2:00PM Water Cooler 7/15/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species spotted in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the UK. Talking about jarring!

* * *


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:

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.

Case count by United States regions:

Oof. Increased slope. Every day, the non-triumphalist black line goes a little higher. 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.)

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

California and Texas slow, but more states speed up.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report July 15 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):

Bad news. Though I don’t understand how deaths can go up with hospitalizations still going down. Data problems? If so, which way?

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up.

* * *


“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

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” —Rahm Emanuel

Politico tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube on the DNC working with the telcos to censor SMS messaging:

Korecki must think we’re little children. FIrst, what she’s really saying is that the Democrats (and the DNC) will work through cutouts (as they did with the Steele Dossier). The censors fact-checking cut-outs will be NGOs — probably including Media Matters — instead of Beltway law firms, but there’s no functional difference. Second, “no ability for groups to read individual texts” [nods vigorously]: Come on, man.

Biden Administration

Big if true:

Unfortunately, I can’t get past the Business Insider paywall. It’s probably a little early in the campaign cycle for a tell-all book….

“The Intensity Factor” [Cook Political Report]. “I like to compare the midterm electorate to people who call customer service. Most people pick up the phone (and stay on through interminable wait times) only when they are really angry. Very few pick up the phone (and sit on hold) to thank a company for their fantastic service. Which brings us to the fight raging over the issue of voting rights. Major League Baseball moved this week’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver to protest new voter laws passed by the GOP legislature in the spring. To oppose GOP-penned legislation in Texas, House Democrats fled the state and are currently camped out in DC to make their case to congressional Democrats to find a way to pass federal voting rights legislation. Finally, President Biden trekked up to Philadelphia on Tuesday to make the ‘moral case’ at the Constitution Center for why these new laws that limit voter accessibility ‘un-American’ and ‘un-democratic.’ Notably, however, Biden has not called on Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to drop their objections to nixing the filibuster, which could make passing Democratic-written voting legislation much easier. But, will Democrats’ frustration with new state laws be enough to get them out to vote in 2022? Or, will that anger turn to apathy and frustration with their own party come next fall Right now, while Biden continues to get solid marks from his own partisans, they are not nearly as excited about him as Republicans are angry with him.”

“The Biden Antitrust Revolution” [The New Yorker]. “Since joining the Administration, at the start of March, Wu has been working full time on the order, which is lengthy and detailed. ‘There is an intellectual revolution here, which the President has embraced,’ Wu told me. ‘Part of that effort is to bring back antitrust as a popular movement, rather than as an abstract academic thing. I think we went through a long period in which it became more remote and abstract. But, as the President said, ultimately this is about creating an economy that works for everyone…. The way that the executive order names specific problems also reflects an effort on the part of Wu and his colleagues to make the most of a limited tool. Barack Obama issued a pro-competition executive order in the final year of his second term, but he left office before it could have much impact. Donald Trump signed all manner of executive orders, most of which are no longer in effect—either the courts struck them down or Biden reversed them after taking office. Wu and his colleagues are all too aware that this order, too, is likely to be challenged in the courts, where many judges have taken a restrictive view of the government’s power to promote economic competition. So, in drawing it up, they tried to address specific problem areas that are highly visible and subject to existing laws. ‘The whole approach of this executive order is to focus on areas where there are strong congressional authorities, often given during the New Deal or the nineteen-fifties and sixties, but which are not being fully used,’ Wu explained.” • I like Wu, I admit.

Democrats en Deshabille

“Closed-Door Progressive Caucus Antitrust Meeting Turns Fiery Amid Industry Influence Allegations” [The Intercept]. “A CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS meeting on Tuesday broke out into a furious argument over the House’s package of antitrust legislation, pitting Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., whose district encompasses a large part of Silicon Valley, against the authors of the series of six bills moving through the chamber. The argument began when Lofgren, one of the most senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee and an opponent of the legislation, noted that she had raised an extraordinary amount of money from Silicon Valley companies over the years, but because she ran in a safe blue district, she hadn’t spent any of it on her own campaign since 1996 and instead distributed it widely to other campaigns. Raising corporate money and spreading it around the caucus is a common tactic deployed by members looking to grow their power. But it is highly unusual to talk openly about the practice on a legislative caucus call. ‘It’s a pretty shocking thing to say,’ one Democrat on the call said.” • It is? Really?

“Florida Democrats Ask for ‘Clarity’ on ‘Anti-Riot’ Law After Cuba Protesters Not Arrested” [Newsweek]. “lorida Democrats are calling out Republican Governor Ron DeSantis while asking the state’s attorney general for “clarity” about a law that the governor signed earlier this year criminalizing protesters blocking road traffic. Prompted by Black Lives Matter protests that swept the nation following the death of George Floyd last year, DeSantis signed the so-called “anti-riot” bill HB 1 in April, imposing potential criminal penalties for protesters who block roads while holding demonstrations. However, when large groups of Cuban Americans—a key Republican voter block in Florida—took to the streets and sometimes blocked them while holding demonstrations in solidarity with pro-democracy protests in Cuba this week, law enforcement did not intervene. Democrats quickly noted that no arrests were made on Tuesday when protesters blocked Florida State Road 826, also known as the Palmetto Expressway.” • Fair enough. But there’s also this element: Whenever the Republicans smash them in the mouth, Democrats ask “Why did you do that?”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Sidewalk Socialists and the Path to Power” [Current Affairs]. “[Charlotte] Kelly is one of seven candidates running for Somerville City Council who has been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). This slate of campaigns is bound not just by the idea of winning socialism in a general sense, but specific, concrete reforms to pave the way. To get there, the candidates demonstrate intricate knowledge of policy battles and embed themselves in community organizing, but it’s more than that, too: their proposals for the future drill down to the details. According to Spencer Brown, co-chair of Boston DSA, the election centers on three issues of daily life—affordable housing, climate change, and public safety—and in addressing those issues the DSA-endorsed candidates move seamlessly from broad-stroke abstractions to net zero stretch code and idling police cruisers. The slate in Somerville has the potential to translate the grand aim of socialism into the minutiae of city politics…. This upcoming election in Somerville also may have wider implications, both in the Boston area and nationally. All over the country, not just in big coastal cities but in places like Florida and Texas, socialists are running for municipal office. But even in the largest DSA chapter in the country—New York City—DSA put up six candidates in the June primary, contesting only 12 percent of the City Council (and only winning two races). Meanwhile in Chicago and Seattle, socialists make up about 10 percent of their respective city councils. But in Somerville, 64 percent of seats are being contested. The prospect of winning an outright majority represents, in the words of Seitchik, ‘a generational opportunity, the first time since World War II, the first time in 80 years, to be able to have a majority socialist City Council.’ In fact, as DSA’s national account recently corrected, the city of Richmond, California already has a majority-socialist City Council—an indication that what’s happening in Somerville is not as anomalous or isolated as it might at first seem.” • Well, let’s hope they don’t get sidetracked by “the successor ideology.” When I lived there, Somerville — “the compost heap in back of Harvard Yard” — was distinctly working class. I don’t know if it’s been gentrified in the decades since, or not.

