’ a NASA news release stated.”

“Breaking Wind” [Chris Jones, IIHR Research Engineer]. “[Antonio Arenas] analyzed crop insurance data for Iowa and a few other states for the period 1991-2018. Iowa’s indemnity (payout): $9.6 billion. The amount sourced to the taxpayer through subsidized crop insurance: $6.3 billion. The amount sourced to the farmer through their portion of the insurance premiums: $3.4 billion. And a whopping 68% of that $9.6 billion was paid out in only four relatively recent years: 2008 (wet), 2012 (drought), 2013 (wet spring then drought), and 2014 (drought). Crops in southern Iowa counties tend to be more vulnerable to weather calamity than other parts of the state, and this is true on both ends of the rain gauge, drought and excess moisture. Total crop insurance payouts in several Iowa counties exceed $1000 per acre since 1991. So maybe it’s understandable that the Iowa farmer feels like he/she can whistle by the global warming graveyard, as long as the taxpayers are paying for the ambulance. I for one think things might be a little different if we weren’t.”

“Midwestern Companies, Trade Groups Sue to Review Trump Rule Limiting Cross-State Pollution” [Indiana Environmental Reporter]. “The Midwest Ozone Group, which includes some of the heaviest polluters in the state of Indiana, is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the Revised Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS, a court-mandated Trump-era rule that tightened restrictions on emissions of nitrogen oxides, the group of gases that cause acid rain and toxic ozone, for Indiana and 11 other states.”

“Colonial Pipeline and Federal Regulators Reach Settlement In Historic NC Gas Spill” [Robbie Jaeger]. “Colonial Pipeline has reached an agreement with Federal regulators at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration regarding their 1.2M gallon (and growing) gasoline leak in the Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville, NC in August of 2020. The agreement gives Colonial a roadmap to absolution with a laundry list of corrective measures demanded by PHMSA—but it also allows the company to avoid and monetary fines or further litigation on the matter, should they comply. PHMSA had recently released a report condemning the entire 5,500 mile pipeline system as a threat to public and environmental safety—saying that conditions exist for a catastrophic leak, such as the one in Huntersville, throughout the system. PHMSA also took aim at Colonial’s leak detection methods, saying their inadequacy exacerbated the Huntersville spill, and likely several others in Colonial’s history. The settlement—negotiated behind closed doors in June—specifically mentions that Colonial isn’t guilty, or necessarily innocent, of any allegations the agency brought forth.”

“Memphis community celebrates after crude oil pipeline proposal scrapped” [ABC]. “The pipeline initially threatened to cut through predominantly Black communities that have historical significance to those who live there — such as Boxtown, an area in Southwest Memphis that got its name after formerly enslaved people built their homes there out of train boxcars. A representative of the pipeline company [Plains All American] initially told the community the route was chosen because it was the ‘path of least resistance.’ A company spokesperson later clarified to ABC News that, ‘What should have been said is that we looked for the path with the fewest collective impacts.'” • Plains All American didn’t send their best, did they?

“U.S. Treasury’s Yellen says carbon pricing can work, with caveats” [Reuters]. “U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged on Tuesday the use of carbon-pricing schemes such as a planned new European border levy but stressed such moves should take into account emission-cutting progress made in other ways…. Among them, it will outline what a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), designed to cut emissions by creating financial incentives for greener production and by discouraging “carbon leakage,” as the transfer of operations to countries with less onerous emission restrictions is known.”

“A Quarter of Eau Claire’s Municipal Wells Have PFAS Contamination, City Announces” [Up North News]. “Eau Claire is the most recent Wisconsin community to discover unsafe levels of PFAS in its drinking water supply after city officials discovered four of the city’s 16 wells had unsafe levels of the chemicals linked to significant risks to human health…. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t easily break down in the environment. The substances have been used for decades in such products as firefighting foam and stain-resistant sprays and have been associated with such health problems as cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease, and decreased fertility, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists continue to study the health impacts of PFAS on humans.”

“The Hidden Lives of Trees Shows a World of Cooperation, Awareness, and Intelligence in Plants” [World at Large (jo6pac)]. “While this was certainly impressive, Adolph and Wohlleben show so much more besides, including the fact that there are “mother trees” which cultivate an area around them to serve as a nursery. They detail their social cooperation, like how trees will entangle their roots together, sometimes over large distances, in order to share nutrients and defend trees that are sick or hungry, or that thousands of trees will somehow coordinate when to release their seeds in order to avoid predators like boar and squirrels. This cooperation is centered around the superorganism that is the forest. Tree roots mix with thousands of species of plants, animals and fungi to create the sometimes-called “wood-wide-web” also known as the “mycorrhizal network”. Through this social media, they send signals about drought, disease, insect attacks, famine, and more, including bartering food to fungi in exchange for cleaning and detox services.” • I like the notion of a “superorganism.” On trees, see NC here.

The 420

“High potency weed linked to psychotic episodes, mysterious vomiting illness in young users” [NBC]. “Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Several years later, doctors in Colorado and other states are expressing alarm over the increasing potency of cannabis and the health risks it may pose for young users — from psychiatric issues, including violent psychotic episodes, to the mysterious condition that plagued Gribbon. The condition — officially called ‘cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome’ but now known to health care workers as ‘scromiting,’ a mashup of ‘screaming’ and ‘vomiting’ — has popped up with increasing frequency at hospitals in Colorado, doctors say. The ER at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo saw only five scromiting cases in 2009. By 2018, the number had risen to more than 120, according to data compiled by Dr. Brad Roberts, an emergency room physician at the hospital.” • Assuming this isn’t Harry Anslinger-style hysteria, sounds like cannabis potency should be regulated.

