2:00PM Water Cooler 7/6/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as so often happens over the weekend, I accumulated to much material to sort. More shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

“DNR: Hundreds of Birds Affected by Mysterious Illness, Cicadas Not Cause of Illness” [Indiana Environmental Reporter (TH)]. “Indiana’s state ornithologist said hundreds of songbirds across the state have been found sick or dead with a mysterious illness. Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources is working alongside scientists and officials from federal and state agencies to identify the source of the illness causing neurological problems and eye discharge and swelling in several species of songbirds…. DNR has recommended Hoosiers take down their bird baths and birdfeeders, including hummingbird feeders, and stop broadcast feeding practices, like tossing a piece of bread, that target groups of birds. ‘The whole reason for this is because we want birds to be able to socially distance naturally. When there are feeders, they’re immediately attracted to them. They don’t have that knowhow that that’s not okay for them when there is a disease going around. So, we need to better impose that on them so that they can naturally socially distance and feed on other things instead of the birdseed and the nectar,’ Gillet said. Gillet said removing birdfeeders would not impact populations of wild birds because there are abundant food resources like insects, berries, nectar and seeds. Gillet also said that rumors spreading on social media that Brood X cicadas could be the cause of the illness were not based on fact. At least not yet.”

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

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching. I’ve been thinking of new charts to monitor to alert us to the next outbreak, assuming there is one, but for now, the data from the South means I’ll stick to the status quo.

Vaccination by region:

Holiday weekend, no doubt.

Case count by United States regions:

Well, we should know the impact of travel and all the family gatherings round the BBQ shortly. Not that I’m bearish, but:

“I Am So Tired Of Arguing With You People” [Eschaton]. “Even supposedly sensible people decided at some point, “We’re vaccinated, LET’S GOOOOOOO!”, and while I am not advocating strong legally mandated restrictions, the Sensible Opinion seems to currently range from, ‘TAKE YOUR MASK OFF YOU LIBERAL WOKESCOLD,’ to ‘welp, nothing we can do anymore, why bother.’ That it’s only about the unvaccinated, and those are all (supposedly) just Trumpkins so fuck’em, is part of this, of course.” • What if they made throwing a pie in Fauci’s face the prize in a vaccination lottery?

Note that one of the narratives seems to be that there will only be pockets of cases in unvaccinated juridictions (i.e., blame the deplorables for a public health messaging, delivery, and performance debacle). Be that as it may, we can see the effects in this aggregate, in the aggregated data for Texas and Florida, and in the Top Ten states (all below). Nothing like the runaway train in the first days and weeks, but the train is rolling. It would certainly be nice if this trend isn’t signaling the changeover from Alpha to Delta.

CA: “Highly infectious Delta variant spreading rapidly, now California’s dominant coronavirus strain” [Los Angeles Times]. “New data released by the California Department of Public Health say 35.6% of coronavirus variants analyzed in June have been identified as Delta, which was first identified in India. That’s a dramatic increase from May, when Delta accounted for just 5.6% of analyzed coronavirus cases in California and was the state’s fourth most identified variant…. The rapid rise of Delta is prompting some public health officials to issue new warnings, urging more caution at a time when vaccinated people are putting away masks and getting back to normal life…. Delta is also spreading rapidly nationwide. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said recent data show that 25% of analyzed coronavirus cases nationwide are of the Delta variant. In some areas of the country, nearly half of analyzed cases are Delta. By contrast, from May 9 to May 22, Delta made up less than 3% of analyzed coronavirus samples nationwide.” • When yo think about it, the very notion of “normal life” is problematic. Normal for whom?

Here are the case counts for the South (as defined by the US Census: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia):

Texas and Florida, capital of Latin America, neck and neck.

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

On reflection, I don’t see a reason to adjust for population, so I changed the chart, though I could be argued out of it. Florida shows up, but Arkansas is really punching above its weight (higher than California). Also, tourist states still stand out.

Test positivity:

South bounces back.

NY: “Coronavirus latest: New York positivity rate continues to tick upwards” [Financial Times]. “New York state’s positivity rate has continued to tick upwards, reaching a seven-day average of 0.56 per cent, well above the 0.4 per cent reached a week ago. The state’s health department on Monday said 0.76 per cent of coronavirus tests administered in the previous 24 hours were positive, the highest rate in more than a month. Officials have expressed concern that the rise in positivity coincides with the increasing prevalence of the more contagious Delta strain.”

Hospitalization (CDC):

Continued good news.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Continued good news.

Covid cases worldwide:

* * *


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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

Hunt for Capitol attackers still on 6 months after Jan. 6 AP

Biden Administration

“Biden’s Big Left Gamble” [Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine]. More name-checking in this one than I’ve ever seen in a single piece. “Biden, in contrast, regularly frames the federal government as the force that stemmed mass death and permitted economic survival through the pandemic: shots in arms, checks in bank accounts. He publicly centers equity — that government investment in housing, jobs, climate initiatives, and care work is good because it addresses racial and gender injustice — and gives speeches about employers needing to compete for workers by raising wages.” Heaven forbird, however, that “housing, jobs, climate initiatives, and care work” be good for the working class as such. The only thing that helps the working class is… wages. More: “Despite an unwilling Senate, he speaks with conviction about raising taxes on the wealthy, rather than bailing out banks. For the first time since 1993, Biden’s 2022 budget proposal did not include the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal insurance money to pay for abortions. There is, of course, a chasm between Biden’s words, which are important (‘Rhetoric is not something to pooh-pooh,’ said Hamilton), and legislative reality. Hyde will almost certainly wind up in the final budget; billions get slashed from infrastructure every time two senators brush against each other in a hallway. One thing that is real, though, and on its way this month, is the expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which won’t be buried in the tax code or in block grants but delivered as monthly $250-to-$300-per-child checks. They will arrive directly from the federal government, and states cannot cut them off, as they have with expanded jobless benefits. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, who first introduced the amendment to improve the CTC in 2003 and watched it stall until now, is fighting to make it permanent. “We haven’t seen anything like it since the New Deal,” she said.” • If a law that only lasts one year is the biggest thing since FDR — and ObamaCare — then heaven help us.

