2:00PM Water Cooler 8/5/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I accumulated a real cabinet of curiosities today, and it was hard to sort. More soon. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

What a chorus! Makes me want to fly there (were that possible) just to listen. However, I believe that the Potoo is the low snoring sound you hear at, e.g, 0:08.

* * *

#COVID19

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 falters a little. 49.8% of the US is fully vaccinated.

“‘Wisdom and Fear’ Lead 90% of U.S. Seniors to Covid Vaccines” [KHN]. “‘This really shows our elders are wiser than the rest of us,’ said Dr. David Wohl, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases and director of the vaccine clinics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Wohl said political leanings that have skewed vaccination rates across the country have had much less of an impact on older adults. ‘The threat of covid-19 is so real for those 65 and over that it transcends many of the other issues that are complicating vaccination rates,’ he said. ‘Wisdom and fear have really led to impressive immunization rates.'” • Not today!

UPDATE This is a very odd tweet:

If you read it carefully, nowhere do you see “do everything you can to force vaccination with mandates.” Perhaps the “group” of people who truly believe that is, well, 304? The number of seats on the Acela?

Case count by United States regions:

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

“Delta’s peak is difficult to project, but could come this month” [The Hill]. “The COVID-19 delta variant surging through the United States could peak later this month, but experts say projections are difficult and much will depend on an unpredictable factor: human behavior…. A lot of what happens in the next few weeks will depend on the population, which Nicholas Reich, an associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, noted is ‘really hard to predict and really hard to control.’ ‘This is the sliver of optimism that we have is that the reason it’s hard to predict is because it’s sort of in our control as a society to change the trajectory,’ he said. ‘But it requires everybody being careful and being vigilant and looking out for each other.’ The U.S. in general has followed the United Kingdom in case trends with both the alpha and delta variants of the coronavirus. After skyrocketing cases in June and July, the U.K.’s case count has dropped dramatically, almost halving since its peak in late July. Experts said the current U.K. trend shows that a sudden downturn in cases is possible in the U.S., but they said they are not confident the same will happen, citing different infection, vaccination and precaution compliance rates.”

Extroverts are gonna kill us all:

And we have Sturgis to look forward to!

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

California slows again. Texas rolling right along. Musical interlude for Florida data.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report August 4, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

Red areas still spreading. New red splotches right in the middle of Wyoming and Maine; tourism, I would bet. This map blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a banjo to be heard. Previous release:

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

Test positivity:

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

Hospitalization (CDC):

A little dip in 65+. NEW Here is a the CDC’s hospitalization report, from the source above:

The, er, red states (Florida, Louisiana) are as yet still buried in the aggregated national data.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Deaths definitively rising, although nowhere near meriting an anti-triumphalist black line.

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up. US sphere of influence under the Monroe Doctrine not doing so well.

* * *

Politics

“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

“Biden keeps the progressive angst at bay” [Politico]. “After days of progressives fuming over the failure to prevent the federal eviction moratorium from expiring, the White House abruptly shifted its calculus on Tuesday and enacted a new ban. It was a remarkable 180. For days, Biden aides had claimed that it was powerless to act, citing the likelihood that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be rebuked by the courts. It was a symbolic reversal, too. Biden’s retreat calmed a potentially combustible intraparty rift, the latest sign of the lengths to which he has been willing to go to keep restive Democrats unified amid the push to pass his agenda. The White House gave progressive leaders a heads up prior to unveiling the new eviction moratorium, which will impact communities being hit hardest by Covid and last until October 3.” • Now maybe the White House can do something about making sure housing assistance money is actually spent.

