2:00PM Water Cooler 8/17/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this Water Cooler is a bit thin. Unfortunately, I could not ingest my normal amount of media krill today. Hopefully I will be back on form tomorrow. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Mercifully, not all storks clap their bills (at least in recordings). I like the sound of the waves.

* * *


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:

Back up in the South.

50.8% of the US is fully vaccinated, a big moment, breaking the psychological 50% barrier. Every day, a tenth of a percentage point upward.

Case count by United States regions:

Still near vertical. As far as reaching the peak of January 8, 2021, with 295,257 cases per day … I’m not that pessimistic (modulo a new variant brought into the country by our ridiculously lax policies on international quarantines). What we might call, after Everest, the “First Step” (November 25, 2019) with 178,466 looks in striking distance, especially if the case count purple line continues go near vertical. When you look at those “rapid riser” counties on the CDC map, you’ve got to think this rise has a way to run. If things go on as they are, we should hit the first step just in time for Labor Day. But what do I know, I’m just a tape-watcher.

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

California is Texas’s wingman. Meanwhile, Florida staggered ahead.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report August 16, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

This does look a smidge better in Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri; “green and yellow shoots.” The rest of the county looks just as red to me. This map blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a banjo to be heard. Previous 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):

A little dip across all age groups, oddly.

NEW Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the source above:


Yet more red states now, still in the South. Not good.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Deaths on trend rising; nowhere near meriting an anti-triumphalist black line, being an order of magnitude less than there were at peak. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning.)

Covid cases worldwide:

Southeast Asia doing better, I presume because little-covered Indonesia is past a peak. US sphere of influence under the Monroe Doctrine not doing so well.

* * *


“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

“The U.S. government is stepping in to help cash-strapped families cope with surging food prices. The Biden administration is boosting benefits through the nation’s food-stamp program by more than 25%…. as the steepest inflation in a decade pushes up prices for soup, meat and other staples” [Wall Street Journal]. “The increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the largest in its nearly 60-year history and reflects higher costs for a nutritious diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Upheaval across food supply chains has supermarkets and restaurants charging more to cover higher costs for labor and transport, along with rising prices for ingredients such as corn and soybean oil.”

“Democrats’ Dare on Debt Sets Up High-Stakes Shutdown Fight” [Bloomberg]. • “It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

“Axelrod says Biden should have ’embraced’ failures of Afghanistan exit” [The Hill]. Axelrod: “I think he would have served himself well if he had just embraced it. Yes, there were failures on the part of the — clearly on the part of the Afghans. Yes the government there is corrupt. Yes Donald Trump left him with a mess. All of that is true, but he is the commander in chief now. He is in charge of this operation, and he should have said it did not go as it should have and taken responsibility for that.” • Amazing all the liberal Democrats shoving their knives into Biden’s back, when all he did was the right thing that Obama didn’t have the stones to do. It’s almost like their loyalty to wars over-rides their loyalty to persons, even party. Dear Lord.

Republican Funhouse

“George W Bush says he feels ‘deep sadness’ watching ‘tragic events’ in Afghanistan” [The Hill]. • George Bush should stick to painting, where he’s just bad, instead of evil. Note that liberal Democrats carefully engineered Bush’s ability to go on the teebee and spout nonsense like this with the “He gave Michelle candy” indicident.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Reflections On The Looming Revolution In America” [The American Conservative]. “America is on the precipice of a second revolution. The first led to the creation of a constitutional republic and the second one could end it. The Democrats, deeply frustrated by the federal government’s dysfunction, are pursuing revolutionary changes. They are especially eager to fundamentally alter the design of the Senate and Electoral College, which serve to protect the interests of states. The most imminent potential change is removal of the Senate filibuster…. The Democrats almost have enough votes to remove the Senate filibuster, which they believe is necessary to overcome partisan gridlock and effectively govern. But instead of partisan gridlock, there would be partisan oppression. In our closely divided country, the parties would take turns imposing their will while earnestly seeking to reverse gains made by the other when in power. Partisan oppression would ensure the republic-killing factionalism that James Madison warned about in Federalist Papers No. 10. This factionalism would almost certainly eliminate any real interest in bipartisan compromise, which has been a defining characteristic of our republic.” • Tosh. The only time bipartisan compromise has been “a defining characteristic of our republic” was under neoliberalism, starting with Carter (a second example might be the foundation of the national security state, under Truman, but I don’t know the era well). And that was bad. Neither the Civil War nor the New Deal were brought about through bipartisan compromise.

Stats Watch

Retail: “Headline Retail Sales Slow in July 2021” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales slowed according to US Census headline data. The three-month rolling average declined. Year-over-Year growth also declined due to the comparison to reopening after the lockdown period one year ago….. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which slowed. Overall, this report is considered about the same as last month. Please consider that this data is not adjusted for inflation.” • Mr. Market seems to disagree.

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

Inventories: “June 2021 Business Inventories Remain Normal For Times Of Economic Expansion” [Econintersect]. “Headlines say final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) improved month-over-month. The rolling averages improved. Inventories are within normal ranges for times of economic expansion…. This data is about the same as the previous month – except if one adjusts for inflation which means the data is worse…. Our primary monitoring tool – the 3-month rolling averages for sales – declined (mostly due to comparisons to the recovery period one year ago).”

Housing: “June 2021 CoreLogic Single-Family Rents Growth Increased More than Five-Fold Year Over Year in June” [Econintersect]. “The Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI) shows a national rent increase of 7.5% year over year, up from a 1.4% year-over-year increase in June 2020…. Hot housing market conditions have exacerbated the challenges of finding affordable rental properties for some consumers. According to a recent CoreLogic survey, 85% of consumers searching for a home said they prefer single-family homes. However, for-sale inventory remains in short supply as construction continues to lag. Not only is this keeping many would-be buyers on the hunt for single-family rentals, but it’s also contributing to the dwindling availability and increasing prices of these properties.”

* * *

Commodities: “The end of fossil fuels: World’s largest mining company could be leaving oil and gas behind” [EuroNews]. “Mining behemoth BHP Group has announced it is considering selling its petroleum business in order to cut ties with the oil and gas sector. It appears the move is thanks to shareholder pressure on the company to reduce its carbon footprint. BHP has oil and gas fields in Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Algeria. These produce approximately 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The Australia-based company said on 17 August that it may be striking up a deal with Woodside Petroleum, its biggest rival. By selling its fossil fuel division, BHP would be losing out on over €11 billion – how much the portfolio is worth.”


Retail: “Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain” [Time]. “If you want to understand what’s driving inflation in the U.S. economy right now, look no further than Jani the giraffe. Jani used to cost around $87. Now she’s around $116, as costs went up on every step of her journey.” • This is very interesting. Handy chart:

Nothing here that a dose of autarky won’t solve. Plus the whole commissions and profits thing. Or maybe — hear me out — we need fewer things? We actively need to have fewer things?

The Bezzle: “Ackman SPAC Hit With Investor Suit Questioning Its Legality” [Bloomberg]. “The largest SPAC to ever hit the market is operating illegally as an investment company, a new lawsuit against billionaire Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd. claims. Less than a month after the blank-check company abandoned plans for a deal with Universal Music Group, it’s facing a civil suit from a shareholder claiming that it fits the description of an investment company and should be regulated as one, starting with the “staggering” compensation paid to Pershing Square Capital Management as investment adviser.”

Labor Market: “The rush to recruit holiday labor is hitting earlier in labor-strapped distribution networks. Discount supermarket chain Aldi is the latest example and aims to hire more than 20,000 workers this year… with pay for warehouse jobs at $19 an hour as employers compete in a tight U.S. labor market” [Wall Street Journal]. “Rival retailers cite challenges recruiting distribution and retail workers. Kroger has been trying to hire 10,000 people this summer, while Walmart is offering special bonuses and pay raises to retain warehouse staff through January as its networks field high volumes ahead of the seasonal peak. Aldi says its jobs come with healthcare and retirement plans and paid time off. The sector-wide scramble extends to online fulfillment, with operators such as Deutsche Post’s DHL looking to recruit thousands of seasonal workers ahead of the holiday peak.”

Mr. Market: “Dow falls over 300 points after weaker-than-expected retail sales data” [MarketWatch]. “U.S. retail sales fell as supply disruptions weighed on automobile purchases, with sales at auto dealerships down 3.9% after declining 2.2% in June. Vehicle production has been hampered by a global shortage of semiconductors. Meanwhile online purchases dropped after Amazon pulled forward its Prime Day sale to June from July…. The fall in retail sales “could be a sign that the rapid spread of the delta coronavirus variant is convincing some consumers to stay away from public spaces again and is consistent with real consumption growth slowing sharply in the third quarter,” said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a note.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Neutral (previous close: 49 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 17 at 12:40pm. Hoo boy, massive swing back to fear!