“Meet the Consulting Firm That’s Staffing the Biden Administration” [The Intercept]. “Less than six months into the Biden administration, more than 15 consultants from the firm WestExec Advisors have fanned out across the White House, its foreign policy apparatus, and its law enforcement institutions. Five, some of whom already have jobs with the administration, have been nominated for high-ranking posts, and four others served on the Biden-Harris transition team. Even by Washington standards, it’s a remarkable march through the revolving door, especially for a firm that only launched in 2017. The pipeline has produced a dominance of WestExec alums throughout the administration, installed in senior roles as influential as director of national intelligence and secretary of state. WestExec clients, meanwhile, have controversial interests in tech and defense that intersect with the policies their former consultants are now in a position to set and execute…. ” • Handy chart:

UPDATE “The Tax Break Industrial Complex Has Not Been Challenged” [FAIR].

Democrats en Deshabille

UPDATE “Peace-Washing: Is a network of major donors neutralizing activism in the peace movement?” [Dave Lindorff, Tarbell]. “With the arrival of the Biden presidency, the dynamics have changed dramatically. Consider the liberal response to the Biden transition team floating Michèle Flournoy’s name as a potential secretary of defense. Instead of outrage at the idea of someone who had spent the previous four years helping arms contractors win business with the Trump Pentagon and who is an advocate for tough, even aggressive stances towards Russia, China and Iran, we saw an open letter of support signed by 29 key people active in the peace and arms-control arena. Signatories included Joe Cirincione, former president for 12 years of the Ploughshares Fund, along with Tom Collina, Michelle Dover and Emma Belcher of that same well-endowed grant-offering organization. They were joined by the likes of Tom Countryman and Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, Rachel Bronson of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Ilan Goldenberg of the Center for New American Security, Joan Rohlfing of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and others. … What these individuals and organizations represent are many of the big-money “peace” funding and lobbying groups in the country — groups with access to Democratic-aligned power centers in Washington that can now, through their financial clout and their access, lure more grassroots peace activists and their less well-funded and “plugged in” organizations into supporting the Biden administration and the narrow Democratic majorities in Congress — or at least throttling their criticism…. Interestingly though, while serious opposition coalesced among anti-militarism, anti-revolving-door people and groups in the Flournoy case, her WestExec Advisors co-founder Antony Blinken, nominated as secretary of state, sailed through his nomination and hearing process. This despite Blinken’s record as an enthusiastic interventionist while serving in the Obama administration as deputy national security advisor and later as deputy secretary of state, and despite his profiting off his connections as a WestExec adviser to arms makers after leaving office.” • Throwing a flag on the Betteridge’s Law violation. And euthanize the NGOs.

UPDATE “Shadow Republican: Joe Manchin’s Long History of Sabotaging Progressive Candidates in West Virginia” [Status Coup Substack]. “Manchin also played a shadow role in helping incumbent West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito defeat progressive Democratic nominee Paula Jean Swearengin in 2020. ‘Manchin pretty much has control of the party,’ Swearengin told Status Coup. ‘He didn’t even come out in support of me; he was actually behind-the-scenes, and even during the primary, advocating for [Republican] Shelley Moore Capito. Swearengin pointed to since-deleted tweets from Manchin, who is close friends with Capito, during the general election that spoke positively about working with Senator Capito in the future. Manchin’s West Virginia Democratic Party also didn’t lift a finger for Swearengin after she won the Democratic primary for Senate and shifted to the general election, Swearengin said. The MIA act by state Democrats flies in the face of the national Democratic Party’s 2016 and 2020 megaphone that screamed at progressives to unite with establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.” • Wait, expecting reciprocity from liberal Democrats?

UPDATE Advance work matters:

Republican Funhouse

UPDATE “JD Vance Is Deleting All His Anti-Trump Tweets” [Vice]. “‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author and venture capitalist JD Vance announced a run for U.S. Senate on Thursday, btu before he did that, he took the first necessary step for every conservative candidate for elected office: deleting all of the anti-Trump tweets. Vance deleted several long-standing tweets about Trump prior to announcing his run for Senate, CNN’s Andrew Kacyznski reported Thursday. Most of them came prior to Trump’s election in 2016, such as when Vance said he would vote for third-party conservative candidate Evan McMullin. ”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Surely this is revisionist history?

Stats Watch

Housing: “May 2021 CoreLogic Home Prices: Torrid Demand and Scarce Inventory Fuels Double-Digit Home Price Grow” [Econintersect]. “Converging pressures of severe inventory shortages and sustained demand pushed home prices to record highs in May, with the year-over-year increase in home prices at its highest level since 2005…. Home prices are continuing to rise being exasperated by low inventory.”

Services: “United States Services PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The IHS Markit US Services PMI was revised slightly lower to 64.6 in June 2021, from a preliminary estimate of 64.8 and compared with the previous month’s all-time high of 70.4. Still, the latest reading pointed to the third-fastest expansion in the service sector since data collection began in October 2009, amid rising customer demand due to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.”

Services: “United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI fell to 60.1 in June of 2021 from an all-time high of 64 in May, and compared to market forecasts of 63.5. The reading still pointed to a strong growth in the services sector although slower increases were seen for business activity … ‘Challenges with materials shortages, inflation, logistics and employment resources continue to be an impediment to business conditions,’ says Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM.”

* * *

Shipping: “The rush to ship goods from Asia to consumer markets in the U.S. and Europe is driving up container shipping rates at a historic pace. A months-long expansion in prices has kicked into a higher gear since early May. …. [S]ome cargo owners are being offered rates of more than $20,000 in last-minute deals to get on vessels leaving ports in China” [Wall Street Journal]. “Philip Damas of Drewry Shipping Consultants says the skyrocketing rates reflect the rush to get goods moving in a container shipping market marked by tight space on vessels and heavy congestion at ports. That’s effectively triggered a bidding war that industry executives expect to continue through the end of the year. Supply-chain experts say the high rates leave many shippers, particularly those with low-value goods, facing tough choices on whether to absorb the higher costs or retreat from overseas markets.”