“White House voices frustrations over pandemic media coverage” [The Hill]. “Biden administration officials have started lashing out at media coverage of new guidance on masks and COVID-19 breakthrough cases among vaccinated Americans. Some of the sharpest criticisms have come in the past week from White House deputy press secretary Chris Meagher and Ben Wakana, a member of President Biden’s coronavirus response team who tweeted that a Washington Post article was “completely irresponsible” for highlighting an outbreak in Massachusetts among vaccinated people. Media experts say the challenge for some news outlets is accurately conveying the nuance of pandemic science to a frustrated public that’s now being asked to resume mask wearing in some parts of the country and as the delta variant sends cases soaring among the unvaccinated. Kim Walsh-Childers, a professor at the University of Florida’s journalism school whose research focuses on news coverage of health issues, said some reporters do not always properly describe the ‘iterative nature of science.'” • Fair enough in the abstract, but — hear me out — wasn’t there some sort of Playbook that recommended that the HHS secretary “coordinate all Federal communications,” “supported by subject matter experts in HHS”? How is it communicating “the iterative nature of science” — as opposed to Fauci’s Noble Lie-driven goalpost shifting — wasn’t part of the Administration’s communications strategy from Day One? The press has been as tame as a pet lamb, as gentle as a sucking dove with the administration, and now the West Wing is whinging? (Hmm. “West Whinge Brain.” I rather like that.)

Democrats en Deshabille

UPDATE “Cuomo Employs Classic ‘People Hug People’ Defense to Answer Harassment Allegations” [Rolling Stone]. “Governor Andrew Cuomo was ready to defend himself on Tuesday after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing report in which nearly a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct. In a pre-recorded video, the embattled New York governor denied any wrongdoing. ‘I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,’ he said. In an effort to prove his innocence, Cuomo claimed that the ‘gestures’ in question were meant to convey ‘warmth.’ He spoke over a photo montage of himself affectionately greeting people of various demographics. ‘I do it with everyone,’ Cuomo said. ‘Black and white. Young and old. Straight and LGBTQ. Powerful people. Friends. Strangers. People who I meet on the street.'” • I have to say I never got the impression that Cuomo was “warm.” Mean as a snake, perhaps.

“Cuomo’s own American crisis” [State of Politics]. “Remember, Cuomo may not be well-liked among members of his own party at this point; but until very recently, he was beloved by many voters inside and outside of New York. He socked away a tremendous amount of goodwill during those terrible months in 2020 when he was the voice of sanity for millions of Americans struggling through an unprecedented crisis. These are regular New Yorkers who don’t live “in the Albany bubble” (and who won’t be spending the weekend reading the footnotes to the AG’s report). They remember the strength he showed during those crucial months, something that has — until recently — been reflected in his poll numbers. The governor could place a considerable — and considerably risky — bet that those voters will continue to support him through an impeachment trial. But does he really want to make that calculation? It’s one thing to hear about sexual harassment from the attorney general; it’s quite another to see an impeachment trial featuring accusers making the same claims on live television.” • Hillary has, so far, been silent. I can’t think why.

“Two House Democrats who broke quorum missing from Washington, D.C., reportedly vacationing in Portugal” [Texas Tribune]. “State Reps. Julie Johnson of Farmers Branch and Jessica González of Dallas were not with other House Democrats on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, according to a person familiar with the situation. On Tuesday evening, Texas Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove tweeted that he ‘can confirm [Johnson] and her wife & [González] and her fiancé are in Portugal for a vacation they had been planning, with non-refundable tickets, for a year-and-a-half.'” • Fine, I suppose, even if international air travel is insane.

Republican Funhouse

“Liz Cheney says her father is ‘deeply troubled’ about the state of the Republican Party” [The Hill]. • “Fourth Branch” is having a sad? Why? Not enough faraway brown people being tortured?

Realignment and Legitimacy

On Turner’s defeat (1):

The whole thread is worth reading.

On Turner’s defeat (2):

The whole thread is worth reading.

“Episode 94 Promo – “Hit ‘Em In The Soul”: The Final Days of Nina Turner’s Fight For Ohio’s 11th District” (podcast) [Briahna Joy Gray and Virgil Texas, Bad Faith]. • Just a promo, but a good description of the mega-church service the day before the election (showing how it was rigged in Brown’s favor, though not completely). What a concept, Gray actually went there and reported on it.

