2:00PM Water Cooler 8/2/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, it was a busy week in Politics, too, but I must move along and finish up a post. I hope to catch up tomorrow. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Holy moley, the insect background! (More on the mysterious Potoo.)

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At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….

Vaccination by region:

South rising.

Case count by United States regions:

Well, we blew past peaks #1, #2, and #4 with ease, and it’s only the beginning of August. But Everest, #3, still lies before us. Now, as far as reaching the peak of January 8, 2020, 295,257… I’m not that pessimistic (modulo a new variant brought into the country by our ridiculously lax policies on international quarantines). Still, when you look at those rising counties, you’ve got to think this rise has a way to run. (Note that these numbers are if anything understated, since the CDC does not collect breakthrough infections unless they involve hospitalization, and encourages health administrators in the states and localities to suppress that data as well).

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

California back on form. Musical interlude for Florida data.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report July 29 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

More red: Especially in Nevada (tourists), Update New York (!), and the Upper Midwest. This map blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a banjo to be heard. Last release:

Test positivity:

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

Hospitalization (CDC):

A little dip in 65+. But–

Deaths (Our World in Data):

A rise in deaths is now obviously visible, though nothing like the peak.

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up. 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

“Tensions rise within Biden team over mask reversal” [Politico]. “The brewing anxiety in Chicago this past week underscored the extent to which the emergence of the Delta variant has disrupted the White House’s plans for the late summer and fall. A season meant to mark the great reopening of society has, instead, been darkened by the next chapter of the disease. And it has left the Biden administration at a crossroads: eager to tout a country making strides but divided internally over how to handle the threats posed by the new strand of virus and what steps Americans should take to protect themselves from it. Top Biden officials note that breakthrough infections among the vaccinated are exceedingly rare, unlikely to be severe, and more likely to occur in crowded indoor settings. They’ve been openly frustrated by what they see as overly alarmed coverage of these cases.” • So how come Walensky was allowed to deliver the extremely inflammatory message that “the war has changed“? (Never mind that the “war” metaphor is highly overused, and also a bad sign: America is good at forever wars — “living with it,” as we say — but not good at winning wars.) Can’t anyone here play this game?

“NIH director: ‘We want to avoid lockdowns at all costs'” [Politico]. “One of the nation’s top public health officials said Monday that the Biden administration was seeking ‘to avoid lockdowns at all costs’ amid a precipitous rise in cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant that has prompted a reversal of federal masking guidance and resulted in more stringent coronavirus-related orders across the country. Urging greater numbers of people to get vaccinated, Francis Collins — director of the National Institutes of Health — reported that ‘most of the projections say we’re in for a really tough August, September, October,’ and warned Americans would be forced to adopt unpopular mitigation measures to stave off the widespread lockdown directives that the country endured earlier in the pandemic. ‘We want to avoid lockdowns at all costs,’ Collins told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ in an interview. ‘But that means we’re going to have to do some other things that won’t necessarily be welcomed by people, such as the new recommendation of wearing masks in indoor gatherings, even if you’re vaccinated.’ Skirting new shutdowns will also ‘mean schools really need to have kids masked, so that they’re protected from being the source of spreading, as well,’ Collins said, adding: ‘But if we want to avoid a more severe outcome that might lead to more extreme measures like lockdowns, we know what to do. We just need to do it.'”

“To Fight Vaccine Lies, Authorities Recruit an ‘Influencer Army’ [New York Times]. “Fewer than half of all Americans age 18 to 39 are fully vaccinated, compared with more than two-thirds of those over 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And about 58 percent of those age 12 through 17 have yet to receive a shot at all. To reach these young people, the White House has enlisted an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers and the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo, all of them with enormous online audiences. State and local governments have begun similar campaigns, in some cases paying ‘local micro influencers’ — those with 5,000 to 100,000 followers — up to $1,000 a month to promote Covid-19 vaccines to their fans.” • 18 to 29 is an enormous range for a few celebrities to appeal across. And I’m not sure whether the celebrity approach will reach marginalized rural areas, working class people who can’t afford to take a day off, or Blacks. Frankly, it looks to me like a test run for 2024 and anything else (as is the offer of door-knocking).

“Ocasio-Cortez: ‘More than enough’ votes to prevent infrastructure from passing without reconciliation bill” [The Hill]. “New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) said on Sunday that there would be ‘more than enough’ votes to prevent a bipartisan infrastructure bill from passing the House without a massive companion spending bill that Democrats hope to pass through reconciliation. During an appearance on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Ocasio-Cortez told host Jake Tapper that if the Senate doesn’t pass the reconciliation bill, the House ‘will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in.’ ‘So, we really need to see that language and see what’s put in there … when it reaches the House,’ Ocasio-Cortez told Tapper. ‘Bipartisan doesn’t always mean that it’s in the interests of the public good, frankly. Sometimes, there’s a lot of corporate lobbyist giveaways in some of these bills.'” • FWIW, and this may be a minority view, I think that AOC has taken the measure of the mediocrities who comprise the House gerontocracy, and is planning to shiv Pelosi. As for example:

“What Joe Biden’s 1988 White House Rivals Think of Him Now” [New York Magazine]. “Over recent weeks, New York checked in with Dukakis, Hart, and former Missouri representative Dick Gephardt. Dukakis, 87, and Hart, 84, are both retired. Gephardt, who became the House majority leader after running, is now 80 and remains a prominent lobbyist in D.C. As far as the other Democratic candidates go, the Reverend Jesse Jackson did not respond to a request for comment, and Al Gore, who was a first-term senator in 1988, declined a request to participate. Former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt couldn’t be reached, and former Illinois senator Paul Simon died in 2003.” • Entirely banal,

Obama Legacy

“Obama’s mask-less ball: Ex-president risks super-spreader event by inviting 500 people to his 60th at $12m Martha’s Vineyard mansion: Pearl Jam will perform and guests including Spielberg will be served by 200 staff” [Daily Mail]. “Obama’s party will take place next weekend at the $11.57 million seven-bedroom home he and Michelle bought in 2019, which includes an in-ground pool and plenty of space to relax on warm summer days…. President Joe Biden will not be attending the soiree, the White House announced, with a spokesperson telling Axios in a statement: ‘While President Biden is unable to attend this weekend, he looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon ad properly welcoming him into the over 60 club’…. There will also be a ‘COVID coordinator’ to ensure all proper protocols are being followed, but it remains unclear what proof of a negative COVID test or a vaccine will be required, and whether guests will be required to wear masks.” • Nature is healing.

“1 big thing: Obama plans birthday bash amid COVID concerns” [Axios]. “The party already is the talk of Uber drivers, hotel maids and check-in clerks.” • Best employment program Obama ever ran?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Let the trickeration begin!

We’ll see if Turner’s ground game can counter this. The last few days have looked like Old Home Week at the Sanders campaign, and I’m not sure that’s entirely a positive.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing PMI: “United States Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The IHS Markit US Manufacturing PMI was revised higher to 63.4 in July of 2021 from a preliminary of 63.1, hitting a fresh record high. Overall growth was supported by stronger expansions in output and new orders, with the latter increasing at the second-fastest pace ever. Unprecedented supplier shortages and delays continued to exert upward pressure on input costs and stymie firms’ ability to process incoming new work.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI fell to 59.5 in July of 2021, the weakest in 6 months, compared to 60.6 in June and below forecasts of 60.9. The reading pointed to the second consecutive month of slowing factory growth as new orders (64.9 vs 66 in June), production (58.4 vs 60.8) and supplier deliveries (72.5 vs 75.1) increased less while inventories contracted (48.9 vs 51.1). On the other hand, employment rebounded (52.9 vs 49.9) and prices pressures eased (85.7 vs 92.1).”

* * *

Banking: “With Goldman Sachs in the Rear-View Mirror, Morgan Stanley Chases Down Schwab” [Institutional Investor]. “Back in 2008, at the depth of the global financial crisis, Morgan Stanley was on sale for a symbolic dollar. There were no takers. Today the Wall Street firm long derisively known as the ‘smallest big bank’ has roared past archrival investment bank Goldman Sachs in market valuation. It has built a fee-gobbling, active asset management business as a viable alternative to the no-fee, exchange-traded fund managers that largely dominate the field. And now Morgan Stanley — a white-shoe firm traditionally linked to super-wealthy clients — has set its sights on overtaking Charles Schwab Corp., the discount brokerage and wealth management giant, as money manager for the mass affluent.” • “Fee-gobbling” as a “viable alternative.” That’s where we are.

Retail: “Here’s Why Amazon Doesn’t Sell These Things” [Family Handyman]. • Guns, pets, lottery tickets, tobacco, contact lenses, wine, gas, cars, fireworks, Confederate flags, real estate (“at least not yet”).