Rapture Index: Closes up one on earthquakes. “A powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck southwestern Haiti” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Health Care

“Americans are creating their own vaccine mandates by cutting ties with the unvaccinated” [MarketWatch]. “According to new data from The Harris Poll, at least 30% of Millennials or Gen Zers in the U.S. say they have cut ties with a friend, family member or acquaintance because they wouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine…. Of all four generations surveyed, millennials are the group most likely to have younger children who are unvaccinated, which could contribute to the divide as parents may be concerned about the safety of their kids — none of the COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the FDA for children under the age of 12 in the U.S. In addition, older Americans tend to have a higher COVID-19 vaccination rate, which could contribute to the survey’s generational divide. Older Americans may know fewer unvaccinated people as 90.1% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 59.7% of the overall U.S. population.”

“Your Holiday Gatherings Should Have Vaccine Mandates” [Slate]. “Your unvaccinated relatives should not be invited to Thanksgiving….. Excluding people has nothing to do with being mean or nice to them—it is about preventing the spread of a deadly disease. This is a matter of infection control. Plus, requiring vaccines for entrance in November doesn’t mean you can’t be kind. You’re still free to be gentle and patient and listen to your unvaccinated relatives’ concerns about getting the shot on the phone, before the holiday. If you live close enough, you can even meet up with them individually (while masked or distanced and outdoors) to make your pitch. But it’s not fair to put others at risk of breakthrough infection by having these conversations at Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are places where people interact closely in a closed space, laughing, talking, and eating—ideal conditions for the virus to spread.”

A brilliant thread on indoor air:

Because I’m long stupid at the institutional level, I’m picturing a lot of infrastructure money being spent on buildings whose windows you can’t open, that have bad HVAC, etc.

The Biosphere

“NTSB Seeks to Curb Injuries From Head-Slamming Jet Turbulence” [Bloomberg]. “‘Turbulence is the most common airline accident type today and it’s high time we reduce turbulence-related injuries,’ NTSB acting Chairman Bruce Landsberg said… The NTSB report comes as evidence is growing that global warming is increasing the risks of jets encountering air turbulence. A 2019 study in the journal Nature found so-called wind shear — sudden changes in wind speed or direction — had increased 15% over the North Atlantic since 1979.” • The NTSB proposes a number of sensible new regulations. What about stress on the airframe?

“Eyes wide shut: How newborn mammals dream the world they’re entering” [Science Daily]. “A new Yale study suggests that, in a sense, mammals dream about the world they are about to experience before they are even born. Writing in the July 23 issue of Science, a team led by Michael Crair, the William Ziegler III Professor of Neuroscience and professor of ophthalmology and visual science, describes waves of activity that emanate from the neonatal retina in mice before their eyes ever open. This activity disappears soon after birth and is replaced by a more mature network of neural transmissions of visual stimuli to the brain, where information is further encoded and stored. ‘At eye opening, mammals are capable of pretty sophisticated behavior,’ said Crair, senior author of the study, who is also vice provost for research at Yale.’ But how do the circuits form that allow us to perceive motion and navigate the world? It turns out we are born capable of many of these behaviors, at least in rudimentary form.’ In the study, Crair’s team, led by Yale graduate students Xinxin Ge and Kathy Zhang, explored the origins of these waves of activity. Imaging the brains of mice soon after birth but before their eyes opened, the Yale team found that these retinal waves flow in a pattern that mimics the activity that would occur if the animal were moving forward through the environment. ‘This early dream-like activity makes evolutionary sense because it allows a mouse to anticipate what it will experience after opening its eyes, and be prepared to respond immediately to environmental threats,’ Crair noted.” • Yes, but how does the animal know to dream those dreams? And do adults have the same kind of dreams? For the same reasons?

“Beaver numbers in Scotland more than double in three years, study shows” [The Canary]. “NatureScot, the country’s public body for natural heritage, found about 1,000 of the animals now reside in territories which have also more than doubled to 251. The range of where these territories are has grown too, from Glen Isla to Dundee and Stirling, Forfar to Crianlarich – and likely to expand into Loch Lomond in the future.” • Excellent. See NC on beavers here, here, and here.

The 420

“The patchwork legalization of cannabis in the U.S. is giving a lift to businesses that help pot companies navigate singular distribution constraints. Organic garden center supplier GrowGeneration sells hydroponic equipment like heat lamps needed to grow plants indoors, and demand is booming as more states legalize marijuana” [Wall Street Journal]. “It’s illegal to trade cannabis across state lines, so each time a new state goes legal growers have to build cultivation facilities from scratch, prompting brisk sales of gear that allows producers in colder states to grow crops that they can’t import from warmer regions such as California. Strong cannabis sales during the pandemic helped push GrowGeneration’s comparable sales up 60% in the second quarter. Cultivation is just one link in the cannabis supply chain, where specialized distributors are setting up in-state logistics services and transportation networks tailored for growers and retailers.” • Businesses that shouldn’t exist, but they all go to GNP, so….

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™


Maybe I should have filed this under Zeitgeist Watch, I’m not sure….

Groves of Academe

“The Strange Case of Dr. Cahill and Ms. Hyde” [McGill]. “Bolstered by Cahill’s academic and scientific credentials, her misinformed and hazardous claims have grown to the point where students at her university wrote a 33-page scientific rebuttal of these claims, a document that was signed by 133 students from the university’s own School of Medicine and sent to its administrators. One of the claims these students had to debunk: that once you get COVID-19, you are immune for life. This brazen assertion’s confidence is in contradiction with actual knowledge in the field, which is that we do not clearly know how long immunity does last. But this is the upside-down world at University College Dublin right now, where students are teaching their own professor basic facts about a topic she should be familiar with.” • Without social media, this would be a (nearly) harmless eccentricity, and present no questions of academic freedom at all.

Class Warfare

“Does anyone have the right to sex?” [London Review of Books]. From 2018, still germane: “Since [Ellen] Willis, the case for pro-sex feminism has been buttressed by feminism’s turn towards intersectionality. Thinking about how patriarchal oppression is inflected by race and class – patriarchy doesn’t express itself uniformly, and cannot be understood independently of other systems of oppression – has made feminists reluctant to prescribe universal policies, including universal sexual policies. Demands for equal access to the workplace will be more resonant for white, middle-class women who have been forced to stay home than it will be for the black and working-class women who have always been expected to labour alongside men. Similarly, sexual self-objectification may mean one thing for a woman who, by virtue of her whiteness, is already taken to be a paradigm of female beauty, but quite another thing for a black or brown woman, or a trans woman. The turn towards intersectionality has also made feminists uncomfortable with thinking in terms of false consciousness: that’s to say, with the idea that women often act against their own interests, even when they take themselves to be doing what they wanted to do. The important thing now is to take women at their word. If a woman says she enjoys working in porn, or being paid to have sex with men, or engaging in rape fantasies, or wearing stilettos – and even that she doesn’t just enjoy these things but finds them emancipatory, part of her feminist praxis – then we are required, as feminists, to trust her. This is not merely an epistemic claim: that a woman’s saying something about her own experience gives us strong, if not indefeasible, reason to think it true. It is also, or perhaps primarily, an ethical claim: a feminism that trades too freely in notions of self-deception is a feminism that risks dominating the subjects it wants to liberate.”

News of the Wired

I hope this isn’t true:

If it is, from the partially obscured logo, somebody should call Chris Arnade.

* * *

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 (Rainbow Clownfish):

Rainbow Clownfish writes: “Syzygium malaccense, or malay apple tree. Called “pomarosa” here in Puerto Rico. Ripe fruits are about the same color as the flowers shown here, which have bloomed later this year than last year, due to a prolonged dry spell this spring. Various small birds, including hummingbirds, enjoy nectar from the flowers. The fruit is about as close as you can get to a pear here in the tropics, but is quite astringent unless you collect it from the tree at the moment of full ripeness, which is reached about 30 seconds before each fruit falls to ground and splits open. This tree is about 40 feet tall. In collecting fruit from the lower branches, there will be no difficulty; from the upper branches, there will be no hope.” A little flare, but what an interesting plant!

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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. ripple

    Re: Antibody cocktails to treat Covid take off as Delta surges Bloomberg
    Am I allowed to post same reply in links and watercooler? Trying to cast a wide net, so to speak.

    OMG! I can’t keep up. I have up to this point chosen not to be vaccinated. After learning about Ivermectin and possible benefits, I looked into the safety profile as best a non medical/scientist/statistician can be expected to. It seemed to me that the risk/potential reward favored trying it. I made the mistake of sharing this with a brother who has history in laboratory bio-chem drug discovery. He now works in business development for a large firm that supplies services for drug development companies. He is smart, brilliant really, and I have always trusted his insights. His response was an immediate scoff of FLCCC for asking for donations, and he vaguely alluded to “problems” with the histories of the physicians who started it. It seemed to me he only did a very brief inspection of all this. He then started going on how Iver is not a benign(which I never claimed) drug and that it was dangerous to take it as it had not been studied well. Non of this jives with my own research at all. So now I quietly do my Iver protocol and it is nobodies business but mine as far as I am concerned.