Centrist Think Tanks Are Raking In Exxon Cash The New Republic

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “10 July 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Continues To Modestly Decline” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 344 K to 375 K (consensus 368 K), and the Department of Labor reported 360,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 397,000 (reported last week as 394,500) to 382,500.”

Manufacturing: “June 2021 Headline Industrial Production Improves” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say seasonally adjusted Industrial Production (IP) improved month-over-month – and remains in expansion year-over-year due to comparison to the recession period one year ago. Our analysis shows the three-month rolling average improved.”

Manufacturing: “July 2021 Empire State Manufacturing Index Surges” [Econintersect]. “The Empire State Manufacturing Survey index improved and remained in expansion…. Key elements are in positive territory and improved. This report is considered better than last month.”

Manufacturing: “July 2021 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Index Declined Again” [Econintersect]. “Overall, this report was worse than last month as key elements declined.”

Imports: “June 2021 Import Year-over-Year Inflation ‘Declines’ To +11.2%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation marginally declined from +11.6 % to +11.2 %…. Inflation continues to be hot.”

Coincident Indicators: “10 July 2021 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Decline Continues” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) again marginally declined again this past week. This index’s trend is now beginning to decline based on the 13-week rolling average…. This data set should be considered a high-frequency coincident indicator.”

* * *

Commodities: “Hyperion Metals’ Taso Arima on the company’s plans to become a major zero carbon titanium producer” [Stockhead]. “Hyperion Metals (ASX:HYM) – formerly Tao Commodities – is up ~720% since announcing plans to acquire the ‘Titan’ titanium minerals sands and rare earths project in the US. Titan is not just going to be a major US titanium minerals project. Hyperion also plans to go downstream to produce low-to-zero carbon, low-cost titanium powders for the space exploration, aerospace, electric vehicle, and defence sectors. Right now, the US sources almost all its primary titanium metal requirements from Japan, with the world’s other major producers being adversarial nations like Russia and China. Hyperion’s plan hinges on a game-changing tech called ‘HAMR’ which the company believes has the potential to make the current Kroll process – both toxic and expensive – obsolete.”

Tech: “Goodbye, Fleets” [Twitter]. • I never even saw a Fleet, so I don’t know whether I should be in my feelings or not. I’m more interested in the fact that the blogger seems to think “learnings” is a word; it’s used multiple times.


Tech: “Amazon Gets the Go-Ahead to Track Your Sleep With Radar” [Gizmodo]. “On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission gave the e-commerce giant clearance to create bedside radar devices meant to track how we toss and turn at night. And while Amazon’s putting the best face possible on the innovation, it’s still all about those ad dollars…. ‘These devices would enable users to estimate sleep quality based on movement patterns,’ Amazon wrote in the initial filing. ‘The use of Radar Sensors in sleep tracking could improve awareness and management of sleep hygiene, which in turn could produce significant health benefits for many Americans.'” • And in that sleep… what dreams may come….

Tech: “Facebook Users Said No to Tracking. Now Advertisers are Panicking” [Bloomberg]. “People are giving apps permission to track their behavior just 25% of the time, Branch found, severing a data pipeline that has powered the targeted advertising industry for years…. Facebook advertisers, in particular, have noticed an impact in the last month. Media buyers who run Facebook ad campaigns on behalf of clients said Facebook is no longer able to reliably see how many sales its clients are making, so it’s harder to figure out which Facebook ads are working.” • That’s a damn shame.


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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 34 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 32 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 15 at 12:43pm.

The Biosphere

“Charges dropped against activists protesting Louisiana pipeline” [Lousiana Illuminator]. “Environmental groups celebrated Tuesday as they announced that District Attorney Bofill “Bo” Duhé, chief prosecutor in St. Martin, Iberia and St. Mary Parishes, rejected all charges against 17 people who were charged with crimes in 2018 for violating a law making it a felony to be at or near pipelines or construction sites without permission. The Louisiana Legislature amended the state’s critical infrastructure law in 2018 to include pipelines as critical infrastructure. That meant environmentalists protesting at pipeline sites could be sentenced up to five years in prison. … ‘Companies like Energy Transfer Partners and the politicians that do their bidding are trying to deter us from defending our communities from the devastating impacts of new fossil fuel infrastructure,’ [Bayou Bridge Pipeline protester Cindy] Spoon said. ‘They have tried to criminalize us and our actions since the Indigenous resistance at Standing Rock. In our cases specifically, Bayou Bridge employees and St. Martin Parish police officers acted unlawfully. They were willing to go as far as to break the law themselves to illegally arrest us. The refusal to prosecute us just proves what we already knew: these critical infrastructure laws are unconstitutional. We have the right to resist and we will not be deterred.'”

Health Care

“Larger Nursing Home Staff Size Linked To Higher Number Of COVID-19 Cases In 2020” [Health Affairs]. “We used detailed staffing data to examine the relationship between a novel measure of staff size (that is, the number of unique employees working daily), conventional measures of staffing quality, and COVID-19 outcomes among SNFs in the United States without confirmed COVID-19 cases by June 2020. By the end of September 2020, sample SNFs in the lowest quartile of staff size had 6.2 resident cases and 0.9 deaths per 100 beds, compared with 11.9 resident cases and 2.1 deaths per 100 beds among facilities in the highest quartile. Staff size, including staff members not involved in resident care, was strongly associated with SNFs’ COVID-19 outcomes, even after facility size was accounted for. Conventional staffing quality measures, including direct care staff-to-resident ratios and skill mix, were not significant predictors of COVID-19 cases or deaths. Reducing the number of unique staff members without decreasing direct care hours, such as by relying on full-time rather than part-time staff, could help prevent outbreaks.” • In other words, use full-timers, not a rotating roster of part-timers who probably get gigs at multiple homes.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Cape Cod restaurant closes for ‘day of kindness’ after customers’ rude behavior” [The Hill]. • I ran this in in the morning’s Links, but the penny dropped on this reference only just now:

Class Warfare

“Michael, Dwight and Andy: the Three Aesthetics of the Creative Class” [Alex Danko, Welcome to Dancoland]. “Six months ago I proposed The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class, which says: ‘The higher you ascend the ladder of the Educated Gentry class, the more you become Michael Scott.’ The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class delineated the three-tier structure of the modern workplace and of the American class system. Those on the top and on the bottom both experience the world as it literally is, but those in the middle – Michael, Dwight and Andy in the show; or, the educated gentry class – live in their own reality they’ve constructed, with farcical yet familiar consequences.” Michael Scott was the manager in The Office; I would pick a clip, but I’ve never seen the show. Perhaps readers will oblige? Anyhow, I am going to slip straight to the handy chart:

Over the past few years, we’ve had a lot of attempts at class analysis, some more successful than others. What I like about this one is that it’s dynamic; it shows class recomposition over time (at least among the PMC; it leaves out the recomposition of the working class under the twin stresses of globalization and supply chain reorganization). I do note that Danko has left off the top: There are no capitalists in his schema, nor is there a place for dynastic wealth. That seems odd. Nevertheless, a fun and stimulating piece!