The Bezzle: “Hundreds of AI tools have been built to catch covid. None of them helped.” [MIT Technology Review]. Wowsers, that’s a shocker. “The AI community, in particular, rushed to develop software that many believed would allow hospitals to diagnose or triage patients faster, bringing much-needed support to the front lines—in theory. In the end, many hundreds of predictive tools were developed. None of them made a real difference, and some were potentially harmful. That’s the damning conclusion of multiple studies published in the last few months. In June, the Turing Institute, the UK’s national center for data science and AI, put out a report summing up discussions at a series of workshops it held in late 2020. The clear consensus was that AI tools had made little, if any, impact in the fight against covid.” • Bad products in a bad field. Idea: An AI mandate!

The Bezzle:

Tech: “The Metaverse Has Always Been a Dystopian Idea” [Vice]. “The company that operates the world’s largest and most profitable social media network will not, according to its CEO, be a social media company much longer. In an announcement that inspired a fervid wave of speculation, analysis, and mockery, Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed that Facebook is going to become a ‘metaverse company’ instead…. Elsewhere in the big tech landscape, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft—at the time of writing the second largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization—has been promoting his aim to build an ‘Enterprise Metaverse.'” The term “metaverse” comes from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which is a great read. More: “In the book from which the current metaverse craze originates, not only is our world in ruins and most people are eking out precarious lives in dire poverty, but the metaverse itself is a place that is addictive, violent, and an enabler of our worst impulses. It’s an exceedingly dark vision, if a satiric and somewhat cartoonish one… So it’s a little remarkable that precisely none of this is acknowledged in the paeans to the metaverse that have emerged from founders and cheerleaders over the last few weeks and years, even as the vision of computing advancing as the world falls apart becomes all the more salient. In the world of Snow Crash, the metaverse is not viewed as particularly cool—it is necessary, because the real world has become so unbearable.” • I had never thought of Snow Crash as predicting the precariat, but it does.

Tech: “Jack Dorsey’s side hustle – payments outfit Square – acquires buy now pay later darling Afterpay for $29bn” [The Register]. “Square, the credit card processing company run by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has announced plans to acquire Australian buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) outfit Afterpay for $29 billion. Afterpay offers shoppers the chance to acquire goods and services with four fortnightly payments. Merchants pay a commission for each Afterpay sale, often at higher rates than those charged by credit card companies. But consumers can use Afterpay free of charge if they pay on time. Even if punters miss a payment, the initial $10 late fee can be less than credit card interest on the same purchase.”

Tech: “RIAA kills youtube-dl” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. “But the real ticking time-bomb in the DMCA is Section 1201, the “anti-circumvention” rule, which makes it a felony (punishing by a 5-year prison sentence and a $500k fine) to help people tamper with “access controls” that restrict copyrighted works. This rule means that if a company designs its products so that you have to remove DRM to use them in legal ways, those uses become felonies. DMCA 1201 is how Apple and John Deere make it a felony for anyone except them to fix their products…. It’s ‘felony contempt of business model’ and you can go to prison for it.” • I was sure “felony contempt of business model” was snarky parody. It’s not.

Tech: “Is the Cookie Web Tracker Dying?” [The Markup]. “Google, which brought the business model of tracking users for ad targeting to massive scale, has been slower to adopt similar changes. After initially pledging in 2020 to block third-party tracking for users of its Chrome browser by 2022, Google pushed the date for the change back to 2023. For now, however, cookies are still nearly ubiquitous. When The Markup scanned more than 80,000 popular websites using our web privacy inspection tool Blacklight, we found that 87 percent loaded cookies from third parties or from tracking network requests.” • Good round-up.

Manufacturing: “Fire at Tesla Big Battery Under Control After Weekend Blaze” [Bloomberg]. ““There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it,” CFA [Country Fire Authority] Incident Controller and District 7 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Beswicke said in an earlier statement. The cause is undetermined and will be investigated once it is safe to do so, according to the CFA.”

Manufacturing: “Electric vehicles: recycled batteries and the search for a circular economy” [Financial Times]. “[T]he most glaring problem for electric vehicles [is that w]hile they are ‘zero emission’ when being driven, the mining, manufacturing and disposal process for batteries could become an environmental disaster for the industry as the technology goes mainstream… The metals used in batteries typically originate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia and Chile, dug out of open-pit mines or evaporated from desert ponds. But [former Tesla engineer JF] Straubel believes there is another “massive, untapped” source: the garages of the average American. He estimates there are about 1bn used batteries in US homes, sitting in old laptops and mobile phones — all containing valuable metals. The process of breaking down these batteries and repurposing them is known as ‘urban mining.’ To do this at scale is a gargantuan task: the amount of battery material in a high-end electric vehicle is roughly 10,000 times that of a smartphone, according to Gene Berdichevsky, chief executive of battery materials start-up Sila Nano. But, he adds, the amount of cobalt used in a car battery is about 30 times less than in a phone battery, per kilowatt hour. ‘So for every 300 smartphones you collect, you have enough cobalt for an EV battery.'”

Mr. Market: “Investors Lose $1 Trillion in China’s Wild Week of Market Shocks” [Bloomberg]. “The nearly $1 trillion selloff ignited by Beijing’s shock ban on profits at tutoring companies has triggered a new round of soul searching about the investment case for Chinese assets in the Xi Jinping era. After a week of wild market swings and tense calls with clients, some investors have decided China just isn’t worth the trouble. Others spot buying opportunities after valuations sank to the lowest level in decades. As Xi’s Communist Party attempts one of its biggest economic policy shifts since the 1980s, almost everyone agrees the regulatory onslaught has further to run.” • Looks like Xi has the stones to reign in big tech and pop a bubble. Too bad we can’t do that.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 24 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 32 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 12:17pm.

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on earthquakes. “A massive 8.2 quake strikes the state of Alaska” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Our Famously Free Press

“Keith Olbermann Wants Jimmy Dore Banned From All Platforms” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “Proving once again he doesn’t care who he has to step on to claw his way to rock bottom, fallen liberal media hero Keith Olbermann has called for the complete removal of left wing comedian and podcaster Jimmy Dore from all internet platforms. ‘Time to ban this feral succubus Jimmy Dore from Twitter and other platforms,’ Olbermann told his one million Twitter followers on Friday. Olbermann’s wrath was incurred by a short video clip bizarrely described as ‘misogynistic’ in which Dore portrayed out of touch liberal elitist Emma Vigeland as an out of touch liberal elitist, saying that if people like her ever tried to bring their esoteric university Marxist wankery around actual working class people they’d get punched in the face and told to go back to their cul-de-sac. It probably also didn’t help that Dore has done multiple segments on Olbermann’s slide into flag-draped gibbering lunacy following the election of Donald Trump, including his public apology to war criminals George W Bush and John McCain, his demented Russia hysteria, and his support for NSA surveillance of US media figures. ‘Someone got their feels feels hurt and now they wanna censor their critics like a regular authoritarian fascist,’ Dore responded to Olbermann’s post.” • There’s such a thing as a non-authoritarian fascist? Anyhow, it’s like we need a Rogue’s Gallery of liberal Democrats who have lost their minds. Just because somebody has a voice like nails on a chalkboard is no reason to cancel them!

Department of Feline Felicity

Indoor vs. outdoor cats:

I’m not at all sure this is real, but that goes for a lot.

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

Here is a ginger beer recipe:

Reading the ingredients, ginger beer sounds healthy and delicious. Making it sounds like work, though.

The Agony Column

“I Went To The Beach And All I Got Was This Petty Existential Rage” [Defector]. It’s a reader-mail advice column:


Now that beach season is upon us, I have to do my old man rant and complain about people blaring music at the beach. I like to read or relax or hear the ocean, not listen to crappy yacht rock or, even worse, flag bandana wearing bros playing obnoxious country music. Am I right for wanting to ban all music from being played on the beach or am I officially an old man?

That’s old-man shit. To illustrate, I’m gonna tell you a story. It was 2019 and I was still recovering from my brain injury, but I had yet to start going to therapy to deal with the anger management issues I had resulting from that injury. Anyway, I take my family to a public space and there’s country music blasting over the PA. Real loud. Now, I fucking hate country music. Because I have good taste. But back in 2019, I didn’t have the ability to just deal with it. Instead, I went looking for the person in charge of the PA—a real “Can I talk to the manager?” moment—and asked that they stop playing country music. When they didn’t immediately stop playing it, I went back again. The twangs continued unabated. I fucking FUMED about to my wife.

“They’ve ruined our afternoon!”

“No Drew,” she said, “you have. We just wanted to have a nice time, and you’re acting like a complete dick.” Now my brain was too clouded at that time for me to understand that she was right.

Fun format, but a little bit of a highwire act. Maybe I should try it.