    Now! I am suddenly hearing a lot about Regenerons monoclonal antibody treatments. EUA given, studies quoted, free (paid for by Gov), and apparently widely available. How did this happen? The way it is discussed is very similar to what I have read about Iver. Initial studies show potential, it seems safe, might as well give a try because it is better than nothing. The only difference as I see it is that The monoclonal treatment has received the blue check of approval and Iver discussion has been repressed. I am not planning on jumping from one treatment to another haphazardly, but I do want to keep looking out over the treatment landscape to understand the options.

    I am beginning the long slow slog of researching what I can about Regenerons treatment for Covid. I thought I would ask those of you here who understand this better than I if this monoclonal treatment has been studied better than Iver, is there a clear safety profile? It must show more promise and safety than Iver if it has been given an EUA, and is currently being provided widely and without cost to patients? I would appreciate any thoughts, and as well any leads to where I can begin my search into this treatment option.

    I am mostly a lurker, and have only contributed once, (i have my flaws) but you have no idea how much I appreciate NC, Yves, Lambert, et al. The Commentariat is absolutely amazing . . . I learn, I laugh, I am informed . . . daily. Much Love to you all!

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Funding isn’t being granted for the large studies required in the case of Ivermectin: maybe no profit motive. But $ were funneled into testing the monoclonals and they have enough data to say IF administered timely (no waiting after a positive test) for high-risk patients (cancer, organ transplant, obese, diabetic) it significantly shortens the duration and intensity of the sickness. This is NOT prophylactic: it is early outpatient treatment. I am doing the FLCCC protocol too, prophylactically.

      Recommend listening to the TWIV podcast, the last two update episodes. They address the studies that support the new guidance on monoclonals.

    2. voteforno6

      I looked into the safety profile as best a non medical/scientist/statistician can be expected to. It seemed to me that the risk/potential reward favored trying it.

      What did this research consist of?

    3. Isotope_C14

      Hello ripple, I like your post.

      I read a funny thing about a “SPARS” pandemic scenario regarding John’s Hopkins. Looks like it has been mostly scrubbed.

      I’d post an old archive of it, but it is pretty easy to find. Search “Spars John’s Hopkins” – the internet is a double edged sword. They just can’t hide everything from the curious intellectuals.

      As far as I can tell, this is the 0.01%’s brilliant idea to make people accept a lower CO2 lifestyle. It’s kind of backfiring. I saw a meme showing Klaus Schwab’s address (70 CH. DE RUTH 1223 Cologny Switzerland) on a perfectly not new normal reddit page the other day. – I admittedly do not know that this is his address, but funny that the billionaires have to hide now, perhaps if they weren’t such idiots in the first place they wouldn’t have to build bunkers and hide?

      C J Hopkin’s and others, are doing some real nice work pointing out the baloney that is going on right now.

      Place: Berlin bar. Rules: If you are “double vaccinated (and that means fully vaccinated at this moment until the booster is required in a month) or “tested” by dubious tests, you can sit in a bar at a table with your friends without a mask, screaming, smoking, and pounding shots. Now if you stand up, to go to the bathroom or get a drink from the bar you have to wear a mask to go there regardless of status. This is logically, scientifically stupid. You can’t try to do this for 5 years and have it work outside of a captured suburbia of Karen’s worrying about Timmy.

      The echo-chamber behavior modelers didn’t get this right. The billionaires didn’t get this right, and we are going into dark times. I wonder if this is how the smart folks saw the beginning of the dark ages?

      1. Mikel

        Here’s the thing. A person can catch covid twice or more, but they can’t die twice or more.
        Every death is somebody new that has a circle that knows them. It gets more serious to more people with each death.

        Or we’ll see.

      2. Skip Intro

        Germans traditionally have a very difficult time understanding air. They had trains with non-smoking seats at one end…

  2. Kurtismayfield

    RE: Jani the giraffe chart.

    Thank you for summing up why offshoring our production makes little sense anymore Time! Labox costs less than the box, and the shipping costs are insane compared to the production costs

    1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      I wonder what the cost of that giraffe would be if made in America at federal minimum wage (let alone $15/hr) and under the (laughably lax) American regulatory regime?

      I think kids in America used to make toys out of corn husks, which are readily available in many locales and comparatively inexpensive. Good for improving manual dexterity, too.

    2. jhallc

      “Jani (Jeffrey) the Giraffe” – Looks like Amazon has taken the place of “Toys R Us” in the schematic. With a little help from a debt loaded leveraged buyout.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Your typo inspires me, what if we sexed up class issues by coining the term ‘Laborx’?

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      > Profit. As uncertainty makes the supply chain riskier, Viahart needs to bring in more money.

      Ha ha, that’s so cute. Either that or Viahart and the other computer generated flag-of-convenience “brands” in that FMCG* group need to service the debt that was raised to fund the fat special dividend that got paid out up front to the PE owners who organized this scheme.

      Calvin & Hobbes: “I *demand* monstrous profit on my investment!”

      * fast moving consumer goods

  3. Mark Sanders

    I’m seeing a lot of news items about young people ending up in the hospital from the Delta variant. Even saw an article that claimed that most of the new hospitalizations are of young people, by which I guess they mean people from 1 to 25 or 30. But your chart of hospitalizations doesn’t seem to be all that alarming for this group. (I realize some of the colors are very close to each other, so I may have misread the chart). It’s still mostly an old people’s disease (I speak as one of the old people).

      1. Greg

        I don’t think it’s helpful to say that covid is targeting kids as a vector – they’re likely just the least protected avenue, and covid is “targeting” every cell it comes into contact with, like the hungry and mindless grey goo it is.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Australia is currently fighting down this virus and in different regions, a third of those infected are kids. That is why, unlike last year, we are not hearing demands that schools must remain open so that their parents can go to work. And when these kids come home, Delta quickly rips through the rest of the family. So I say if it sounds like a duck…

    1. allan

      Speaking of Florida Man, the staircased FL numbers in the third chart from the top of the WC
      look odd, to say the least.

      The four data points from the days before the weekly figures are announced lie on a straight line.
      The four data points from the next days, after the weekly figures are announced,
      also almost lie on a straight line (the most recent value shows a tiny leveling off).
      Putting these together, there are five weekly averaged daily case numbers that go up in a smooth linear way.
      Real data has noise – just look at the charts for the other states –
      and real epidemic/pandemic case numbers grow exponentially, at least over short enough time intervals.

      Far be it for me to be doing oppo for Kristi Noem or Josh Hawley, but something isn’t right.

      1. Jomo

        My understanding is that Florida only releases the info weekly and provides a daily average based on the preceding weeks daily numbers. So you get the odd look on graph.

        1. allan

          Right, I understand that. My point is that, even taking that into account,
          which effectively reduces the number of data points by a factor of 7,
          the resulting reduced time series is suspiciously linear and free of noise.

      1. Michael

        Alongside luxury bunkers in New Zealand, and title to prime real estate on Mars, booster shots containing microscopic flecks of 24kt gold will be all the rage among the Hamptons social set of 2044.

  4. Hepativore

    So, because of the backlash of members from both political parties as well as most of the major news networks, does anybody think that there will be any political appetite for an Iraq withdrawal anytime soon?

    It would seem fair that since it looks like we have finally ended one lost-cause war, Iraq should be next. However, this could also mean that we might see calls for ramping up troop and military presence in Iraq to maintain the same level of business with the private military contractors that are profiting from these forever wars. Also, the next president might try dragging us back into Afghanistan to try “liberating” it from the Taliban again.

        1. Procopius

          I took a look at the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual, from 1940, today. You know, the Marines fought a lot of insurrections in the early 20th century and learned how to do the job at the lowest cost (to themselves). I was struck by how often over the last 20 years I’ve read that the Afghan National Army and their national police were corrupt, with “ghost” troops, and officers stealing salaries and rations. The Small Wars Manual says the first thing you need to do is establish bases, the second thing is to start training an army and a constabulary, because there are never going to be enough Marines (or sailors) there to engage the guerrillas. A vital point for a Marine officer to observe, the constabulary must be well paid and given abundant rations, and that pay must be reliable and prompt, and the rations must be given timely. I think a big change needs to be made in our Pentagon’s culture. It’s hard for me to believe that our generals never had the authority to kick out the corrupt army and police commanders, or that they were not aware of the corruption. If you’re a trainer, you have to interact with your trainees, if only to evaluate their progress. I believe it is the case that no American general has been relieved for cause since 1952. This needs to change.

      1. Altandmain

        It doesn’t make the military industrial complex rich, which is why it is not happening.

        Truth be told, nation building claims were never truly about helping those in other nations, but enriching America’s already rich even more.