“Labor Needs an Outside Strategy” [Dissent]. “Despite staggering wealth and income inequality in the United States, President Biden is bargaining against himself on his already way-too-small proposal to tax the rich, and far too many Democrats oppose the measure. While disappointing, that’s to be expected. But what’s now becoming absurd in the race to the death of the working class and our unions is the lack of strikes or any serious effort to build the power required so workers can reverse fifty years of nonstop abuse. If unions don’t run left now and challenge the administration over who wins in this economy, who will? Isn’t it finally time for unions to raise expectations—not just to say that workers deserve more but to use every tool in the shed to win? A street protest here and there, symbolic demonstrations against fast-food and retail giants—which aren’t strikes despite being labeled as such—and pouring workers’ money into public relations and political donations to highly compromised Democratic candidates are grossly insufficient to the task. It’s incredibly inexpensive and easy for any administration to make labor and other progressive leaders feel important by appointing them to a task force or inviting them to White House meetings and cocktail parties. But playing the “inside” game has no chance of winning when there’s not a concurrent and even more serious “outside” strategy. Biden has fired a few offensive officials from the Trump years and made pro-union statements. Despite Biden’s probably being the most pro-labor president ever—if we remove Lincoln from the list—unions are already experiencing the familiar sentiment that they need to be patient. Absent a real outside game, including mobilizing for strike activity the likes of which have not seen in decades, we will fail. Thinking about the consequences of that failure is unbearable.”

“Shulamith Firestone Wanted to Abolish Nature—We Should, Too” [The Nation]. “Who better, then, to pierce the surreptitious, mind-numbing normalization of all this, under both Trump and Biden, than Shulamith Firestone (a mere 23 years old in ‘68), with her scalding refusal of every “natural” premise of American society and her vision of a future in which children and adults together (having eliminated capitalism, work, and the sex distinction itself) democratically inhabit large, nongenetic households? ‘Shulie’ (as she was known to her friends in her youth), a Chicago art-school graduate and subsequent New Yorker, deemed the overthrowing of class, work, and markets to be a self-evidently necessary task, barely worth defending. What really interested her, instead, was the abolition of culture and nature, no less—starting with patriarchal ‘love’ and its ‘culture of romance’ on the one hand, and pregnancy on the other. Besides editing and producing the short-lived, self-published militant (and millenarian) women’s liberation journal Notes, Shulie cofounded several revolutionary groups—New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists—which sometimes carried out direct actions targeting, for instance, a Miss America pageant and a Manhattan bridal fair. She then published her book-length manifesto, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, through (controversially) a mainstream press. In it, she advocates for ‘the abolition of the labor force itself under a cybernetic socialism’ and ‘the diffusion of the childbearing and childrearing role to the society as a whole, men as well as women.’ Ectogenesis—the machine uterus—is famously a part of this speculative picture. But above all, she contends, women must liberate children and themselves from the capitalist patriarchy—seizing control over technology, eradicating the tyranny of work, automating labor (yes, even reproductive labor, as far as possible), and shedding the incest taboo such that play, love, and sexuality might ‘[flow] unimpeded.'” • Well, I was nodding along until that last point…. Bracing stuff, though. And somehow I can’t imagine Firestone working for the CIA (Steinem) or, well, doing brunch….

News of the Wired

“The Triumvirate: Coal, Iron, and Steam” [Creatures of Thought]. True facts on coal: “Coal was used as fuel to some extent in Britain in ancient times – archaeologists have found coal and coal ashes in sites from the Roman imperial era. But no clear evidence of the widespread and regular use of coal in Britain arises thereafter until the thirteenth century. At that point, it appears in the written record as sea coal, or carbo maris. Why “sea” coal? At the time, the term coal was used for what we now call charcoal. Scholars have offered two explanations for why a similar black, lumpy fuel, dug from the ground, was said to come from the sea. There is no doubt that sea coal was often found washed up on the seashore, having eroded from exposed coastal seams. For example, a grant of a new tract of land extended to the monks of Newminster Abbey in Northumberland around 1236 included the right to collect sea weed and sea coal along its shore (the latter likely to fuel their saltworks).[2] However, there is another possible explanation for the name – that it was called sea coal because it arrived into London by sea from the North. Documentary evidence for this sea trade appears at almost exactly the same time – a document dated to 1228 refers to a Sacoles (Sea Coals) Lane in the suburbs of London, also known as Limeburner’s Lane, presumably after the primary customers for the new seaborne fuel.[3] I can find no firm reason to prefer one explanation over the other, so take your pick.[4] Coal seams rose close to the surface throughout much of the island, especially in a roughly 300-mile belt across its middle from Birmingham north to Edinburgh. Britain’s gluttonous consumption of coal owed itself to the combination of this supply of easily accessible ores and the demand crated by the demographic explosion of London.”

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

TH writes: “How lovely to have a sweetly scented bouquet of such delicately shaded and shaped roses so close you could just open your window to feel they’d been brought in, keeping them fresh and saving on the whole vase and clipping routine!”

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

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. John

    “Shulamith Firestone: With echoes of the Stalinist ideal living arrangement c.1930, Brave New World, the Vorkosigan universe, and I imagine other utopian notions. But she does not think small.

    1. hemeantwell

      eradicating the tyranny of work, automating labor (yes, even reproductive labor, as far as possible), and shedding the incest taboo such that play, love, and sexuality might ‘[flow] unimpeded.

      There Firestone jumps the shark along with Foucault, Deleuze, and Guattari. If there’s one thing developmental psychology is good for, it’s showing that things don’t work out well when you think you can treat desire like energy flows. Firestone’s feminism ends up fitting in well with notions of masculinity that flee from any awareness of dependency needs into the pursuit of power fetishes.

      1. JBird4049

        Yes. This reminds me of postmodernism or of the current neoliberalism giving a dissolving bath on everything and anything physical, mental, emotional, philosophical, religious, ideological, biological, anything, but mostly about being human, all for the making of profit. Perhaps, I could call it Postmodern-Dadism?

        We are already at Margaret Thatcher’s TINA, which came after the successful efforts to detach the various reform movements of the previous hundred from class with, among others, the CIA’s efforts including domestic spying and COINTELPRO; what Shulamith Firestone is suggesting is the elimination of social structure from family, traditions, morals, religion, or anything that would consist of an organized and connected community, making our then psuedo-society/civilization into an anatomized cloud of empty individuals even more dark than TINA. People need connections, they need belief and structure in something, and they need family.