Class Warfare

“Connolly and the Serpent: What the Left Misses on Modern Unions” [protean]. “As Irish socialist and union leader James Connolly argued, ‘Without the power of the Industrial Union behind it, Democracy can only enter the State as the victim enters the gullet of the Serpent.’ This gestures at a radical reimagining of the debate over sectoral bargaining, a topic often viewed as “wonkish” or bureaucratic and far removed from romantic visions of shop floor class struggle. As Connolly and others argued, industrial organization, essential to sectoral bargaining, was important precisely because it allowed for labor activity to more effectively translate into class politics.”

“Wedding Guests Are Dreading the Biggest Marriage Boom Since 1984” [Bloomberg]. “She’s budgeting for weddings in Barbados, Charleston, Chicago and New Orleans, and bachelorettes in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, and estimates it’ll all cost about $9,000. And that’s before extra meals, outfits, out-of-pocket expenses while traveling and the time off from work that she has to request…. As the pandemic abates, couples who got engaged during Covid-19 lockdowns are planning to tie the knot, and weddings that were postponed in 2020 are moving forward. Marriages in the U.S. are set to rebound by more than 50% this year after slumping about 40% in 2020, according to data from The Wedding Report, an industry research firm. The rising trend is expected to persist into next year, when almost 2.5 million weddings are expected — the most since 1984.” •

News of the Wired

New from the Flatlanders, speaking of Texas:


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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 (RM):

RM writes: “I went out for a hike today on my ranch. We are in a major drought cycle here and was thrilled to find this mountain ball cactus or Pediocactus Simpsonii. They are on the edge of their range here in eastern Montana. About the size of a tennis ball.”

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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. saywhat?

    Oof. This after only 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. lambert

    So? What about those who’ve had Covid and recovered? Which I read is about 150 million (45%) of the US population? Should they take the additional and perhaps enhanced risk of vaccination to boot?

      1. dcblogger

        huh? it is a public health measure. I am glad this attitude was not around when I was a child or we would still have polio.

      1. Dreadsly

        “No taxation with forced vaccination”

        Remember, our income tax system is “voluntary”. How many people can they arrest, or file liens on to be ignored?

    1. Aumua

      Which I read is about 150 million (45%) of the US population?

      What’s your source for that, cause the worldometers site has ~29 million recovered cases. I mean who knows how accurate that is, but I’m curious where you got your figure from.

    2. Yves Smith

      Immunity from getting an infection lasts at most 8 months.

      The big Covid wave was spring-summer 2020, with a mini-boom Thanksgiving to mid Jan.

      Even if we accept your unsubstantiated assertion, the immunity is gone for the overwhelming majority of people who got Covid.

      1. Cuibono

        i think you mean lasts at least 8 months.
        reinfection rates so far are lower than 1%.

        1. Yves Smith

          Moderna’s study data says ~ eight months. We’ve reported on this repeatedly. And it’s worse re variants.

          This is GM’s reading of the Moderna data, which they published:

          There may be “antibodies” but that’s just a signature of infection, not protective on its own. What matters is neutralizing antibodies, and those decay with a half life of 60-150 days. But that’s against the original variant, add an order of magnitude effective reduction in vivo due to the appearance of the newer variants, and all of a sudden 6-9 months after vaccination you are below the threshold (and with a natural infection it’s a lot sooner than that — vaccine-induced antibodies are 10 times higher and the vaccine does not lead to profound immune dysregulation the way infection does). To their credit, Moderna have been very open about this, but their papers on the subject have not received the publicity that the “lifetime immunity” headlines do.

          The other distortion of the truth is about memory cells. Yes, memory cells are present and they can make antibodies, but they need to wake up, multiply and ramp up production, which takes time. But the virus has several layers of mechanisms for silencing the immune system, meaning that by the time those memory cells are alerted and have started waking up, runaway exponential viral replication may have already advanced beyond the point of containment.

          As for reinfection rates, the real number is higher than 1%, we have no idea how much due to:

          1. Lack of systematic testing

          2. CDC refusing to count Covid infections among the vaccinated unless they wind up in the hospital

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Assuming this isn’t Harry Anslinger-style hysteria, sounds like cannabis potency should be regulated.
    Oh, this one isn’t fear mongering. Modern weed is quite potent. To the point of not being fun potent.

    1. john

      dabs, oils, moon rocks and edibles can all get you in trouble. I have never heard of screaming and vomiting through unless the munchies got you to hard. I would look at what they are putting in or on the weed or how they did the extraction for concentrates. The concentrates are a whole other level though.

    2. hunkerdown

      According to a small Australian clinical study from the early 2000s or so, CHS was early observed in smokers, but not in dabbers, which to me suggests a negative dose-response relationship between CHS and THC proper. Thus using CHS to rationalize potency limits would be perverse without a better explicated causality than DNC News’ say-so

    3. Josef K

      That article is full of conclusions looking for a supporting argument. A dollop or two of manipulative fear-mongering as well.

      “doctors” is no better than “some people say;” the one MD interviewed, in the video, claims MJ is addictive, and that patients show up with psychosis (and yet are lucid enough to describe what’s going on). That’s just sloppy or poorly trained MD-ing.

      The other MD quoted says these THC OD’ers “strain hospital resources” and “use up a lot of medical resources.” I guess if they’d just “use up” that sweet-spot amount of “resources” where there’s no depletion, but the ka-ching is maximised, all would be well.

      That said, it stands to reason that 90% concentrates of THC and relatively low-THC cannabis could have very different effects on the mind and body. Dosage matters.

      It’s a polarizing matter, THC and cannabis, and of the many articles I’ve read very few take a dispassionate stance. Most, like this one, cherry pick and distort to reach the writer’s/editor’s/media boss’s predetermined conclusions.

    4. Duke DeGuise

      I’ve never heard of scromiting before, but am a frequent cannabis user who has periodically suffered from cyclic vomiting syndrome – no fun, let me tell you – which is said to occur in disproportionately high numbers among users.