    1. christofay

      Lambert has written a few times regarding national operations regarding covid that we as a nation are incapable of. This has been regarding China testing for covid city wide amongst 11 million residents. Our [congressional] MIC will be incapable of returning to Afghanistan. The place is landlocked and I don’t think Iran or Pakistan will allow overflights for one. Plus I wonder whether we have enough air lift to move equipment and men at the scale needed.

      The most sensical think D.C. could do after implementing a robust health system is cutting the Pentagon budget by 50%.

    2. Jen

      I, for one, have always believed that if some people are going to hate me no matter what I do, I may as well give them a valid reason.

      Not sure Biden has the stones for that, but, I didn’t think he had the stones to pull out of Afghanistan.

    3. Objective Ace

      I wander how much backlash there actually is? Yes, we see it on media for sure.. but that doesnt count for much anymore

  5. Carolinian

    Spotted Hunter Biden’s new autobiography on the library’s new book shelf. I would have checked it out just to fill y’all in but forgot my tongs, yellow waders. Also I was afraid that it might include a photo section as only Hunter can do photo sections.

    Oh for the innocent days of Billy Beer.

    1. PHLDenizen

      I have zero desire to read it, but I imagine the forward would be something like this:

      As a funky white kid from the ‘burbs, I nursed my inner gangsta’ on classic hip hop. Kamala can attest to that. Whose idea do you think it was to make my pop’s cool quotient rise like the DJIA by picking her for veep? It took some real outside the lines thinkin’ and no Obama retreads held the pimptastic swagger like The Hunter. Poon, dope, laptop repair shops, strippers, family court — it’s all fair game, homes! My name rings out all across them b*tches.

      Speaking of lines, I gotta quote my main man Melle Mel. He spit dope verses with some profound truths;

      Ticket to ride, white line highway
      Tell all your friends they can go my way
      Pay your toll, sell your soul
      Pound for pound costs more than gold

      The longer you stay, the more you pay
      My white lines go a long way
      Either up your nose or through your vein
      With nothin’ to gain except killin’ your brain

      Lulz!! The road to Ukraine riches and MacBook money (I lost count!) is paved with snap, crackle, and pop. And the occasional nose bleed. Mel was being what the kids these days call “ironical”. Up your nose, in your lungs, whatever. Dope is dope AF and if you smoke it, they will come. And you have everything to gain. Money, chicks, exceptional sperm motility, impulse control issues, a Teflon shield against any consequences whatsoever. This all could be yours!

      So sit back, make the business end of your pipe hot to the touch, and prepare to be dazzled with the exploits of one Hunter Biden — America’s One True Son.

      Beau who?

    2. solar hero

      Chapo Trap House did a great show on the Hunter Biden autobiography, which they actually read. Funny Funny Funny

  6. Matthew G. Saroff

    Note that “Reflections On The Looming Revolution In America” was co-authored by Ken Cuccinelli, who has never found a political wedge issue that he did not like, whether it be immigration, abortion, Obamacare (first AG to file lawsuit), anthropocentric climate change, hating on the Gays, etc.

    That this guy is extolling bipartisan comity is beyond parody.

  7. John k

    Almost like their loyalty to wars beats loyalty to persons… which persons?
    Almost like their loyalty to donors…
    Show them the money, they’ll change their tune quick enough.

  8. Baby Gerald

    Re: “Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain” [Time].

    So if one tallies the sums in both columns of the ‘Toy Story’ graphic, we get:
    pre-Covid column 1: 22+3+18+22+12+7 = 84
    post-Covid column 2: 24+13+19+32+16+9 = 113

    Interesting how in each column, labor is noted but not assigned a value. It is noted that ‘labor costs rose 25%’ for post-Covid but the numbers don’t add up. The other factor not given a number value in each is the cost of packaging. It is noted that the cost of this rose 7% post-Covid.

    Assuming that these unaccounted-for factors in each column equal the difference between the numbers listed and the sums calculated, we note that the value is the same [$3] in both. How then, could labor and box prices increase yet be considered the same value pre- and post-Covid?

    Also note how the manufacturer decided it was time to jack up the profit factor by 30% from $22 to $32, directly impacting the commission and tax. Thus, of the $29 increase in the price of this stuffed giraffe, $18 of this is swallowed up by profit, commission, and sales tax. Yet we are also told shipping is now $10 more and ‘production’ is up by $2. Last I checked, 18+2+10 equals 30, so where again is the 25% increased labor cost?

    1. Objective Ace

      Assuming this is produced overseas in a 3rd world country, labor could have went up from like 20 cents to 25 cents?.. in which case its not big enough to show up on graph

      1. eg

        This was my interpretation of the graph — that the almost invisibly small grey bar in the graph represented the labor share.

  9. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: Jani the Giraffe: I see that even after a 25% increase, labor costs were still so small they couldn’t put a dollar amount in the bar. No problem putting a number in the profit bar though!

    1. djrichard

      When Trump increased tarrifs on imports, there was no sudden rush to increase pricing. Because there was no corresponding increased money in consumer wallets.

      1. Michal P

        When Trump increased tarrifs on imports, the Chinese currency fell as well, this also helped with prices.

        1. djrichard

          It helped with their profit margins. But even if the currency went up they wouldn’t have been able to pass the increase on to their consumers. They can only do that when consumers have more money in their wallet

    2. Pelham

      Imagine what would happen to wages if they took just half that wholly superfluous padding of 10 extra bucks for profit due to “supply chain” risk and assigned it to labor. If we assume labor now accounts for $1 in the chart, it would be $6. If workers were making, say, the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, suddenly they’d be raking in $43.50 an hour.

      The chart is also revealing, as you suggest, for the way it renders nearly invisible the human element.

    3. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Silicone rubber moldmaking material was unavailable here in Northern Ireland for a few weeks, then 2 ton turned up at the suppliers resulting in a mob of prop makers ( some of whom work on film / TV production ), sculptors, injection moldmakers, small giftware manufacturers & assorted craft people buying about half of it.

      It comes from China, not surprisingly & I have to buy some soon when I get the cash which of course is late. I check the suppliers site regularly & fortunately they still have the 11 kg I need, but the price has suddenly risen from £170.00 to £225.00.

      Not a big thing on it’s own I guess, but it does make me wonder what else is also being effected.


    4. Samuel Conner

      That “labor” component is presumably “direct labor” at the manufacturer. But there are labor costs in other parts of the breakdown, such as the raw materials inputs and shipping.

      It would be nice to see a drill down that distinguished the “labor, ground rent and profit” components at every stage of the supply chain. I think one would see that “profit” is way way up (scarcity premium for shipping containers, for example), and perhaps “ground rent” too.

  10. Mildred Montana


    I’m only quoting this because it relates to the death of empires (in this case the British) but it could serve as a somber metaphor for the American one too:

    If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,
    Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
    So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
    And wait for supports like a soldier.
    Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

    —-Rudyard Kipling, “The Young British Soldier”

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Sepoys sadly not included – Indian soldiers who did the vast majority of the heavy lifting in the Sub-Continent for the East India company & later the British Army, giving their lives right through till Independence in 1947.

  11. polar donkey

    Schools and covid update in Mississippi. South Panola High School went virtual on Monday for at least two weeks. Hernando High shutdown at lunch yesterday and went virtual for at least two weeks as well. My sons’ elementary school is expected to shutdown by end of the week. Still can’t get mask mandates in schools, air filter, or open windows.

    1. Pelham

      The lack of open windows must be doubly frustrating. NC has linked (I think twice) to a Japanese video showing the hugely beneficial effect of simply placing an ordinary fan in an open window or doorway to blow out most of the smoke — as a stand-in for Covid — from a smoke-filled room. It takes just a few minutes.

      I understand we’ve had mixed signals about a wide array of anti-virus measures from media and what used to be trusted authorities. But we’re way, way into this pandemic now and even half attentive adults should have been able to separate the wheat from the chaff. I sympathize with you and your son.

    2. chris

      There are many reasons why windows in schools are designed not to open. I realize it is very frustrating. But this is a case of multiple rules from multiple jurisdictions plus safety issues converging on a solution that is hard to overrule.

      For example, making classroom windows unable to be opened solves the risk of kids jumping out of said windows, makes it easier to balance air pressures between classrooms and common areas, makes it easier to control humidity, and reduces problems from allergens infiltrating the school. There are simple solutions to most of those problems that could be implemented and which would permit opening the windows. But that assumes there is funding and interest in doing all that. So while it seems like an obvious thing please understand many maintenance people and building engineers operating these schools do not want the windows to open for good reasons.

      I’ve had arguments with local parents and building pros who are running our school system facilities but there’s just too much resistance to overcome. These same problems are found with the idea of public school held outdoors too. Good luck to others trying to fight this.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Almost 30 years ago I taught at a middle school (Jr. High) in West Seattle. The school was still heated with hot water radiators, even in 1993. The boys’ bathroom was next to my room. The middle school boys liked to urinate on the radiators. I was sure glad I could open my windows.