        We can argue over what needs to change, but whenever people call to change, or even to just tear something down, they usually do not even try to create something in its place, often making the situation much, much worse. It is like those who insist on keeping whatever is around just because changing might be dangerous. Neither is good.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perhaps Shulamith Firestone never actually wanted anything better, or even different, to actually be actually built at all, actually.

          Perhaps she was one of those Jokers who just like to ” stand back, and watch the world burn”.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > things don’t work out well when you think you can treat desire like energy flows.

        An acute comment that disposes of that school of thought. What’s the better way of “treating” desire, though?

    2. Mikel

      Reminds me a bit (just a bit) of Valerie Solanas, whose claim to fame was shooting Andy Warhol.

      But I think their views about incest would diverge.

      Solanas studied psychology and studied/worked in an animal research division. She was especually interested in parthenogenesis.

    3. Mikel

      And finishing the article, near the end of it….. mentions her shout out to Valerie Solanas.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It is refreshing to re-encounter a brand of feminism that is not about treating a female head of the CIA as a victory for all women, and a model for young women and girls.

          Give me the whiskey neat, even if it makes me cough and splutter.

  2. Duggie

    Paywall, what paywall? You need Firefox

    “Some former Harris staffers are feeling vindicated after reports of dysfunction in her office.
    They’re texting one another and having flashbacks about their time working for her.
    They say she hung up on staffers, demeaned them, and made aides cry.
    See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    The news spread fast around the alumni network of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ex-staffers in California and Washington after a string of unflattering stories were published late last month about management problems in her White House office.

    “Well, this didn’t take long,” read a text received by a former Harris staffer after Politico published a story about dysfunction in the vice president’s office.

    “WOW,” the former staffer responded. “That is quite a story. Thank you for flagging.”

    One former Harris aide said the story was quickly shared among ex-staffers, and responses included “lots of eyeball emojis.”

    The Politico story, published in June, detailed a VP’s office “rife with dissent,” and it was treated as a bombshell in DC political circles and on social media, but it didn’t surprise staffers who worked for Harris before she became vice president of the United States. Some of them have been predicting it was a matter of time until stories of staff dysfunction started spilling out.
    Texts between a former Harris staffer and a friend in response to the Politico story.
    Texts between a former Harris staffer and a friend in response to the Politico story. Obtained by Insider

    Insider interviewed 12 former Harris staffers about the atmosphere in Harris’ offices when she was district attorney in San Francisco from 2004 until 2011, California’s attorney general for six years after that, and a US senator from 2017 until her inauguration as President Joe Biden’s No. 2 in January. Most of those staffers spoke on condition of anonymity to protect professional relationships, adding that Harris’ job trajectory means it’s well within reason she could become the most powerful person on the planet.

    Some of them said they were thrilled to have worked for a woman they — and many in the public — see as a brilliant politician and cultural icon. Harris broke barriers as the first woman, the first Black person, and the first Asian to serve as the US vice president.

    But others described Harris as unpredictable and at times demeaning to her staff over the years. She often hung up on her aides, berated them when she didn’t think they were prepared enough for briefings, and had a reputation for churning through interns and lower-level staff, people told Insider.

    Harris’ turnover in the Senate was on the high end during her four years in the US Capitol’s upper chamber. She ranked No. 9 of 114 senators for highest turnover from 2017 to 2020, the congressional database LegiStorm showed.

    Barbara O’Connor, a longtime communications professor at California State University, Sacramento, told Insider that at least 20 interns who worked in Harris’ attorney general and Senate offices came to O’Connor crying and seeking advice, saying they “felt they weren’t valued” in Harris’ office. O’Connor helped transfer about five interns out of Harris’ office at the time, she said.

    Many former Harris staffers have been privately grumbling for years to reporters and among one another about their time working for her. Several said the latest media reports about staff dysfunction inside the vice president’s wing of the White House were giving them flashbacks to what some have called low points in their careers, including some who have worked for other high-profile politicians.

    It’s a nightmare scenario for some former Harris staffers who watched nervously as their former boss ascended the national political stage. Many of them remain loyal Democrats and fans of Biden, but they didn’t want to see a boss with whom they’d had a bad experience become the Democratic Party’s standard bearer. Biden, at 78, was already the oldest person to assume the US presidency. He’ll be a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday on Election Day 2024, and there’s already speculation six months into his term over whether he’ll run for reelection.”

    1. Nikkikat

      “Some of them see her as a brilliant politician and a cultural icon”. That’s one of the silliest remarks anyone could make about Kamala Harris. In fact I would get quite choked up if I had to repeat it to anyone. Good Grief! Harris is a ninny. Sounds like the stuff we used see in the press about Obama. If they have to tell how great they are……they probably aren’t.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Gee, I can’t imagine any possible reason someone trying to have a job in Democrat politics wouldn’t want to go on the record about what a horrible boss Harris was.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Think about where these leaks are coming from: That’s the real story.

          I know you all are going to mock me for this but let me throw this out there for your consideration. We all thought that we elected Fredo to the presidency last year, but what if we actually have Michael at the helm? Biden could very well be the most Machiavellian politician of all time. Think about this. He’s neutered Sanders, BootyJudge is off selling off highways to Blackrock. Obama is now going to the Emmys, not the UN. Amy Klobuchar – gone. Elizabeth Warren will be lucky to hold onto her Senate seat. At this rate, Jill will be invoking the 25th Amendment to get rid of Kamala “for the good of the party.”

          I present to you, The Godfather, Joseph Corleone Biden.

          1. Acacia

            No mockery from this corner. Shouldn’t we say, though, that it was the DNC that neutered Sanders (with a little help from Saint O.) and generally foamed the runway for Joe?

            As for Dr. Jill, I hear she’s en route Tokyo to make an imperial appearance for the Olympics. With Delta invading the Japanese megalopolis and the whole event managed by incompetents, she’s risking more than Poppy Bush ever did with that dodgy plate of sushi.

            1. jsn

              I think there is a real possibility there is a Michael character back in there somewhere, but seriously doubt it’s sleepy Joe.

              1. Dr. John Carpenter

                Agreed. The fact that he stood down in 2016 rather than challenge the Clinton machine gives me a little hesitation in believing he’s the all powerful. And I think some of the picking off the competition is more due to their own hubris and past catching up (Warren, Klobachar) or not really being a threat to begin with (Sanders, Butiguge) than any grand plan.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > what if the whole thing is made up

        They won’t go on the record because of careerism. The reporting looks solid to me, now that I can read Business Insider. It’s based on texts, interviews with 12 former Harris staffers, and confirmed by Barbara O’Connor, a longtime communications professor at California State University, who did go on the record.