      While I’m convinced my condition was caused by diet and stress, the stats are what they are.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah. i immediately thought of dabs, and such.
      dude i used to get weed from in austin, when i first moved way out here(lotsa narcs out here, turns out), would…him and his 2 brothers…sit on the couch playing video games and/or surfing maniacally through 5 basketball games, and similarly with 10 other sports(as in switching channels almost at random—very disorienting)…and passing around 3 joints, and 4 bongs.
      this was before dabs, or even brownies, were really a thing in texas.
      i determined rather quickly that the law of diminishing returns applies….one can get so high that another toke is unnoticeable….ie: a waste of precious weed.
      but there will always be such people…and if we remove weed, they’ll huff gasoline, or steal the freon from your a/c(really).
      i definitely feel like i shouldn’t be punished and persecuted for their excess(neither should they, if they’re harming no one)
      this article sounds like drug war dead enders whining overmuch. surely there’s more important things to be upset about than a few morons with too much time on their hands.
      (“let the laddie play with the knife…he’ll learn”-john calvin)
      anybody else notice that those who complain the most about weed, are also apparently those who are most in need of a few tokes so they can chill the frack out?

      1. LawnDart

        It’s excess that’s the problem– not knowing when to say when, or specifically looking to get f^@%ed up as the point of one’s consumption: chilling vs. getting wasted, social vs. psycho or sneaking a beer from the fridge vs. raiding the liquor cabinet, however the case may be.

        If one hit of gorillia weed puts you in a comfortable happy spot that might otherwise take you a whole joint or preroll to do otherwise, I’d call it more bang for the buck, or at least more efficient. I think that the consumer should be free to make their own decisions on this one.

        I used to stay away from edibles because it seemed to be a lot easier controlling the effect by smoking or vaping: eat a brownie and you’re not getting off that bus until it lets you. But I’ve found some mints that aren’t overly potent, travel well, and are predictable in effect: extra sore and want to sleep comfortably through the night? Have two instead of one. And easier to enjoy than smoking or vaping if you’re travelling– no unpleasant surprises in the hotel parking lot or risk of setting off the smoke detector in your room.

        1. Nikkikat

          We love the mints too. One is just enough to curb anxiety. Take two and sleep a whole night.

      2. Nikkikat

        I totally agree this is most likely the cops and other authoritarian types. They just want to regulate weed. I smoked for many years as well as friends and family. We are all just fine. It’s not the potency its dummies who over do it. Just like drinking cheap wine, beer etc and getting sick. I have also seen stories on schizophrenia “caused by weed”. I remember only a year ago or so they claimed that teenagers had destroyed their lungs by vaping. Turned out there was some bad nicotine vapes that were out there. Anyone think that perhaps the cops are bummed at not being able to bust African Americans for small amounts of weed, that this is taking away some action over at the DEA? And let’s never forget the media loves scaring old people and parents with this kind of stuff. Back in the day there was plenty of good weed with high potency, just like today. The edibles, vapes concentrates etc can easily be over done.
        Anyone out there remember the Paraquat stories from the 70’s? All the weed was poison and no one should smoke it. Never knew of anyone that got any of this poison weed. I also saw a story about traffic accidents in Colorado were sky rocketing because of cannabis, yeah sure.

      3. YetAnotherChris

        Yes, I’ve known a few uptight sorts who could do with a couple of bong hits. My dad would have been a good candidate. More broadly I think it’s important not to confuse the coping mechanism with the underlying malady. For many years I was entangled with bandmates who used heroin. Being young and dumb I thought it was the dope that made them crazy and unreliable. Later it occurred to me that they were fighting an existential battle and the dope was one of the tools at their disposal.

  3. marym

    “The Department of Housing and Urban Development has backed away from new health and safety requirements for public housing that would require fire extinguishers, a minimum number of electrical outlets and other measures intended to protect residents from serious and potentially life-threatening hazards, according to the latest draft of the new standards.

    HUD-assisted housing is subject to regular federal inspections as a condition for receiving taxpayer funding. While HUD properties must also comply with state and local codes, standards vary widely from place to place, which is why many advocates for tenants and safe housing have urged the agency to adopt stricter, uniform rules for all subsidized properties.

    HUD is currently asking for public feedback on the latest draft of its standards, and the next version is expected to be released in early 2022, after the inspections are tested in the field.”


  4. allan

    “California passes Texas, but Texas coming up fast. Arkansas still going up.”

    Somehow, the F-word doesn’t get mentioned.
    It’s amazing how only releasing case counts once a week
    makes the exponential growth look less exponential
    than states that release them daily.

    Stalin: “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”
    DeSantis: “Those who count cases decide nothing. Those who decide when to release them decide everything.”

    1. Phillip Cross

      The F Train, aka The Schadenfreude Express, is coming through!

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folks!

  5. Zar

    If the clerk in the horse tweet is talking to one animal, then it should be “discreetly” and not “discretely.” But if the clerk is whispering to two people in a horse costume, then it’s accidentally a decent pun. This concludes my analysis.

    1. Josef K

      Good catch! And if the clerk addressed the horse’s hindquarters then your analysis kind of extends the pun.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Yes I was going to post this too because I am a big goober (no offence!). The trick I use for remembering when to use discreet/discrete is to think of the position of the ‘t’ separating the ‘e’s in the latter usage, thereby making the ‘e’s ‘discrete’, if you will.

  6. Burritonomics

    Re:The 420

    I knew someone who had cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome about 10 years ago. It is very real, and I was a bit disappointed and upset by those in the cannabis world who (at the time) denied it existed. The crazy thing is, for someone who smokes weed, what’s the cure all for nausea and to help you keep food down? Why, weed of course! It took many doctor visits and tests to rule out other potential sources of the ailment, but once it was suggested to stop cannabis consumption (and heeded), it all went away.

    1. hunkerdown

      Unfortunately, modern political discourse doesn’t provide a way of declaring a topic exempt from moral-political judgment, so one is essentially forced to deny the phenomenon altogether to counter the spurious claims of significance. Blame the anti-drug NGOs for hyping this rare side-effect to sell their Puritan culture.