        1. R

          “still heated with hot water radiators, even in 1993” what Jetsons’ flying-car heating system does 1993 want back? Nuclear batteries? Infrared lasers? Roman hypocausts? Pretty much all of Europe is heated with hot water radiators or underfloor heating to this day, except in shoddy warehouses with hot air heating.

          And ironically large cast iron radiators are a good match for low temperature heat sources (the original design reason, due to poor boiler technology father than co2 reduction, heat pumps etc) and to human physiological needs of temperature and humidity.

          Gross about the hot golden showers though!

          1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

            What’s even more remarkable is that we, as teachers, could control the heat in our own rooms ourselves! The radiators had an amazing (lost technology?) temperature regulation interface that they called a “knob” (I think). It was made out of an exotic engineered material called “bakelite,” IIRC.

            After many decades in Ed, that was the last room where I could regulate the heat for myself.

            1. eg

              I’ll never forget when they removed the thermostat from my high school classroom very early on during my teaching career (so that they could control the temperature from central office in an entirely different community). I thought, “these fools entrust me with the safety and well-being of 35 teenagers, but they don’t trust me to operate a thermostat?”

              Peak neoliberalism in miniature …

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        “…maintenance people and building engineers operating these schools do not want the windows to open for good reasons.” — really? really?
        Balancing air pressures and controlling humidity levels, allergens, and let us not forget the the risk of kids jumping out of … windows. Are these really really the compelling reasons for not opening windows? If you are not making a dark joke, I believe we may have far more serious problems in our schools with their administration and management than the Corona flu has exposed.

        1. chris

          Spoken like a person who has never had to go through mold remediation or been responsible for maintaining the HVAC systems at a complicated facility like a modern high school. You may also be someone unfamiliar with the lengths schools have to go to protecting children with peanut allergies or reactions to bees or other anaphylactic reactions… and yes, kids jumping out of windows or strangers coming in through windows are also big concerns. The reasons I listed above are all part of why most windows in schools are designed to be inoperable.

          And with respect to balancing pressures, not only is that a code requirement in most jurisdictions it’s a life safety feature. You don’t want emergency egress stairwells sucking in smoke during a fire, do you? One way you accomplish that is by balancing the air pressure in the building such that the hallways are negatively pressurized relative to the stairwells. Opening windows haphazardly complicates that somewhat. Especially if the building wasn’t commissioned that way.

          These are expensive facilities that are under tremendous pressure to minimize operational and maintenance costs. If you don’t like that reality you could always volunteer to be taxed more to pay for local school budgets.

        2. IMOR

          Grimm, it was subtle humor. Flying just a bit under the subsequent “what private rocketship does 1993 want back” irony.
          At least, let’s you and me agree to believe so, in both instances.

  12. Mikel

    “Let ‘er rip….”


    “Roche Holding said Monday that Actemra, its rheumatoid arthritis drug that recently received authorization in the U.S. as a COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients, is in short supply and will be so for weeks or months. The drug “has been widely used to treat hospitalized patients with severe or critical COVID-19 around the world, and demand for this medicine has increased to unprecedented levels globally,” the company said. Demand for Actemra in the U.S., where the delta variant is behind the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations, is “well beyond 400% of pre-COVID levels over the last two weeks alone,” according to Roche, which cited manufacturing limits, supply constraints, and the labor-intensive process of developing biologic drugs as reasons for the shortage….”

    1. Lee

      How Much Does Actemra Cost?

      “The cost of Actemra, as with most prescriptions, greatly depend on the dosage, your health insurance plan and the pharmacy you choose. Without any health insurance coverage, the reported costs found online ranged anywhere from $1,300 for three vials of 4 milliliters of 20mg/ml to as much as $6,300+ for three vials of 20 milliliters of 20 mg/ml without any health insurance coverage…

      “As with health insurance coverage, the answers seemed to be mixed as some patients note their insurance policy covered the medication while others noted they had trouble with coverage. GoodRX.com, for instance, claims that only 46 percent of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans cover this drug, making it a “toss-up.” The same can be said about private insurance carriers as well, but if you are covered, the average co-pay can range from $95 to $2,300+ for the databases we did source online.”

      The complexity, it burns.

  13. ChrisRUEcon

    Container Rates

    Paul Krugman! Paul Krugman to the NC courtesy phone, please!

    Excerpt #1:
    “The two bottlenecks mentioned most are shortages of ships and containers (which were under-built in the panicked early months of the pandemic) and virus-driven stoppages in key ports like Ningbo.”

    Excerpt #2:

    To get some context, I spoke to my friend Noah Janssen, president of JB Metalcraft. For about 15 years Noah has been sourcing metal industrial equipment from China, and selling it to US miners, road builders, and so on. He confirms the message of the benchmark chart, and adds some new angles:

    “I’ve Definitely been hearing from Chinese suppliers that everyone there is facing labour shortages, and one explanation is that the delivery economy has pulled a lot of low wage workers out the factories . . . workers would rather be on a delivery bike than in a factory.”

    So to answer PK’s question: who knew containers were so important? The spike, of course, is due to pandemic supply chain effects which are all directly traceable back to labor, or lack thereof. No need for Plato’s cave.

    1. jr

      That article was a bit mind blowing, even to my economically challenged ears. This jumped out:

      “In normal times, macroeconomists don’t pay much attention to shipping costs”

      Seriously?! Why in the world wouldn’t they? Are they that divorced from reality? And why in the world wouldn’t any macroeconomist be interested in shipping containers and used cars? The things that move everything and the things that move a lot of people, all over the world. Was he being facetious? A stuffed giraffe just taught me more about economics than the NYT’s econo-journo-mist of acclaim…

      1. Mel

        Very true .. why wouldn’t they? Look at that chart of costs for the toy giraffe. Labor costs, which are a major theoretical concern, by everybody, since forever, happen to have gone up by 25%, and they’re still less than the cost of the box that the toy is shipped in. Page David Ricardo! Tell him to check the cost of boxes!

        1. JBird4049

          I haven’t read up on shipping in some time, especially as I no longer work in the industry, but IIRC one of the problems that most people don’t realize is container traffic jams. The company I worked at was a lessor of intermodal shipping containers. It was a big headache for the company I worked at; containers can only be used by shippers, if it is at the right place at the right time. Between two countries with equal shipping between them, the right number of containers would already be stored in depots or come in with new incoming ships.

          It would help too, if both countries would be manufacturers of the them as wall, like Germany used to be, before it was replaced by China’s extremely… affordable product. Of course, Germany is mostly not corrupt and has a justified reputation for good quality products. (In China, Inspectors at the factory, inspectors for the inspectors, and finally, regular visits by the company’s engineers to check on the containers, the factories, and the two or three levels of inspectors) and it is a net exporter. Despite the problems with China’s “quality control” or the need for bribes, they are so cheap that the founders felt it worth paying all the extra costs besides the purchase price. And I do believe that all the other companies did as well.

          So, China produces most of the world’s junk and the containers they ship them in. Not all, but far too much. There are also other countries like India and Vietnam. The United States itself still ships goods overseas, which means there are uses for the now empty containers. But the containers become, well, stuck or trapped at the ports of net importers like the United States.

          All this means is that there is a steady, uneven dance to move the empty containers to where they are needed. Sometimes the container depots have to be paid to store them. Sometimes better terms are offered to shippers to take some take some containers. Sometimes the shippers are just flat-out paid to ship the containers to whatever ports need them the most. A container ship full of empty containers. A moving island, really, that looks full, but that is really just full of empty shells.

          Again, it is a dance of new containers being manufactured, damaged, sold, lost, or otherwise replaced replaced usually 5-7 years depending. Storms, wars, and other disasters often cause problem. A stack of empty steal containers can look like a pile of crush aluminum cans if a hurricane hits. Some companies will replace their stock sooner and others beyond the 7 years. It rather like car rentals. Some pride themselves on quality and higher prices, while quickly selling old stock. Others buy used, or just real cheap, and just hope the wheels stay on, and charge accordingly.

          So, we have companies being too frugal in the manufacturing of new, replacement containers. Then there is the whole disrupted shipping schedules caused by the pandemic and accidents like at the Suez Canal. And the users of secondhand containers, which are used not only by cheap shipping companies, but also recycled, including into buildings and storage must also a mess. Thus upsetting the smaller companies and the small regional shippers.

          I once made a comment that breakbulk shipping, while more expensive, is less likely to be disrupted by problems than modern container shipping. Gigantic (and I really mean gigantic) ships, full of of thousands of containers efficiently (cheaply) cargo burning cheap, and very, very polluting bunker oil, from a few gigantic ports to other slightly more common gigantic ports. Not nearly as efficient or cheap as using many more, smaller ships using the many more not containerized ports that existed before 1960. Of course, we had a much less efficient or profitable, for some, autarchy then.