        If it were Breitbart…. But it isn’t.

    2. Dan

      I’ve always seen Biden’s choice of Harris as a guarantee that we’ll have another Republican president in 2024. She is not a particularly inspiring person, sappy children’s books aside. Anyone who would date Willie Brown…

    3. JTMcPhee

      Why is the phrase “staff dysfunction”? Shouldn’t it be “Boss dysfunction?” Of course having had a little exposure to the types who fill out the cadres of “staff” in political offices, especially the Imperial heights, one might opine that these folks with their PMC pretties in a twist have volunteered for the abuse. It’s not like KH’s priors are unknown, after all. And these complaints, some of them, are likely from folks seeking to leverage their experience for personal gain. One can bet that there’s a lot of climbing on the backs of the weaker people to climb the ladder. Ambitious people need to develop thick skins and psychic armor if they want to rise in the swamp…

    4. ChrisRUEcon

      LOL … hoisted from the replies …

      Pop Quiz: Who did Barbara O'Connor support for the VP nomination??Answer: Amy Klobuchar I like Amy but aren’t there stories of her throwing binders and having staff shave her legs? Was Barb trying to level the playing field? This sounds like it was said during the nomination”— [via Twitter]Glory (@CDonatac) July 14, 2021

    1. Acacia

      Thanks for this. I’ve only a passing familiarity with The Office, but I still found “Michael, Dwight and Andy: the Three Aesthetics of the Creative Class” to be a very engaging read. At the end of the article, I wondered (in a perhaps inevitably self-reflexive fashion) about this NC forum and what Danco refers to as “the Online”.

      More significantly, I feel Danco could have said more about how “the Online” can and does cut across the very sorts of class divisions that he maps out in this article. To be fair, he does argue that the Online is already mixing up the picture that he’s sketched out, to the extent that we may have already witnessed “the end of Michael, Dwight and Andy”. Beyond that, lies the bravest of new worlds…?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine the outrage if Trump had been able to do that with Facebook? But its OK when our side does it.

    2. drsteve0

      I keep waiting for some stalwart regular to suggest this may play right into Trump’s class action suit, perhaps someone does downthread (time constrained here) or is it just too Captain Obvious. Commenters on the tweets indicated as much. I envision a massive distraction orchestrated by both wings of the predatory bird to leave us feeling helpless and hopeless (malleable).

  3. Pelham

    As if we’re not exposed to sufficient carcinogenic microwaves through our phones, Amazon now wants to bathe us in radar microwaves as we sleep. Noted.

    1. hunkerdown

      At least they’re not trying to kill all the bees like those mean 5G carriers. Just those in your immediate vicinity. #marketefficiency

    2. PHLDenizen

      Given Bezos’ obsession with phallic imagery such as a) his own glistening, bald head, b) the Amazon Prime logo, c) rocket propelled dicks — and his own desire to fsck everything literally and figuratively (adultery, union busting, etc.) — I’m astounded that absolutely no one has picked up on his covert intention: AWS Boner Patrol.

      Need to make that rogering more jolly? Prime will deliver grade A Viagra in discreet packaging to your residence.

      “Alexa, how do I satisfy my partner in the sack? How do I know if she’s faking?” Being the industrious little helper she is, Alexa will proceed to dump a bunch of instructional material into your wish lists. Alexa might even offer to observe and critique.

      And if you proceed to bed down with someone who is not your mate, Alexa will no doubt snitch. Unless the secret Bezos Mode is enabled. Even then, who’s to say the NSA won’t have a catalog of your greatest and most shameful hits?

      Plus you’ll be able to feed your favorite pornography into AWS Rekognition (their video analysis tooling) to give you a Yale Drama School worthy workshop in fscking like your favorite porn star. Anniversaries and birthdays have never been more special.

      Why send flowers when you can chase your S.O. around with PED enabled tumescence? So many marriages saved! Such a success in turning around shrinking (heh) populations. The Quiverfull movement will be thrilled!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Given Bezos’ obsession with phallic imagery such as a) his own glistening, bald head, b) the Amazon Prime logo, c) rocket propelled dicks — and his own desire to fsck everything literally and figuratively (adultery, union busting, etc.) — I’m astounded that absolutely no one has picked up on his covert intention: AWS Boner Patrol.

        You’re absolutely right. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for Lambert, who was not cynical enough to see the obvious use case.

  4. IMOR

    So the Amazon radar your bed waiver the FCC issued yesterday per the article above a) was issued administratively, w/out a vote of the Commissioners that I could see in the FCC’s document https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/070974410095/DA-21-813A1.pdf
    b) leans entirely on ‘we already did it for Google’ – reassuring, that- as justification for rubber stamping it; and c) sez it meets standard that waiving the rule will be more to the public’s benefit because it maybe, somehow, might one day lead to help for people with disabilities. You know- like Google’s work in the area will. After all, they’ve watched the tv ads!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So the Amazon radar your bed waiver the FCC issued yesterday per the article above a) was issued administratively, w/out a vote of the Commissioners

      Everything is like CalPERS

  5. JohnnySacks

    Somerville? “gentrified in the decades since, or no” We had a third floor walkup in the 80’s in the land of three decker houses. What’s happened there recently is mind numbing, especially with the bump a Green Line subway expansion does for property values. Maybe some ‘working class’ holders, but rarer by the month. $1.4M 3 deckers galore Some of them on the market are unapologetic toilets.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I’m pretty sure Tommy shot Spider in the basement of that house even if it’s in Mass.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      Yeah, Somerville has been gentrified hard. There are still large working class populations but I have seen the line-of-gentrification/class frontier move from Davis Square, all the way past the summit of Winter Hill of Whitey Bulger fame, which, when I lived there 15 years ago, was distinctly and well beyond the class-gentrifier frontier, it was mostly local Italians, Irish, and then Brazilian, Guatemalan, Haitian, and Ethiopian immigrants. I’m told this is no longer the case.

      As my Mother said, who grew up in the grittier Boston of the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s, when seeing Davis Square for the first time in ages (this was circa 2005): “They’ve turned it into Disneyland!” And they had! It was quite down-at-the-heels when she’d last seen it in the ’80s. No more. And that was fifteen years ago! Things have only gotten worse. Much of the working class in Boston commutes — and I’m talking about people working in hotels, custodial staff, etc. — from places like New Bedford, 50 miles and a world away.*

      Portions of the old “Slummerville” are still in place, but the economic siege of these neighborhoods by what I call the Realtor-Developer Industrial Complex, an enemy in urban, rural, and suburban areas alike, is a real thing.

      *An extant but unused rail line connects New Bedford and Fall River with Boston; Deval Patrick’s Democratic Administration and Charlie Baker’s Republican Administration have both made noises about getting rail service to domestic colonies/flyover cities like New Bedford, but all they do instead is build casinos and roll out the red carpet for fracking pipelines through our State Forests.