* * *

UPDATE I hate this talking point, so so much:

First, if we all had listened to the experts in early 2020, we would not be wearing masks, we would still be practicing hygiene theatre, and we wouldn’t understand that aerosols are the primary means of Covid transmission. Nor, further afield, would we be using Povidone iodine. (All of which, I would remind NC readers, NC was early and right on, because we did our own research.) Second, I’m too lazy to find the link to the study, but (let’s label them as) medical dissidents often make extremely sophisticated use of data. Third, citizens doing their own reserch is necessary in a functioning democracy. “Leave it to the experts” is an assertion of class power by the PMC. That’s what it is, and it’s all that it is. Considering how badly they as a class have butchered this pandemic, they’ve lost the mandate of heaven. Summarizing Thomas Frank:

Most non-elite Americans, however, because they have, at this point in our history, endured over two generations of breathtakingly spectacular meritocratic failures — including the unending trillion-dollar wars that the elites never fight in and never win, including the elites’ financialized ransacking of the once-industrial American heartland, including the elites’ perversion of medical care and higher education into grotesque unaffordable rackets — would, if asked, give a more precise answer to the intriguing question of class nomenclature — Liberal Class? Creative Class? Learning Class? — by describing the ascendant meritocracy as our gleefully parasitic Fuck-Up Class.

Quite fittingly, the foundational belief of this class, as Frank shows, is anti-populism. For they believe that democracy is far too important to be left to the dēmos (δῆμος being the Greek word for the plebeians, the class of commoners). No, democracy, as they teach and are taught, requires the subjugation of the dēmos. Democracy actually means aristocracy, but with the well-credentialed technocrats of today taking the place of the well-bred aristocrats of yesteryear.

Of course, the target of that meme is Bubba seated on the throne, perusing Facebook for the latest disinformation from Q. It’s not all that clear to me how Bubba differs from Professor Goodthinker nodding his head while perusing The Grey Lady for Fauci’s latest Noble Lie. Or listening to “Rachel” [snarl].

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “31 July 2021 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 339 K to 410 K (consensus 378 K), and the Department of Labor reported 385,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 394,250 (reported last week as 394,500) to 394,000.” • So hold your water, Mr. Market!

Employment Situation: “July 2021 Job Cuts: Year-to-Date Cuts Fall to Lowest On Record” [Econintersect]. “As companies increasingly report difficulty finding and keeping talent and the Delta variant spurs a rise in COVID cases, U.S.-based employers announced 18,942 job cuts in July, down 93% from the 262,649 cuts announced in the same month last year.”

* * *

Banks: “Global Banks’ $170 Billion Haul Marks Most Profitable Year Ever” [Bloomberg]. • Live with it…

Retail: “Inside the Desperate, Dedicated World of Discontinued Snack Obsessives” [Jezebel]. “Nostalgia for discontinued and niche snacks has led to a burgeoning online re-selling market, where people pining for old Dunkaroos or their favorite, long-lost cereal from their childhood can buy them (usually expired) from a variety of specialty sites…. Part of why fast food menu items or niche potato chips might specifically incite such fandom and organizing could be that these are foods impossible to recreate at home.” • That’s because these snacks are not food. They are food-like products. And where are the Chinese fakes?

Tech: “Electric cars have much lower life cycle emissions, new study confirms” [Ars Technica]. “Today in the US market, a medium-sized battery EV already has 60–68 percent lower lifetime carbon emissions than a comparable car with an internal combustion engine. And the gap is only going to increase as we use more renewable electricity. That finding comes from a white paper (.pdf) published by Georg Bieker at the International Council on Clean Transportation. The comprehensive study compares the lifetime carbon emissions, both today and in 2030, of midsized vehicles in Europe, the US, China, and India, across a wide range of powertrain types, including gasoline, diesel, hybrid EVs (HEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), battery EVs (BEVs), and fuel cell EVs (FCEVs). (The ICCT is the same organization that funded the research into VW Group’s diesel emissions.) The study takes into account the carbon emissions that result from the various fuels (fossil fuels, biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and e-fuels), as well as the emissions that result from manufacturing and then recycling or disposing of vehicles and their various components. Bieker has also factored in real-world fuel or energy consumption—something that is especially important when it comes to PHEVs, according to the report. Finally, the study accounts for the fact that energy production should become less carbon-intensive over time, based on stated government objectives. According to the study, the life cycle emissions of a BEV driving around in Europe today are 66–69 percent lower than a comparable gasoline-powered car. In the US, that range is 60–68 percent less over its lifetime. In China and India, the magnitude is not as great, but even so, a BEV is still cleaner than a fossil-burner. China is at 37–45 percent fewer emissions for BEVs, and India shows 19–34 percent.” • I’m surprised savings in the US are lower, given our grotesquely swollen vehicles.