Zeitgeist Watch

Fetish object:

“96 Minutes” [Texas Monthly]. “On the morning of August 1, 1966, not long before summer classes at the University of Texas at Austin were about to let out for lunch, an architectural engineering major named Charles Whitman arrived at the Tower dressed as a maintenance man. He would be described the following day in the Austin American as ‘a good son, a top Boy Scout, an excellent Marine, an honor student, a hard worker, a loving husband, a fine scout master, a handsome man, a wonderful friend to all who knew him—and an expert sniper.’… Whitman rode the elevator to the twenty-seventh floor, dragged his footlocker up the stairs to the observation deck, and introduced the nation to the idea of mass murder in a public space. Before 9/ 11, before Columbine, before the Oklahoma City bombing, before ‘going postal’ was a turn of phrase, the 25-year-old ushered in the notion that any group of people, anywhere—even walking around a university campus on a summer day—could be killed at random by a stranger.” • Saddening.

Sports Desk

This gives me hope for humanity:

Class Warfare

“How The Bobos Broke America” [David Brooks, The Atlantic]. “Atop the Democratic-leaning class ladder sits the blue oligarchy: tech and media executives, university presidents, foundation heads, banking CEOs, highly successful doctors and lawyers. The blue oligarchy leads the key Information Age institutions, and its members live in the biggest cities…. One step down from the blue oligarchy is the creative class itself, a broader leadership class of tenured faculty, established members of the mainstream media, urban and suburban lawyers, senior nonprofit and cultural-institution employees, and corporate managers, whose attitudes largely mirror the blue oligarchs above them, notwithstanding the petty resentments of the former toward the latter…. One economic rung below are the younger versions of the educated elite, many of whom live in the newly gentrifying areas of urban America, such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York or Shaw in Washington, D.C. More diverse than the elites of earlier generations, they work in the lower rungs of media, education, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Disgusted with how their elders have screwed up the world, they are leading a revolution in moral sentiments…. On the lowest rung of the blue ladder is the caring class, the largest in America (nearly half of all workers, by some measures), and one that in most respects sits quite far from the three above it. It consists of low-paid members of the service sector: manicurists, home health-care workers, restaurant servers, sales clerks, hotel employees. Members of this class are disadvantaged in every way.” • Brain ‘splode that Brooks is doing class analysis. There is a similar red hierarchy, so, false dichotomy. This is one of a number of recent pieces on this topic; my gut take is that class in America is recomposing, dynamically, because of the enormous gains made by the oligarchs during the pandemic, but we don’t know the outcome yet. (In other words, Brooks is at the end of the Last Age, not at the beginning of the Age to Come.) Worth a read, no matter how much one might, quite justifiably, mock Brooks (and his Irish Setter, Moral Hazard).

News of the Wired

Why aren’t trick captchas a thing?

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

PM took this picture in Basket Flat, WA.

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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. jefemt

    Brooks re-hashing Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal? ?
    Is that plagiarism, or good old Yankee innovation?

    1. Hank Linderman


      Which is probably good news since Thomas has been on the media’s ignore list after daring to criticize the Demz. The message is ultimately the point; Mr. Frank said it first, if Brooks can rehash it, so can lots of others.


  2. Geo


    Love the photo!

    My cat is 17+ years old, only 5.8 lbs. as of last vet visit a week ago, and I’ve never seen her catch or harm anything bigger than an already immobile moth. She’s an adorably useless little old lady with terrible hearing and clouded vision from cataracts. But, while she’s super sweet to me and has never harmed anyone, or another animal, physically, she is a wickedly smart and evil cat. I could tell her stories for days and they’re both hilarious and truly malicious (and probably not all my own projections of motive on to her).

    She loves to chill in the patio and occasionally a stray cat, possum, squirrel, and even raccoon will wander through. When her dimmed senses actually notice them she instantly goes into alpha queen mode and hauls after them with hisses. These strays are at least double her size and I assume regular street brawlers but the flee from her like they’ve just seen the grim reaper coming for them.

    After they’re gone from the property she just stands by the fence and keeps watch for a few minutes then makes her way back to the patio and lays down.

    As the old saying goes: You don’t mess with crazy. The cat in that photo looks far too sweet and no fighting skills can overcome the force of evil that my little fuzzy queen brings to the game.

    Side note: I only leave her out on the patio when I’m there to keep watch just in case she gets in over her head. Though, I feel she’s more protection for me than I am for her. :)

    1. JohnnySacks

      Our deaf old man mook of a teddy bear is a ripper when the neighbor’s tom strolls into the yard for a visit. It’s like cartoon cat fights – a rolling snarling howling ball, hair puffs flying. Other than a nipped ear here and there no harm done.

    2. Yves Smith

      My mother’s second cat, Michael, was getting beaten up on by all the neighborhood cats.

      She asked the vet what to do.

      “Feed him beef kidneys.”

      Fortunately this was the era of real butchers so beef kidneys weren’t hard to find.

      Michael ate nothing else once introduced.

      He grew to 27 lbs. Most of that was size, not fat. He looked like a cross between a tabby and a small pony. Needless to say, that deterred attacks.

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    Obama’s mask-less ball: Ex-president risks super-spreader event by inviting 500 people to his 60th at $12m Martha’s Vineyard mansion: Pearl Jam will perform

    Huh… I had reconciled myself to the fact that all of the grunge era bands are now 30+ years old and basically classic rock*, I had not figured Obama for a Pearl Jam guy though.

    *Arguably, they always were

    1. curlydan

      It’s the 30th anniversary of Lollapalooza. He should have gone with a few artists from that original festival’s lineup. I’m sure his guests would love to see Jane’s Addiction, The Butthole Surfers, and Ice T’s Body Count.

            1. John

              Why are we providing presidential pensions,body, guards, and god knows what all to millionaires who either came into the White House with more money than they would ever need or magically get rich after leaving same. That in itself is a puzzlement isn’t it?

              The presidential pension exists at all because Harry Truman left office with few assets. Has this been the case for all of his successors? Obviously not. Has anyone ever refused the pension and other perks?

        1. jr

          I can say I definitely see a common streak of self-righteousness betwixt Oblabla and Vetter, IIRC Vetter was always going on about honesty in music and posers etc. from the high pulpit of MTV…

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          I guess Beyonce and Jay-Z aren’t returning his calls? What about his buddy Springsteen? How many Pearl Jam songs do you think Obama knows? Does he have a Netflix deal for the streaming rights? Is Trump Invited?

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Vedder once did IMO an impressive live rendering of Masters of War as part of a Dylan tribute concert, which I imagine wont be on the play or wishlist.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Trump’s not, but George W. Bush likely is…look forward, not backward… any chance of a drone visit to this gathering of terrorists?

      1. aleph_0

        I don’t know how much I would pay to see a video the whole of Locust Abortion Technician played live at Obama’s birthday w crowd reaction, but it would be a lot.

        1. jsn

          When I saw them perform that in 1984, they had a medical film of the construction of a penis for a transgendering person playing on a full size movie screen behind the band, perfect for the Woke Vineyard crowd!

        2. neo-realist

          The Butthole Surfers didn’t release LAT until 1987, but saw them once in the mid 80’s, without the films and once again in 87–really crazy show at CBGB doing songs from LAT with a nude female dancer painted in green.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      That Pearl Jam part stuck out for me too. Should be quite the wing ding! I mean there’s nothing to liven up a party like some songs about kids shooting up schoolrooms, dead fathers, and elderly women behind counters, amirite?

    3. skippy

      Bono paved the way for all the rest … sellout their art and fans for a flexian neoliberal upgrade …

      Still remember the first 60s – 70s hits that became marketing tools and the aghast by the faith full … between the songs on vinyl one can hear thousands of tiny screams for what was … and what it became …

  4. petal

    On the covid map, I see for upstate NY: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany/Capitol District. Interesting.
    Our little Coop grocery store here just announced it is bringing back its mask rule on the 9th. I had to laugh-they had been alllll aboard the Mission Accomplished bandwagon. Oops.
    I should send some garden photos. We’ve had the rainiest July on record, and stuff is growing like crazy. Onions are huge.
    So if Obama’s birthday party ends up being a super spreader event, will we ever find out? I cannot dislike that guy more…and then I do.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      In my little rather undervaccinated upstate NY county (but not one of the ones listed as problematic), a local concert last night reinstated a mask mandate for all attendees. Some people are paying attention!

    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, the employees of our little food co-op keep right on wearing masks, even though the door sign says that you don’t need on if you’ve been vaxxed.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        I just had a haircut at my local groovy barbershop. They have “reverted”–all masks on everyone all the time. I asked my barber if they got tired of the lying. He didn’t mince words. And I live in a neighborhood that is the Portlandia of Chicago, where everyone identifies as nice.

      2. petal

        I just got back from there, and so many more people are wearing a mask today than the other day-both staff and customers. I was very surprised. It’s swung from ~99% unmasked to probably about 90% masked.

    3. Randall Flagg

      Really, the 9th… Did the Covid variants send a note that it wasn’t anticipating arriving in town before then? Must be they know something we don’t.