    3. Another Scott

      There was a recent study about the Green Line extension through Somerville and Medford. The study showed that it many benefited professionals; however, when the original study was done in the 1990s as part of the Big Dig mitigation, the study thought that it would benefit the working class.

      It’s now often combined with its more well-known neighbor to the south as Camberville.

    4. Jason Boxman

      Just to give an idea of the rental prices, I’d routinely see 1 bed room apartments in various places in west Somerville for 2,200-2,500 a month only a year or so ago. Not quite SF or NYC pricing, but still.

  6. Adam1

    “No Bad news yet…”

    Lambert. Those be upward dots. Deaths train infections by about 30 days. Not a good sign.

    On a related note, I’d love to know what the real data said in NYC back in Jan/Feb with new infections. Was that slope what we’re seeing right now in the “south” ?

    1. Adam1

      Sorry I failed to read the lines under the graph…
      The charts only show ALL types of covid…
      Delta is still only roughly 1/2 of all cases, but if it is more deadly the deaths could be translating faster than the hospitalization %’s show. If that’s true they should cross back over soon.

    2. polar donkey

      I know a guy around 27 years old. Got covid in NYC last spring. Got his vaccine a couple months ago. Got covid Tuesday.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Deaths train infections by about 30 days. Not a good sign

      Which is why I’m not clear why hospitalization is still going down but deaths up. If effing CDC would supply data by income/location, it would be more useful than sorting by only by age, which is what they do. (That is, I’m wondering if the deaths are coming in populations that can’t afford hospitals, or won’t go, for whatever reason.)

  7. fumo

    Tech: “Facebook Users Said No to Tracking. Now Advertisers are Panicking”-

    “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

  8. festoonic

    In my experience as a caregiver, most nursing homes pay so little that nursing staff will often leave for a job that pays as little as 25 cents more an hour. For a 40 hour week, that comes to an extra $10 before taxes. The anthropocene cannot possibly end soon enough.

  9. Glen

    An interesting story – the last generic pharma manufacturing plant in the US is being closed, and moved off shore. This plant is in Manchin’s state, and his daughter was involved:

    Zaid Jilani: Manchin Daughter Gets GOLDEN PARACHUTE, While WV Workers Get Screwed

    Wow! You cannot make this stuff up. I suspect a movie script of this would be turned down as “too obvious”.

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    Shulamith Firestone–

    That fell right into my Brave New World re-read. Here’s a person more of less of my generation who likes the whole idea of decanted babies and no families.

    I find it hard to dismiss the idea despite my strong preference for the natural because Le Guin’s Odo founded a religion/philosophy that had a similar view of the family. Showing too much attachment or affection to a child was as culturally suspect on Anarres as a BNW citizen’s failure to spread the wild oats around sufficiently (though no oats are actually spread, thank ford).

    There’s no doubt that the experience of many who live in dysfunctional families might call the whole institution into question. And the crappy way men have generally treated women through recorded history would justify Firestone’s rebellion against biology. Finally, some cultures care nothing for the nuclear family or attribution of fatherhood, and many others raise children collectively, so what is natural (actual childbirth notwithstanding)?

    People are deeply unhappy and have been for a long time. Change has got to come, as they say. But should that change take us further away from our evolved selves and closer to what humans–or more accurately, a few powerful humans–deem as ideal this week?

    1. Ben Dalton

      Cultures that care nothing for nuclear family or attribution of fatherhood, and those that raise children collectively are very few. Even those that exist seem to demographically destruct very fast. Phillip Longman’s essay “The Return of Patriarchy” makes some compelling arguments.

      Even as I detest the stifling, oppressive, dysfunctional, abusive structure of patriarchy, I sense at a gut level that it is better adapted to survival than anything else. Just look at the shameful retreat of USA from Afghanistan away from a ragtag bunch of hillbillies.

      1. tegnost

        and those that raise children collectively are very few

        and those are boarding schools…

      2. The Rev Kev

        Not so much ‘a ragtag bunch of hillbillies’ as “Red Dawn – The Afghan Remake.” The American troops that finished their tour of duty got to go home. The Afghans were home.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And the Talibans had powerful backers and sponsors in Pakistan, most of all the ISI. And they had sanctuaries, rest-and-recreation rear areas, training-areas, re-supply areas, etc. in and from Pakistan. And so the rag-tag hillbillies had a lot of non-rag non-tag support from the ISI and etc.

          Quite apart from any “patriarchy” advantage.

  11. fresno dan

    “Florida Democrats Ask for ‘Clarity’ on ‘Anti-Riot’ Law After Cuba Protesters Not Arrested” [Newsweek].
    equal justice under law.
    like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, nice story for children, but why do adults say it???

    1. Procopius

      Similar to, “We are a nation of laws.” Well, we sure have a super-abundance of laws, the most draconian prison sentences on the planet, by far the biggest percentage of our population in prison, but those laws are not applied equally. Do you know of any way, without getting arrested and having a professional prosecutor decide to charge you with everything possible, to find out how many felonies you’ve committed today?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      This would be a fine time for NAACP , the National Lawyers Guild, etc. to seek every possible legal action against the pro-crime Republicans and the pro-crime Governor of Florida for supporting the Miami Cuban criminals in their criminal acts against traffic, highways, etc.

      Are the groups I mentioned tough enough to engage in that kind of bitter take-no-prisoners possibly-kamikaze “Lawfare” against the crime-coddling conservatives?

    1. Basil Pesto

      I think as far as financial journalism goes, Taibbi’s good at making sense of what’s happened. But I don’t think he’s a patch on, say, NC when it comes to seeing what’s coming. His misread of the Gamestop story gives pause as well.

      1. flora

        imo it’s good to get as many views as possible. the wise men and the elephant. triangulation of geographic position using and co-ordinating multiply spacial measurement to determine position, etc. / ;)

  12. Industrial Culture Handbook

    Glenn G says, “CIA, NSA, and FBI. Archliberals, all.” — Just because the CIA, NSA, and FBI happen want to shutdown Greenwald for being an accomplice to what they believe was a defection, does not mean a bunch of Virginia high-and-tight haircuts have gone Parisian Apache for Chuck Schumer. It sounds cool because Greenwald fancies himself an intellectual “Les Chacal”, but I don’t think those agencies could be bothered unless Glenn is secretly ranked a colonel or happens to be a synthetic aperture radar technician with a gambling problem.

    1. diptherio

      Well, GG also called Steve Bannon and “2016 Trump” socialists, so maybe political categorization isn’t his strong suit.

    2. anEnt

      What a barrage of imagery…

      The reason the blue check mafia ridicule Greenwald as no longer relevant is precisely because he is more relevant than they’d like him to be.