Tech: “These Algorithms Look at X-Rays—and Somehow Detect Your Race” [Wired]. “Millions are being spent to develop artificial intelligence software that reads x-rays and other medical scans in hopes it can spot things doctors look for but sometimes miss, such as lung cancers. A new study reports that these algorithms can also see something doctors don’t look for on such scans: a patient’s race.The study authors and other medical AI experts say the results make it more crucial than ever to check that health algorithms perform fairly on people with different racial identities. Complicating that task: The authors themselves aren’t sure what cues the algorithms they created use to predict a person’s race.” • As usual. We don’t know how AI works, and we can’t maintain AI systems. Why are we doing this? Why don’t we kill them with fire?

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s troubled Starliner launch scrubbed, with no new date given” [Sky News]. “Boeing’s second attempt at an uncrewed test flight of its new Starliner capsule to the International Space Station has been scrubbed due to an “unexpected valve” problem…. It follows the postponement of an earlier launch date for Starliner’s second mission back in March.” • Well, with the engineering talent they’ve got at Board level to drive the process, I would imagine Boeing will figure this out pretty quickly. Oh, wait….

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 26 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 5 at 12:33pm.

Health Care

Mucus Welby, M.D.:

“Intranasal vaccines aim to stop COVID-19 where it starts” [Chemical and Engineering News]. “Our mucosal immune cells make a special class of antibodies that are constantly secreted from the mucous membranes to protect the nose, gut, and other vulnerable sites from pathogens we’ve seen in the past. ‘But if you don’t stimulate the immune system in the mucosae, you don’t obtain mucosal immune responses,’ says Pierre Charneau, head of the Molecular Virology and Vaccinology Unit at the Pasteur Institute. Yet most research on SARS-CoV-2 and our immune systems has overlooked mucosal immunity in favor of the easier-to-study systemic immunity. “When the pandemic hit last year and I started to see papers coming out about immunity, it really quite staggered me to see an absence of attention to the mucosal immune response,” [says Michael W. Russell, a mucosal immunologist and professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo] says. Charneau and a group of scientists in Paris have shown that natural SARS-CoV-2 infections trigger both systemic and mucosal immunity. But our current crop of COVID-19 vaccines offer only systemic protection. Developing vaccines that are sprayed up the nose, rather than injected into the arm, could change that, Charneau says. Mucosal immunity in our noses could be like a guard at the door, potentially helping stop even small infections of SARS-CoV-2 right where they start. It’s a tantalizing notion, but whether it’s a viable one is up for debate.” • This is a must-read and super-informative and interesting. I wish I’d had this in front of me when I looked into nasal sprays, but the Internet doesn’t work for search any more.

“Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of an aerosolised adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) in adults: preliminary report of an open-label and randomised phase 1 clinical trial” [The Lancet (K.k.)]. From Methods: “This was a randomised, single-centre, open-label, phase 1 trial done in Zhongnan Hospital (Wuhan, China), to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the Ad5-nCoV vaccine by aerosol inhalation in adults (≥18 years) seronegative for SARS-CoV-2.” From the Results: “In this trial, an aerosolised dose equal to a fifth of the usual injected dose induced antibody and cellular immune responses. Although RBD-binding IgG and IgA concentrations at day 28 after two aerosolised doses were lower than those at day 28 after one injected dose, SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibody titres in the aerosol vaccination groups were similar to those in patients who received an intramuscular injection. This finding suggests that the different vaccination routes produce different antibody compositions, and that aerosol vaccination could trigger a higher ratio of neutralising antibodies to total antibodies than intramuscular vaccination.”