Shipping: “Big U.S. suppliers of sofas, desks and other home furnishings are facing backups at warehouses and beyond because transportation companies don’t have the trucks and trailers to handle the goods. Bassett Furniture CEO Rob Spilman Jr. [says] that gridlock is hampering the company’s efforts to reduce hefty order backlogs and capitalize on a U.S. economy rebounding from lockdowns” [Wall Street Journal]. “The headaches at furniture makers like Bassett, La-Z-Boy and Room & Board are part of the challenges that consumer-goods companies face in managing supply chains knocked sideways by the pandemic. The size and special handling required for furniture add another layer of difficulty for those companies. Bassett has run short of space in a highly competitive warehousing market and has turned to truck trailers simply to store its products.”

Shipping: “Ever Given ready to depart Suez after compensation deal is agreed with SCA” [The Loadstar]. “The law firm representing the vessel’s owner, Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha, said yesterday a formal agreement had been reached on the amount of compensation due to the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) after the grounding of the vessel…. The terms of the settlement have yet to be disclosed, although according to Reuters SCA chairman Osama Rabie, it included the delivery of a tug. The agreement followed a request to adjourn the case launched by the SCA against Shoei Kisen for compensation for the canal blockage, with the request accepted by the court in Ismailia yesterday.”

Shipping: “Yantian port back at full speed; box recovery could take a month” [Freight Waves]. “The backlog of vessels waiting to reach berths at the Port of Yantian, the largest container port in China, is gone since terminals returned to full operations on Thursday following a COVID-19 outbreak among dockworkers that significantly curtailed operations, according to an official at shipping giant A.P. Møller – Maersk. But shippers shouldn’t expect supply chains to be immediately repaired. While Yantian officials believe they can eliminate the accumulation of stacked containers within a couple of weeks, the backlog of shipments piled up in factories and warehouses elsewhere in the Shenzhen region will take at least a month to clear, Akhil Nair, vice president of global carrier management and ocean strategy for SEKO Logistics, said during a press briefing last week.”

Shipping: “The seafarers left stranded by the pandemic” [Financial Times]. “Few professions have felt the pressures of the crisis as acutely as seafarers — and as many areas of life edge back towards pre-pandemic norms, the shipping industry is still struggling. While the numbers affected have fallen, as of March this year, 200,000 seafarers still remained on board commercial vessels, unable to be repatriated and past the expiry of their contracts, according to estimates by the International Maritime Organization. At any given time, about 1m people are working on cargo vessels around the world. The vessels they command play a vital role in supplying medical equipment and ensuring the world continues to eat and remain entertained during lockdowns. But since the pandemic hit, governments have often left crew stranded, forced to spend far longer on vessels without shore leave than international labour rules allow. While maritime law in theory applies internationally, care has been inconsistent. ‘Seafarers are key workers but their treatment during the pandemic, be it their wellbeing, vaccination or relief, has really depended on individual governments and the many maritime regulators,’ said Rajesh Unni, chief executive of Synergy Marine Group, which provides ship management.”

Tech: “Apple Reportedly Storing Over 8 Million Terabytes of iCloud Data on Google Servers” [MacRumors]. “The report [from The Information] claims Apple now has over eight million terabytes of data stored on Google’s servers. As of mid-May, Apple was reportedly on track to spend around $300 million on Google cloud storage services this year, which would represent an increase of roughly 50% from all of 2020. Apple is said to be the largest corporate client for Google Cloud, dwarfing other high-profile customers like Spotify. Google Cloud staffers have apparently even given Apple an internal code name that hints at its size as a customer: ‘Bigfoot.’ Apple relies on a combination of its own data centers and third-party cloud storage services, such as Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, to store iCloud user data like photos and messages. Apple does not provide third-party cloud storage providers with the keys to decrypt user data stored on their servers, ensuring a strong level of security. The report speculates that Apple’s increased use of Google Cloud suggests the company’s rising cloud storage requirements have outpaced its ability to develop and operate its own data centers needed to handle the resulting data.” • One good use for Google’s quantum computer, when they finish it.

Tech: “Thinking about selling your Echo Dot—or any IoT device? Read this first” [Ars Technica]. “61 percent of used devices [the Northeastern researchers] bought held a wealth of personal information about the previous owner that was fairly easy for someone with modest means to extract.” • Oh, you thought “Reset” meant that your personal data was wiped? Think again.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 38 Fear (previous close: 45 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 2 at 12:30pm.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on floods. “The flood condition has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so high is better.)

Health Care

Thanks, Obama:

“Walmart’s Play for the Insulin Market Is the Latest Crack in Our Broken Health Care System” [The New Republic]. “The deal Walmart has inked with Novo Nordisk, which will allow it to sell the Danish drug manufacturer’s short-acting Novolog insulin for $75 a vial, is nothing short of revolutionary—that is, if you believe the press release the retail Goliath released at the end of June, announcing the arrangement. Several news outlets more or less echoed these sentiments, noting that the price amounted to a discount of up to 75 percent off the typical $300 list price of a life-sustaining drug whose skyrocketing costs have been explicitly tied to multiple deaths in recent years. As the Good News Network put it, “Walmart is seeking to bring ‘everyday low prices’ to medical care.’ And it’s not exactly wrong—while $75 isn’t cheap, it’s significantly less than what a patient paying full freight would shell out at most other pharmacies. But if you’re skeptical that these two multibillion-dollar corporations were suddenly moved by altruism, your doubts are warranted. Far from solving the insulin pricing crisis, this development merely sheds some light on the cracks in the health care system—as well as Walmart’s growing role in monetizing them.”

“Enrollment Trends in Medicare Options” [Squared Away]. “Just as important to retirees as paying the bills is the risk of being socked with inordinately high spending on hospital and physician care in a bad year. Levy defines this unpredictability as retirees having to shell out more than 10 percent of income out of their pockets, excluding all premiums. Under this standard, about 23 percent of the retirees in the study with Advantage plans spent more than 10 percent of their income for care – versus 17 percent of Medigap buyers. About 28 percent of those without any coverage outside of Medicare exceeded the 10-percent threshold. More certainty in the Medigap plans is only part of their appeal – at least, for the people who can afford the premiums. The other benefit to retirees is the ability to choose their own doctors, who are required to take Medigap if the practice accepts Medicare patients. Retirees have to decide on the tradeoffs they’re willing to make. ‘That is, after all, how insurance works,’ [Helen Levy at the University of Michigan] said.” • “After all.” Some to to HappyVille, some go to Pain City. And it helps to be clairvoyant!