    2. upstater

      While the vast majority of potheads partake with minimal side effects (munchies, napping, lethargy) — like I did — some people cannot tolerate high THC cannabis. Never heard of “scromiting”… but high THC weed is linked epidemiologically to psychotic illnesses. The true believers will nodoubt jump on this fact and claim schizophrenics or manic-depressives were ill before smoking weed and are self-medicating. But the fact remains, even if cannabis didn’t cause the illness, smoking pot is VERY BAD for some people. And it is an open question if THC did actually cause the illness. Further it simply should remain illegal for teens given brain development.

      This viewpoint is from a family perspective based on 11 years of data (illness) now. Read Patrick & Henry Cockburn’s “Henry’s Demons ” for their experiences.

      And mind altering substance, whether alcohol, prescription psychotropics, hard Street drugs or cannabis alter brain chemistry. Sometimes permanently. Let the true believers begin the flaming…

      1. Josef K

        First, I think that labeling anyone who disagrees with your points–for which you provide no links or evidence in your comment–as “true believers” is ad hominem and not in keeping with site standards as I understand them. That term is also frequently used projectively.

        I did a search for the studies on this. The articles that come up all cluster around today and March 2019. So I looked at the study these articles seem to be referring to. Here’s the link:


        The paragraph on methods, sure enough, has this interesting nugget (bolded):

        We included patients aged 18–64 years….. Assuming causality, we calculated the population attributable fractions (PAFs) for the patterns of cannabis use associated with the highest odds of psychosis and the correlation between such patterns and the incidence rates for psychotic disorder across the study sites.

        Well that’s one heck of an assumption, since the whole conclusion depends on it.

        One other point and I’m done: “psychotic episode” and/or “temporary psychosis” morphs at some point into “psychosis.” The accredited experts had best clarify.

        1. upstater

          Look a bit harder, there are plenty of peer reviewed journal articles out there over the past decade. And given the wild west approach to legalize and light touch regulation, there will be many, many more to come. For instance, further journal articles:


          Keep on smoking if it doesn’t bother you. Just don’t operate machinery while smoked up. There ain’t no ad hominem attacks; every post on this subject is like TDS or Russia! when it comes to the true faithful or trolls. Note in a prior comment criticism of cannabis is called “Puritan”. They are always out in force defending cannabis as benign and harmless when any criticism of cannabis is suggested. Always. It has been that way for the past decade here at NC and other places. This is an emotional Issue for both victims of psychosis and the true believers.

          For some people, like Patrick Cockburn’s son or my son, it seems a single TBI would have been a better outcome than a life with schizophrenia. There are 3M+ with this condition that most often hits in late teens or twenties and is a lifelong total disability. The majority were cannabis users. A plurality of homeless and incarcerated have major mental illness. Trying to minimize the suffering through an honest assessment of the risks of cannabis seems like a good thing. But that ain’t gonna happen, a stoned population is just what the billionaires need.

          1. hunkerdown

            Anti-drug culture is Puritan, as in the idea can be traced back through the English Calvinists and their numerous hangups. We get it; you believe that the gentry has a right to moral dispensation. I think the gentry should be disbanded and be made to pay reparations to the whole working class, calculated from the date of Jean Calvin’s birth.

            Which isn’t to say that CHS isn’t a thing, but the tendentious moral entrepreneurs whose life purpose is to miss no opportunity to pull others into their perverse, sadomasochistic misery are using it, and they need to be crushed, and preferably have their lives permanently ruined by a dead girl or a live boy. This needs to be the wages of moral entrepreneurship.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        in spite of my ProDope screed above, i’m with you there…my mom tried it in college(when i was in jr high), and did the whole vomiting profusely thing.
        tried it again, same thing.
        i’ve since determined…after long, careful analysis of her,…that this was likely a psychological thing…a panic attack induced by sudden perceived lack of control(she’s pretty control freaky).
        i’ve known many others with similar reactions, but with likely myriad causes(until recently, it was verboten to study this herb properly…much anecdata sprang into that vacuum)
        same with beer, likker, cocaine, acid, shrooms…some folks just have different reactions to different substances.(i avoid likker)
        i’m a lightweight with weed…thank the goddess!( a little goes a long way—although i’ve gained considerable tolerance since incorporating it into pain management)
        and i generally don’t like to veg out when high…so it’s really no good for Pain Days, because i feel like doing things.
        productivity goes through the floor around here when i’m out of the noble herb.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          Only a small sample but I have found that those I know that it doesn’t touch in the right way, are fellas who really enjoy alcohol, although I know others who mix the two like my son in law & just one drag off one of his joints & I’m away with the fairies for the whole evening, which I think makes me a flyweight.

          I started at age 56 due to losing the Missus, after failing with the booze that just made me ill then led me to a poor man’s weekend version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in an Irish nuthouse / drunk tank. It got me looking up & reminded me of the instructions she had given me during that last fortnight when she had shone with some inner bright light.

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    When the lunar wobble coastal floods ramp up, the global warming deniers will say that global warming has nothing to do with it because there is no such thing. Its the lunar wobble.

    Global warming realists should get ready now with replies about how man made global warming has given the lunar wobble more and higher melted-ice ocean to work with.

  8. hunkerdown

    I don’t see why one would assume the scromiting article is legitimate, given the venue, its relations to big pharma, the tone of the article, the Puritan cultural attitude that their readers prefer, the neologism they are trying to nationalize, the ever-uncited “experts” and their lost-innocence potency narrative, and the novel, mildly horrid phenomena it describes whose prevalence somehow depends more on anti-drug institutional survival needs than the pot usage rate.

