2:00PM Water Cooler 7/26/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler is a bit light, but I have some household matters to handle.

Bird Song of the Day

Conan the Cerulean….

* * *


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:

South rising.

Case count by United States regions:

The non-triumphalist black line of today’s new normal is pushing strongly toward the same height as the second peak, back in July 2020. Projecting linearly, I’d guess we’d reach it by early next week. (Note that these numbers are if anything understated, since the CDC does not collect breakthrough infections unless they involve hospitalization, and encourages health administrators in the states and localities not to collect the data either.)

I’m juggling with power tools here (plus I hate models), so perhaps I misunderstand, either Lessler or the scenarios. Reader comments very welcome.

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

So long, President Desantis.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report July 21 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

More red, though some relief in California. Last release:

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

Test positivity:

South running away with the field. But other regions now playing catch-up.

Hospitalization (CDC):

I do not like the increase in 65+ hospitalization.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

I do not like the rise in deaths, slight though it may be.

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

Biden Administration

“EXCLUSIVE U.S. will not lift travel restrictions, citing Delta variant -official” [Reuters]. “he United States will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases, a White House official told Reuters. The decision, which comes after a senior level White House meeting late Friday, means the long-running travel restrictions that have barred much of the world’s population from the United States since 2020 will not be lifted in the short term.” • What we should be doing is requiring two-week quarantines, as the recent superspreader wedding, with visitors from India, proves.

“Joe Biden town hall in Cincinnati: Here’s the full CNN transcript” (transcript) [Cincinnatti Enquirer]. • This is very interesting and well worth study. Here are some of the main points:

(1) Biden often uses phrases like “It really has. Not a joke,” “No, I’m not joking,” “Not a joke. Not a joke.,” “all kidding aside,” “I really mean it,” and so forth. In his own Biden-esque way, i.e. sloppy and full of loose ends, this is message discipline as impressive as Sanders; Biden does recognize that trust in government is decreasing, and in his rhetorical persona seeks to address this (possibly also in contrast to “the former guy,” who was quite a kidder, and — this is a long shot — in contrast to Obama’s brand of cool irony). This to me suggests that Biden, even if he’s lost a step or three, is a better politician than the party (broadly conceived as the party apparatus proper, plus funders, strategists, and a dense network of NGOs).

(2) Biden vaccine messaging:

[BIDEN:] This is a simple, basic proposition. If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in an ICU unit, and you are not going to die…. If you’re vaccinated, even if you do “catch the virus,” quote, unquote, like people talk about it in normal terms, you’re — not many people do. If you do, you’re not likely to get sick. You’re probably going to be symptomless. You’re not going to be in a position where your life is in danger. So it’s really kind of basic.

This is so, so much closer to the truth than the previous “you’re protected.” Granted, it’s not phrased in terms of probabilities, but I think those are covered by the hospitalized/ICU/death cascade.

(3) Biden on maskiing:

[BIDEN:] Number two, the CDC is going to say that what we should do is everyone over the age — under the age of 12 should probably be wearing a mask in school. That’s probably what’s going to happen. Secondly, those over the age of 12 who are able to get vaccinated, if you’re vaccinated, you shouldn’t wear a mask. If you aren’t vaccinated, you should be wearing a mask. So it’s going to get a little bit tight in terms of, well, are Mom or Dad being honest that, you know, Johnny did or did not get vaccinated. That’s going to raise questions. But I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see this work out in ways that people are going to know in the community. Everybody knows in a community whether or not Johnny really did get the vaccination when he’s 15 or 17 years old. And so it’s going to — I think it’s — it’s a matter of community responsibility. And I think you’re going to see it work through.

Nice try, but this wouldn’t work even in Scranton. Even Scranton is too big. (It could be this message is tailored for rural America.)

(4) Biden on the vaccine hesitant:

But if you notice, as they say in the southern part of my state, they’ve had an altar call, some of those guys. All of a sudden they’re out there saying, “Let’s get vaccinated. Let’s get vaccinated.”

The very people before this were saying — so that — I shouldn’t make fun of it. That’s good. It’s good. It’s good. We just have to keep telling the truth. That’s why, for example, my wife just flew to Alaska today to do an event in Alaska about making sure people understand and get vaccinated, talking about COVID, et cetera.

So it’s — you know, and, by the way, there’s pockets. If you notice, there’s about, what, four or five states that have close to 45 percent or — don’t hold me to exact numbers.

LEMON: Lower than that, even. In my home state of Louisiana, it’s 36 percent, and I think there are other southern states.

BIDEN: No, but I mean of all the cases, all the cases, a very overwhelming majority of those cases are in four or five states.

LEMON: Yeah.

BIDEN: And it’s just not — there’s nothing political about this. There’s no blue or red.


I think “that’s good. It’s good” is a second example of Biden being a better politician than his party (conceived of as above). Most liberal Democrat activists are mocking “the very people,” and Biden goes up to the brink, and pulls back. (If this were Obama, I’d be sure it was a rhetorical ploy, but I don’t think Biden has that level of rigorous control over his register.) Same with “there’s no blue or red.” Biden’s party certainly believes that there is only blue or red, and that’s not how public health works; it’s a very destructive attitude to take up, if your goal is to save lives instead of exterminate a political and class enemy.

All in all, it’s an interesting transcript. I don’t know if Biden can do a full day’s work, and I don’t even know if he’s an executive decision maker — what on earth are they thinking on infrastructure? — but in terms of speaking directly to the American people, as we say, this Town Hall was pretty good. I can’t find it in myself to hate the guy, even though I hate plenty of things he’s done. I don’t even turn off the sound when his voice comes on — although partly that’s because if he slips a cog, I want to hear it. NOTE I only read the Town Hall transcript, I didn’t watch it. So if Biden is showing physical signs of deterioration, I wouldn’t have seen them.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Survivors of California’s forced sterilizations: ‘It’s like my life wasn’t worth anything’” [Guardian (JBird4049)]. “It wasn’t until years after Kelli Dillon went into surgery while incarcerated in the California state prison system that she realized her reproductive capacity had been stripped away without her knowledge. In 2001, at the age of 24, she became one of the most recent victims in a history of forced sterilizations in California that stretches back to 1909 and served as an inspiration for Nazi Germany’s eugenics program. But now, under new provisions signed into California’s budget this week, the state will offer reparations for the thousands of people who were sterilized in California institutions, without adequate consent, often because they were deemed ‘criminal’, ‘feeble-minded’ or ‘deviant.'” • Just trust us on the vaccinesl though…

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ general business activity index for manufacturing in Texas decreased to 27.3 in July of 2021 from 31.1 in June, pointing to the smallest growth in factory activity in five months, although it remained a robust one.”