“Severe drought is turning the world’s main source of almonds into a sliver of its former self. Farmers in parched parts of California are bulldozing thousands of acres’ worth of almond orchards that cannot be irrigated… signaling a potential long-term shift at the source of a star crop for the state and a staple of many kitchen pantries” [Wall Street Journal]. “The withering of almond orchards is the latest impact of a drought that has spread across the western U.S. and is reshaping California’s food-producing agriculture sector and challenging grocers tasked with keeping shelves stocked. Acreage for almonds already has started migrating north to parts of the state most capable of providing the 1.3 million gallons of water annually that each acre of almond trees demand. Buyers normally would cope by diversifying their supply base, but California grows about 80% of the world’s supply.” • Oh, “migrating North.” Swell.

Our Famously Free Press

Collecting links:

Under the Influence

“The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master” [Bloomberg]. “For Ramon Abbas, the Instagram influencer popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi, @hushpuppi, Hush, or the Billionaire Gucci Master, birthdays were always a time for reflection. Reflection and extravagance—but then, extravagance was Hushpuppi’s brand, a 365-days-a-year affair, a way of being. On Oct. 11, 2019, the day he turned 37, he was living in a penthouse apartment at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, with a private pool and hot tub on his lanai. A typical @hushpuppi post on Instagram, where he had more than 2 million followers, featured Abbas smiling in front of one of his Ferraris or Rolls-Royces, kicking back in his seat on a private jet, or exiting a designer store with a passel of rope-handled bags—#Hermes, #Fendi, #LouisVuitton. His look was always flawless: never the same outfit twice, #Gucci more often than not. You don’t become the Billionaire Gucci Master any other way. Even back in 2019, there were questions about how much money Abbas really had and how exactly he’d acquired it. In Nigeria, where he was born–” •

“Please stop putting garlic up your nose on TikTok, doctors say” [The Hill]. “The latest TikTok trend shows users placing a clove of garlic in each nostril, supposedly to clear the sinuses when one is stuffy or has a cold. After keeping it in for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes, the users then pull the garlic out, followed, typically, by long strands of mucus….. When it comes down to clearing sinuses in the event of a cold or stuffy nose, it’s recommended that people stick to saline nasal sprays or salt water irrigation. ‘Just a gentle saline solution, using a neti pot, probably has some of the best results,’ said Emily Durkin, a pediatric surgeon at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. ‘It cleans, helps soothe the irritated lining of the nose and because it’s what we call an isotonic solution, it doesn’t lead to trauma to the mucosa.'” • Also, though this goes unmentioned, traumatizing the nasal tissues is a really bad idea in the Age of Covid. You want your nasal tissues happy and contented and chowing down on virus, not silently screaming.

“Forget tweeting and selfies: the internet wants to watch you eat” [Financial Times]. “Mukbang, which comes from South Korea, simply translates as ‘eating broadcast’. But it has become better known as a sort of extreme sport in which people binge huge quantities of food. Watching someone eat online seems to help some viewers feel less alone. Dining is a social activity, after all. Some videos are practically Boschian, with splatters of ranch and hot wing sauce all over the table and influencers gasping as they try to finish a bowl of spicy fire noodles or the entire Domino’s pizza menu. Stunts are, of course, the internet’s bread and butter. Why should food on the internet be any different?” And this being the FT: “[T]here is something appealing about knowing what another person eats every day. This is not a new phenomenon. One of the most vivid illustrations of life in the 17th century comes from diarist Samuel Pepys’ description of his meals. There is the venison pasty that ‘stunk like a devil’ and the ‘pretty’ dinner that included stewed carps and neats’ tongues.” • Inspiring me to look up “neat’s tongue.”

The Agony Column

Can this be real:

“Allowing me.”

Groves of Academe

Working the refs:

Imperial Collapse Watch


Guillotine Watch

“Don Jr. And Eric Trump: People Dodge Taxes All the Time, It’s Not a Big Deal” [Vanity Fair]. “‘They’re alleging $100,000 a year in perks over 15 years. This is a $2 billion company, the Trump Organization, so we’re talking about pennies on the dollar, okay? Pennies on the dollar,’ [FOX host Jesse] Watters declared. ‘So this is all they can find? This is all they can find? After promising, what, illegal loans from Moscow? Illegal tax shelters? They promised us the world. So if this is all they can find, a Mercedes that wasn’t properly filed in a tax return? This is usually dealt with from my understanding, maybe a fine, maybe you just refile the tax. Never have they ever charged anybody criminally like this before.’ To which Don Jr. responded, ‘Correct.'” • Well, are they wrong?

Class Warfare

“The Cantillon Effect: Why Wall Street Gets a Bailout and You Don’t” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “There’s a ‘monetary bazooka’ aimed at the economy. And yet there’s a puzzle. If there’s money for the entire economy, why is that normal people and small businesses can’t access unemployment insurance and lending programs? To put it another way, why is the money meant for everyone only showing up in the stock market? The reason is because money has to travel through institutions, and right now, the institutions for the powerful function well, and those for the rest of us are rickety and broken. So money gets to the rich first. Eventually, some money will get to the rest of us, but in the interim period before that money fully circulates, the wealthy can use their access to money to buy up physical or financial assets. An 18th century French banker and philosopher named Richard Cantillon noticed an early version of this phenomenon in a book he wrote called ‘An Essay on Economic Theory.’ His basic theory was that who benefits when the state prints a bunch of money is based on the institutional setup of that state. In the 18th century, this meant that the closer you were to the king and the wealthy, the more you benefitted, and the further away you were, the more you were harmed. Money, in other words, is not neutral. This general observation, that money printing has distributional consequences that operate through the price system, is known as the ‘Cantillon Effect.'”

News of the Wired

“Bringing emulation into the 21st century” [David Tyler’s Blog]. This is indeed a jape, which I realized rather late into it: “As with all modern design it’s crucial to adhere to the model of ‘make it work then make it fast’ and that’s something that this project really takes to heart. In 1974 when the 8080 was released it achieved a staggering 2MHz. Our new modern, containerised, cloud first design doesn’t quite achieve that in its initial iteration.”

Who else remembers this sound?

Does anybody actually enjoy the Boston Dynamics robot videos? Except in a sick, foreboding way?