          I’m curious to see how the ports of Long Beach or Oakland are doing. And something else, those intermodal containers are used not only on ships, but also are placed directly onto the big rigs and the rail cars that move them. I remember reading that the railroads and trucking have had problems as well moving them from place to place. Those containers are also need, when empty, to be sent back to the exporting countries so that they can be sent back with new stuff. If the containers, full or not, are stuck in a rail yard in Chicago, or a warehouse in Duluth, or even a depot in Oakland, they are not being sent back to be reused. Making the shortage worse, not because there are not enough of them, which might be true, but that the ones that exist are not being moved efficiently, and more importantly, timely way.

  14. Jomo

    On the Covid outbreak in Florida, the state as a whole is now seeing weekly average Covid cases higher than ever. The local hospitals are full and we have heard reports from friends that ambulances have been called to take the sick to the hospital, but the ambulance does not come because there is nowhere to transport the patient. School is now starting this week with almost all public school districts not having a mask policy in place thanks to pressure from Governor DeSantis.

    I had to go to the closest small town yesterday to make some necessary purchases. I live in an area where I would say most people are not vaccinated and they definitely do not wear masks. I am vaccinated and masked. Because I was a buyer I asked some merchants why no mask precautions in light of the pandemic situation in the county and the state. I did not get any real answer to this question, but what I could see was that they are highly committed to never wearing a mask and never getting vaccinated. I would say persuasion by incentive or reasoning is just not going to happen. There seems to be an attitude of being soldiers in a battle for something, but my impression is the real thought is that the sooner everyone gets sick and either recovers or dies, then the sooner we will get “back to normal.” This applies to school age children as well, thus no mask policy for the public schools in Florida. I do not drink the same Koolaid as my neighbors and I definitely feel like an outsider.

    Now locals are definitely getting Covid. My neighbors boyfriend was just released from being hospitalized for 3 weeks with Covid. A local bar owner is now having his 2nd bout of Covid (confirmed by tests and not just rumor). But this does not change anyone’s behavior either. So I am now confined to my property by choice in an act of self preservation until this ends, but I feel it is going to get much much worse.

    1. Pelham

      Sorry to hear this.

      It’s quite clear that a high proportion of the deaths and misery (and probably cases of debilitating long Covid as well) should be laid at DeSantis’ doorstep. What I truly do not understand is the absolutely murderous short-sightedness of even the most encrusted right-wing politician refusing to implement safety measures against Covid — even if it turns out some are misguided.

      Granted there’s lots of pressure on the DeSantises of the world to open up their economies. But isn’t that outweighed by the likelihood of thousands of deaths that absolutely have to be DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED to their inaction? In this situation, it’s just a hair’s breadth away from premeditated mass murder as I see it. Am I wrong?

      Assuming the pandemic blows over someday, I’ll be most interested to see whether anything approaching justice is meted out to these characters.

      1. Carolinian

        Still, given the number of elderly in Florida the deaths per million surprisingly modest compared to, oh say, New Jersey. Arizona, which has a similar snowbird profile, is also somewhat higher on this metric. Which is to say you can’t merely chalk it up to the weather or the politics.

        1. IMO

          Cumulatively, in NJ, Carolinian? Like back to April 2020? Then, sure: more people inside closer together longer in Jersey across winter than the other two states. This wave? Point well taken.

          1. Carolinian

            Yes cumulatively, but those deaths per million are fifty percent higher than in Florida. I don’t think Florida is going to catch up.

            SC is higher than Florida as well and LA, MS,AL much higher.

            To be sure the Northeast got hit first and climate may make a difference, but to make Florida the whipping boy you’d have to ignore that their cumulative stats are right at the national average.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Granted there’s lots of pressure on the DeSantises of the world to open up their economies.

        But this ‘going back to 2019’ approach just keeps hurting the economy. Normal people hunker down when the s#it hits the fan. Again. Are Market Forces going to result in Recovery Spring and Epidemic Fall for the next decade?

    2. Lee

      I live in a town that is highly vaccinated and everyone uses masks in publicly shared indoor spaces. Even so, there are currently some outbreaks in local schools. Agreed, things are going to get worse. Hang in there and protect yourself at all times.

  15. Horst

    “Does anyone have the right to sex?” [London Review of Books]. From 2018, still germane:

    I find it refreshing to be able to offer $100 to an attractive feminist to have sex with me. After all, it’s just sex work, they don’t believe in traditional morals and customs, and besides it’s her body to decide with and sometimes they really get into it.

  16. jr

    Got the word from my GP: No. He says ivermectin’s safety and efficacy is unproven. I’ve come to believe differently. So before I um, saddle up and ride off on my own self-health adventure, I thought I would try to make sure it wasn’t into The Sunset. I searched for bad drug interactions, all clear. I did some more digging around and came across this:


    The risk is less than 2% but it’s scary and I’ve never gone off the ranch before, as it were. The site makes bold claims:

    “ Start your phase IV clinical trial
    After a drug is approved, phase IV trials are conducted by the FDA and pharmaceutical companies to monitor its safety and effectiveness in the real world. Using big data and innovative AI/ML algorithms, eHealthMe provides a platform for everyone to run their personal phase IV trials. What’s more, we work with your doctors to ensure serious effects are checked out promptly.”

    Sounds reaaaal tech-slobbery to me so I’m a bit wary of the info but then I don’t know jack anyway so it’s “six of one”. I’d very much appreciate any input and/or insights into the value of the data.

    1. voteforno6

      Once you get some more information, share it with your GP. I’m sure he’ll appreciate any assistance you can provide him.

      1. Louis Fyne

        long term use of low-dose aspirin for certain age groups (as in to reduce stroke risk), also is bad for your kidneys.

        as always, talk to your doc and check the literature

    2. Objective Ace

      Maybe I’m not reading correctly, but this site seems to border on useless and isnt saying what you think it says. From the site:

      824 people reported to have side effects when taking Ivermectin. Among them, 14 people (1.7%) have Acute kidney failure.

      Thats a meaningless statistic. The percent of people who reported (really the percent of people) is whats relevent, not the percent of *only* people who had side effects. I’m quite certain this “Clinical Trial” suffers from severe selection bias anyway though, which means the number who reported and the number who reported symptoms are likely very similar.

      1. Yves Smith

        This finding also falls into the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” category.

        Ivermectin has one of the best, if not the best, safety profiles in the world. Tens of billions of doses have been administered. 2/3 of Africa takes it on an ongoing basis. This result smacks of giving the participants an unnecessarily high dose designed to put them at risk.

    3. square coats

      I just quickly read through an article Covid-19 and Ivermectin: potential threats associated with human use to be published in November in Journal of Molecular Structure.

      None of this is stuff I have any particular expertise or knowledge in but it seemed the main worries the authors raised were that

      1. Ivermectin treatment for several kinds of parasites has led to ivermectin-resistant parasites developing [my commentary: I saw some other research pointing this out that strains of Malaria carried by mosquitoes became resistant]

      2. Ivermectin has been found to cause neurotoxicity and hepatoxicity [though this might be only in instances like Yves pointed out where doses given were unnecessarily high]

      3. It’s unclear what effect Ivermectin may have on the environment, as trace amounts are present in fecal excrement of animals and humans and it has the potential to seep into water, soil, etc. [however I read a brief summary of some research into Ivermectin in soil which found Ivermectin is unlikely to build up in the environment to a harmful concentration as it has a pretty short half life]

      So yeah that’s my input. I could be totally not on point (please correct me if so) about any of it but that’s how I understood what I found after looking into possible risks related to ivermectin…

      1. Yves Smith

        Help me. We are going to worry about ivermectin’s impact on the environment, when it’s used once every 2-3 weeks? This is a nothingburger compared to industrial use of antibiotics in farm animals (to fatten them! no joke) or even antidepressants, which can be found in water in measurable levels.

  17. Samuel Conner

    > Yes, but how does the animal know to dream those dreams?

    Generically encoded dreams?

    This has a bit of a Dune vibe, with a lifetime of memories encoded in each cell.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Riffing on that vibe — do our retinal dreams end when we open our eyes or do they migrate to inhabit our dreams.

    2. R

      Probably an emergent property of the developing retinal mesh network. It is not the closed-eye early pulses that look like subsequent forward motion but the forward motion that looks like the early pulses.

      1. Jeff W

        I think, in this case, as the “structured abstract” says, “Spontaneous retinal waves simulate future optic flow patterns produced by forward motion through space,” which makes sense if, as appears to be the case, retinal waves are priming visual motion detection that would later be involved in actual movement through the environment.

        (And, as a side note, the structured abstract doesn’t mention the word “dreams” at all.)