* * *

Shipping: “Containership Scrapping Tanks as Carriers Seek Out ‘Anything That Floats’” [gCaptain]. “Despite a 30% spike in prices for scrap, just 1,300 teu of cellular tonnage was sold for demolition in the past 60 days as operators seek out and deploy every containership that can pass survey. ‘The booming container charter market, with historically high charter rates, has been instrumental in keeping owners away from the demolition scene,’ said Alphaliner. Indeed, notwithstanding scrap buyers offering around $600 per ldt – which hard-pressed shipowners would have jumped at a year ago, particularly for their ageing uneconomic vessels – they are now receiving astonishing offers from carriers for their ships, many times higher than they could achieve on the demolition market. The consultant identified only 15 container vessels, for a total of 12,431 teu, that had been dispatched to the recycling yards in the first six months of the year – this is in stark contrast to the 56 for 143,000 teu scrapped in the first half of 2020.” • And maybe some that shouldn’t have passed survey?


Every so often my impulse is to Undo in real life. Nothing existential, but tripod positioning, say.

Tech: “An Anti-Smartphone With a Rotary Designed and Built by Space Engineer Justine Haupt” [This Is Collossal]. “‘This is a statement against a world of touchscreens, hyperconnectivity, and complacency with big brother watchdogs,’ Haupt writes on her website. In a post sharing the open source design, she adds that ‘in a finicky, annoying, touchscreen world of hyperconnected people using phones they have no control over or understanding of, I wanted something that would be entirely mine, personal, and absolutely tactile, while also giving me an excuse for not texting.'” • Here it is:

Apparently, it will be on the market when the chip shortage is over.

Tech: “Stop Building Bad AI” [Boston Review]. “A final obstacle to more robust ethical reflection on AI development is the presumption that we always have the option of non-deployment. If at some point in the future it turns out that an AI tool is having unacceptably bad consequences, some might say, we can simply decide to stop using the tool then. This may be true in some cases, but it is not clear why we should think it is always possible—especially without industry-wide regulation. The labor effects of automation, for example, may well be effectively irreversible. In current market conditions, it is hard to imagine how a company could take back its decision to replace a human-executed task with an AI-driven, automated process. Should the company face backlash over its AI tool, current incentives make it far likelier that it would seek to find another way to automate the task rather than rehire humans to execute it. The pressure to automate is now so strong in some sectors that some companies are pretending to have built and deployed AI. In 2016, for example, Bloomberg News reported that personal assistant startup X.ai was directing employees to simulate the work of AI chatbots, performing avalanches of mind-numbing, repetitive tasks such as generating auto-reply emails and scheduling appointments. It would be naïve to think that once such tools are actually built and deployed, the work force could easily revert to its pre-automated structure.” • I’m not sure there is such a thing as good AI. As I understand it, we don’t know how AI works, and we don’t know how to maintain AI systems. AI seems like a sort of limit case of Things That Capitalism Should Not Do.

The Bezzle: “Uber showed drivers lower fares than passengers, blames California law it supported” [MarketWatch]. • Uber’s lips are moving, so….

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s Turnaround After 737 Max Crisis Threatened by Talent Exodus” [Bloomberg]. “More than 3,200 engineers and technical workers have left the company’s Seattle airplane manufacturing hub since the start of last year, about 18% of the union that represents them, with only a scant number added behind. In all, Boeing is aiming to cut 23,000 employees — from its executive committee to the factory floor — through layoffs, buyouts and retirement initiatives it launched last year as it racked up record financial losses… The engineers departed an employer that had shifted away from the bet-the-company ethos that gave the world the 747 jumbo jet and the Apollo era’s Saturn rocket. Over the past decade, cost-obsessed Boeing executives wowed Wall Street by plowing more than $40 billion into share buybacks. The strategy made Boeing the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for a span, but left the manufacturer ill-prepared for leaner times and new competitive threats…. The manufacturer shielded its government-funded space and defense units from the payroll purge, and continued to hire through the worst of last year’s downturn, including engineers.” • Boeing executives weren’t obsessed with “costs.” They were obsessed with looting the company.

Mr. Market: “Investors Are Buying American” [Wall Street Journal]. “Investors around the globe are pouring money into U.S. financial assets, a sign of confidence that the world’s largest economy remains poised to pull through the Covid-19 pandemic better than many others. Investors around the globe are pouring money into U.S. financial assets, a sign of confidence that the world’s largest economy remains poised to pull through the Covid-19 pandemic better than many others.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 26 at 12:07pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.)

Sports Desk

“EXPLAINER: How the Russians caught the U.S. in gymnastics” [Associated Press]. “Starting in 2006, scores were broken down into two parts. The difficulty (D) score is based on what a gymnast does during their routine. The harder the elements the athlete successfully strings together, the higher the total. In theory, the D-score can be open-ended. Most elite routines carry a D-score between 5.4 and 6.0. Exceptional routines — like what Biles does on floor or what Lee does on uneven bars — score 6.5 or higher. The second score is the execution (E) score. It is based on a 10.0 scale, but the perfectly executed routine does not exist. The scoring system forces coaches and athletes to do their own version of risk vs. reward. Do you pack routines with really hard elements at the risk of execution? Or do you opt for an easier set you could potentially do more cleanly? For years, the Americans — Biles in particular — haven’t had to choose. Not only have they done the hardest gymnastics out there, they’ve done them better than anyone else. That’s still the case in Tokyo. The combined difficulty scores the Americans used on all four events during qualifying was 71.9. The ROC’s total was 69.7. So why did ROC finish ahead of the U.S.? Execution. Where the Americans were messy, the Russians were precise. It made all the difference.”

What a great shot:

Makes the “center of gravity” really clear. I wish I had a technique that would reveal the principles of natural systems in the same way. Perhaps the same shot from the same position every day for a year, or at least a season.

Zeitgeist Watch

I don’t mean to go all Colonel Blimp-ish here [harrumph]:

For example, I was taught “the knowledge and skills [I] need to acquire power in [my] own life” when teachers taught me to read, and encouraged me to read more and better. I don’t know if this Sanford Inspire (see logo at top right) curriculum has made it out of the world of the Arizona State school of education. I do know that T. Denny Sanford, who funded the its development, is a more than sketchy character.

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

Local delicacy:

Class Warfare

“Poultry plant fined $1M over ‘entirely avoidable’ deaths of six workers” [The Hill]. • Cost of doing business.

“Banks Are Giving the Ultra-Rich Cheap Loans to Fund Their Lifestyle” [Bloomberg]. “Rock-bottom interest rates have fueled the biggest borrowing binge on record and even billionaires with enough cash to fill a swimming pool are loathe to sit it out… ‘Families with wealth of $100 million or more can borrow at less than 1%,’ said Dan Gimbel, principal at NEPC Private Wealth. ‘For their lifestyle, there may be things they want to purchase — a car or a boat or even a small business — and they may turn to that line of credit for those types of things rather than take money from the portfolio as they want that to be fully invested.’ Yachts and private jets have been especially popular buys in the past year, according to wealth managers, one of whom described it as borrowing to buy social distance.'” • It would be a shame if the passengers on those private jets had to sit in quarantine for two weeks.