“Nothing to sneeze at: nasal sprays to tackle Covid-19” [Pharmaceutical Technology]. • This is a roundup. Active ingredients mentioned are: ethyl lauroyl arginate hydrochloride (ELAH), algae, an IgM antibody, carrageenan, and nitric oxide (!). And not bentonite. Seems a lively field (but most over-the-counter, and some repurposed, so could be a field for hucksters, too).

* * *

Mask fitting tips:

Seems intuitive, but as suggested a couple days ago, I can test for leakage with the two small mirrors I just bought.

* * *

I’m sure tweaking the ObamaCare marketplace will fix this:

Games

“China’s Tencent imposes controls to tackle gaming addiction among children” [Financial Times]. “Tencent has announced new restrictions on how long minors can play its online games after the Chinese internet group came under intense pressure from state media, which labelled gaming as ‘spiritual opium’. In a social media post, the company said it was introducing the measures after ‘relevant authorities’ requested greater protection of minors in gaming and for companies to carry out their ‘societal responsibility’.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Vaccine Success, Media Misery: Is Good News Taboo in the Trump Age?” (unpaywalled) [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. Good clean fun, and almost impossible to excerpt. This caught my eye: “If we lived in a normal country, the issue of [vaccine] holdouts would be dealt with rationally, as a logistical issue. Leaders would ask: what percentage of that infamous 29% of refuseniks is really holding out just to ‘own the libs’? Are any of them people who’ve already had Covid-19 and believe they’re protected by natural immunity? How many are waiting for full FDA approval, and as a corollary question, why are we still waiting for that approval 340 million shots in? How many just have reservations about vaccinating their children, and how necessary are such vaccinations, especially given that countries like the U.K. are hesitating on that front? And they would charge out with sleeves rolled up and billions in walking-around PR money to take on the problem.” • I seem to remember Eastern Europeans yearning to live in a “normal country,” back in the days of the USSR. And here we are.

Having a normal one:

The difficulty here is that (1) everybody, including Democrats, was wrong about masks at the start of the pandemic (too lazy to find an image of the many, many headlines), and (2) Democrats spent a good deal of time trying to undercut Operation Warp Speed for being “rushed,” while they were out of office. We have the memory of goldfish.

Class Warfare

Righteous thunder from a Bush Republican:

Well, except for the oligarchs. Who actually run the show.

News of the Wired

UPDATE “Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, 80, pulls out of band’s US tour after undergoing emergency surgery in London” {Daily Mail]. • Diamond geezer. I hope he pulls through. A sample of his work (best listen to it before YT takes it down):

Jagger graciously and rightly gives the extraordinary Lisa Fisher a shout-out (and see Keith”s reaction immediately after Fisher’s solo at 3:06). But the crowd chants “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!”, also rightly. There’s a lovely albeit random clip from an interview with Watts at the end of the video. What a mensch.

* * *

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 (EH):

EH writes: “The former owner of my friend’s house near Kingston, NY planted about 10 of these wonderfully fragrant, not to say photogenic, native fringe trees around the house.” I had no idea there was such a thing as a fringe tree, but there is! And that arbor looks like a wonderful place to sit in the spring and summer.

* * *

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

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About Lambert Strether

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

148 comments

    1. CanCyn

      If you sign up for Matt’s newsletter you get freebies, including fairly long excerpts of his paywalled stuff. I rec’d “most’ of this one today.

    2. fresno dan

      Lady Cutekitten of Lolcat
      August 5, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Well, there is a site, of which we never speak, at which you can see the Taibbi article for free.
      So, this site’s name, because I can’t write it, starts with a number. The number is less than 1, and is equivalent to naught.
      The second part of the name is a financial tactic to mitigate risk. The definition would be: limit or qualify (something) by conditions or exceptions. Or it is also the name of a series of bushes trimmed to form a boundary – a h*dg*
      From Taibbi:
      Would blaming and shaming seem like a sensible strategy if you broke it down by income, or geography, or parental status? Of course not. It’s only considered okay to do so by political affiliation because the culture war long ago become more important to the leaders of this dysfunctional, misery-addicted version of America than governing, even in a crisis.