    4. Brunches with Cats

      Yep, I saw that, too, Petal. Hardly surprising, given that there’s no statewide mask mandate, only “recommendations” that localities act when the numbers hit a certain threshold. Those that have are still, as of today, taking a “wait and see” attitude.

      BTW, any “banjo music” in and around my county is likely to be live bluegrass, which is more NPR totebagger than Bubba. The old man had it right in his beach rant: “flag bandana wearing bros playing obnoxious country music.” If there’s any reason to social distance at home, it’s for relief from 24/7 “New Country” radio.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > only “recommendations” that localities act when the numbers hit a certain threshold.

        In other words, after it’s too late, so there will be an overshoot (and a few more lives lost).

        Drives me nuts. Where’s the Norms Fairy when we need them?

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I should send some garden photos. We’ve had the rainiest July on record, and stuff is growing like crazy. Onions are huge.

      Please do!

      > So if Obama’s birthday party ends up being a super spreader event, will we ever find out?

      A question that answers itself, when asked…

  5. Hepativore

    Are we going to have a special post tomorrow covering Ohio’s Congressional election? I knew that the local DNC was going to try and pull something under the table, and here they are already playing musical chairs with the voting locations.

    I am sure they are going to go all out in vote-rigging for Shontel Brown just like they did in Iowa for Sneaky Pete.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Wait until 9 pm tonite: If the Democratic Party hasn’t released tomorrow’s results by then, you know that something is up.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Same thing happened last year with the Arizona Democratic primary. The polling station for this area has been at the neighborhood center for eons. This is a historically Black area, and some of my elderly neighbors built that center up from nothing. It was literally an example of making a way out of no way.

      Any-hoo, come last spring, and one of my younger neighbors texts me to say that she had gone online and found that the polling place was several miles away, and would I like a ride? Well, I’d already voted by mail, and so I didn’t need to go out and vote.

      And you know me. I’m the curious sort. So, I took a walk over to the neighborhood center, and lookie-lookie, voting was happening there, regardless of what that county website had just told my friend.

      BTW, these shenanigans didn’t stop either one of us from voting for Bernie.

  6. Carolinian

    Re EVs–my neighbor’s Tesla hasn’t caught on fire yet, but think I’d be a lot more interested in a future purchase if not for those batteries. They are not only dangerous but allegedly make up one half of the purchase price. Interesting here the other day about Chinese Lithium-Iron batteries that are claimed to be less fire prone and–since Chinese–likely much cheaper.

    Musk always said Tesla was intended as a conversation starter toward EV acceptance. And the choice to go sports car mode (needing more batteries) was a marketing decision to help with this acceptance. A small, practical, cheap electric car sounds very attractive if Americans can be persuaded to forsake their Ford 150s.

    1. PHLDenizen

      I volunteer with our local fire and rescue department. They absolutely despise Teslas. Tens of thousands of gallons of water to put out battery fires due to a vehicle crash? Having to babysit to make sure it doesn’t re-ignite? No thanks.

      The increasing density of EVs is just going to make the problem worse. Funding for local services is already scarce. And I don’t see the EV zealots pushing for protocols and money to deal with them in a sane way.

      1. bob

        ” I don’t see the EV zealots pushing for protocols and money to deal with them in a sane way.”

        Problems are for the little people. They are the solutions.

        Why do you love exxon?

        1. tegnost

          I see the “rad” bikes and the like as a game changer. But it won’t be the same power as cars…EV’s emulating petroleum cars is a big lift…the structure of the vehicle needs to match the power source

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > the structure of the vehicle needs to match the power source

            So what does an electric Ford 150 even look like? What do they do with all the empty space?

  7. Toshiro_Mifune

    I Went To The Beach And All I Got Was This Petty Existential Rage

    As a life long resident of the NJ shore I can assure you the only times to go are late Sept and Oct. I don’t know what they do in places without seasons.

    1. Pelham

      We used to live half a block from a northside beach in Chicago, and late Sept. and Oct. were also ideal, although early mornings any day were spectacular with the sun rising over the lake. I have the fondest memories of a little area on the beach that had been restored with native tall grasses and the colorful little birds that flitted about. That beach is gone now, swamped by a swollen Lake Michigan.

    2. Frida

      Want to see “tolerant” urban people go Old Man?

      Play Dixie, or The Horst Wessel March on a boombox at the beach.

  8. Otis B Driftwood

    <blockquoteThe last few days have looked like Old Home Week at the Sanders campaign, and I’m not sure that’s entirely a positive.

    The Sanders campaign, at its best, is entirely positive. Think Nevada. And California, which continues to get overlooked in the narrative created around Super Tuesday, where Sanders won EVERY county in California. The biggest state in the Union. And completely ignored. Infuriating.

    1. Nikkikat

      Otis And Harris couldn’t even get out of the bottom 1 percent. Yet look where that dummy with the stupid giggle ended up.

    2. John Beech

      I changed party affiliation to support Sanders but by the time the circus rolled into central Florida, he was toast. Voted for Trump again in the end. No regrets because the jackass never got a fair shot at the job. Bothers me. The corollary to this is I think the President is doing a pretty good job considering the hand he’s been dealt. I’ve never understood how anybody could be against Biden now that he’s President . . . what I mean is, aren’t we all in this together? Yeah, I know, rose colored glasses and a Pollyanna attitude. Sigh.

      1. Big River Bandido

        …what I mean is, aren’t we all in this together?

        My melancholy answer to this is the rhetorical “who is ‘we’, kemosabe?” I’m not sure there ever really *was* true unity of purpose in this country, except for very short periods of crisis. But in dismantling the nation’s industrial base and shipping it overseas, America’s so-called leaders over the last 40 years destroyed not only national prosperity and individual prosperity on a mass scale, but also the social cohesion that flowed from a more broad based prosperity.

        I’m sure the PMC still feels its same in-class loyalty, and mistakes this for greater national solidarity and purpose, since in their view they *are* the nation.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Sanders campaign, at its best, is entirely positive.

      That’s very true. I do not think any campaign, even the Sander campaign, is at its best when celebrities fly in and create a self-congratulatory news cycle for themselves. Do it on the ground or not at all, say I.

  9. Otis B Driftwood

    “The last few days have looked like Old Home Week at the Sanders campaign, and I’m not sure that’s entirely a positive.”

    The Sanders campaign, at its best, is entirely positive. Think Nevada. And California, which continues to get overlooked in the narrative created around Super Tuesday, where Sanders won EVERY county in California. The biggest state in the Union. And completely ignored. Infuriating.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > where Sanders won EVERY county in California

      Taking advantage of Skynet’s moment of inattention–

      As I keep saying, the unanswered question of the 2020 Democrat primary is why Sanders did not win Texas. He came very close. I don’t think the answer is “That’s where the liberal Democrats closed ranks around Obama’s choice,” because Obama wouldn’t have gone near Biden if the race had not already been close.

      I’ve done some research on this, but I don’t have an answer at all (partly because Google is so, so bad).

      If Sanders wins both Texas and California on Super Tuesday, he wins. Of course, the liberal Democrats would probably have ended up sending in a wet team, but that’s another story.

  10. antidlc

    RE: “NIH director: ‘We want to avoid lockdowns at all costs’”

    Today’s LINKS: Fauci: ‘I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns’

    1. Pat

      Are we taking bets on when we get lockdowns, and follow up bets on the response to them?

      I swear that the entire western public health system has been so neoliberalized and infected by the PMC that they just cannot stop destroying their own credibility…over and over and over.

      1. Tom Doak

        There is nobody in charge with enough backbone to order another lockdown against people’s wishes.

        There are plenty of people who will know when they should do it, but they will just let people spread the virus and die instead, because to try and stop it would be political suicide, and none of them have the stomach for that, either.

      2. Phillip Cross

        As long as vaccines are mostly preventing serious illness, there won’t be lockdowns.

        The unvaccinated cohort is a majority young people and children who, on average, aren’t at high risk of ending up in ICU from current variants.

        Lockdowns have always been about trying to preserve some emergency capacity in our healthcare system.

        The people who were most at risk, and had the potential to overwhelm the hospital system, have mostly been vaccinated, and now have a much lower risk than before.

        I estimate we will need a spike ~10x the size of any prior wave to catch enough breakthroughs to approach the same kind of stress on the system as we saw before the vaccine.

        1. Pat

          You are probably right in that overwhelming the hospitals is the only way to force our leaders to responsible action.

          With that in mind they will need to see a virus mutation that combines Delta’s ease of infection regardless of vaccination, etc, along with the ability to overcome and shutdown various body systems especially of younger and less immunocompromised humans.

          And odds are that we may be creating the exact type of virus incubator needed for that to happen. So not this fall, but probably next…

          1. Phillip Cross

            That is a possibility, but what effective policies can be implemented now?

            It’s too late for the kind of strict action needed to nip it in the bud.

            Early action would be very unpopular, and the more successful it was at reducing the spread, the louder the chorus of f-wits will be crowing about how it wasn’t necessary. I doubt it could work twice.