    3. .human

      This brings to mind the beautiful thought of a gestating child learning to react to lt’s environment; a mother’s breathing, humming, singing; reactions to her puttering about the house, kitchen, yard; expression of interaction with the father; instead, we often have the early morning stress of hastily preparing for school/work, traveling, and other various daily grind.

      Nature v nurture? Another world is possible.

  18. FreeMarketApologist

    Re that odd thing from 70s dinner party: I’d say no as well, except they call for [water]cress, and I love the stuff. It’s really fallen out of favor though, and is becoming rather hard to find, so anything that revives interest in it is somewhat of a plus.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Could you grow your own in an aquarium?
      I don’t trust the wild plants in my area for the risks of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of old soil and water pollution from local and now long outsourced chemical industries. — You might say I live downstream from the tannery in Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” … as all too many of us do in these times.

  19. Michael

    Re: Biden and Afghanistan

    Although never inclined to defend Biden from the pirahna in his own party, did I not hear him say – at least once – “the buck stops here”?

    We actively need to have fewer things?


    Yes, but how does the animal know to dream those dreams?

    Why would they need to know?

  20. Raymond Sim

    re: macabre tape-watching

    The graphs for U.S. deaths and new cases are, to my eye, both dismayingly similar to what we saw in early November. Perhaps an antitriumphalist ‘ghosts of variants past’ comparison is called for?

  21. DJG, Reality Czar

    Lambert Strether. A brant is a goose. That’s why it doesn’t sound like a stork. Clicking through the video, we read: “Small, short-legged coastal goose; distinctive black head and neck with small white necklace.”

    Elegantly dressed in black. With a small white necklace. A veritable Guerlain among the geese.

    Nevertheless, not a stork. This, good sir, is how rumors get started.

  22. dcblogger

    This film was produced in 2019. Six Afghan women share their hopes and memories that connect them to their country.

    Afghanistan has been in a state of emergency for four decades. Women in particular suffer as a result, becoming pawns in ideological conflicts. This film depicts their suffering – but also their courage, and determination to control their fate.

    The documentary begins in the 1960s, in the peaceful Kingdom of Afghanistan. When communists take power, a war begins that will change the face of the country. Women become pawns in ideological battles. After September 11, 2001, Afghan women hope peace may return. They want to determine their own fate. But the spiral of violence continues to this day.


      1. Arizona Slim

        I just clicked on the link. Saw the video and was glad I was nowhere near that shhhhh-show.

      2. curlydan

        holy crap! what would a CO2 meter read in that place? I’d need a double mask and goggles.

        speaking of crowded locales, I’ve got tickets to Dinosaur Jr in a few weeks. I know I’m going doubled masked (if I go), the question I ask myself is do I wear some goggles or not? Leaning towards goggles. And definitely earplugs, but not for Covid’s sake.

        1. Wukchumni

          I got a good deal on a new-never used Apollo 23 astronaut suit @ a Army-Navy-Nasa store last year and all eyes were upon me in WinCo supermarket as if they’d never seen somebody attired in such a fashion, and do opt for the oxygen backpack as well, why risk sharing their air?

  23. Copeland

    On the Area of Concern Continuum – Rapid Riser Counties map, many counties, eastern Oregon for example, are gray, what does gray mean?

    If it means “no data”, or those counties “not reporting”, then what good is this map in learning where Covid is bad and where it isn’t?

  24. Michael McK

    The stuffed giraffe input cost breakdown is very enlightening. Yes, Lambert, we need fewer things!
    The tiniest slice of all was labor cost (though more may be buried under “production”). The largest by far, profit.

  25. Jason Boxman

    And hospitals overflow:

    “Every single patient regrets not getting the vaccine,” he said. “I don’t have one that doesn’t. They look really sick, and they look really young. You can see somebody now talking to you, and the next time you see them, they’re dead.”

    No further exploration of why, so that we might prevent this from happening to as many people as possible. Given the overall NY Times coverage, I guess the typical reader might assume it’s just clueless vaccine refusal.

    We’re destroying an entire generation of health care providers. That ain’t gonna end well for us as a society, that’s for sure. Stay healthy!

  26. Jeremy Grimm

    My comment ranges outside today’s Water Cooler but it fits to a major theme of this twilight era. I struggled through the IPCC’s summary for policy makers. I do not recall any discussions that delved beyond GtCO2. That measure can be converted to ppm CO2 in the atmosphere or figures in terms of fossil fuels burned — but it was not. I am not sure it would be right to fault the IPCC. I do wonder where and how GtCO2 gets mapped to policy ‘constraints'[NOT ‘budgets’] for the additions of CO2 to the atmosphere, and I wonder where they are mapped to numbers for reducing the burning of fossil fuels, and where those numbers map to numbers constraining the production of fossil fuels, and their subsidiary dependents — the ships, trains, trucks, and delivery vehicles carrying goods, … and an accounting for the CO2 added to the atmosphere to produce those goods — added to the accounts of those who consumed the goods. — And a measure for the reductions the lumpen must make in their consumption of goods and services.

    Am I wrong to wonder what or whether anything in the IPCC report, or summaries is intended to result in actionable consequences? Such a nothing-burger is hardly what I expect from the scientists involved.

  27. Wukchumni

    Retail: “Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain”
    {warning, warning! old man nearing sextagenerian status-danger Will Robinson}

    Got gas today and paid $1.69 for a roll of Life Savers in the convenience store.

    The were a Nickel a roll when I was 10

  28. Jason Boxman

    Jani is standing in my living room, alongside my son’s bright plastic piano and stuffed animals and plastic laptop and all sorts of other brightly-colored toys that I’m pretty sure also came all the way from China. It’s a little depressing to think of all the energy that was expended to get those toys across the sea, through the ports, on the railways, and in a truck, to my doorstep. If prices for all those cheap Chinese toys go up, I can’t really be upset. A journey that is that much of a headache should cost something, after all.

    And all this needless stuff is gonna end up polluting a landfill at some point. Most consumer stuff doesn’t need to exist. Wasted resources, from start to finish, at the cost of the planet. Hooray!

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Axelrod says Biden should have ’embraced’ failures of Afghanistan exit”

    ‘It’s almost like their loyalty to wars over-rides their loyalty to persons, even party. Dear Lord.’

    The late Justin Raimando, who helped found the Antiwar.com website, was fond of saying that people think that there are two parties in America – the Republicans and the Democrats. But behind them both while controlling what they did was the War Party. And it did not matter which party was in power as the policies would remain the same from administration to administration. Very clarifying that.

  30. VietnamVet

    I want to second the comment that the rise in the curve of the deaths from COVID in the USA is identical to the third spike last Nov. 16, 2020. I check this graph Monday through Friday. It is the best fairly realistic overview of the pandemic.

    If coronavirus deaths spikes, like before, the mRNA vaccines don’t work. The USA is in real trouble. The hubris and incompetence of the bipartisan corporate state is obvious from Kabul to Portland Or. An economic crash is inevitable with the disbelievers and the vaccinated flooding hospitals and the ill forced to remain at home or in sidewalk encampments. The workers go missing. Anyone with common sense will avoid other persons as much as possible. But one must eat. The spike will collapse once again but the real economy will be dead. Then a new variant will come forward.

    The only way out of this bipartisan catastrophe is restoration of good governance; a functional public health system and the reinstitution of the force of the law upon corporations and 1% global criminals. Electoral change seems unlikely. Media will continue to say that America is the best of all possible worlds. Duopoly political parties will select company toadies except the GOP could go charismatic authoritarian. Chaos is a given. Profiteers will profit.

    1. wol

      “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”- Antonio Gramsci

  31. Wukchumni

    The awful conflagrations have been in the far reaches of the state, but that was until most recently, and I gotta bad feeling about the Caldor fire that just got going the other day in the foothills southwest of Lake Tahoe, and in short order its over 40,000 acres and galloping towards the sky blue waters over yonder with nothing really to stop it and winds are in the forecast.

    Closer to home about 30 miles away were I a crow, the Walkers fire is a mere 535 acres, all in deep bush & forest though and those same winds aloft are expected over the next few days.

  32. Wukchumni

    I don’t call it the Central Valley Bible Belt for nothing,

    Had time to kill before a little laser surgery on my orbit and premeditatively drove by what will be the largest Catholic mega-church in the country when ready for occupation of over 3,000 in Visalia on mega-church row, er Caldwell Ave. Looks like it’ll be finished this year in time for the nth wave to hit.


    The Cali mission revivalist look will compete with an established modernist evang mega-MAGA-church across the street named Visalia First (which could double as a banking institution perhaps) and although both cults are enthralled with the same idol they don’t see eye to eye.


    All the evangs I know are ixnay on the vax, eh.

    And now they is no room at the intubator


  33. caucus99percenter

    That plantidote is what Hawaiians call “mountain apple” or ‘Ōhi‘a ‘ai and is one of the “canoe plants” the ancient Polynesians brought with them when they settled new island chains.