“The Deflationary Bloc” [Phenomenal World]. “Despite taking place in different contexts, the processes which allowed for the formation of deflationary coalitions exhibited some common features: governments empowered rentiers, gave some citizens nominal gains as consumers, ensured access to certain classes of growth assets for powerful constituencies, and repurposed the institutions of “big government capitalism” to support financial deregulation. Redistributing gains away from workers, financial deregulation integrated global economies in a manner that allowed states to pursue growth strategies benefiting an exclusive class of rentiers. This new class supported deflationary policies long after inflation posed an imminent threat. In the United States, financial deregulation and its attendant deflationary political coalition were embedded in the politics of housing.”

News of the Wired

I’m not feeling especially wired today. This will have to do:

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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. IM Doc

    An update today.

    I came back today for my first day of work. I am officially present and not on Zoom.

    There were 8 COVID patients in the hospital. 3 vaccinated/5 unvaccinated.

    I have discharged all but 1. The crush we had last week is now in the rear view mirror. There are no new people in the ER right now. I have stated this for many months, this virus behaves in a very very strange way. I have made this comment before and I will make it again – this type of behavior is just not the usual situation in the middle of any kind of epidemic. The virus is trying to give us clues – are we smart enough to figure this out?

    The outpatient patients continue to roll in. Right now it is about 70%vaccinated/30%unvaccinated. No one on the horizon right now needs to be in the hospital.

    Overall – good news right now. We are all keeping our fingers crossed in our community. No one is taking their eye off the ball. I truly feel a lot of our seeming improvement here is due to the efforts of the local church officials stepping in and making sure we are doing everything to keep our vulnerable at home. And the civic clubs are helping this out a lot as well. Everyone is stepping up to the plate.

    And guess what? We have all decided together this is a community problem. There are GOP and there are Dems doing this altogether. We are ignoring all the crazy messaging coming from the media. I could not be more proud of these people.

    Again – good positive developments – we hope it stays that way.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This seems good. If the people you referrence in your locality can maintain this approach for the entire lifetime of this epidemic, they may be able to look back on that achievement of a-political co-operation. They may well be inspired to apply that joint collective a-political approach to other problems facing that locality . . . . if they are able to agree a-politically on what those problems are.

      1. anEnt

        I think in this case, a-political means “by acclamation” meaning substantially everyone agrees both on what the problem is and what ought to be done. Consensus, it’s what’s for dinner.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Where a generally beneficial consensus can be found and acted upon in whatever-size jurisdiction-loadfull of people to their general shared betterment, it should be.

          This will create a habit of working forward from achievable consensuses in the rare cases where these will exist.

          Meanwhile, the same people will be disappointed by failing to find consensus where no consensus is possible . . . . so many times . . . . . that they will hopefully mature out of expecting consensus outside the realm of the possible.

          And in those cases, the two or more sides will exist in a state of tense bitter truce on those disensus problems until one side can compel all the other sides to obedience on that issue.

          Global warming is one of those disensus issues. One side will crush the other into utter obedience to the victors’ will. If the denialists win that civil cold war, then most of us will die.
          If the realists win it, perhaps the casualty count can be limited to the denialist side. And with them out of the way, then the realists can begin to actually solve the problem.

    2. cocomaan

      According to Lambert’s charts, we’re hospitalizing far, far less people. I wonder why. Maybe we just have better standard of care now.

      1. Carolinian

        There is the notion going around that Delta is more infectious but much less deadly. For those of us not following closely any clarity on this idea? Biden is trying to give the vaccines credit for less hospitalization.

        1. Yves Smith

          Here is the take from the UK, which unlike the US has semi-decent data:

          The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has become prevalent in the U.K. since May 2021. At the same time, most of the people who are vaccinated in the U.K. are the elderly, who were among the priority groups in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, as they are at a higher risk of severe illness. So far, the data shows that most COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant in the U.K. occur in people under 50 years old, an age group that is less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those older than 50. As most of the risk groups in the U.K. are now protected by vaccination, fewer people are expected to die from a Delta variant infection. Therefore, while the fatality rate of the Delta variant appears lower, this is a result of vaccination and the characteristics of the unvaccinated population, and not necessarily because the Delta variant is less lethal than the wild-type virus.


          Other factors leading to lower death rates are:

          1. Hospitals are not overwhelmed. During periods when hospitals were overloaded (as in patients waiting over a day in gurneys to be treated, or losing time while being shuttled to other hospitals in state). The delay in treatment increases bad outcomes

          2. Better treatment strategies. Early on, ventilator use was heavy. It’s not been determined that ventilators mostly delay death rather than save people. Oxygen is now a preferred intervention.

          For another Delta picture, see India. Per Reuters:

          Based on data reported by state authorities and collated by the federal health ministry, the COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR) jumped to about 3% in June from 1.26% in October, the first full month after the peak of its first wave of infections.


          And that is with many believing India is greatly undercounting its Covid deaths. For instance, NPR reports:

          How many people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began?

          The official global total as of this week: 4.1 million.

          But everyone agrees the true toll is far greater. A study released on Tuesday looks at how much of a disparity there may be in India, one of the epicenters of the pandemic.

          The analysis, from the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, D.C., looks at the number of “excess deaths” that occurred in India between January 2020 and June 2021 — in other words, how many more people died during that period than during a similar period of time in 2019 or other recent years.

          Drawing death data from civil registries and other sources, the report came up with three estimates for undercounts. The conclusion is that between 3.4 and 4.7 million more people died in that pandemic period than would have been predicted. That’s up to 10 times higher than the Indian government’s official death toll of 414,482.


          1. anEnt

            Also, there are fewer vulnerable people for the virus to kill. Survivorship in this case not being just a bias, but also a confounding variable in comparing strain lethality.

        2. Stephen the tech critic

          Always beware the lag effects! It takes time for a typical hospital-bound “positive” patient to be admitted. It takes more time for people to die. This causes these numbers to almost always grow, peak, and decline, after the case counts.

          Where growth is truly exponential, the error resulting from estimating these figures using instantaneous data will be a constant factor. The size of that figure increases as: (1) the exponential growth rate increases; (2) as the time lags increase.

          Every article that discuses hospitalization/death rates in the context of a pandemic in a rapidly growing phase discuss these lag effects *first*, or at least link to such a discussion. The errors can be quite large.

          1. Lost in OR

            Indeed. This could get away from us quickly. These numbers from the 91 DIVOC website: http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/

            Florida- from 4 weeks ago to two weeks ago the 7 day average doubled. From 2 weeks ago to now it doubled again. Cases per 100k in population went from 7.35 four weeks ago to 15.8 two weeks ago to 48.7 yesterday.