      1. fresno dan

        and this from Taibbi as well:
        Republicans and personalities on stations like Fox obviously shoulder responsibility for “hesitancy,” but the fact that a significant plurality of Trump voters still eschew inoculation when even Trump urges getting a shot of his vaccine — what Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called a “frustrating irony” — demonstrates a fundamental truth that Democrats refuse to understand about this moment, which is that even Trump has been more passenger than driver of the last five years of Republican rebellion. What we now think of as the Trump base calls a lot of its own shots and is far less monolithic in its beliefs than commonly thought, including about vaccines. It shares those qualities with a not-insignificant number of independents and even Democrats, another development we hear comparatively little about.
        ….
        This sounds like a complex and varied picture of a hesitancy problem, not the blunt partisan split we’ve become accustomed to hearing about. Hesitancy doesn’t just correlate to party identification, but also to sex, age, marital status, race, whether or not you have children at home, and especially income. Only 10% of people who make $100,000 or more say they don’t intend to get vaccinated, compared with 15% of people who make between $50-$100K, and 24% of people who make less than $50,000.
        =================================
        Read the article, and it is impossible in my view to come to any conclusion BUT that we are being played by our media and politicians

        1. Michael Ismoe

          Only 10% of people who make $100,000 or more say they don’t intend to get vaccinated, compared with 15% of people who make between $50-$100K, and 24% of people who make less than $50,000.

          Guess which groups have paid sick days. You know, for the side effects that aren’t going to happen. Honest. Trust the “science.”

      2. Carolinian

        That less than one site probably prints the newsletter version since still abridged.

        As for the article, Taibbi’s vaccine triumphalism may be out of date already so that part did not impress.

        He’s better at bashing the two parties but that’s a lot easier. We’ll know what it was all about when it’s over. In the meanwhile the politicians need to go on vacation and stop making threats and demands that are going to stir up a great deal of trouble.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Their argument is competence in crisis, so we must never be without one.

          Nailed. It.

  1. upstater

    Upstate NY businessman sentenced to 12 years in prison in $100M MyPayrollHR scam

    Albany, N.Y. — Clifton Park businessman Michael Mann was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison in his $100 million bank fraud scheme that led to the collapse of his payroll company, MyPayrollHR in 2019, an implosion that left thousands without paychecks and threatened to destroy the institutions that did business with him.

    Twelve years for stealing $100M. He’s going to serve time at a Club Fed in North Carolina near his wife. Seems like a pretty sweet deal. The article didn’t say anything about recovery or restitution. Doesn’t China execute these guys?

    There are two separate justice systems; one for the rich and another for the 99%.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Twelve years for stealing $100M. He’s going to serve time at a Club Fed in North Carolina near his wife.

      That’s nice. I hope he can get some golf in.

    2. griffen

      The federal prison is in Butner, hardly a max facility but not exactly a paradise setting. About an hour north of Durham, NC from memory driving I 85.

      And most recently, they housed Madoff for the last years of his miserable life.

  2. TBellT

    https://twitter.com/alexburnsNYT/status/1423063406916116482?s=20

    re:Nina I’m starting agree with Jefferies line of thinking although Im not happy about it. Too many Dem voters are satisfied with defeating the last guy and dont want to deal with things that will burst that bubble of contentenss. The left will continue to lose these primaries. The rich neighborhoods may have given Shontel a boost but there’s less of them, how do you fight for less than a draw on the other areas?

    If this is the case then human civilization is on it’s way out. Luckily for most of these Dem normies they’re old and they won’t have to deal with seeing the gruesome results of their “rational moderation”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think Turner was within striking distance and failed on execution, primarily in Akron. The left really needs to develop a “killer instinct.” Clyburn certainly has it.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        They were sure they were going to win. There’s no need for turnout prodding when you have the “W” in the bag. Ask President (Hillary) Clinton.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I would like to read articles about how Jeff Weavers was able to direct and influence her campaign. After what he did to Bernie’s campaign, anything that he touches should come under scrutiny.