    I need to see interviews of old ER docs from Ann Arbor, Iowa City, Berkeley, Cambridge, and so on, who certainly would have seen these things before the political need for a new diagnosis code arose. I need to see reports of the syndrome from before the Controlled Substances Act. I need to hear audio recording engineers from the 1970 or 1980s or 1990s or 2000s telling me about bad parties where ths happened. I need to see reports from before when people’s jobs depended on it. Until then I’d file the entire storyline, every single time they resurrect it (because you know they’re trying something and they need to not be allowed to succeed in trying things), under 100% FUD by weight.

    Now, that articles does list some good laws closing some quantity limit loopholes (Michigan plugged these from the start by mandating a third-party seed-to-sale compliance service). But closing with “someone needs to pay for this” is just too nakedly Karen. This kid had just better switch his major to comp sci because he won’t hack EE and music won’t have a narc.

    1. Josef K

      This is what I was trying to get across in my own comment on this hack-article. Well put. The bias isn’t crude, but not that subtle either, is it?

      One thing that will definitely cause nausea is consuming cannabis that hasn’t been properly cured; the cholorphyll causes it. With legalization, it’s possible poorly or under-cured weed is being sold.

      Another factor ignored in this hack-job of an article is the pesticide factor; a lot of it is being used, and one can assume this nascent and exploding agricultural industry is not being monitored closely enough to assure no overdosed weed gets on the market. I will also assume the industry isn’t chock-full of the most ethical people on the planet either, to put it mildly, which has nothing to do with cannabis and everything with the almight dollar.

      Cannabis hyperemesis does exist, but is it due to THC? Or the amount of physical plant consumed, even if it’s lit up? If it’s such a dire emergency, what with hospital resources being depleted, and people throwing up and screaming, where’s the impetus to figure out what’s actually causing it?

      Reefer Madness is dying a slow, hard death.

      1. Josef K

        I should clarify that it’s the sloppiness around concentration and causality that’s the major weakness in this argument that weed “causes” psychosis.

        A UW (Washington State) article seems much more level-headed:


        MJ and anxiety. Note that the word “psychosis” or related words do not appear once in this article.

        I also looked at a healthmed article. It conflated temporary delusional thinking with psychosis; said MJ causes it, then that people with developing psycosis will be pushed further and faster into it by MJ; then focused on teenagers (who definitely should not consume it or other drugs) and presents that as evidence for all ages, and so on. Just poorly reasoned and written.

        So we have a cluster of articles on the web referencing but not quoting studies, and the one study I found advancing this thesis rests it all on an assumption of causality.

        Then there’s this screamer from USA Today (always at the forefront of dispassionate scientific enquiry): “Pot and psychosis link is real, warn doctors and feds.”

        Doctors and feds, Oh My!

        Which doctors, or witch doctors?

        1. Tom Stone

          I smoked my share of pot from age 14 to 46 ( Using it for pain took away the fun permanently) and have seen one dramatic adverse reaction.
          Rage, we were sitting in a van and the duude in the passenger seat was smoking some decent quality weed ( For 1969), his first time.
          He went into a rage and kicked out the windshield for starters…
          A seriously uncool scene.
          And I’ve known quite a few who self medicated with weed over the decades, it sure helped with my spasticity when I was younger, at a price..
          And that’s the rub, there’s always a price.

        2. upstater

          A journal article cited about cannabis and anxiety disorders does NOT address psychosis. Just to clarify, in case you do not understand, they are two separate psychiatric disorders (illnesses). For example, I wouldn’t expect, say a COVID journal article, to repeatedly refer to influenza. Maybe once or twice, but the title clearly states it is about anxiety and not psychosis. Apples and oranges are both fruit, but they are completely different. Those fruits are relatively risk free. Cannabis is not for some people. The billionaires need a stoned population, no matter what the cost.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Do the billionaires need a stoned population more than they need a drunk population?

            If they have decided they do, when did they decide that? Why didn’t they need a stoned population before now?

            If the billionaires need a stoned population, why did they let cannabis stay illegal till now? Or was the population just as stoned before Several States Legalization as it is now? And if so, why would legalization make the population any stoneder?

            Also, how much use of cannabis is the threshhold for being stoned?

            1. upstater

              Intoxicants are a method of social control. An intoxicated population is docile. Why has the CIA been involved in the drug trade for decades? It’s a two-fer for them, essentially free money and a domestic poor people’s population racked by addiction and crime while victimized by police enforcement. Why were opioids allowed to flow unfettered into poor communities for decades? Cannabis distribution is being corporatized.

      2. barefoot charley

        Pot is hardly worth talking about anymore, the subject is so prostituted and pimped. So is the pot itself. Groovy docs from the 60s never confronted the pimped-out pot strains produced by and marketed to chronics who literally can’t get high on an old-school joint. They are already toxed to the max. Big picture: pot like alcohol and so much else, is subject to the 80/20 ratio: 80 percent of pot is consumed by 20 percent of buyers. Those big buyers are toxed, so the pot they want must get stronger and stronger. Most non-toxed consumers fall over backwards when they smoke the industrialized drug that good old pot has become. The great majority of casual smokers aren’t served by this evil evolution, itself the result of making pot artificially valuable, and potheads a ghettoized yet easily profitable subculture. The only solution of course would be to legalize and ignore it, but billions of dollars, cops and taxmen won’t let that happen. It’s a very sad, sick story that will keep sickening us.

        1. Josef K

          Agreed, like with any substance, tolerance builds.

          To Tom Stone’s comment above, pot/weed/THC or something in it definitely increases emotional lability and sensitivity to stimuli which can also mean strong negative emotions and reactions. Not that anyone cares but I’m neither for nor against its use; it’s a personal decision and there are much more dire choices to be made in life.

          What I will take issue with is sloppy or pseudo-science with an agenda behind it, even if it’s just FUD.