            California- from 4 weeks ago to two weeks ago the 7 day average doubled. From 2 weeks ago to now it tripled again. Cases per 100k in population went from 2.7 four weeks ago to 5.3 two weeks ago to 16.4 yesterday.

            Texas- from the bottom of the curve 4 weeks ago to two weeks ago the 7 day average increased by 50%. From 2 weeks ago to now the 7 day average increased by more than 250%. Cases per 100k in population went from 2.3 four weeks ago to 6.2 two weeks ago to 17.8 yesterday.

            Arkansas- while much lower in absolute numbers, the growth rate was similar.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the Delta is more infectious but less acutely deadly ( or otherwise we have better lifesaving covid care now), then that means more people will be infected with Delta than with the earlier types.

          If Delta leaves behind the same micro-cellular level cell, tissue and organ damage as the earlier types leave behind in the post-infection victims, that means we will have more long-range after-damaged people waiting to manifest the premature onset of various chronic disease from the Delta than from the old types.

          So, is anyone studying to see if Delta leaves the same rate of post-infection after-damage as the earlier types, or if it leaves a different rate of post-infection after-damage? If no one is studying this, or even collecting data about it, then I suppose we will all start finding out in 30 years.

    3. Pat

      Thank you. Glad you are well enough to return to work.

      And applause and admiration for your community.

    4. Pnwarriorwomyn

      Your good news is an uplifting shot in the arm, IM Doc. Thank you for the update. Keep ‘em coming.

    1. flora

      The author’s conclusion that unelected, democratically unacountable central bankers, and especially that a global consortium of central bankers will get us out the neoliberal mess is too much wishful thinking, imo. The neolib pols are the ones appointing the central bankers after all. “Step 3: Then a miracle occurred” isn’t a reliable plan of democratic action.

      1. flora

        If the central banks were going to help Main Street they would have done, instead they showered Wall St. and PE with money to buy up Main Street at depressed prices after a year of shutdown. Watch what they do….

        1. The Rev Kev

          Imagine if those trillions given away to the wealthiest individuals and the top corporations in the CARES Act had been given to Main Street instead. It could have been truly transformative. As it is, it is transformative in that those trillions are funding the conversion of the American economy into Rentier America as in ‘You will own nothing – and somebody will be happy.’

          1. flora

            Yep. The author also couched his final argument in idpol wrappings, (which has nothing to do with central bank decision making) , encouraging the reader to believe giving up democratic economic accountability to a strong unaccountable central economic authority (the central bank) would somehow be a good thing. Making central banks stronger won’t end r*cism or poverty, but that was the sly, concluding suggestion.

  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    Backyard garden report:

    I have pulled my garlics up out of the ground and have them set aside for slow-cure slow-drying in the dark. In the bed where they were, I have begun a two-foot-deep dig and mix. The topsoil is a foot deep and the subsoil is a foot deep and mixing them will give me a two foot deep sub-topsoil. After I have actually done something with that sub-topsoil, I will offer a tiny comment on what I have done once I have really done it.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Ah, Russian penicillin. We’ve been selecting for head size for 20 years. Most heads are now the size of field polo balls.

      Indirectly, here’s how I got my start w/adult gardening in 1972, from a former student of Alan Chadwick’s at Santa Cruz.

      The site below offers an in depth look at the lasting impact that Chadwick has had on gardeners in the US. It is a poignant read.

      Note Bene: FL Wright was adamant that Taliesin’s first apprentices grow all the ‘tute’s food. They used horses for draft power.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I looked up ” field polo ball size”. The interwebs tell me that’s about 3-3.5 inches wide. So that is big impressive garlic.

        I have decided to try selecting for garlics that can be pulled straight up out of the ground without breaking apart on the way. And will only replant those garlics. Any that break up will be dug up in pieces and eaten.

        The very long-lastingly hottest garlic I ever had was some garlic bought at Plum Market from Mexico. I tried saving a bunch of it for planting in season, but I oversurrounded it with too much paper bags in an excess of caretaking and its growing points-and-cores all rotted in storage in the fridge. I keep watching for it but have never seen it again.

    2. wilroncanada

      hi drumlin
      We harvested our garlic and onions from our backyard garden 2 weeks ago. They are now lying in state. We will hang the garlic later. It sounds reversed, doesn’t it; lie in state first, hang later. Today my wife is processing our Florence Fennel, pre-sliced, to freeze for the rest of the year. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, Cascade berries, and peas are pretty much done. Blueberries are plentiful from our 3 bushes now. Prune plums, 5-variety apples and pears, beans beans and more beans to come. Early lettuce finished, 2nd planting not quite ready yet. Carrots are perennial (staged planting), kohlrabi bulbs bulbing, zucchini–well, what can you say–butternut squash showing flowers and some gourds. Tomatoes gone wild, not trimmed soon enough.
      A backyard garden.on a 50-foot property can really produce. Southern Vancouver Island in the continuing heat. Oh, and we collected 20 dozen figs from a neighbour’s tree–chutney for me, fig jam for other family, along with 8 dozen for our youngest daughter to process in Victoria.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That is neat and inspiring. I hope more other people will also submit backyard garden reports from time to time.

        You are getting a lot more actual gardening done than what I am. Hopefully some of your neighbors are sometimes interested in what you are doing and will start doing the same.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Something I have noticed about parsley and fennel, two members of the family Apiaceae ( used to be ” Umbelliferae”) . . . that the very immature and still-soft unopened flower buds have somewhat the same flavor as the mature herb but sweeter and more vegetal and less herbally strong and harsh.
        So very immature fennel flower buds go very well cooked with combinations of tomato/onion/fish/etc.
        Any savory place where fennel seeds might be traditionally used could be an interesting experiment-site for immature fennel buds.

        And with the least protection from harshest winter freeze-up, normal stem-fennel can be a perennial. And the flower heads attract many kinds of pollinators, which is fun to watch. Would Florence fennel go perennial in place if left in the ground past year one?

  3. Pat

    So I have started what may be a long journey to find a physician now that I have Medicare. With the exception of an emergency room visit I have not seen a doctor in almost a decade. My previous physician, along with other colleagues from an innovative service once offered through Beth Israel belongs to a newer practice with a $50/month fee. I think it could be considered a PMC upper middle class concierge service. I have now stumbled across a different version of that, one that has gone public on Nasdaq. They only charge $199/year, but there is no indication of that on the listings of their physicians on Medicare.gov. But the Carlyle Group liked them well enough to invest over two years ago. Dropping a Medium column on them here, but what may be of the most interest is the comment from two weeks ago.
    Medium on One Medical

    This wiped out more than a few on the list I made to call to see about an appointment. Like I said it may take awhile. Sigh.

    1. Pat

      Correction. My former doctor’s subscription was $50/month last I checked it is now $100 for the first family member with a sliding scale for the rest of the family. All medical care is on top of that. I think they are full on concierge care for the wealthy.

    2. IM Doc

      I find the whole concierge model to be very troubling.