  13. Jason Boxman

    And that was the first thought I had after 1/6, but in Gandalf voice:

    Gandalf the White: Sauron’s wrath will be terrible, his retribution swift.

    So that’s the end of civil liberties, whatever wasn’t already in tatters after 9/11. And liberal Democrats, as Obama and his administration proved, are all in favor of reduced civil liberties. Prosecuting whistle blowers, whacking US citizens, oh fun times.

      1. skippy

        From a cabin or house in Maine I find that some what milquetoast until some have suffered the finer points of neoliberalism outside job re-tasking and legacy buffers thingy …

        I caution all to extenuate on things the have no experience on opining about … save they read a book … or know some one …

        1. Procopius

          I don’t know what that final sentence means, but I get the feeling it is recommending STFU about things you don’t know about.

          1. skippy

            Most here, through no fault of their own, have never experienced the physical or emotional palate that is on offer on this orb and as such lack the personal experiences to reconcile the knowledge/information based perspective with the lived one … especially from a broad geographical vista over time and space.

            That said the one thing I have found is survivors tend to mock the agency that serves up the meal everyone is expected to consume and be grateful for it …. less one becomes the old lady in the nursing home that is manicured and coiffured like a glossy 50s ad only to be shocked by the stream of vulgarities when you say hello pretty lady as you walk by …

            At this juncture everything is about how the numbers work on the balance sheet that matters to the special people and not much else. So I don’t find anyone giving a fat finger to those that forward that agenda through the side of ones mouth a unwarranted grievance as such. Umbrage is warranted me thinks.

            PS. I would expect the same from Lambert to clip me when warranted as mates ….

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              I’m not entirely sure you got the irony in my comment, insofar as I can translate what you wrote. “Problematic” content creators are the sort of people Psaki wants leashed and collared.

              1. skippy

                “Fun times” as the full stop to the declarative of Obama’s neoliberal administration has no ironic application post or propter hoc even if delivered in the cute sense.

                I in response forward the notion that the conservative minded only respond to power regardless of how much oxygen they dependence saying just the opposite eg. they say they dispense freedom whilst simultaneity forwarding servitude in perpetuity.

                “content creators” = barf

  14. michael99

    Cases are rising rapidly in Sacramento. This morning the County said the vaccinated should wear masks again.

    Sacramento County now recommends all residents wear masks in most public indoor settings to curb the spread of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, due to a “drastic” rise in local cases attributed to the Delta variant.

    Sacramento’s recommendation comes exactly one month after California health officials dropped statewide mask requirements for the fully vaccinated in most indoor settings and the reopening of its economy June 15.

    The daily case rate has risen from 3.8 per 100,000 residents to 10 per 100,000 in a little more than three weeks, the county said.

    Sacramento County reissues mask recommendation in response to COVID Delta variant – The Bee
    This week at the supermarket and hardware store I noticed a lot of people have gone ahead and stopped wearing masks.

      1. Mikel

        They aren’t tracking cases among the vaccinated like they are the unvaccinated.
        They are only counting/studying cases among the vaccinated if they end up in the hospital….even the symptomatic cases among the vaccinated could contribute to the spread.

      2. RMO

        Things are still going well here in BC but I fear we may have jumped the gun on dropping the mask mandate. Seems like the majority of those going without masks that I see when grocery shopping are over 65 and visibly look to be in worse overall health than my 80+ mum who is still masking in public. Maybe they think they’re invulnerable now… I figure getting the vaccine is sort of like trading a 90s car for a new car that has a five star EuroNCAP safety rating – sure the active and passive safety devices make it a lot safer but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep using the seatbelts!

        No big uptick two weeks after the Canada Day long weekend though. Declines in cases seem to closely match vaccination rate so far. The Fraser health district (where I live) has been the plague pit of BC from the start of the pandemic but after accelerating vaccination schedules here cases have dropped sharply and now it’s the interior and coastal (which include Vancouver proper, Richmond and other densely populated areas) which most days have the majority of cases. We’re nearing 50% fully vaccinated after an extremely slow start and it looks like 85% vaccination will be the end result.

        1. michael99

          Hi RMO. Are there any restrictions on indoor gatherings?

          California dropped the mask mandate but some counties are now “recommending” masks.

          Good luck to you all this summer.

          1. RMO

            michael99: No restrictions on “personal” indoor gatherings, “organized” gatherings (which includes weddings and funerals) have a 50 person or 50% capacity limit indoors, outdoors 5000 people or 50% capacity – whichever is greater for both in and out of doors gatherings. So basically almost all restrictions have been lifted. I really hope this doesn’t give us another four digit daily case load again. Masks are only “recommended” for those who aren’t 14 days past their second vaccine dose.

            If I were in charge (like that would ever happen) I would have kept things as they were until we got above 80% full vaccination and at least a few week long streaks of zero new cases.

      3. michael99

        Laura, good comparison. I’m not sure what to expect. Will this surge be less severe due to vaccinations, and cases skewing younger? The vaccines will be put to the test.

        To what extent will people gather indoors (restaurants, bars, concerts, parties, etc.), and if new infections keep rising will people pull back?

        What will Newsom do? He’s got to be gritting his teeth about now.

    1. JT

      Sacto here. Vaccinated and have been fighting off a tight chest for 5 days. Increased Vitamin C, D, quercetin, zinc, and glutathione, albuterol and steroid inhalers. All learned from my initial bout March 2020 and subsequent long haul issues. If I’m fighting off Delta, it was likely July 4 that did me in. Outdoor party and good breeze except for the indoor buffet line. I’m nixing indoor dining going forward and masking everywhere again. Figure it’s only a matter of time before a new variant really breaks the vaccines. And it could start here with no warning.

      1. tegnost

        I continue masking but note the decline… if my cashier has to wear a mask so am I…also in the macro…if mask wearing is combined with even spotty vaccine numbers it’s a plus. Wear a mask. it’s the right thing to do.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Greenwald

    That’s kinda the FBI/CIA/NSA’s job Glenn. Was there ever a time when the FBI wasn’t targeting some dissident? Segments of the American population will always be enemy numero uno. The liberals are signing onto it because they feel their power slipping away as Trump’s brand was built primarily on undermining their goals, values, and institutions.

    Basic demagoguery 101.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I find it pretty bad that good journalists like Assange, Greenwald, Maté, Bartlett, Beeley, etc. are under attack not only from the right but also the left as well. Imagine if during the Watergate scandal that you had Bernstein & Woodward under attack by the democrats and their own newspaper was refusing to publish their work. But that is where we are now.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good question. Just because a person is a PMC liberal does not mean that they are a leftist. And the past few years there has been a bit of a mask reveal on who says that they are part of the left but who is carrying water for not even the right but the PMC themselves. Interesting times – but I hope that we do not end up in a South Africa situation because of it.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Good question. Just because a person is a PMC liberal does not mean that they are a leftist.