          I am quite convinced that pot is likely to lead to Dances with Wolves while alcohol definitely fueled Sand Creek. And millions of other private assaults. Those monsters in W Africa who hopped up teenagers on coke and meth before sending them off to slaughter innocents certainly had endless supplies of the devil’s lettuce at hand, why didn’t they just get them (more) stoned instead? Afraid they’d go psycho?

  9. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: Texas. I agree with all your points but especially: “Second, I’ve seen it before; Democrats fought Scott Walker with exactly the same tactic, and it didn’t work.” I’ve seen a lot of press about this being “unprecedented” and I’ve been starting to think I’m the last person who can remember farther back than the Trump administration. The whole thing feels performative to me because they have tried it before and it didn’t work. I too would be interested in hearing from Texas readers. It’s just hard for me to see this as anything but reusing a failed playbook.

    1. Darthbobber

      I remember a similar flight during the previous Texas redistricting fight. Much hoopla followed by failure.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      this performative nonsense is what counts as “courage” among texdems.
      last time they did this, in ’03, i was still onside, and wrote to all and sundry telling them to use the media coverage of their stunt(that time, to ardmore, Ok) TO LAY OUT THE ISSUES,lol.
      talk about thom delay and his craven and very successful attempt to make texas a permanent gop majority, by hook or crook.
      they didn’t do any such thing, of course…and that failure has led to exactly where we are now, with numerous musings, from never trumpers to left of center left, about how the next election will definitely set off the next civil war…because of the illegitimacy sown by both parties, after each of their fashions(gop: hates democracy because they always lose…dems: don’t get anything done for ordinary folks when they are elected…oh, and the deplorables are terrible people.)
      just one more engineered step down the sawtooth slope towards neofeudalism and a state of being both parties insist(after each of their respective fashions) to abhor and want to stop from happening.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m of two minds on this. Yes, we saw this in Wisconsin in 2011, it didn’t work then (in terms of derailing Act 10 permanently), and it won’t work now. Yes, it’s performative – though that is a tricky word because everything we do is performative.

      But there are advantages to delaying the process, drawing more attention to the issue, etc., if perhaps very small ones. And I’m not sure what “staying and fighting” entails. Once the quorum is reached, it’s a pretty quick up-or-down vote, and then it’s over.

      As in Wisconsin, the fact that the Texas Dems have been reduced to this is more an indication that the battle is already lost than evidence of weak-kneed opposition.

      1. dcblogger

        The DNC sent a bunch of consultants who told Wisconsin Democrats that they should down play the labor issue in the recall and Wisconsin Democrats were dumb enough to listen to them.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Things are never so bad until you get a sentence that has the words ‘DNC’ and ‘consultants’ in it.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          Well, the recall (of Walker) is a separate issue, and I certainly hold no love for either the DNC or Wis Dems, but you give them too much credit:
          1. Everyone in the state who was paying attention knew the recall was about Act 10
          2. The post-recall polling suggests people who were less politically aware were more likely to vote against recalling Walker, apparently on the view that he was elected to a 4-year term and that recalls should only be for serious offenses, not policy differences

          If there was a tactical mistake made, it was in not timing the recall so that the election would be in November (2012), when voter turnout would be higher, which would have required postponing the signature collection for six months or so. And that can’t be pinned on the Dems higher-ups; it was the recall activists that couldn’t be convinced to wait.

  10. Carla

    “Scientists continue to study the health impacts of PFAS. on humans.”

    Anyone who hasn’t seen the film “Dark Waters,” which DuPont somehow managed to deep-six, stream it, rent it, get it however you can. It was the last movie we saw in a theatre (in early Feb. 2020).

    Wikipedia: Dark Waters is a 2019 American legal thriller film directed by Todd Haynes and written by Mario Correa and Matthew Michael Carnahan. The story dramatizes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals. It stars Mark Ruffalo as Bilott, along with Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman.”

    Great story, well-written script, excellent acting.

    1. fresno dan

      July 14, 2021 at 3:51 pm
      I second that. I also think it does a good job of showing of how defendents who have essentially unlimited resources can just play out the clock in the US legal system

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i couldn’t watch it…made me too angry and depressed.
      dupont…is now part of Dow/Dupont(monopoly problems? what monopoly problem?)
      and they make the very same persistent herbicides i’m always on about.
      the one’s that have stealthily ruined organic ag, and even home gardening.
      i reckon they owe me a tractor with a front end loader, to facilitate the extent of the shit i’ll hafta do to overcome their poisons.
      i’ll take cash, of course.

  11. Sutter Cane

    “Most unvaccinated people have low incomes”

    I wonder how many people want to get vaccinated, but are working for small business owner “beautiful boaters” who don’t believe in covid, or who won’t let them call in sick if they did get vaccinated and felt bad for a day or two.

  12. Tom Bradford

    “Wheat farmers across the country are facing lower yields as 98% of the country’s wheat crop is in areas experiencing drought.”

    Let them eat cake.

    1. farmboy

      incorrect assertion in the article, the Hard Red Winter wheat is coming in with good yields, looks to be in the 805 million bushel range, that’s Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas. The Soft Red Winter wheat crop is good also at 362 million bushels in Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio, Missouri, trash wheat, feed. The problem this year arises in the Northern tier of states and southern areas of Canadian provinces. Hard Red Spring wheat as a class will be the smallest since 1988 at around 305 million bushels in the US and getting smaller-this is premier milling wheat in the world. Durum wheat (US), pasta, is at 37 m/bu down 46% from last year. Soft White wheat for pastries, noodles, flat bread is down 30-40% and shrinking at 181 m/bu. 90% for export. Projections from NASS.

  13. thoughtful person

    We know many cases are no longer being tracked, both US CDC has said don’t get tested if you are vaccinated, and Abbott labs (linked here previously), reports testing has dropped off a cliff as they lay off hundreds.

    It appears reporting by states is unreliable as well. Take Texas for example, TX is #3 in new cases per day chart above. But I went to 91-divoc site and got a report for new hospitalization past week for TX. Using the atlantic covid project data:

    “Note: Texas has not reached 1 hospitalization in the provided data. Therefore, no data is available to highlight.” Sure, “provided” is the operating word.