      These physicians often have panels of patients that number only in the 100-200 range. The problem is that 10-15 years ago, the residency slots were numbered and designed for the calculated population that would need them. The average internist has 1500 – 2000 patients in their panel. When these physicians switch to this model, the other 1300 patients that do not stay with them get tossed to the wind. When 20-30 of the internists in a community do this, the chaos is overwhelming. This is happening all over our big cities right now. This is part of the reason why it is so very difficult for Medicare patients to find a PCP.

      I get very discouraged at times with the behavior of my colleagues. It is bad enough to do this to all those people, but then we start in with segregated waiting rooms, and “medical spas” and do not get me started.

    3. Yves Smith

      $50 a month is a screaming bargain. The concierge practice here is $3000 a year. Tests extra.

      Also my buddies affiliated with UCSF warn against concierge practices. The ones like the one down here (not part of a hospital) arguably attract MDs that aren’t seeing the range or difficulty of cases they’d see otherwise. Although that claim could be made of a solo practice GP (which I have).

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    “wish I had a technique that would reveal the principles of natural systems in the same way”

    I’m going to use this as an opening to talk about something I’ve been involved with during the past month and then tie it back in.

    Back around the 4th of July, I read an article on Resilience.org introducing a new organization called Common Earth. Finding a pretty remarkable degree of resonance between Common Earth and myself, I filled out the online application to take the course described on the website. The author of the article, Sarah Patterson, contacted me expeditiously, and we set up an appointment for a Skype call a couple of days later. After hearing more from Sarah about the content of the course, I was even more enthusiastic, and now I’ve been attending bi-weekly sessions of two hours each for the past four weeks. Important note: the course and the materials are free.

    The goal of the course goes beyond imparting information. The curriculum is constructed to teach in a traditional way about topics ranging from systems theory to MMT to developing a new “creation story” that would support a new worldview that sees us as part of the Earth rather than above it. We’re learning to apply these system tools to ecological issues, e.g. responding to flooding that’s periodic and getting worse with flood insurance payouts is a clear-cut example of a “Shifting the Burden” systems archetype. Trying to prevent such floods with dikes is an example of a “Fixes that Fail” archetype. Later, we’ll apply systems analysis to social groups to understand how to better avoid pitfalls in organizing.

    The goal of this training is twofold. First, it’s to make us better organizers and more effective activists with a deeper understanding of the problems we’re trying to tackle. Second, it’s hoped that the classes will self-organize to assist efforts already underway or start new ones.

    NC readers will likely want to know who or what is behind this? It’s pretty simple, really. Sarah’s uncle, David Patterson, is a Canadian venture capitalist now in his 70s. The curriculum reflects what he considers to be the best and most essential elements of a successful approach to dealing with the ecological crisis (we deal at length with carbon in the course, but there’s considerable attention paid to soils later on). During that first phone interview, I told Sarah that her uncle’s project, especially this curriculum with MMT along with some anti-capitalist overtones, broke my stereotype for venture capitalists. Sarah asked me if I’d ever heard of Alan Watts, at which point I had a big smile of my face because I’ve enjoyed listening to Mr. Watts as I approach 70.

    The student body for the course is very international. In my section, there are four Americans, three Brazilians, an Ethiopian and the rest are Canadian. The section that meets earlier in the day is actually an evening course attended by people on the Continent, in the UK and Ireland. Australians and Kiwis are signing up for courses that begin in September. The age range in my section is from early twenties to seventies with the median around 50.

    So Lambert, I’m learning more about those principles of natural systems, and I’ve seen some amazing demonstrations of their workings in the course. For holistic farming, the movie “The Biggest Little Farm” is a fun play-by-play documentary (an assignment for today) of a couple (plus their shaman) who take 200 acres of wasted and shot avodado orchard and turn it into a pretty ecologically balanced paradise. Of course, the amount of money they spent must have been extraordinary. You could buy all the houses on my street with what the new pickup truck and vans cost. But as a demonstration of what things should look like, it’s wonderful. Countering that example of what a lot of capital can do, each week, our co-moderator Melak brings us a story about people who don’t have much more than a hoe or shovel, but they still manage to accomplish wonderful restoration and reforestation projects. Last week, it was two men in China, one missing an arm and other blind, who reforested a section on the “wrong side of the tracks” and made the air more breathable and the surroundings more beautiful.

    So while it is discouraging that our government is doing little about the ecological crisis other than making it worse, and it is typical of a capitalist system that only those who have accumulated wealth have much power to self-initiate efforts, I am happy Mr. Patterson wants to use some of his money to fund an effort that’s on the right track as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      thanks, Henry.
      sounds like my kind of thang.
      parked it in another window for after the current chaos cycle…which should end tomorrow afternoon.
      barring new chaos, all i have planned for wednesday is the final vacuum test of the minisplit system and then hopefully hiding from the heat for the rest of the day(when i’m not watching the 30 or so chicks(3 weeks? a month old?) learn about the chicken run)

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think you’d enjoy it and they’d benefit from having you. Most of the participants are not living in the same kind of environment as you–or me for that matter. And you’re a real farmer!

        It’s not a lecture kind of thing for the most part. We work in small group discussions more than anything else.

        I hope you get involved, and there are others here as well that might find it worthwhile.

  5. XXYY

    An Anti-Smartphone With a Rotary Designed and Built by Space Engineer Justine Haupt

    Nostalgia is one thing, but I don’t think rotary telephone dials were any kind of high-water mark for convenience or discoverable user interface design or anything else. They were at heart an electromechanical device for sending out a timed sequence of electrical pulses over a telephone line, powered by the user’s finger. They were slow, ungainly, and took a fair amount of practice to use smoothly. Dialing a sequence of ten digits without error was definitely not guaranteed.

    Most people (including me) gleefully abandoned rotary phones when pushbutton touch-tone phones became available. If you want to make a single purpose telephone device available to the youngsters, that’s the thing to emulate.

    1. Josef K

      I was thinking along the same lines. I dialed black bakelite phones for a couple of years before the smaller handheld dial phones then push-button came out. I really had to lean my child’s weight into the bakelite phone’s dialer; not the epitomy of phone technology.
      That said, there was a rhythm and timing to that actual dialing that is lost with the rapid tonal dance of the pushbutton, which perseveres to this day despite being spoofed on smartphones. It’s a bit analogous to driving manual–not in function so much, since function is arguably reduced (a hiccup in one dial as you pointed out and it was hang up and start over), but in the attention, and the pace. Like with all things, impatience has increased and gratitude decreased as our expectations have been goosed into a place of constant dissatisfaction. The focus on the ever-retreating goal rather than the process. I look forward to dialing up a friend again some day.