            Thank you. Liberals like to pose as the left from a vestigial sense that this gives them moral authority. Which is why Sanders enraged them. No more moral high ground, and about time, too.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Humanity? No. Modern industrial civilization man. That’s who/what should take the bow.

      After all, the millions of AmazIndians who up-eco-terraformed the Amazon to begin with were an expression of humanity.

  16. Expat2Uruguay

    Lambert, one way that hospitalizations could go down and death still go up is if the people who were hospitalized are dying but no new people are being hospitalized.

  17. Vander Resende

    “Bad news. Though I don’t understand how deaths can go up with hospitalizations still going down. Data problems? If so, which way?”

    Well, maybe because with the advance of the vaccination, there is a great decrease in the number of contamination and hospitalizations. Although, those patients hospitalized are more susceptible to die from Covid. But I am not sure.

  18. MikeW_CA

    re: “Politico tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube on the DNC working with the telcos to censor SMS messaging”

    C’mon man. That’s small ball. Why not ask Apple and Amazon to have Siri and Alexa monitor people’s conversations in their homes and speak up with a correction if they hear anybody spouting misinformation about COVID vaccines.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Why not ask Apple and Amazon to have Siri and Alexa monitor people’s conversations in their homes and speak up with a correction if they hear anybody spouting misinformation about COVID vaccines.

      When that rollout comes, it will be suspiciously fast, almost as if the technology had been prepared in advance.

  19. VietnamVet

    It is Empire End Days on the internet. Germany gets to keep the Nord Stream 2 Russian energy supply over Senator Ted Cruz’s loud protestations. The USA is preparing to leave Syria and Iraq according to Moon of Alabama. Imperialists may be distracted with a US Marines intervention into Haiti. But, no matter, the petrodollar era since the 1970s is ending. Energy will be sold in currencies other than the dollar.

    The rebooted Obama/Biden Administration will try public/private PR to paper this all over again. But when reality intervenes, it blows back. The desperate attempt to censor SMS messaging that mRNA vaccines are not completely safe and effective will crater the already falling numbers of new injections, even more. If the trend in the number of COVID deaths keeps climbing due to Delta Variant breakthroughs due to the Administration’s reopening the USA and the ending of social distancing and of masking, the complete public health failure cannot remain hidden long.

    Supply shortages are due to the pandemic, profiteering, worker fear and displacement not a resurging economy. Unrest is circling the world. If a new lockdown is necessary to save for-profit hospitals once again, the dollar collapses, and weather catastrophes continue, this all together will make the collapse of the current highly unequal and incompetent political economic system inevitable.

    Only the restoration of the rule of law, democracy, and telling the truth can make the transition peaceful.

    1. a fax machine

      ” Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity. ”

      Hard to say what will be the straw that breaks the camels’ back. All the attempts to ignore Biden being nice to Putin will not work on a public conditioned to hate Russia – and it is especially pathetic by those who now claim Putin is “not a threat” because Trump is gone (using their own jingoist standards that is, we’re talking about fantasy here). Or will it be the rising car supply shortages and automobile supply chain disruptions – new CAFE and EV transitions cannot happen if new product is unable to ship.

      Something’s clearly wrong, or rather wrong-er than usual. The growing economic dismount threatens a new full-blown recession, which the media won’t be able to spin because the surviving aspects of the media will simply die. All major cable stations are owned by ISPs now, and ISPs have every reason to funnel subscribers into their new (and bad) streaming services where they can double-dip by charging for both content and data.

    2. Procopius

      Energy will be sold in currencies other than the dollar.

      Errr… I think you misunderstand the situation. Energy has always been sold in currencies besides the dollar. It’s just that the prices are quoted in dollars. To figure out how much a barrel of oil costs in quatloos you have to look at foreign exchange rates, then use your quatloos to buy enough dollars OR give the seller enough quatloos that he can exchange them for the required number of dollars. Even under the gold standard you could exchange one currency for another. Indeed, one reason rich people like the gold standard is that the exchange rates are fixed for long periods of time, causing financial crises. Before Nixon abrogated the Bretton Woods Agreement, the dollar was used in place of a specified quantity of gold, and that custom persists with floating exchange rates because of the huge pile of eurodollars that piled up in the ’60s.

  20. allan

    FAA orders inspections of Boeing 737 cabin air sensors [Seattle Times]

    More than 2,500 Boeing Co. 737 jets in the U.S. will have to be inspected after the company and regulators discovered a potential flaw in a pressure switch that could lead to pilots becoming incapacitated.

    The Federal Aviation Administration said airlines and operators should inspect cabin pressure switches, which help ensure there’s sufficient air to breathe as planes climb to higher altitudes. The failure rate of the switches is “much higher than initially estimated” and poses a safety risk, the FAA said in a directive posted to the Federal Register website Thursday. …

    Probably just a mere flesh wound, but just in case, time to reset those stock options.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      >a potential flaw in a pressure switch that could lead to pilots becoming incapacitated… airlines and operators should inspect cabin pressure switches, which help ensure there’s sufficient air to breathe as planes climb to higher altitudes

      Fine, fine, but what about the air passengers breath? Is the air not changed often enough?

  21. a fax machine

    The most recent Ben Garrison strip about the Biden Administration is relevant: it’s “gun owners” vs the Biden administration – a gun vs Persuasion (Biden), Tracking (healthcare), and Force (the military). Without making any sort of actual comment on guns/gun control as an issue, I think the basic depiction of the Democrats’ diversion machine works very well. Biden is just the face for a machine that, right now, exists to support a for-profit healthcare and military industry which are seeing new business schemes in the Democrats’ attempt to conflate gun control with healthcare. This is very dangerous, if only because it leads to thought policing and more dangerous attempted to conflate other issues such as immigrants, gay people, and unmarried women with healthcare. Healthcare as a form of social control is not what Americans want, Americans want healthcare that treats them as dignified humans not things to be corrected.

    There’s also the growing divide in society between “normal” America and “professional” America – represented by politicians, doctors and the armed forces (including police). Gentrified America (the latter) seems to be on a collision course with the former if conditions do not improve. One wonders what will happen when the money inevitably runs out.

    1. tegnost

      “professional” America – represented by politicians, doctors and the armed forces (including police). Gentrified America


      1. a fax machine

        Why not? Seems accurate. That’s not to say all politicians, doctors or police officers are bad but they are professionals who require licenses to do their jobs – licenses to practice law, medicine, and law enforcement. Except for prison guards and beat cops, most police detectives have enough college to qualify as white-collar. It’s what differentiates them from the sort of gumshoe PIs that can’t afford college. There is probably some larger statement about police-government labor relations that can be pulled from this.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    That photo of Draculamala Harris makes her face look like a layer of dried leather stretched tight over a sneering skull.

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