            So.. If you’re going to have a surge anyway, and with Delta is seems inevitable, it has to be better to have as much of it in the summer as possible, so that the respiratory illnesses aren’t exacerbated by cold, damp weather.

            Don’t drag it out with half measures. This approach is more humane now that most people can get the shot, if they want it.

            Take care of yourself. Let’s hope for the best!

        2. Nikkikat

          There won’t be another lockdown. The pay masters on Wall Street won’t allow it. There fore they won’t care who dies or how. Why would they? If it doesn’t pad the purse, it won’t happen. As to Fauci, my guess is he has a large stock portfolio in Pfizer. That guy should have been canned years ago.

        3. Mikel

          “As long as vaccines are mostly preventing serious illness…”
          Won’t know more about that until the end of the year. Seeing the results will be knowing. The shots have been in wide use for less than a year.

  11. cnchal

    > . . . And I’m not sure whether the celebrity approach will reach marginalized rural areas, working class people who can’t afford to take a day off, or Blacks.

    None of the working class gives a rat’s ass about influencers. Paying money to bullshhitters is a total waste.

    > “NIH director: ‘We want to avoid lockdowns at all costs’”

    Let’s see. If one is so called vaccinated, it will be caught by the careless, it can be passed on and kill or maim you long term, and in six months the vaccine wanes to next to nothing.

    When that guy eats his words and lockdowns become inevitable, how can he fail upwards from there?

    Still Flying = Total Fail

    For those that say let it rip, you first.

    1. petal

      Francis Collins will fail upwards, like Fauci, into a nice, comfy, cushy retirement and never have any worries. Maybe they’ll even be on some boards.

  12. polar donkey

    Listening to sports talk radio this morning. Lots of mentions of getting vaccine. The hosts sounded like they came from the month of May. Get shot, no masks. The unvaccinated are the cause of outbreak and why we have to wear masks again. The CDC isn’t even saying this anymore. I wanted to send the hosts IM Doc’s posts from NC.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I do hope that IM Doc is saving his posts. They’d make one heckuva book, and I would be proud buy and to own an autographed copy.

  13. Pat

    Not sure what would be a more best appropriate present ever, having the cream of the self righteous psychopaths that love and support the Obamas and the Obamas themselves have to fight and possibly fall to Covid because viruses do not recognize faux noblesse oblige.OR to have a huge storm that takes out his expensive Vineyard property without any insurance and no possiblity of being able to rebuild ever.

    God and Goddess doesn’t love me enough to come through with either but that won’t stop me from being greedy and asking for both.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Pat: My patron, Hermes, might mischievously promise me to infect Bill and Hill (who must be coming, eh), but then Hermes will defer to Apollo, god of plagues.

      And there’s this “but brioche cost so little” Marie-Antoinetterie:

      From the article: “In lieu of gifts, Axios reports, guests are being asked to ‘consider giving to programs that work to support boys and young men of color, and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders.’ ”

      The main question is this, and not to put too fine a point on it: Has Obama always been a spoiled and petulant white boy? A party for 500? Because he turns sixty?

      Wretched excess. This is late-Empire stuff.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama has always been a social climber. He has a bot on his book about the other boys’ fathers and what they. Being a dullard golfer has always been his ambition.

      2. Pat

        I wonder how many might be better off if Obama hadn’t overseen such a devastating loss of wealth and security, particularly for those of color, in order to be able to afford that estate and be able to hobnob with that lofty crowd.

        Not to mention his failure to work on securing voting rights and curtailing the policies of police that give them a license to kill people of color.

        Too little…way too late.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Has Obama always been a spoiled and petulant white boy?

        I keep pointing out the location of Obama’s house, but it never takes.Maybe if I do a map:

        Martha’s Vineyard is, well, insular. The island is small, but the towns are nevertheless very distinct, geographically and culturally. And of course by class.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Tom Lehrer is appropriately dark:

            (I should say I’m long stupid on institutions; I’m long kindness on individuals. The issue is to unlock the kindness, because everything militates against it, ka-ching

  14. zagonostra

    “Keith Olbermann Wants Jimmy Dore Banned From All Platforms” [Caitlin Johnstone].

    “Anyhow, it’s like we need a Rogue’s Gallery of liberal Democrats who have lost their minds” – If this refers to JD, it’s wrong since he is registered/supporting the People’s Party. I haven’t ready the Caitlin Johnstone article yet, but I’ve been following JD and leftist Ytubers closely.

    Right now the real battle is between Kyle Kulinski of secular talk and cofounder of Justice Democrats who want to encourage working within the Democratic Party and Jimmy Dore who sees the Dems as irredeemable and advocates the formation of a third party, even if it’s structurally unlikely to assume power anytime soon.

    Olbermann is obviously a case of TDS reaching a terminal point where anything like a semblance of reason has been extinguished in his blue brain.

    1. CarlH

      I’m with Dore %100 on this and many other issues. Sadly, Lambert and I disagree on this I’m afraid.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Christopher Hedges, who I admire greatly, not only sees the Democratic Party as a dead end, he has abandoned all hope in solving any substantial problem solely via the ballot box. Rather he identifies the destruction of liberal institutions as the core problem (unions, the church, public education, etc), and that our efforts are best focused on reinvigorating them.

        Hedges also supports the Peoples Party.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          We might also try growing a distributed diffuse many-multi-owner artisan-economy to take refuge and build power in.

          We might also try growing a Free UnMarket CounterEconomy to live against the Forced Market Economy.

        2. neo-realist

          When the People’s Party starts getting serious about putting their feet in the political waters and runs candidates for state and local offices instead of being a Green Party 2.0 deadender (PTB cutout?) that functions as a lefty peanut gallery that criticizes democrats but does nothing to prepare to go after and assume power, I can then take Hedges and third party supporters seriously.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            That is where I am. And I don’t think a “People’s Party” is a “Working Class” party, by defintion. “People” is an awfully slippery concept (as is “families,” in “Working Families Party”).

    2. IM Doc

      I would give Keith Olbermann just a bit of advice.

      I do not necessarily care that much for Jimmy Dore. But what I have been hypnotized by in the past month is his absolute takedown of Cenk and Ana on The Young Turks. If they had any credibility left in May, they have absolutely zero now. After watching Dore parade their antics for all to see – I just cannot see myself ever turning on The Young Turks ever again. I did not watch that much to begin with – but they really are insufferable losers.

      Keith should watch some of those videos that Mr Dore did with Aaron Mate and Glenn Greenwald regarding The Young Turks. If he continues on this path with Dore, I would consider it a kind of professional suicide.

      As a former Dem, I have never cared for Mr. Olbermann. His big sin was the birthing and unleashing of Rachel Maddow upon the world.

      1. Isotope_C14

        So Doc,

        “I do not necessarily care that much for Jimmy Dore.”

        I am asking a personal class question – did you identify with growing up well to do? I did not, and Jimmy talks many times about “busting balls” which is very common among poor folk. I love that about him, he grew up raised Catholic (as I did) but my family was poor, too many kids. Of course Monty Python and the meaning of life was a touchstone for me. I think during this pandemic Jimmy is pulling a lot of punches. He can’t without getting banned outside of Rokfin, and that’s a really sad statement about our current situation.

        I did identify as DEM as a youngster, but voted Nader or any other green who was on the ballot. Since the early 90’s I felt that the duopoly was just crooks and more crooks – and I lived for a time in the honorable J. Dennis Hastert district (/s for the honorable part).

        Thanks again for your detailed and interesting comments!

        1. CarlH

          This is my take as well. Jimmy speaks to the working class in working class language and displays the utter contempt we have for the “elites” of all stripes who have brought us to this hellscape and who want it to continue.

        2. IM Doc

          I grew up dirt poor but oh so Protestant.

          I love what the man says – I just think he is a bit over the top.

          But we kinda live in over the top times.

          He is actually one of the few news commenters I do listen to anymore.

          1. Isotope_C14

            Thanks for your reply.

            I remember seeing Roger Ebert reviewing “Excalibur” and said it was too violent for most audiences.

            If only he had known something like Pulp Fiction was coming.

            The Overton window keeps moving to more and more over the top, and I wonder if it is a sign of a decaying society.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Keith Olbermann also went full on into Russiagate. He claimed to have “the stain of Russian heritage in my family”, which may or may not be true, and refers to Russians as “scum” or “pigs.” If he said stuff like that against any other country, he might have found himself cancelled.

        Still can’t understand why Cenk and Ana went in so hard against Aaron Maté, unless it was because he was reporting in Syria at the time. But boy, didn’t that blow up in their faces. I had assumed that TYT was always about political views but after listening to their earlier works, will never look at camels in the same way again.