* * *

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 (Carla):

Carla writes: “This cactus was potted up and given to me by my dear friend Belle a decade or so. It blooms just one day a year. This year it bloomed on April 7. Belle died at the age of 97 about 4 years ago. Every year, I consider the day the cactus blooms to be ‘Belle day.'” I like the idea of memorials, and I wonder if Carla is the only one with a story like this. Unfortunately, although I try to post plants more or less in the order received, I only plucked this one from my Inbox recently. If you want me to run a memorial on a particular date, you can say something like “please run on [date here] in the subject line, and then tell the story in your mail. I might still miss it, because I get a lot of mail, but at least this way you will have a fighting change. Also, lovely photo.

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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. Wukchumni

    Feels like the bottom of the fourth with the just visiting team behind 8-1 and Mother Nature is just padding the score, a single heatwave there-a drenching double play rain event resulting in a dam slam somewhere else, clearing the basis.

  2. flora

    File under “healthcare” and “private insurance”….

    From Wendell Potter:

    UnitedHealthcare’s plan to stick patients with ER bills has caught them in a PR nightmare. Here’s how they’ll get past it and make it your nightmare.

    United’s plan? Refuse to pay your bill if one of their “denial nurses” decides you weren’t sick or hurt enough for the ER.


    “Denial Nurse”… sounds like Nurse Ratched… on United’s payroll….

    1. Utah

      This is only slightly relevant to your comment, but I watched “One for over the cuckoo’s nest” for the first time yesterday and I don’t think I understand why nurse Ratched is so maligned. As a gender balance thing, I think we’d have a different opinion if Ratched was a man.

      That said, I’ve dealt with denial nurses as an inpatient psych patient. They can be pretty difficult to work with if you’re not “sick enough.” Meaning one has to make all the right dsm criteria for them to approve care. It’s tricky and oh so annoying. I’ve been told that the best insurance to have as a crazy person (my words) is blue cross blue shield. But they will probably take a page out of United’s playbook soon.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        You don’t understand how a spirit-crushing, guilt-tripping, conscienceless representative of Control is maligned? I recommend Kesey’s novel for further elucidation on the meaning of Big Nurse

  3. chris

    Putting down a marker for this now…after spending the weekend talking with several of my friends and peers in construction, we think it seems likely that before the situation in Florida reaches critical mass and threatens to destroy the regional real estate and insurance markets, we’ll see a government bailout (sheparded by the Biden Administration) so that private equity can bailout all the condos in question and receive favorable tax and liability treatment for doing so. If you look at what the 40 year recert program entails, and the scope of the problem in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, you won’t be able to complete all the work necessary to recert the buildings in the next few months. Without evidence of recert, insurance companies will not be able to insure the properties. Without insurance, people won’t be able to purchase the properties unless they’re paying cash – and they’ll be offering a much reduced price for the property. Reduced property prices mean reduced tax revenues. Reduced tax revenues mean bad things in a state with no income tax. Also problematic is the possibility that the buildings which can’t be recerted will be demolished during a time when there is a significant housing crunch.

    So it seems like a reasonable bet that some big actors like Blackrock will swoop in, by the distressed/questionable properties for fire sale prices, and be lauded as heroes for doing so.

    If any of these buildings are hit by a significant storm in the next few months the pressure to have someone else swoop in and solve the problem will become impossible to resist.

    1. chris

      Handy link from some friends about the 40 year recert programs in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

      What people may not appreciate is the 40 year program has other requirements than the one inspection. Once you pass it, you need to keep passing it every 10 years and failure to do so incurs fees and results in a process that can lead to demolishing the building. So for one of the buildings that has recently been evacuated because of these issues, they were due to complete their 40 year in 2012, and had delayed until they were almost delinquent on the subsequent 10 year inspection too.

      These aren’t intended to be simple, quick, rubber stamp type inspections. They can only be done and approved by registered structural engineers. Once the engineering evaluation is done you then have to fix anything identified as a problem before the recert cam be completed. There is a time limit for the repairs too. So there’s an open question of whether there’s enough people available to complete all the work in the next year or so for all the buildings that now need to prove they’re OK. And insurance companies are asking condos to prove they’re OK.

      Miami-Dade started their recert program in the 90’s. Broward started theirs around 2005. So this is not a case of a government mandate coming out of nowhere. This has been a known thing for almost 20 years in most parts of Florida operating under the program. It is surprising that so many condo owners are feigning ignorance of the program and it’s requirements. It is tragic that so many retirees are going to be forced to either pay a lot of money to fix their current building or sell and move to a much worse situation.

      1. cocomaan

        Naked Capitalism has the greatest comments section! Thanks for the breakdown, Chris.

        My guess is there will be a “contractor crunch” as well, with repairs needing to be done as quickly as possible and all at once.

        Could be a bonanza for out of state contractors willing to work in FL for a few years.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Not a chance. One, she’s a woman, and two, she challenged the kind of institution Obama loves.

        1. enoughisenough

          Just wow.
          “I, literally since the second grade, have been in white institutions,” she said in an interview, describing how she had to show again and again that she was worthy. “I’ve proven all that I’m going to prove. And I just really wanted to use the talent, the platform, the resources that I have managed to commit over time and to bring them to a Black institution where I won’t have to prove that, and where I can help other young, Black journalists — who come, many of them, from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves — to be able to compete.”

          “white institutions”? UNC is a state school, that’s so insulting to label it “white”.

          I am so sick of this. :(

          And how disgustingly cynical to get everyone fighting on her behalf, only to be like: PSYCH!!! see ya later, grifty grift grift.
          Is she even a professor? Has she ever even taught a class in her life??

          Meanwhile, there are homeless adjunct profs sleeping in their cars, and still having to pay student loans.



          Welp, on to Howard, that just canceled its Classics Dept.

          Cornell West on that travesty:


          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Coal miners’s lungs are blacker than this history-faker’s skin. But coal miners have White Privilege”, so ” shut up and get back in your mine, you miners”.

            This history-faker clearly has Woke Privilege.

          2. IMOR

            Yeah, I don’t see a problem for a black academic or an Afro-centric interpretation with THIS board of governors- ’cause it’s a public institution!
            P.S. It would have taken you about 90 seconds to avoid stepping on this particular rake / avoid this self-immolating aspect of your comment.