    Basically it appears that the public data anyway, is, “nothing to see here, move along”… The decision was made forget about prevention (other than vaccines), and treat this like the flu. Good luck to anyone with comorbidities, over 75, under 12, etc.

    Personally I’m wearing a mask anytime I’m indoors in public (primarily shopping for groceries).

    This Fall “flu” season is gonna be a bad one.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. that’s what i expect.
      i get stinkeye even more now for wearing a mask in crowded places, both way out here, and in san antone.
      but then there’s people who wear masks while driving their lexus alone.
      but whatever
      the memewar over covid, and mitigation, is over…and the morons won.
      we’re in for the long haul.

      wife and boys(15 &19) are getting vaxxed next week…after having to put it off because of unforeseen events(stepdad been in icu for 2 months, etc), and havng to organise the jabs around chemo.
      i want all 3 to get it at once, because they all had covid in january…so i expect to be nurse amfortas for a couple of days, and would like to minimize the time spent on that.

      i suppose these variants, and the resulting continuation of the problem, were inevitable, given who we’ve become, as a people.
      yelling about the vax poisoning their precious bodily fluids, while taking steel wool to the nonstick pan they cook their eggwhites in, before jumping in the dually and rolling coal on priusites.
      when texas secedes, i’m seceding from texas.
      (and eventually, we will..alan west(face-eating floridaman) will likely be the next gop chair for the state…texas gop will get even more weird and loathsome…and so on…until that old idea gets real traction…likely due to some culture war idiocy the dems manage to get passed in spite of manchin and that strike a pose woman.)

    2. John

      I wear a mask any time I am inside in a public place with people who are unknown to me. I am vaccinated.

      It boggles the mind that a viral disease somehow became a political and cultural dividing line.

  14. fresno dan


    The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that senior officials in the FBI Indianapolis Field Office failed to respond to allegations of sexual abuse of athletes by former USA Gymnastics physician Lawrence Gerard Nassar with the urgency that the allegations required. We also found that the FBI Indianapolis Field Office made fundamental errors when it did respond to the allegations, failed to notify the appropriate FBI field office (the Lansing Resident Agency) or state or local authorities of the allegations, and failed to take other steps to mitigate the ongoing threat posed by Nassar.
    The OIG further found that, when the FBI’s handling of the Nassar matter came under scrutiny from the
    public, Congress, the media, and FBI headquarters in 2017 and 2018, Indianapolis Field Office officials did
    not take responsibility for their failures. Instead, they provided incomplete and inaccurate information to
    make it appear that they had been diligent in responding to the sexual abuse allegations.
    Not to rehash the release of Cosby, but there is a LOT of ineptness in the prosecution and investigation of crime. Just as there is an unwillingness to investigate and hold to account the failures of military leadership, there is just as often a failure to hold to account incomepetance in police failures. Too often constitutional rights are used as a smoke screen to cover up laziness and incompetance.

  15. Wukchumni

    “It’s not like going to a national park,” said Matthew Campbell, on his second visit from his Albuquerque, New Mexico, home. “It’s a spiritual experience. It’s a different feeling.”

    Chaco Culture National Historical Park is an atypical national park. The massive, thousand-year-old pueblos blend mysteriously into the towering canyon walls. Mystery and curiosity are among the top reasons thousands of visitors make the intentional trek far from paved roads deep into the Navajo Nation.

    “I thought it was time for Edward to experience (Chaco Culture),” added Campbell.

    Standing on the plaza at Hungo Pavi pueblo next to the large kiva, Matthew and Edward Donham-Stradling, also from Albuquerque, are astonished by the 150-room great house. Built nearly 1,000 years ago, Hungo Pavi is one of 16 such villages readily explored at Chaco Culture. The pueblo looks much as it did in 1847 when a U.S. Military survey team first visited the canyon.


    The last time we were @ Chaco Canyon, we had Pueblo Bonito to ourselves for 45 minutes, that’d be like having Pompeii to yourself for a similar stanza.

    NPS doesn’t make it easy to come, you’ll be on a dirt road for about 20 miles in getting there, there’s only one campground with about 50 campsites, no food for sale and the only soda machine had a ‘out of order’ sign on it when we visited.

    Their culture was all about growth in erecting large great houses, and demise came thanks to climate change when the Big Dry showed up, sound somewhat like us?

    A couple of book recommendations:

    Anasazi America by David Stuart

    House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘Rep. Ilhan Omar
    Starting this week, child tax credit payments will start to hit bank accounts and mailboxes.
    These payments will benefit 120,200 children in our district and lift 10,600 out of poverty.
    We’re one step closer to eradicating child poverty’

    Since this only goes for one year and maybe just the year of the 2022 midterms, is Omar engaged is gaslighting then? If you had to be honest and looking at the general economy, you would have to say yes.

    Back in ’87 we had an Oz Prime Minister announce that ‘No child shall live in poverty’ as a campaign promise. Promises, promises…


    1. dcblogger

      Omar is one of the best. She is just high lighting one of the few victories progressives have had. Gas lighting is a serious charge, and it should not be made just because you have doubts about a particular tweet. You live in Australia, but Omar has to live with very real death threats. All members of the “squad” have to live with death threats, even on American standards. But Omar has come under special pressure because she is a Muslim who wears a hijab.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Trump gets death threats too but that is not a reason to say that his policies are any good (they aren’t). I only care about how a politician votes on the floor. As an example, any idea how Omar voted on that $2 billion Capital Police bill recently? Or was she one of those that voted ‘present’? Member of the squad in the past have said that they only vote individually and that they cannot vote as a mini-block but that was not the case with that police bill.