  34. jr

    Just had a mind-numbing conversation with an old pal who has fallen deep into the dusty, bone-riddled well of identitarianism since we last talked. Her girlfriend is religious and has expressed a belief in a created universe, although not a standard Biblical version. I commented that she is a creationist, strictly speaking.

    “Well, no, she doesn’t identify that way.” came the response.

    I clarified that I wasn’t referring to the ideological position, the fundamentalist Christian position, but rather just the fact that she believed in a created universe. I said to think of it as “small c creationist” vs. “big C creationist”.

    “But she doesn’t identify that way, it’s not who she is.”

    I said this has nothing to do with her social identity, it is just a logical fact that if you believe in a created universe, you are a creationist. If you are driving something, you are a driver. If you are singing, for better or worse you are a singer. Etc.

    She couldn’t parse it. She couldn’t believe I was so rigid in my thinking as to say that being or doing “x” makes you an “x”er. Words, and by extension people, are more fluid than that.

    I started to lose it. I said there are two things going on here: one’s identity and the logical relationships between words. They are not unrelated notions at all but they are different notions. There are different standards, different rules which apply to different kinds of concepts. Not everything is a question of f@(|<ing identity.

    And then it hit me, of course, that’s the point. The goal of identity politics is to disable, to enervate, political organization across identity groups. To degrade all discourses to notions of identity, to “relativise” everything, is to gut them of meaning because ultimately any standard external to one’s own lights is discarded. A mirror looking into a void reflects nothing. A ruler cannot measure itself. The result is a solipsistic entropic soup, a conception of “identity” whose only foundation is a lemniscate of echoing self-reference…

    1. Basil Pesto

      it is just a logical fact that if you believe in a created universe, you are a creationist.

      Not sure I agree.

      Webster collegiate def for creationism:

      a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis

      There’s room for an agnostic creationism I suppose, but I can understand her objection to being given that label, given its connotations, even if she didn’t understand the distinction you were making.

      She couldn’t believe I was so rigid in my thinking as to say that being or doing “x” makes you an “x”er. Words, and by extension people, are more fluid than that.

      words are more fluid than that. They’re not fluid to the point of meaninglessness, but they’re malleable, at the very least.

      By way of your example, anyone who is singing can, at that moment, be rightly referred to as a singer. But a supermajority of people in our cultures has sung at one point or another in their life, and they cannot (or at least arguably should not) necessarily always be referred to as a singer, while someone like urblintz, on the other hand, can (unless the writer is making some cosmic point about how deep down we’re all, like, singers, man).

      Their line “she doesn’t identify that way” just strikes me as recitation of a dumb, fashionable cliché rather than any statement of the nature of identity itself, and I continue to follow your rants on identity with some bemusement even though my scorn of identitarianism is roughly in line with yours (although in my case, not necessarily because it stymies political organisation across identity groups, but because it’s dumb, and therefore my scorn tends to be mocking). Has it not occurred to you that anti-identitarian in the way that you embody it might in itself constitute an identity, with all the shortcomings that entails? (I don’t mean this as an attack; I enjoy your posts and am glad you post here) To wit, for any anti-identitarian hammer, a purely semantic argument about the word ‘creationist’ becomes an identitarian nail.

      1. Yves Smith

        The definition does not support your claim:

        a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis

      2. Procopius

        “The map is not the territory,” so whatever I call you does not affect your reality. In my world, how somebody else “identifies” is interesting, but not dispositive. I am the observer. I identify what I see. Therefore, I am the identifier, not them. By the way, in Thailand there is an identity, “women of the second type.” Thais would simply find incomprehensible the hostility to trans people, and a traditional woman’s occupation is janitor in men’s rest rooms.

      3. jr

        Not to hide behind the teacher’s desk but for starters, what Yves said. I was careful in my conversation to make it clear that I wasn’t referring to any particular flavor of creationist. I was being specifically abstract in my use of the term. A human alive a thousand years before Christianity emerged who believed that the world was created was a creationist. It is a label in this, say, immediate sense but not an identity. We have to be able to define things, as imperfect as that process may be, and this is one of the things I fear the logic of identitarianism degrades. She didn’t understand the distinction I was making, I suspect, because that logic doesn’t allow for any sort of an absolute even when one is demanded. You have to have a starting point upon which to claim something is or is not something if you wish to make your way in the world. I think it’s a question of the relationship of words to one another in a technical sense vs. a semiotic sense but I’m not a good enough wordsmith to pick that knot apart without some time and a lot of effort.

        I’m pretty familiar with the fluidity of words but there are times when words are not fluid. I guess this would be an analytical position. So yes, on one hand all singing people are singers analytically, regardless of talent, not in any cosmic sense but rather let’s say for purposes of defining what a person who is engaged in the act of singing is. In another sense, the vast majority of people are not singers in that you wouldn’t want to hear them sing for very long. I was very clear to my friend that I was using “creationist” in the first sense but she couldn’t see there was a difference. This is not due to some deficit of mind either, she’s a sharp cookie.

        I don’t think the “identify” line is any deep statement on identity either. Rather, I think it points to a problem with a way of thinking that cannot properly define things. Again, I am aware there are ramifications to that statement. When you cannot define things in at least the semblance of a concrete manner, let’s say even the illusion of concreteness, any sense of meaning is ultimately undermined. I’ve literally seen this in action, I’ve sat in on Zoom hangouts with a gang of 20 somethings who identify as identitarians for example and listened to a two hour conversation about how essentially their quest? search? for an identity had become their identities. I earned some scowls when I asked when they took time off their identities to just be. Bear in mind I care about these kids deeply but their discussions of themselves were these loops of reasoning that always ended back up where they started. It was actually a bit of weird, like listening in on an alternate universe with different and bizarre rules of thought that were quite alien.

        I am conscious of forming an identity as an anti-identitarian so maybe I should state that I do believe identity is a real thing and something to be factored in when when formulating plans for political struggle and when forming intra-group alliances etc. although I’m a stone cold materialist when it comes to class struggle. Food in bellies first, roofs over heads. But there is an anti-intellectual aspect to all this that I find bizarre and even chilling.

        But to be clear I don’t see this as an attack, that’s why I post these rants here for some critical insights. I value your comments as well. I think it’s telling that no identitarians have ever drawn their swords here in defense of these ideas.

  35. Anthony K Wikrent

    The American Conservative’s “Reflections On The Looming Revolution In America” is so typical of
    conservative dissembling and falsifying about American history. Note especially is sentence: “Partisan oppression would ensure the republic-killing factionalism that James Madison warned about in Federalist Papers No. 10.” THIS IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE, and it worries me that no here has yet expressed outrage. Because, what Madison actually wrote and tried to design was a system in which factionalism becomes a check on itself, by factions balancing each other out:

    The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society…. The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS….

    A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

    ….The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.

    Conservatives HAVE to lie about what a republic is, because, as Madison explains,

    The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

    And regulation means the “administrative state” which conservatives are hell bent on subverting and destroying.

    1. Carolinian

      Aren’t you twisting the article’s words or at least it’s point?

      We need to persuade our fellow Americans that the answer is not removing the constitutional republic’s creative tensions that help resolve conflict and competing interests, but creating new bonds between the ideological left and right.

      Sounds like your quoted Madison to me.

      Not that I agree with the article’s thrust which smacks of Bill Clinton’s triangulation scam pursued in the interest of–what else?–deregulation. In Madison’s day all that compromising gave us decades more of slavery. Which is to say he was all for it.

  36. Pat

    Apologies if someone noted this in a more timely fashion, but singer songwriter Nanci Griffith passed away last Friday at 68. For some of us into folk she was a voice of our youth.
    Her voice could be an acquired taste but her delivery was pure.
    Nanci Griffith 1953-2021

    Roseanne Cash tweeted a you tube link to a stunning version of Trouble in the Fields where Griffiths sings back up on her own song. along with a memory

    And that might lead you to the a compilation someone made of her numerous Letterman appearances. Not to mention some music shows she did with Prine and Van Zander and..

    This is of one of her most famous songs but the intro gives an idea of her storytelling,
    Love at the Five and Dime.

    And finally another backup moment, this time with an incredibly young Lyle Lovett. And perhaps the fitting goodbye for a woman who spent years singing the last song of the evening around the world. . RIP.
    Closing Time

  37. ChrisPacific

    “George W Bush says he feels ‘deep sadness’ watching ‘tragic events’ in Afghanistan”

    ‘Lament in Passive Voice,’ by George W. Bush. He is filled with sadness, but not culpability.

    1. Procopius

      I think the President should be required to have a large poster-sized blowup of the picture of the little girl running, naked, from her village in Vietnam that a U.S. airplane had just attacked with napalm, permanently attached to the wall facing the President’s desk. One facing any desk he might use. There should also be one in the Secretary of State’s office and in the Secretary of Defense’s office. “It turns out I’m really good at killing people. Who knew?” /[bannable]

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