    2. Robert Hahl

      “Shontel Brown ran up big numbers in white suburbs blanketed with super PAC ads. Sorry if that doesn’t fit the narrative.”

      I recall Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon writing many times that the Black Misleadership Class is generally created by white voters.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I started the latest Funky Academic YouTube video and his analysis of the race really gets into the Black Misleadership Class and disassembling that. I haven’t had the time to watch the whole half hour video, but I’m a fan of his videos and insight.

        https://youtu.be/fYfv-CVFss0

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        I lived in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland from 2000-2004. The dark blue areas are a mixture of upper middle class Black, and “conservative” Democrat Ashkenazi Jewish. The population trends older. They are ‘usual suspects’ when it come to destroying the future of democracy in America.

        Basically, Pepper Pike and Beechwood destroyed Nina Turner’s election. They are – I assure you – very pleased with themselves at this juncture. They are rarely less than very pleased with themselves however. It’s kind of a background sensibility for them. But…. they shop at the Trader Joe’s on Chagrin Blvd! So. They must be excellent people.

    3. Hepativore

      Another problem too is that most of these upper middle class suburbanite “normies” tune in to conventional news sources for their information and have neither the awareness or motivation to listen to sources other than CNN or MSNBC or read publications other than the New York times and Huffington Post. Considering how selective media like this is on what they will and will not cover as well as the way it is slanted, it perpetuates the confirmation bias of normie liberal Democratic voters. This is also the group that is most likely to vote in any sort of political election.

      As much as I hate to bring up Balloon Juice, I think that the online left should frequently lurk there to examine how the average liberal Democrat thinks. While the place is indeed toxic and the people there vile, this is a case study on what the real left/progressive movement is up against. It does not matter how much you try and point out to them how biased and inaccurate cable news media is or how classist traditional Democrats are, as a lot of liberal voters regard anything to the left of Rachel Maddow or David Brock as being part of the “dirtbag left” and will do the mental equivalent of calling security to throw you out of their gated communities before going off to Sunday brunch

      I am not sure what the strategy of dealing with this political demographic is, as they seem to be the largest component of people who vote Democrat, and even if they recognize how conveniently their idpol narratives ignore the matter of class and income disparity, they like the feeling of looking down on the masses of “unwashed” as being “ignorant, uneducated peasants”. It is the same mentality as the snooty wasp couple that Zee ran into in that animated movie, Antz that came out years ago.

      1. marcyincny

        I agree. I have a brother and my husband has a sister, both live in the district. They and theirs are registered Democrats and none of them would ever vote for someone as left as Turner. We can’t even talk to them about politics since Trump.

      2. a fax machine

        There is only one strategy: await their demise. The suburban ideal is no longer sustainable, and can only collapse. It will either do so rapidly in a banking crisis (as with 2008) or gradually as automobiles become expensive in a global resource crisis (as with 1972). Either everyone realizes that they must struggle, either through labor or taxation, to build a better society or what we have will cease functioning. A high standard of living requires lots of money; if there is insufficient money then roads close, trucks arrive late, and the power becomes intermittent. We are already seeing this with the rise of home diesel generators due to PG&E’s breakdown. That, and the wildfires, are the most visible cracks in the dam. Stability politics is incompatible with a capitalist system based on instability and chaos.

        In a more practical manner, where Biden fails the next Trump will win. The more well-to-do Democrats ignore the working class, the more extreme the reactionary response will be.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the normalib Democrats are an incurable obstacle to progress, then they will have to be “destroyed” before a way to progress can be found. What is a way to “destroy” them? Meaning perhaps to “destroy” their presence in public life and their importance in the electorate and in elections?

        I don’t know. But a thought occurs to me. If they are indeed the incurable base of the Democratic Party, the Execrables, if one will, then how does one destroy them and their party?

        Would launcing a Sanderista primary challenger to every normalib Democrat officeholder there is be a start? Only in the sense that it would put an “electronic gunsight red dot” on the forehead of every normalib Democrat office-seeker/reseeker. Once they were red-dotted that way, the primary-defeated Sanderistas would all unanimously vote for the Republican in the subsequent election in order to delete the normalib Democrat from office. If the Sanderistas really had the discipline to do that, they could slowly exterminate whole generational cadre-loads of normalib Democrats from political and public life.