      3. ChetG

        I would like to say (as others have said) how much I appreciate IM Doc’s comments.
        Years ago, by coincidence, I had met an incredible internal medicine doctor, who literally had saved my life. In subsequent visits to him, he had an amazing style (having I suspect limited his practice as he was somewhat old then, some 40 years ago). He had have a discussion of this or that, seemingly off the track, but then work toward a diagnosis and recommendation.
        IM doctors can be amazing, and I haven’t met too many of them, until IM Doc on Naked Capitalism.

    3. jr

      I agree with a lot of what Dore says as well and I admire him because he is the only Leftie media figure that I know of who actually exhibits real, old school, unapologetic rage at the conditions of things. Incidentally, I caught him on Rogan talking about his adverse reactions to the vaccine recently.

      1. Foy

        I’m with you on Dore, yep I saw that too clip with Rogan, fascinating, I like those two guys, I posted it on links a few days ago, but I was very late to the links page that day

  15. FreeMarketApologist

    Investors Lose $1 Trillion in China’s Wild Week of Market Shocks

    It’s worth seeing what SEC Chair Gary Gensler said of this, but I was more interested in Bridgewater hedge fund guy Ray Dalio’s comment:

    To understand what’s going on you need to understand that China is a state capitalist system which means that the state runs capitalism to serve the interests of most people and that policy makers won’t let the sensitivities of those in the capital markets and rich capitalists stand in the way of doing what they believe is best for the most people of the country. Rather, those in the capital markets and capitalists have to understand their subordinate places in the system or they will suffer the consequences of their mistakes. For example, they need to not mistake their having riches for having power for determining how things will go.

    (Gensler: https://www.sec.gov/news/public-statement/gensler-2021-07-30

    Dalio: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/understanding-chinas-recent-moves-its-capital-markets-ray-dalio/)

    1. Lee

      That is interesting. Things must be more dire than even an old curmudgeon such as myself has suspected if a billionaire thinks billionaire power is screwing up the world so badly they need to be relieved of it.

    2. Glen

      I wonder what Dalio’s take on American is when trillions disappear? It’s OK because the billionaires are in charge?

      1. John

        It has long been known that unregulated capitalism gives in to its worst impulses. The regulation that existed post-World War II curbed those the most malign. Wish we had it back.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the state runs capitalism to serve the interests of most people

      Wotta concept. Maybe we should try it? (Great catch, by the way. I didn’t read far enough!)

    4. vlade

      I read that, and I disagree with Dalio, Horan’s yesterday’s post was more balanced on it.

      CCP runs China, and it runs everything so that it profits CCP. CCP does understand, that it’s legitimacy derives from all being lifted by the economy, and TBH, I see many of recent things as a sign that CCP is scared that the economy is not seen to be working for many people anymore. It was easy (relatively speaking) to bring masses out of subsistence agriculture to some level, but moving them up is proving to be much harder (as it did pretty much everywhere in the world). At the same time, the inevitable happened and a few (well, relatively. absolutely a lot, but that’s what you get when you have a small proportion of a very large number) got obscenely rich.

      The problem CCP run there is that many of those obscenely rich are obscenely rich in a very in-your-face way, and some (as Horan says) confused wealth with power, which in China doesn’t work (power leads to wealth, but not the other way around). Which tends to irritate the less lucky populace as much.

      In the US, for a long time it was used as “see where you can get if you just work hard” carrot to stupify any “bad” tendencies, but it’s not something CCP can use. Especially if the obscenely rich seem to challenge CCP.

      Right now, based on what I read, CCP is trying to show that loyalty to CCP is the way to get to power and wealth, and a more stable one than anything else.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think your summary is one of the most accurate and succinct I’ve read about China. The notion that power (via the CCP) = wealth, and not vice versa, is the fundamental difference between China and the west in terms of how the upper levels really works.

        Most of us, Chinese included, have no idea who the richest people are in China. Thats because it does not pay to flaunt your wealth and power. People like Jack Ma forgot that simple lesson and made themselves very visible tall poppies to chop down. Its very satisfying to see, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the CCP deciding it doesn’t like billionaires.

  16. cocomaan

    I was enjoying David Brook’s piece until:

    Biden gets prickly when he is surrounded by intellectual preening; he’s most comfortable hanging around with union guys who don’t pull that crap.

    Could have fooled me. Who on his cabinet is a union guy that doesn’t pull that crap?

    That said, it’s interesting to see Brooks painting the picture of class warfare. I think he’s doing a lot of gyrations to make it all click into place, though. The creative class he’s pointing to is just descended from the elites of yesteryear. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg went to private school and then to Harvard. He’s the son of a dentist.

    The cultural and economic elite have just switched parties, that’s all.

    The problem for the Bobo’s, as he calls them, is that the countercultural revolution will come from the right wing.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Dentists are hardly an elite. They may make a good living, but if they lose their jobs, their good living stops.

      So Mark son-of-a-dentist Zuckerberg must be some kind of Nuveau Elite. He is certainly Elite Power Functioning, but not part of the old money-power elite.

      They find him useful. But if they were to find him inconvenient, maybe they will give him a non-violent version of the Jeffrey Epstein treatment. After all, Jeffrey Epstein may have moved in Elite circles. But he was not Elite. The people who killed him are the Elite.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Dentists make a good living?!

        I personally know 4 of them and they’re all paying north of $9,500/month mortgages on $500K salaries.

        If that’s a “good living”, I must be dead.

        1. Andrew Watts

          That’s the plight of the petty bourgeoisie in 2021. Declining living standards brought about by an increase in the cost of living. Of course they’re angry about it and increasingly reactionary.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If that’s the situation facing dentists today, then they are even more non-elite than I thought. My point stands even stronger.

        3. dcrane

          Sounds pretty good to me. I pay more than that fraction of my salary on rent, and get no equity out of it.

        4. RMO

          “Dentists make a good living?!

          I personally know 4 of them and they’re all paying north of $9,500/month mortgages on $500K salaries.”

          I think anyone well into the 99th income percentile can be pretty confidently described as making a good living. Even the median income for dentists in the U.S. is in the 91st percentile and the people you know are apparently bringing twice that amount.

          “Making a good living” and “living a good life” are two separate things though they can influence each other.

        5. Big River Bandido

          $500,000 is an excellent living anywhere in the United States. Even today, even in New York City. Most Americans won’t make that amount of money in 10 years, much less one.

          It also pains me to point out that 35 years ago, doctors and dentists had *much* higher standards of living than they do today. They were especially well paid in the 1970s and 80s, and their pay has probably fallen farther and faster than other professions — because they had the farthest to fall. Their practice of medicine and dentistry itself has also been completely corrupted and crapified by the health insurance racket. And most of that has happened in the last 25 years.

          Further, being a doctor has always carried with it a kind of moral gravitas, and for at least a century the profession has always been associated with “a good living”. All those jokes about mothers and fathers wanting their child to marry a doctor wouldn’t be funny if they weren’t true.

    2. Andrew Watts

      His idea of class warfare is limited to the bourgeois civil war. Instead of focusing on the material conditions people labor under he talks about the pointless struggle of the culture war or political drama. He probably wouldn’t agree that the only real class distinction that matters is a person’s relation to labor though. It’d be beyond his bubble of inward contemplation.

      The so-called cosmopolitanism of the bobos is laughable and limited to Thai food. They lack any understanding or appreciation of foreign cultures. When they travel abroad they’re penned in well-maintained theme parks so they can’t bother the locals when they’re herded through.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i don’t know…this Brooks offering caused me to roll my eyes far less than previous ones.
        his reading list appears to have changed a bit, as well…if those he quotes and cites are any indication.
        i usually ignore him…and the atlantic’s 3 free ones per month nonsense makes this easy.
        only read it because Lambert groaned about the spectacle of Brooks doing Class Analysis.
        I could take Brook’s schema and easily overlay it on the class structure out here in my little city/county…only difference is that almost everybody votes R….so the PMC, while containing the rump Dems, who attempt to Wokescold, is primarily made up of what we used to call soccer moms, who go to church, serve on committees, run fundraisers and say “have a blessed day” while looking down their noses.

        as it turns out, i have been thinking about this a lot in the last week: the Bougie-Aspirant parts of wife’s familia…small bidness, serve on the chamber or school board, etc…are all mad at me for going all Amos/Ida Tarbell on the city over MIL’s city created sewerfountain(2.0).
        they’re still talking among themselves about their lawyer-friend from college, and tutt-tutting my uncouth ribaldry.
        because it frustrates their efforts to climb the ladder…everyone at the wine bar will ask what i’m gonna do next, and they won’t get to tout their achievements.
        Class Analysis is fun…and I wish Brooks well in his explorations.

        (and BTW, I’m getting results, since after lunch that very day, and continuing…MIL’s predicament is still at top of mind among the local movers and shakers)

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > only read it because Lambert groaned about the spectacle of Brooks doing Class Analysis.


          I think it’s a zeitgeist thing. There’s been a lot of material that looks like class analysis lately. (This article, for example, The Atlantic Daily: America Isn’t Split in Half. It’s Divided Into Four, sparked some discussion here, although it used a cultural/ideological, not a material, lens.)