            1. enoughisenough

              Oh I know about the board of governors. I mean, everyone knows. *They* are not the sum total of the place. Normally one looks at the faculty and students, that’s what I was thinking of.

              A bad board of governors does not mean the whole institution is a “white institution”. I never said the board wasn’t a problem, but remember *everyone else* including students and faculty, wanted her to be given tenure. Wanna look up how many people that is, compared to how many people are on that board?

              It’s unfair to write off the whole place, when the majority of people there were fighting for her. And she won! Because of their efforts! So it’s really dismissive and pretty rude. Once a person is hired, one does not need to deal with that board again. So she would have been fine.

              You’re the one not thinking this through.

      1. Chris Smith

        And my respect for Howard drops with the hire of these two. So glad I left academia twenty years ago.

  4. Wukchumni

    All too often on here i’ve been guilty of piling on when it comes to Fresno which is like stealing off and leaving somebody else with the baby, and even in praise of it’s airport which allows the fastest escape, I sometimes feel my message has been misconstrued and let me be the first to congratulate the methtroplis on verge of breaking an all-time record of 115 degrees this Sunday, weather geeks are thinking 115 to 118.

    6 days of +/- 110 degrees starts in the foothills Thursday.

    1. fresno dan

      July 6, 2021 at 2:36 pm
      You know the Fresno airport ran out of gas, and by gas, I mean jet fuel.
      Fresno has had a frustrating week for the flying public as a fuel shortage has changed plans for hundreds of travelers and left a lot of them stranded.

      Forget about it Wuk…its Fresnotown
      BTW, how are the eyeballs now a days?

      1. Wukchumni

        I feel for those unable to flee Fresno par avian, but think of those lucky ones whose incoming flights were diverted elsewhere…

        My eye is coming along-not too bad in allowing me to ramble around in the back of beyond with a number of longer trips planned. Had cataract surgery in April and the doc wants about 6 months of scarring on the pupil before tweaking it a bit.

    2. Lee

      I’m repeating myself here but for some odd reason all I can think about lately, besides Covid-19, is the weather, which as a topic of conversation was for so long considered anodyne.

      A note on local weather weirding: it’s currently 63 degrees in our town on the eastern shoreline of San Francisco bay. This is thanks to the marine layer of high fog that rolls in through the Golden Gate most summer evenings and only starts to burn off around midday. Just a few miles away from the bay over low lying hills it’s currently 20 degrees warmer. And just eighty miles to the northeast in Sacramento the temperature is a whopping 40 degrees higher. Typically, come September and October, the prevailing winds change, the fog doesn’t roll in, and the the hot air from the central valley as well as the smoke from the wildfires comes and settles in this great watershed basin. It isn’t hellishly unlivable here yet, but we’re getting there. In the meantime, I’ll never again complain about our drizzly summer mornings.

    3. JCC

      We’re getting the same here in Kern Cnty on the east side of the Sierras, 116F to 117F predicted for at least the next week, about 12F hotter than average for this time of year (based on my last 10 years of living here)

  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    I think I see something very strange happening with availability and visible presence of posts. On any one given “today” ( right now, today is today’s “today”), a group of posts from just a couple of days ago goes missing. They aren’t mentioned anymore in the list of titles at the very top of the homepage. And they appear to be “physically missing” when one goes downscreen and hunts for “older posts”.

    For example, where is the Prairie Dog post? I can’t find it anywhere. It seems to have been “disappeared”.

    1. Basil Pesto

      huh? the titles at the top of the page push out old titles when a new one is added?

      I read NC on my phone mostly so maybe it’s different, but scrolling down the homepage briefly yields the Prairie Dog post. Ditto going to ‘archives’ for July and looking under the entries for July 4.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I still don’t see it using the “other methods”. But when I look up Archives and scroll down that, I find it.

        So it must be an artifact of the particular programs my employer has on its machines here at the workplace. And since I go on them for “free” ( time permitting), who am I to complain?

    1. Lee

      The video had me glancing toward the old 12 gauge and wondering if it could stop one of those things.

      1. Procopius

        Had me thinking of Cordwainer Smith’s “manshenyaggers.” There’s no reason to make a combat robot humanoid, though I’m not sure the manshenyaggers were, but I’d have to comb through all his stories to find out. I do remember their biggest vulnerability was that if you spoke to them in Hochdeutsch they would register you as a protected one, and it only took a few words. Anyway, the four-legged one seems to me like it would be the more dangerous opponent.

  6. allan

    Biden Administration/Guillotine Watch/Class Warfare trifecta advertorial in The Hill,
    by a `fellow’ at an `Institute’:

    Pay no attention to the Fed-fuelled winnings at the casino

    Biden’s capital gains tax increase is more unproductive misdirection

    … The underlying tax proposal is a hike in the capital gains tax from a top rate currently of 23.8 percent to 43.4 percent, which is set to equal a simultaneously raised top rate on individual income (rates include the additional 3.8 percent tax rate required on high-earners’ income). The biggest objection to raising the capital gains tax rate is it is based on a false premise. Realized capital gains — the tax base for this tax — are largely not income. They mainly reflect inflationary gains in the value of assets since they were acquired. The appreciation is partial compensation for the rising replacement cost of the asset, so the tax falls essentially on the compensation for past inflation, not on any sort of income, the proper focus of such a tax. The effect of taxing inflationary gains in asset value is to tax the capital itself, not its income. … It taxes asset values, specifically price increases that compensate for inflation losses, not wealth gains or income gains. …

    Legitimated through the negotiable affection of Johns Hopkins.

  7. jo6pac

    Well Tibet has HPR Amerika not so much. Tibet now has to Hiways crossing the nation. In the next few months or never Amerika might spend some cash or privatize the roads. If Amerika spends cash it will less than 900 billion talking about. If it can privatize then it will be in the trillions and thanks Amerikan tax payer.

    woodchuckles I see that story. My comment to you did disappear;-)

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Only $5.7 billion and 6 years to build the line. Did you see those bridges?

      americans are never gonna know what hit ’em.

      joseph robinette biden is more of a metaphor than he is a “president.”