      1. flora

        I loved the zip and purr sound of the rotary dial. Wonder how much research Bell Labs did to create that sound and the sound of the bell, they’re much too pleasant to be happenstance.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Never thought about it but when using a rotary phone, there was a time pause. It wasn’t a matter of tap-tap-tap but a semi-patient rotating of that dial that gave a few seconds opportunity of deciding if you really wanted to make that call or what to say as you marshaled your thoughts. Of course if you ever had to deal with one and never saw it before, it takes a bit of figuring out-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHNEzndgiFI (4:00 mins)

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I do not like texting, but it is about the only way I can reliably contact my young adult daughter. She does not answer voice phone calls, or acknowledge email, but does respond to texts. I want a retro phone that includes a mechanical [not touch screen] button alphabet pad for texts, like an old blackberry, a one or two line display with a scroll mechanism for reading texts, and a mechanical push-button number pad for originating calls. The number pad should have larger buttons so I can dial using my finger.

      1. Mantid

        Jeremy, Leave her a voice mail saying you get 100 quid if she calls you back by X time. Of course, make sure you have the 100 note, but you’ll likely not need it. I’m older and deal with youngsters often. I explain that to younger people that biz is done via email. If they want my biz, gotta use my system – email.

    3. flora

      Ed Snowden’s latest post about smartphones and spyware. No paywall, long read.


      The first thing I do when I get a new phone is take it apart. I don’t do this to satisfy a tinkerer’s urge, or out of political principle, but simply because it is unsafe to operate. Fixing the hardware, which is to say surgically removing the two or three tiny microphones hidden inside, is only the first step of an arduous process, and yet even after days of these DIY security improvements, my smartphone will remain the most dangerous item I possess.


      1. Acacia

        Thanks for this link. Very sobering read, even if you already have a sense of what a security nightmare cellphones are. Yet another reason the brave new world of AI is an unfolding nightmare.

    4. Yves Smith

      I am most assuredly getting this phone even though the rotary dial is a negative. I suppose it’s meant to be an anti-fashion statement.

      It is a 4g phone that is totally dumb. No GPS, no even retaining the last number that called. Fantastic for security.

      I don’t keep contact lists and I don’t text, so the only downside is not keeping the few recent received and recent #s called.

      I am very fond of my old Nokia but a 2G phone gets no signal anywhere surrounded by skyscrapers. So it’s fine here, in Maine, and in low density parts of cities but not anywhere else.

        1. Yves Smith

          So you can have a contact list. Not keen about that (no joke, I really don’t keep one, my contact info is either not retained at all or in my brain or is fragmented deliberately across quite a few programs). But then again, any DHS type encountering this phone would probably go on tilt.

          I remember any number I have dialed 2x in a week for 6 months, and I prefer to use my memory.

          Like her big point, she was designing a phone she controls. No sneaky backdoors. And she hates texts too!

    5. Aumua

      I’m always waiting for that true dumb phone, but it always seems to be just around the corner, in beta or in the crowdfunding stage or something. It’s never just there to buy. I feel like there are some serious forces arrayed against such a thing ever becoming easy to obtain. I’m capable of soldering and I like Snowden’s idea of DIY modification of existing phones to dumb them down. I hope more detailed information about that becomes available.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I’ve been aware of Swiss company Punkt’s dumbphones for several years now. They’re ah, what might be called ‘design forward’, so not cheap. On the other hand, it looks nicer and easier to live with than the rotary prototype. I can’t speak to their privacy hygiene as it’s not something I’m hugely personally bothered about (which is probably stupid of me).

        There’s a model with 4G (which I guess makes it a pseudo dumbphone) that uses Signal, and which can be used to tether internet to, for example, a laptop. And there’s one without.

    6. Acacia

      I grew up in the twilight of the rotary phone era. Touch tone had appeared but wasn’t yet dominant.

      Impatient with the speed of a rotary dial phone, one of my high school friends figured out that the return speed was determined by a mechanical governor, which could be adjusted. The return speed was set as to not send pulses too fast for the central office circuitry to process. My friend would open up a phone, adjust the return speed as fast as the CO could handle it, and then back off slightly. This “hack” could yield a significant speed up.

  6. Aumua

    Re: Teachers are being trained to be activists

    I think in order to curb this incursion of Marxist anti-American curriculum into our school systems, we need to encourage more “open carry parents” to bring their AR-15 “freedom” rifles to their local school board meetings and make sure they’re not teaching things they shouldn’t be to our children (or muzzling them with masks neither!). If slavery in the U.S. is over, why are we still talking about it? Get over it already! Remember white people, anti-racism is racism, and all lives matter. Not just the black ones. Wake up!

    1. Temporarily Sane

      Yeah, the reactionary right is still going strong but it’s considered uncool to point that out because PMC Democrats don’t like them or something. Do the people who, quite rightly, feel betrayed by the Democratic Party really think the GOP and its lunatic followers are somehow more benign or the “lesser evil”? If one side is bad does that automatically make the other side less bad? What if they are both terrible and not fit for purpose?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What if each one is terrible in its own special way? And sometimes we are handed Hobson’s Pastry Tray to make our choices from?

        For example, the BidenAdmin is less bad than a second TrumpAdmin would have been. My vote for Biden was a vote to delay the pain.

        Which will come, sad to say. Because it turns out Biden supports keeping the filibuster, and Draculamala won’t cross the Biden because she hopes to be President next. So the filibuster will stay in place because Biden wants it, and voting rights will attrit and decay, because Biden was Strom Thurmond’s friend once upon a time and Biden wants to keep the filibuster, perhaps to honor the memory of his old friend Strom Thurmond.

        Is Clyburn happy now? I suppose he is, as long as Big Pharma keeps paying him those Big Tubbmans.

        1. Procopius

          I suppose I’m just desperate to have the greatest treasure a human can have, hope, but I feel he’s been doing well with appointments on the domestic side (except for Neera Tanden, where did that come from?). Unfortunately, he’s appointing belligerent, antagonistic neocons on the foreign policy side, so he’s going to give the Chinese what was called a “horizontal alliance” in the Period of the Warring states. That is, all the weaker states allied against mighty Ch’in. I was really hoping the U.S. would return to the JCPOA, but Blinken has made that impossible. Of course with the Republicans things would be no better and might be worse, so there’s that. My Senators and Representative are all good, even though they’re Democrats, so I’ll keep voting for them, and as far as I know the party in Michigan isn’t particularly bad whereas the Republicans are terrible, so I’ll probably vote the straight ticket except for President.

    2. Josef K

      Yes, don’t forget “an armed society is a polite society.” I think the reason kids are less respectful towards elders these days is we haven’t armed everyone up properly. Imagine the civility of Thanksgiving dinners when everyone has an assault rifle clipped into the little dining-chair holder that some enterprising individual will invent when we become a true Gun Ownership Society.

      1. marieann

        My husband always says that we were a much more polite society back when everyone carried a sword.

    3. enoughisenough

      you’re suggesting teachers be made teach under gunpoint?

      I really hope that’s a joke.

      That’s insane.