          FWIW, under my general rubric of “Nobody Knows Anything,” if capital is recomposing itself, after the enormous gains in wealth by oligarchs during the pandemic, then by definition class is recomposing itself. And we don’t know how.

          The existential position of the PMC is, of course, precarity (albeit predatory, hence different morally, practically, culturally from working class precarity). So it’s natural they would try to work out their anxieties, and figure out their next moves, in the media they control. And class analysis is a very sharp weapon; it’s natural they would adopt it from the left, even if they don’t know how to weild it.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            nah…your groan is an indicator that i should prolly go ahead and read it,lol.

            and i’ve noticed a lot of sort of-, pseudo-, class analysis going on as well…mostly by people who are obviously new to it.
            Dreher, of course, douthat, Kingsnorth on “one side”, and then Brooks, George Packer(also in the atlantic)…and i’m sure i could think of some others from the “center left”(sic), if i hadn’t just completed the naked jointwalk.
            People like Chris Arnade opened this door for them, and they finally went in…or fell in…
            the times lend themselves to this….and that Precarity, however predatory, you mention also engenders such analysis…they feel the pain…feel things slipping…what Rural America has been experiencing since at least the 90’s is finally splashing back on them(like MIL’s shitgeyser, in fact…1:1 analogy)
            and i say, Good!
            maybe some of these newly minted analysts will find it within themselves to go forth and ask questions among the masses.
            I like Packers taxonomy a little better than Brooks’….but i still see most of these political/ideological divisions as mostly artificial…engineered….taking what could be minor differences and poking at them until they get all fleur de mal.
            my evidence for this….is 25 years of observation of this far place…how overt racism went into the closet, just as our gay folks came out into the light(notably, not with flags and leather chaps, but with businesses and weddings)…at least until trump.
            Maybe Brooks, et alia will manage to open a few eyes in PMC World….i reckon that would be a good thing, and essential if we want to see any positive change(see: Crane Brinton)

          2. Andrew Watts

            It’s pretty easy to view things from a material lens when you have minimum wage workers, without any health insurance and no sick days, constantly exposed to the public during a pandemic. The fact that Brooks ignored it so cavalierly only demonstrates how invisible the interests of the proles are under our political system.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > His idea of class warfare is limited to the bourgeois civil war.

        Petty bourgeois civil war, I would say (in other words, civil war by proxy).

        If the American gentry ever came to open war with coastal finance… Who can turn off the water, electricity, gas, food, and data centers? And where are the guns? Versus who can turn off the ATMs and send in the debt collectors? I think I know who would win… Which makes the current liberal Democrat embrace of the police all the more pointed a gesture. They think they’ll need them.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          also, that righty leaning petty bougie set has been trained up over decades to be ready to take up arms…against, variously, Chicoms(back in style rhetorically), Commies, UN Troops/”Blue Helmets”, Invading Hordes from South of the Border, Sharia,Jackbooted Thugs/Census Workers and so on.
          i’ve lurked in all sorts of online righty backwaters over the years, and the list of potential enemies to defend christ and the flag against is long…no matter how silly some of them may seem to us.
          the irony, of course, is all these would be Minutemen(and women) were created to defend Capital and “The American Way of Life” from the New Deal/Big Gov.
          the operators of the Great Wurlitzer of Confusion and Division have done their job all too well.

        2. Andrew Watts

          Petty bourgeois is still bourgeois. It depends on where you draw the line. I think that anything under $50 – 100 million is still classified as the petty bourgeois designation.

          In that scenario the country would simply fracture among the various local oligarchies and power centers of the periphery. Every center of power has a periphery and every periphery has a power center. If that makes any sense. I also doubt that the United States is going to go out with a bang. More likely a whimper.

      3. vlade

        “He probably wouldn’t agree that the only real class distinction that matters is a person’s relation to labor though”

        I’m not sure I agree, at least not until you eludicate a bit more – say, if you meant “exploitation of labour”. But then we get into shades of what is/isn’t exploitation. If a person doesn’t feel exploited (because they are young, and provided with plenty of gimmicks by the company, even as it runs them into the ground), are they? If a person does feel exploited, even though they are only an exception in the company where the management takes very good care of its workers, is the company exploiter?

        1. Andrew Watts

          It’s a question of how “how do you make your living”? If you earn you’re living through labor alone then you’re a prole. If you earn any rent, or any other unearned income, under a completely arbitrary level (see above) then you’re probably petty bourgeois. This is regardless of your working conditions and/or any alienation from your labor you experience.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Maybe Biden keeps Corn Pop on speed dial? (These days does Biden even know who he’s surrounded by?)

  17. jsn

    “96 Minutes”
    My father was a structural engineer working in an office at 24th and Nueces with a great view of the UT Tower.

    Someone on the sidewalk out front was hit and a bullet came through one of the windows.

    He and his coworkers spent the next couple of hours under their desks up against the wall under the window. It was wood frame and he could have shot through the wall, but he couldn’t see anyone. We didn’t know any of the victims, but it was very disorienting and upsetting.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    Every single person who uses Facebook deserves to live in Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. And I hope that they do.

    Every single person who boycotts Facebook deserves to live Some Better Reality. And I hope we can create one.

    1. John

      I have never seen the point of Facebook or any of the other so-called social media platforms. Things rocked along quite nicely without them and will do so when they are gone. So Zuckerberg borrowed a term, metaverse, from an early Neal Stephenson novel. Catchy; could mean anything.

      The first approximation of a Better Reality would be one without most of what passes for digital media.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i find that i do just fine without facebook, twitter or snapchat(or whatever).
        unless i want to yell at my politicians…or give the authors of articles i like additional info to make their case(like the guardian thing on monopoly ag…all those megatons of manure are useless for farming)…because everyone is on twitter except me,lol.
        but i still remember phone numbers…or at least write them in pencil on the back wall of the barn.
        where the landline used to be.

  19. Pelham

    So saddened to learn the Biden team is going through a rough patch due to the inconvenient persistence of a pandemic. Not.

    Would it be too much to ask for one administration — any administration — in my lifetime (going back to Eisenhower) to selflessly set aside its Goldbergian political frippery and boldly tackle a national or global emergency, regardless of the electoral consequences?

    Instead they want to avoid lockdowns “at all costs.” Really? At ALL costs? Meaning maybe thousands of deaths? Hundreds of thousands of long-Covid cases with victims suffering major impairments, perhaps for the rest of their lives?

    1. Glen

      What is amazing to me is –

      – The eviction moratorium is over. Potentially seven million people are going to lose their homes. Pelosi had at least a month to do something, and never did a thing.
      – No lock downs while CV-19 surges, and we find out that vaccines may not be as effective as required to get us to herd immunity.

      Too bad this didn’t happen while Trump was President because the Democrats might actually have done something about it. Now, I don’t think they care.

      “Nothing will fundamentally change”: Everybody back to work, and when you get sick, you may lose your job (and your health care), and when you lose your job, you may get kicked out of your home. (Well, I’m sure that this bad news will give the Fed a reason to keep handing out at least $6.5 billion a day like they have for the last two years.)

      1. JBird4049

        Looks like the Republican Party will get back control of both Houses and then the White House over the next few election cycles, but then the Democratic Party doe not want to actively govern. Neither do the Republicans. It means having committee meetings, reading bills, running staff, and writing legislation followed by negotiations. You know, actual work. Work that this not only hard and often boring, but that might make the Moneybags angry.

        Here we are all being great pretenders believing that we have an actual government like those of the past. Thing is, those Congresses and Presidents wanted to govern. They fought to get elected, not only for the perks, but to get things done. To actually do rather than to pretend to do.

  20. Duke of Prunes

    The “metaverse” marketing discussion reminds me of GM using The Who’s “Eminence Front” in an ad campaign. I guess the connection is both sound cool. “Eminence Front” is a great tune, so what if the lyrics actually criticize the shallow posers who just might buy a car to be cool (is not the point of most car ads to make one feel that buying a car will make the buyer cool?). “Metaverse” – who cares what the book said about it, it sounds cool and most people don’t understand what “meta” means anyway.

  21. Pelham

    Re that Olympic gold-sharing moment, agreed. What I hate to see is loud-mouthed or grotesquely performative or posing winners. Shouldn’t it be customary good form to smile for a moment and then hasten to shake hands or bump fists with worthy competitors? Another thing: After the US women’s soccer team lost to Canada, Megan Rapinoe was interviewed about the overall Olympic performance and essentially said she and her teammates had just never performed up to potential. Fair enough. But not one kind word about the spunky Canadian team that had just beaten the US for the first time ever? Come on, man.

    1. fresno dan

      August 2, 2021 at 5:08 pm
      We talk about good winners, but we forget that what we need even more are good losers.
      Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,
      vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
      3 What does man gain by all the toil
      at which he toils under the sun?
      Does anyone remember who won the soccer gold 50 years ago (was there a soccer gold 50 years ago?)