        1. dcblogger

          yeah, you can have death threats and still be a bad politician. I am just saying that Omar shows considerable grace under pressure. And the child support payments will make things much better and will lift millions of children out of poverty. It is an important victory and worthy of celebrating. It is important to remind people that every not and then we win one. It helps keep people ready to continue the struggle.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I agree with what you say but as Lambert points out in today’s Water Cooler, it is only for one year. So I am wondering if the Democrats will be saying next year that if you give us victory in the 2022 midterms, that we will make this act permanent. It would help if they could also promise to toss in the $600 that they still owed everybody.

            1. marym

              Saying the tax credit will “lift children out of poverty” is the standard talking point Democrats have been using about these payments. It’s nothing unique to Omar. It’s not always the case when other Dems are talking about it that it’s just for one year, and further legislation is needed. So, good for her that she calls it “one step closer.”

                1. RMO

                  Well that “tax credit lifting children out of poverty” line sounds better than saying “We are putting a temporary hold on the policy of taxing children into poverty” at least.

                  Loopy old me would have thought that low wages, nonexistent benefits, skyrocketing healthcare, education, food, transportation and housing costs are what is putting children into poverty, not a few lines in the tax code. But what do I know.

                  1. marym

                    Based on the policies Omar and the others in her squad try to promote, she’d probably agree with that assessment. I just don’t really understand the constant criticism of a very small group of people who decided, rightly or wrongly, to work toward those policies “within the system” for not having yet overthrown it.

    2. Aumua

      Technically gaslighting would be trying to make the reader feel like they’re crazy, or insinuating that they would have to be crazy to doubt the veracity of what they’re saying. I know that sometimes the term takes on another shade of meaning around here, along the lines of painting a blatantly false picture and presenting it matter of factly as the truth.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I don’t think it’s just here where the (naff) cliché ‘Gaslighting’ has become synonymous with generalised vague dishonesty. People are pretty cavalier about using it. I mean, you’d have to be pretty crazy to think that it’s just the NC commentariat misusing the word that way.

      2. The Rev Kev

        At a fundamental level, gaslighting is making someone or a group of people believe that something is not true in spite of blatant evidence that it is. Lies are the tools employed but the aim is to make people believe something is not true as in ‘Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?’

        An example of this is when the media will have you believe that Joe Biden is a progressive politician in spite half a century’s worth of proof that he is the exact opposite. If you want a good laugh about this idea, put the following search term into Google and see what comes back-

        joe biden progressive

        Now that is weapon’s grade gaslighting that.

        1. hunkerdown

          If gaslighting is just another word for garden variety deception, then it serves only as a euphemism for deception, to make self-interested predatory mindfamilybloggery genteel and acceptable, and there is no reason for the term to continue to exist.

          I contend instead that gaslighting particularly describes an operation using deception (not actually a form of) that seeks to induce an ongoing distrust in the target’s own judgment, the end state resembling a “stuck” cognitive dissonance. Not simply an instrument to meet some profitable objective, but a change in an interpersonal (or in this case, class) relation.

      3. hunkerdown

        Norm-setters do try to make deviants feel crazy. That’s the whole point of having norms. The question is whose shall be master, that’s all.

  17. Wukchumni

    Will Joe’s poll numbers go up if he medals in Tokyo as a member of the U.S. Olympic Spelunking team?

    Experts sense a likelihood of it happening, as he’ll cave on anything.

        1. ambrit

          Now, when we need Tom Wolfe the most, we get Woolfe of Wall Street, the intrepid companion of Raffles, the Gentleman Burglar. What next? Our valiant efforts to protect civilization from the mindless hordes of the Orient will prove yet again that Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires?
          I fear I am experiencing an attack of the vapours. Where’s the fainting couch?

            1. ambrit

              Clutching pearls? These are amber worry beads! Arriviste!
              Butler: :”Sir or Madame, the police are here.”
              SorM : “Take their card and tell them my private secretary will contact them.”
              Butler: “But Sir or Madame, they are the Police.”
              SorM : “Remind them that we are Owners.”
              Butler: “As you wish Sir or Madame.”
              Stay safe!

          1. Wukchumni

            I heard a faux Hunter Lascoux painting of bulls cheating at poker was found at a flea market in Kabul, spirited out of country and the fervent hope is that it’ll fetch enough to pay for the 20 years war.

  18. Duck1

    Was a cannabis freak in the late 60’s 70’s, dropped it for quite a while while raising children in the Reagan era. After going a bit overboard with ethanol, smoked it again circa 2008. Ended up smoking dope to enhance drinking experience. Pretty much don’t smoke weed and sort of corralled the drink scene. The high THC weed didn’t seem to have the same kick as say Panama Red. But there was a whole context that disappeared.

  19. Jason Boxman

    On President Manchin and the liberal Democrat infrastructure proposal, it’s worth noting that the pay-for canard ought to be rightly flipped. The question shouldn’t be how to pay for this, but because the federal government is the currency issuer, how can you morally justify not doing it? How can you justify perpetuating child poverty, seniors that cannot afford medicine and groceries, families that can’t afford childcare? The end of a livable planet?

    Talk about cost is always an easy way to dodge any legitimate debate about a public policy. For if we cannot afford it, we surely don’t need to talk about it, and even if we do, think of the children we’re impoverishing in the future, eh? The false equivalence between household and federal budgets must be the most damaging and damning lie ever.

    It’s also worth pointing out that there’s somehow always money for campaign contributors’ interests.

  20. chris

    The judge overseeing the Champlain towers law suits has approved sale of the site.

    The target sale price seems to be $110 million. The land was thought to be valued as much as $130 million prior to the collapse. The individual condos in the south tower were valued around 750k$ each. There were about 135 units in the south tower. Many of the condo owners still owed money on their mortgages…This is going to be a huge mess.

  21. ChiGal in Carolina

    Thanks Lambert for the heads up about the new Flatlanders release. After that little taste I’m ready for more—they sound as good as ever and I like the concept.

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