      Don’t you think teachers have taken enough crap from everyone on both sides at this point?

      1. Aumua

        Sorry, I forgot to add my ‘bitter sarcasm’ tag.

        My little picture is not that far from the truth though, is it? Right wing demagogues are indeed telling people to organize and show up at school board meetings and cause various kinds of trouble, and we see it happening locally.

        Mostly it’s been about masking and such, but it could easily become about this CRT thing too.

          1. Aumua

            Yeah that’s why I kinda hate to see this stuff being given any legitimacy in the links here, in spite of the the fact that they may have a point about some of the more extreme manifestations of wokeness or whatever. You just can’t trust anything the reactionary right says, or what they might do under the right circumstances.

    4. Count Zero

      All sarcasm aside, I do think “teacher as activist” is a pretty stupid idea. In my long experience of teaching, kids are pretty sceptical about teachers anyway. Charging in with some transparent attempt to convince kids that you are right about everything is liable to turn them off completely. It’s just a very bad teaching strategy, entirely teacher-centred and crassly insensitive to the different needs of individual pupils.

      It’s also profoundly anti-intellectual. Education is not propaganda and the role of the teacher — in humanities snd social studies subjects anyway — is to teach students not WHAT to think but HOW to think. Pupils can learn how to debate with each other, how to question any proposition, how to find and weigh up evidence. In other words, critical thinking and open debate. But these activist teachers would seem to be just propagandists opposed to critical thinking and open debate. They will fail disastrously. Kids are not stupid.

      1. enoughisenough

        It’s actually rather abusive to try to indoctrinate. Teachers need to stay up to date with the material, and teach the scholarly consensus. And show students different evidentiary standards.

        Teachers aren’t supposed to be political leaders in the classroom. There are reasons why public school teachers aren’t allowed to endorse candidates, for example.

        Standards may be imperfect, but they are there to protect against abuses.

        Aumua: oh thank god you were joking, honestly, it’s already a problem, so it’s horrifying to see it advocated for, glad I was wrong. :)

  7. XXYY

    I’m not sure there is such a thing as good AI. As I understand it, we don’t know how AI works, and we don’t know how to maintain AI systems.

    I’m happy to see Lambert making this observation. I think AI-based systems are deeply suspect from an engineering standpoint because they are the ultimate black box. You provide a bunch of training data and then turn the system loose, whence it then uses its own inscrutable mentation to turn certain inputs into certain outputs.

    Will it always turn certain inputs into certain outputs? We don’t know! What’s the effect of making small changes to the input? We don’t know! How do we fix the system if it’s messing up? There’s nothing you can really do except try different training data, but the effect of that “fix” is not predictable, either, and may introduce other problems we won’t immediately know about.

    The long term goal for any engineering discipline is predictability of the technology. I know how to use a technology to reliably produce a desired result, and I know how to fix things when it falls short. The inability to understand, predict, refine, or fix the operation of an AI system or device means it fails this goal.

    1. Late Introvert

      Thank you! And before long it will be deciding who gets hired and fired and who gets medical treatment and who doesn’t, and who gets elected. No end to this nasty bizness.

      The New Luddites will have to crush it. They didn’t do so well last time.

      1. saywhat?

        Otoh, Mr. Spock was called upon to issue probabilities but it was Captain Kirk who made the often “illogical” (to Spock) decisions. So AI is just a tool.

        As for Ludditism, how strange that people should wish to do a job that a mere machine can do – especially for 40 hrs a week under a boss who tells them how and when to do it?

        The problem then is not automation but that the profits of automation are not justly shared since automation is not and has not been ethically financed.

  8. anorexic ouroboros

    Biden- ” Everybody knows in a community whether or not Johnny really did get the vaccination when he’s 15 or 17 years old. And so it’s going to — I think it’s — it’s a matter of community responsibility. And I think you’re going to see it work through.”

    This will be misunderstood as an attempt to shame or “other” people who won’t be vaccinated, but as much as I might prefer everyone be masked in a classroom setting with the current numbers, this is a reasonable public health compromise given what we know. While people should remain free to choose to be vaccinated or not to be, it makes no sense to insist there can be no consequences at all for making that decision. Insisting so in the context of a once in a century pandemic is in fact puerile and self-centered.

    1. Carolinian

      it makes no sense to insist there can be no consequences at all for making that decision

      And what are the consequences for Pharma and Biden should they be horribly wrong? Biden is never going to run again and his preferred Pharma solution has been given a get out of jail free card by the Congress. It’s a bit much for our current politicians to be giving people lectures on personal responsibility.

      The truth is that when you talk about “what we know” we don’t know very much, at least not for sure. What if the vaccine itself turns out to have bad long term side effects? Surely it would make more sense to give the vaccine to the elderly and most vulnerable and take a wait and see attitude toward giving it to children and the less vulnerable. The problem with the precautionary principle, IMO, is that the cautious don’t seem willing to apply their caution with any consistency.

      In the end it’s all a question of medical judgment, something that–in my opinion–should not be made by politicians. Biden should step away from all this just as his predecessor should have.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Somewhere, I imagine a punk rock band forming. They will call themselves The Unvaccinated. At their first big concert, they will be the opening band. The main attraction will be The Deplorables.

      1. Arizona Slim

        The name of the concert where these two bands will be performing? The Superspreader Event!

    3. saywhat?

      While people should remain free to choose to be vaccinated or not to be, it makes no sense to insist there can be no consequences at all for making that decision. anorexic ouroboros

      Except the vaccinated, ala Marek’s Disease in chickens, may be the more dangerous breeders of variants.

  9. Objective Ace

    >Families with wealth of $100 million or more can borrow at less than 1%

    If anyone has any doubts why real estate prices are skyrocketing despite becoming unfordable for the middle class, this is it. No need to get your hands dirty either–there’s plenty to go around as the likes of Blackrock act as middle men

    1. newcatty

      In our fair city, there are numerous examples of PMC and professionals ( doctor’s, dentists, lawyers and business owners), who are busy little bees establishing , or expanding, their real estate empires. Rents are at an all time high. One would be lucky to even find a rental ( if not connected) for a year round , or even 6 month, lease. Well, even month-to- month rentals. The exception: high end properties. The decent, houses, townhomes, condos are mostly now AirBnBs or short term vacation rentals. To provide “affordable housing” for the plebes, our benevolent city, county PTB pushed more apartments in town. The water supply is magically determined to be adequate for development and more people moving from lesser desirable places ( like many places). The people who have theirs, or profit from “growth” are pleased. The traffic increases, of course ( only few houses, other domiciles in “downtown” area are actually walkable). Bikes are just for mountain biking…no paths safe or without riding shoulder with cars. There are a large population of retired people. The ones who can afford to buy, mostly. We can’t let the poor things suffer like those folks in the Hamptons! Our service class are provided for here. They get what ever the prevailing wage is and can move into new apartments! Already filling up. Ironically, the rents for these are what some people call “California prices”. California there I left, just like where I’m going to…

  10. hermeneut

    Who in the Left would argue that teachers and schools aren’t already political and that teachers aren’t always already “agents of political change”, whatever their intentions? If I passively teach from district-approved textbooks I’m acting no less politically than if I teach “culturally responsive” curriculum while “changing systems and practices that keep students from reaching their full potential”.