  22. IMOR

    Ocasio-Cortez on Tapper: Her two main observations=great. But in the House, you never ever say ‘we have more than enough’ votes. You encourage another round of more accurate nose counting by your opponents, and you fire ’em up to peel it down to one vote. Whether it requires absolute majority or present and voting, there are sooo many relatively easy ways to piece off a Rep. Say instead, we’ll have the votes’, or, ‘if it comes to that, we’re/I’m confident…” etc.

  23. Jason Boxman

    Does this make any sense?

    On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio decided against such a mandate, choosing instead to strongly encourage all New Yorkers, even those who have been vaccinated, to wear masks indoors.

    Mr. de Blasio said he wanted to focus on increasing vaccination rates, and worried that requiring everyone to wear masks would remove an incentive for those who are considering getting vaccinated now.

    (De Blasio urges vaccinated New Yorkers to wear masks indoors, but balks at a mandate.)

    At least out in western NC, unvaccinated people already do not wear masks, so unless it’s different in NYC, why would this encourage someone to get vaccinated? All this does is spread more carnage; Everyone should be wearing masks again!

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      and worried that requiring everyone to wear masks would remove an incentive for those who are considering getting vaccinated now


      At least he said the quiet part out loud. “But the PR campaign!”

      They just can’t resist embracing Republican framing.

      It’s a vaccine, not a condom, put on a mask.

  24. james a

    Covid testing update from New Orleans: I can’t get a test. (that’s one way to keep the numbers down!)

    My mother and I have been feeling not too well the past couple of days. Headache, diarrhea, runny nose, congestion, etc. So far no loss of taste or smell or fevers. We tried to go to urgent care to get a test to make sure were aren’t spreading anything around. We were told they were too busy and to come back later. Tried to make an appointment but “they don’t do that.” Were told to just come back about once and hour to see if they could fit us in.

    Tried to go to Walgreens to get a home test, they were out. Tried to sign up for CVS to get a drive-through test. They are booked through until Saturday. So I guess we will just stay home and see if we get better in the next few days and wonder if we got Covid or not.

    EDIT: both of us are fully vaccinated

    1. IM Doc

      There are a few different types of home tests. All of them seem to be on back order at the pharmacies. I have not been able to get a patient tested that way for about 10 days or so.

      There must be somewhere in New Orleans that is able to do a rapid test. However, one thing I have consistently noted is how amazingly difficult it is to get tested at all.

      Take care. I am sorry you are ill.

      1. campbeln

        FWIW, Kaiser NorCal seems to be Johnny on the spot.

        I had a sero test a few weeks ago at my request within 36 hours and results back even quicker. This week I got in for a nasal swab as I managed to catch the flu (of all things). Again at my request, in next day and results within 24 hours. Both negative, thankfully.

        We were living in Australia at the time of original SARS and I purchased some 3M respirators with P100 filters (if you’re going to panic, panic FIRST). Thankfully we didn’t need them in Oz, and boy do they come in handy for my various concreting and brickwork projects!

        Ultimately, they’ve been used for their intended purpose though and seem to be doing a bang-up job since February 2020. Best of all? The half-dozen or so anti-maskers that have talked with me have said some version of “well, at least your mask works!” and the pro-maskers have tended to ask where they can get their own. Glasses don’t fog, either!

        Of course, it probably helps that I was born with no pride and even less shame ;)

    2. Pat

      Just a suggestion, if you have any smaller more independent pharmacies, particularly ones associated with health food or alternative medicine, check to see if they test. Even here in NYC I found it easier to make arrangements with my local smaller pharmacy than through either CVS or Walgreens. And I live within two blocks of a large branch of both of them.

      (I gave up on multiple so-called urgent care outlets also within walking distance even faster. There is little desire to provide any care, urgent or otherwise.)

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > My mother and I have been feeling not too well the past couple of days

      I’m sorry and I hope you both get well soon.

      [Obligatory Confederacy of Dunces reference suppressed*].

      * Though a rewrite of that book set in a pandemic could end up Bocaccio-level.

  25. fresno dan

    Fidel Bonilla, 52, co-owner of all four Yosemite Falls Café locations in Fresno and Clovis, was arrested July 25 at Liberty Falls Café in Madera, which he owns.

    So yesterday, I posted about a person who frequents Yousemite Falls Cafe and vaccination.
    fresno dan
    August 1, 2021 at 10:48 am
    Just an incredible coincidence, but life is strange. It is amazing that I even came across the article.

    1. Tom Stone

      I looked at that article, $90K Bail.
      Which (If he shows up for court) will cost him $9K if he used a Bondsman.
      It’s a strange business, the Federal laws regarding what a Bondsman can do if a client skips derive from the days of the slave catchers.
      It’s a particularly ugly and corrupt part of our Criminal “Justice” system.

  26. Ben Dalton

    >>“Ocasio-Cortez: ‘More than enough’ votes to prevent infrastructure from passing without reconciliation bill”

    Has AOC been recruited as the new “Rotating villain” for the next act?

  27. jr

    “Breaking Points” on how The Lincoln Project just reeled in a cool 5M$ in donations, fueled in large measure by lingering TDS sentiments. The money basically goes to legal fees, PR, and salaries. The pedophile one recently paid off a million plus dollar mortgage decades before it was due:


    Nothing will slow down the moral degeneracy of the $#!+lib in it’s efforts to maintain the illusion of moral righteousness: Clinton addressing young female leaders without an outcry from the professional feminists, that palm-jockey Toobin recently making the rounds on CNN, Kamala Harris running cover for pedo-priests, Biden cooing in the ears of nine year old girls, and these patently obvious crooks, nothing matters.
    I’m not even talking about like all the people Hillary killed and all the “political” stuff . I mean they are parading around sexual degenerates and facilitators as if nothing is wrong…as if no one sees.

  28. Tom Stone

    I live in a little enclave near the Russian River with a private beach and last Saturday was the Annual costume party and wine event.
    It wasn’t held last year, however this year was a roaring success.
    No parking spaces anywhere, anywhere you could pull over without blocking the road had a car parked, and one 4 BR place had 9 carloads of people.
    LOTS of wine, no masks and at my best estimate between 500 and 600 people dancing, singing, getting sloshed and going home with each other’s wives and husbands ( It’s an ingrown group,many of the homes here have been in the same families for generations and there’s a fair amount of swinging and swapping).

  29. kareninca

    Ah, the mainstream media have found a way to spin it:

    ” The majority of hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus in the United States are occurring in people who have not been vaccinated. But there is evidence that the shots are less effective in people with compromised immune systems, including the elderly.

    For vaccinated, otherwise healthy individuals, the odds are that if they contract COVID-19 they will only experience asymptomatic or mild disease, said Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic.”

    So here’s my guess: we are going to find that these shots are not going to do much for old people. The excuse will be that because of their age they count as “immune compromised.” Well, that is true, older people have worse immune systems. But the whole point of the shot was to get them past that!!!

    And there is this, from the same article:
    “Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, said the clearest indication that the variant may cause more severe disease comes from the Scotland study, which found that Delta roughly doubled the risk of hospitalization compared to an earlier version.”

    Things are falling apart.

    1. Brian Beijer

      So, are the media suggesting that Israelis have compromised immune systems? Wouldn’t that qualify as anti-semitic nowadays? Will congress boycott the media now?

  30. tegnost

    I’m going to have to take issue with a recent colloquialism, reign in… I personally believe that rein in is the proper terminology

    1. ambrit

      I believe that it hearkens back to the famous Milton quote attributed to the Prince of Darkness; “Better to reign in H— than to serve in H—en.” Milton was not blind to irony.
      The above mentioned quote can also serve as a motto for today’s Democrat Party.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Yes, it’s a riding term: You pull on the reins to slow down or stop a horse.

      Now if we can just educate people on the difference between ‘discreet’ and ‘discrete’.

      1. Samuel Conner

        “tow the line” is another homophonically-mangled metaphor. Should be “toe the line”, as in “stand in line with toes aligned (such as a row/rank of soldiers)”, a metaphor for “comply with authority”

    3. Jessica

      I am with you. If the meaning is to restrain, then rein in it is, as one did with a horse back in the day.

  31. Samuel Conner

    > or evaporated from desert ponds.

    I think that should be “precipitated”. When the solvent has sufficiently evaporated, the solute will precipitate.

    Am I splitting hairs? I also get annoyed by the widespread used of “lead” for “led”.

  32. Samuel Conner

    > In other words, Brooks is at the end of the Last Age, not at the beginning of the Age to Come


    Just curious — I’ve been reading NC and 2PM WC for more than a decade, and have never noticed this phrasing before.

    Have you been reading NT Wright? He influenced by thinking about “eschatology”

    just wondering.

  33. Shane

    Might need to catch you on today’s, but just a heads up, it looks like the Rapid Risers graphics are both dated 7/29.

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