  8. fresno dan

    Reboot of Jaws except everyone has heard about the shark, and the beaches are still packed because half the tourists believe staying out of the water is ineffective at preventing shark infection um, I mean, attacks…
    I can’t help myself…yes, I need help

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘…he’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’…’

    1. ambrit

      You are but a part of a vast left wing conspiracy…to enjoy some of your sentence to the neo-liberal panopticon.
      Back when SNL was funny.

    2. griffen

      I wrongly assume you were linking to the branded lager! That is still a funny clip by SNL.

      Humor is good for your soul.

  9. Toshiro_Mifune

    Does anybody actually enjoy the Boston Dynamics robot videos?

    I know you don’t like them Lambert, however they’re pretty impressive from the amount of tech and processing they’re packing into those things to allow them to do that.
    The issue of what these things are going to be used for is separate.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Just like handguns, of course, they WILL be used.

      I’m going for a “Terminator” outcome, given the priors of those who will be emancipating this particular branch of Wonderful Amazing Technology.

    2. JCC

      I don’t enjoy them one bit, although they are impressive. Every time I see the advancement in their PR videos all can think of is the PR videos they are probably showing to Police Departments and Defense Contractors.

    3. Acacia

      The first “Boston Dynamics Robot meets a Shotgun” video on YouTube is going to go soooo viral.

    4. A dude, not THE dude

      When these robots are deployed for city law enforcement, will it be a matter of days or weeks before one gets stolen?

  10. Grumpy Engineer

    We can see the effects in this aggregate, in the aggregated data for Texas and Florida, and in the Top Ten states (all below). Nothing like the runaway train in the first days and weeks, but the train is rolling. It would certainly be nice if this trend isn’t signaling the changeover from Alpha to Delta.

    I don’t know whether or not the Delta strain is a major factor in the rising infection rates in Texas and Florida, but I do know that the weather is. Simply put, it’s really hot in Texas and Florida (and other southern states) right now. Net result? More people are spending more time indoors enjoying their AC, which means more people crammed together breathing the same re-circulated air. The same phenomenon drove higher infection rates in northern states during winter, except that people wanted shelter from the cold. The current rise in infection rates in the south doesn’t surprise me at all.

  11. Diana

    “Just Do It!” A new category in the Olympics?

    A video shared by multiple media outlets shows a group of at least 10 men and women dashing out of the Neiman Marcus store on San Francisco’s Union Square with allegedly stolen handbags Monday night.


    Heating up here!

    “The declamation from the Boudin Campaign today is that you subscribe to the KKK ideology if you oppose what he is doing to the legal system in San Francisco,”


  12. fresno dan

    “Don Jr. And Eric Trump: People Dodge Taxes All the Time, It’s Not a Big Deal” [Vanity Fair].
    I know I have said this a dozen times, but Trump has been Trump – what 45 years? Under dem and repub administrations at both state and Fed level. Were that not looking at his tax returns competently???
    As Michael Kinsley kinda says, the scandal isn’t the illegality occuring, its that what occurs is legal.
    BTW, is there still spell check in the comments – cause I am a terrible, bad, horrible no good speller.

  13. dcblogger

    Is anyone else watching YouTube videos getting the Supreme Coup advertisement? Some right wing outfit is telling us we have until August 15 to contact something called the Biden commission to stop Democrats from packing the courts. I only wish Democrats were planning to pack the courts. It is some sort of right wing grift. I get a lot of these advertisements, I assume because I live in DC and they are really directed towards Senators and their staff. But I wonder if anyone else is seeing them?

    1. hunkerdown

      Grifting: encouraged
      Getting in the way of big pharma EUA grifting by mentioning ivermectin: not allowed

      That’s some algorithm.

      (Haven’t seen such an ad, but I block youtube ads as a matter of course. It will be interesting to see how much reach the grifters decided to buy to sell their lurid exposé.)

    2. JBird4049

      The Senate has been filling the various judicial vacancies using the pandemic as a distraction, that Senator Mitch McConnell prevented being filled with any Democratic nominees, with Republican Federalist Society ideologues; so old Joe Biden is somehow going to pack the courts with slightly less conservative judges?

      Oh, the sheer horror of it all! Whatever will we do? /s

  14. Hana M

    “My(F 26) boyfriend(32) isn’t allowing me to read books because he feels like I’m cheating on him.”

    And he’s totally right. Darcy and I are on our way to the Scottish border and the BF can’t stop us!

    1. Robert Hahl

      I was reading The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman, and was telling my wife stories from it when she began to get jealous, because it seemed I had a crush on Elif Batuman, which was true. We both thought her reaction was silly, but it was a real feeling.

  15. Wukchumni

    My C.P.I. index just went up 66% from $15 a visit to $25 in providing for the cats welfare when we’re gone. Our cat whisperer related that her Jeep used a lot of gas in justifying the draconian rise. Even the enterprising adults in their 20’s are hep to whats up.

    1. Darcy

      And anytime some government agency wants to see copies of our records or permits or tax returns, we charge $110 an hour, one hour minimum, just like they do to research old public records.

  16. upstater

    Lambert, suggestion on COVID charts from JHU… because the fall-winter peak was so extreme, perhaps the X scale should begin at Janusry 1, 2021? Particularly when you present US South or region positives, everything in jammed close to the Y Axis and it is tough to discriminate. A logarithmic y axis would also work, but early 2020 is a fading memory now.

  17. Gerd

    This seems to be the definitive, for now, invermectin study.

    The results are compelling. They identify a clinically significant benefit in pooled estimates for most
    of their selected outcomes. For example, they estimate a mean reduction in time to viral clearance
    of 3 days (95%CI 1-5), a reduction in time to clinical recovery of 1.5 days (95%CI 0.4-2.8), a reduction
    in duration of hospitalization of 4.3 days (95%CI 0.0-8.6) and 56% reduced risk of mortality (95%CI
    23-75%). Notably, their estimates remain largely similar after excluding studies at high risk of bias.
    And, although the included studies do not overlap, their results are largely consistent with many 17–19
    (but not all 20) other meta-analytic evaluations of ivermectin conduct by other groups. Even the most
    ardent skeptic should be given pause by this data.


    You have to click on the PDF link.

    1. ambrit

      When you are being paid to be a skeptic about something, you had better stay bought. There are consequences.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Check your link again. I get server not found.
      Not a surprise in these time but it means I could not find the article you are pointing to. What is its title and who are its authors?