    And yes, teaching and encouraging literacy is entirely consistent with this effort of empowerment. To suggest otherwise is to gravely misrepresent what we teachers do for a living, as if the suggested alternative is for me to show movement-approved slideshows about Cultural Race Theory and Identity Politics all morning before organizing my students for an afternoon TikTok campaign against Tucker Carlson…

    Schools reproduce and fortify the systems of power the Left seeks to disrupt and replace — but surely anyone who has attended a traditional US high school within the past century knows this to be obvious. Can it be at all surprising that many within the teaching profession seek to challenge and replace these entrenched systems of power? You ask me, a high school teacher, to stick to the 3 R’s and then what, put my head down when my students of color, LGBTQ students, homeless students, disabled students, poor students, immigrant students, students from families struggling with addiction, etc., not to mention politically active students, are disproportionately suspended, expelled, placed into restrictive special education programs, kept out of enrichment opportunities, and otherwise shuttled toward prison or worse? Who else is supposed to address these systemic harms? How is such a demand to stay in my lane consistent with the goals of an authentic US Left? Come on, man!

  11. enoughisenough

    re. the Sanford Inspire bizarre pamphlet for teachers:

    This stuff is getting out of hand.
    “Contrast the identity of “teacher as technician” with “teacher as agent of change.”” Neither of these things is a thing. This is a false construction. Also: those aren’t identities.

    Teachers are NOT your: mother, your psychiatrist, your nurse, your personal cook, your maid, nor your political leader. THEY ARE THERE TO TEACH THEIR SUBJECTS, to EDUCATE. How has the plot gotten so lost? We need to fund schools better, so that there are more nurses and better school lunches, and counselors, etc. This overburdening of teachers, and tug of war with teachers and education as the rope has to stop. Give them their academic freedom back.

    1. enoughisenough

      Also, none of those things in that fake chart are mutually exclusive anyway.

      This is not “best practices”, ok? It is literally obviously a con. I hope my faculty days don’t include any of this kind of thing when we start up next month, because I cannot be forced to follow errant nonsense.

      It has to at least *sound* logical, and none of this does. It’s all self-contradictory drek. We can be fair, impartial, and racially sensitive in class without this, this stuff is insulting.

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    This to me suggests that Biden, even if he’s lost a step or three, is a better politician than the party

    Its been a while, but Biden wasn’t a scion of a political dynasty or ran for a safe seat when he started out. Plenty of other Team Blue personalities are just so…ugh. Pelosi’s team doesn’t have to worry about being out of a job when she isn’t Speaker as Pelosi won’t lose her seat to a Republican.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘If tourists treated American restaurants how Americans treat restaurants when visiting Asia.’

    Kudos to that young girl who put that clip together. I have seen food programs where the people travel overseas and adopt the same tone.

  14. ObjectiveFunction

    The video is brilliant.

    Interestingly, I notice most kids under 20 of any race (at least in the PMC classes) who attend English language schools speak English with this young woman’s accent and inflection, i.e. with minimal ‘foreign accent’ regardless of their actual nationality or whether they’ve ever set foot in the USA. That’s true even in places like Indonesia where relatively few in their parent’s generation speak English. Even Aussie or British kids partially lose their accents, although they return once they go ‘home’ for a bit.

    Congratulations Disney/Hollywood, you’ve crushed the King’s English.

    As to the video subject matter, if you go into a Walmart or Target in Hawaii, you can often observe young European or Asian tourists riding the electric scooters to the snack foods aisle. There they gleefully selfie: ‘look at me! morbidly obese American!’, then get bored and abandon the scooters, which the staff eventually return to the entrance.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        It’s like, changed a bit from the Moon Unit Zappa days though, y’know? Not every sentence ends in, like, a question? Which at least makes the women sound more confident, if not more intellectual.

        To this old curmudgeon, it’s young men who sound more annoying these days, at least when declaiming on camera. They sound kind of well, overcaffeinated, shrill and whiny (other adjectives that spring to mind risk giving needless offense to comrades here). I’ll take duuuuuude any day. Maybe even: uwhuut?

        ….goils were goils and men were men! We could really use a man like Hoibert Hoover again!

      2. Count Zero

        I want to propose that everyone under 25 has some kind of electrode inserted surgically into one ear-lobe. And whenever they say the word “like” they receive an electric shock. It will be like soooo amazing.

  15. saywhat?

    re old rotary phones:

    I’ve started (re?)watching the old Kraft SuspenseTheater TV show on youtube.

    Anyway, if you want to see old-style (1963-1965) cars, phones, clothing, etc., it’s a treasure trove besides the great stories.

  16. Eustachedesaintpierre

    I wonder if the Russian gymnasts & possibly other athletes have adopted the systems that were developed by Russian scientists for Spetznas. It was featured on Joe Rogan a while back in an interview with Pavel Tsatsouline who if I remember correctly passed the method on to US Navy Seals. It’s basically the opposite of going full throttle & is graduated into steps, as in days of operating at different levels.

    I very nearly killed myself being an old asshole going flat out, now I walk the dogs half an hour each day, while exploring figurative sculpture further, which from the chest up & within my arms & shoulders keeps me pretty toned & ready for pushing clay as paid work which after 16 months is finally on the horizon.

    Oh, & she has me painting walls.


    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m no expert on it now, but there seems to be an increasing consensus among trainers that the old way of pushing people hard in gyms a few times a week is less effective than regular movement (just lifting weights for a few minutes a couple of times a day) and alternating between some very short, very sharp exercises with longer gentle days (this is something most competitive cyclists do now).

      I heard about some research recently (on Dr. Doug Stansfields youtube channel) that indicated that for moderately fit people one of the very best things they can do is a super fast but very short workout – literally just 20 seconds on the bike at full pelt – even less time than a conventional Tabata workout.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Yes, it seems to make sense & I think one reason is avoiding too much lactic acid build up. I also remember Yves mentioned orchestral conductors arm movements being good in a cardiac sense, something that depending on the piece which might include occasional fast bursts of varying lengths. As for myself – working away on a lump of clay for 8 hrs or so, using similar movements to the maestros doesn’t involve any fast movement but it does seem to maintain my deltoids, biceps, pecs etc & it is usually my eyes that get most worn out.

  17. Darthbobber

    Question relating to the vaccination rate chart. If the daily vaccination rate in the south has consistently been the highest of any region, which is what this seems to show, how do the southern states all wind up as low as they do in percentage of populationfully vaccinated? What am I not getting?

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