      1. Basil Pesto

        add a colon after the https in your address bar when you click on the link, or copy and paste the link instead of clicking thru. Clicking thru gives the url as https// instead of https:// for some reason.

        It’s a commentary, not a study.

      2. Procopius

        I’ve been getting “server not found” ERR_CONNECTION_RESET on a number of links physically located in CONUS. The one that affects me most is Mike the Mad Biologist. It happens on both Chrome and Firefox on my Windows 7 machine, but connects fine on Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10. I haven’t tried it on Fedora, yet. Very odd. traceroute showed a working connection from Berlin to Wichita, Kansas, where the blog’s server is, but no connection from Bangkok to Berlin, which really doesn’t make sense to me. Mike has another daily collection of links that I found partly congenial.

  18. Glen

    I have not seen this story mentioned here so I thought I would.

    This is an excellent series. Here is a link to the latest episode:

    Bill Black Pt 7/9 – Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One

    An in-depth post on this to hit the highlights would be much appreciated.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. I am most curious what the current monetary policies have in-store for us next. Bill Black has a truly appalling tale to tell.

  19. Librarian Guy

    The latest Chapo Trap House had a good discussion & takedown of that R. Traister piece. The idea that Shambling Joe (or his Neoliberal, Tech & finance-connected staff) will enact anything even slightly “Left” to undo the decades of horrible legislation and policy that he created is laughable. The idea seems to be that Traister (a Liz Warren supporter, that says it all) gestures toward “we did some bad things in the past, but now we’ll feint toward rolling them back” sees such action as performative Leftism that’ll keep the dumb voters supporting the Dems even though they have done nothing (beyond one $1600 check after the $2000 promised), & will do nothing. The funniest thing she says in the piece is to the effect that “Some days I wake up wanting to burn it all down” when, as CTH points out, she is the “it” that would be burnt down. They’ll admit that Neoliberalism is an epic fail, do nothing to mitigate it in any way, and then achieve “FDR status” because of 5 seconds of candor? Notgahappen, folks.

    1. Acacia

      Good summary. Totally agree.

      I saw the words “Biden” and “Left Gamble” in the title of that article, laughed, and moved on.

      If somebody can’t get these basic distinctions straight, they are unworthy of my attention.

  20. John

    Boston Robotics
    No matter how cute you make them
    I restrain myself from pushing over
    the vastly inferior version in my supermarket
    smashing it to a million pieces despite my Buddhist inclinations
    simulation of sentience is not sentience
    then I remember impermanence
    some medievals used their intellect to discuss 10,000 angels on the needle
    some do this, the knights of technofeudalism and their dogs

  21. allan

    The Impact of Covid-19 on Private Equity [Bain & Co.]

    From 15 months ago, but still germane wildly wrong.

    … It is worth noting that the macro forces this time around could be very different from those in play after the global financial crisis. Investments coming out of that downturn benefited from a wave of market beta in the form of record-low interest rates, steadily increasing multiples and GDP growth. The initial impact of the Covid-19 crisis will likely be deflationary, but once the immediate crisis abates, government actions and supply-chain impairment could trigger inflation, putting upward pressure on interest rates. Higher borrowing costs would limit debt levels, which, in turn, would lead to a more challenging recovery for private equity investors.

    This is exactly the sort of trenchant analysis for which consultants are highly paid.

  22. Carolinian

    Here’s the New Republic’s version of logic.

    Walmart’s offerings may benefit certain individual patients who need them. But it’s impossible not to be disturbed when one of the world’s most powerful for-profit companies deepens its vested interest in keeping the cracks in our health care system wide enough to fall through.

    Yes it’s all Walmart’s fault that our health care system is insane and not oh say neolibs who over the years have worked at mags like the New Republic.

    There is an alternate explanation as to why Walmart has a budget priced pharmacy in its stores–that it attracts traffic to Walmart’s main line of business which is retail. They are only exploiting the system to the extent that they are putting themselves on the side of their customers so they will keep coming to Walmart.

    With all the junk food they sell you can certainly attack Walmart for helping to give those customers diabetes in the first place. And, believe me, if you want to see lots of potential victims that’s the place to go. It’s obesity epidemic ground zero.

    But the silly linked article is bending over backwards to find a “hook.”

  23. Mikel

    “Thinking about selling your Echo Dot—or any IoT device? Read this first” [Ars Technica]. “61 percent of used devices [the Northeastern researchers] bought held a wealth of personal information about the previous owner…”

    I have a rental car right now and no way in hell am I about to hook my phone into the dashboard.

  24. a fax machine

    In optimistic news, Colorado takes the first step in building a statewide mass transit network.


    The new authority will be able to ask for a new tax. While not yet approved by voters, it’s a good step in the right direction. The comparable example would be Utah’s Frontrunner system, which preforms the same function for Utah. Sometime in the future if/when CO’s system is built out the two will naturally form a larger network. There is a business case for this as the comparably windy, steep interstates and bad weather kept private passenger rail alive between Salt Lake City and Denver until 1985. Additionally, Utah is where Siemens’ big factory is where San Francisco’s new electric trains are being constructed. This is an obvious model for Utah and Colorado as well. It also supports a greater national effort at Amtrak Zephyr route modernization.

    It is tantalizing to think that *some* states could truly make themselves independent of the international oil cartel. Or at least partially independent. My hope is that if these efforts succeed, there will be pressure on freight to electrify; politically implausible at the moment but would be required if we take the climate emergency as an actual emergency demanding change.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Koch family of pressure groups will unite to try to prevent this from passing in Colorado, just as they tried and succeeded in killing a mass-transit plan for Greater Nashville Area, Tennessee.

      If the Koch Bros could be defeated in this upcoming battle, it would encourage people to see where else the Koch Bros can be defeated. Perhaps Greater Nashville might be inspired to take another swing at the apple.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is something which is very bad if it is true. Is it true? Will enough detailed information come out about it that eventually fully developed articles will be worth featuring here?

    Anyway, here is a “first alert”.

    Now, if it IS true, how much oil goes through those pipelines? What particular companies does it go to?
    Can people living in the final “retail-customer-base-print” of the receiving end of this oil grind their lifestyles around to reduce their oil use by just this much? And focus that use reduction against whatever pipeline-terminus companies get their oil through these pipelines?

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