        If the extermination phase were completed thoroughly enough that the Normalib Democrat Party had run out of office-seekers to nominate for elections, the Sanderistas could then run and win in DemParty primaries, and if they could get nominated, they could run their primary victors as Sanderista Democrats. The Normalib Democrat basemembers would then all vote Republican of course, in order to “get even”. But would enough independent and disaffected citizens vote for the Sanderista Democrat to get it elected to office? If so, each such victory could be used to exterminate all the normalib holdovers, embeds and left-behinds from those little parts of the DemParty right around the office just conquered by that Sanderista.

    4. Big River Bandido

      I really think everyone is reading *way* too much into the results of a single special election held in a single Congressional district in August.

      Primaries are low turnout elections. Special elections are especially low turnout. Special primary elections? Gear Dog, IIRC there weren’t even 30,000 total votes cast — Congressional districts average 600,000 people. Talk about value N being too low…

      Party establishments *love* them special elections like this. Absolutely easy to gang up on any potential upstarts. Instead of a normal primary, where the party has to parcel out contributions among different races, in a special election they can take all that money and dump it into a single race, where it has much more influence. No doubt the Democrat Party will profusely thank that ex-Trumper slumlord who gave them a $1 million last week for letting the rent moratorium to expire. And don’t forget the untold millions from AIPAC and the Israel lobby — to say nothing of the effect that their bullying and lies have on the “True Blue” dedicated partisans who come out to vote in contests like this.

      If there is a takeaway here for the left, it’s a reality check on the amount of organization that is required, regardless of which long term strategy is pursued to power. Also a good reminder of how much harder it is to organize in localities where the people are more economically stressed.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it’s a reality check on the amount of organization that is required, regardless of which long term strategy is pursued to power. Also a good reminder of how much harder it is to organize in localities where the people are more economically stressed.

        Yes, to both. Being poor keeps you extremely busy.

  3. farragut

    The greatest predictor of whether or not you are or will get vaccinated is whether my wife wanted to me to get vaccinated. She did, so I did.

    Harmony at home is … priceless.

    1. Anon

      There are those that would identify you as a self proclaimed ‘cuck’.

      I’m not willing to extend that level of respect to you…

      Just sayin’…

      1. Brian Beijer

        I’m not sure what ‘cuck’ is supposed to mean, but it seems that you meant it to be an insult.

        I think farragut was expressing a legitimate perspective on why a large percentage of people have taken the Covid vaccine. They do it simply because family or friends have gotten the vaccine.

        My wife, who is far more intelligent than me, just got vaccinated today. She might give you a whole list of reasons why, quoting all the typical news headlines. I suspect though, that the real reason is because her family have taken the vaccine. Well, I’m sure it mostly came down to her dad getting it.

        This entire mess is far too complicated, and frankly too terrifying, for most people to want to spend time researching it; not to mention trying to make a good decision when they feel like the subject matter is way over their head.
        Personally, I’ve read far more information about viruses, biology, vaccines and RNA mumbo jumbo than I will ever hope to understand. There isn’t a day that goes by when I struggle with doubts about the decision I’ve made not to take the vaccine. Most people don’t want to deal with all this, so they do whatever the ones closest to them, or the ones they most respect, do.

        The decision to take or not take this vaccine is as personal as it is important. I try my best not criticize anyone’s reasons for making the choice that they’ve made. Utlimately, each of us will experience very real consequences of the choice we make. Who am I to tell someone else that their reasons aren’t the right ones for them?

        1. Brian Beijer

          I mean’t to write, “There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t struggle with doubts about the decision I’ve made not to take the vaccine.”

        2. Cuibono

          thank you for a kind and thoughtful response. wish there was more of that in the world these days

      2. Milton

        Jesus. Did I just venture onto a sports blogging site? What’s with the smack talk (or whatever the kids call it these days).

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There are those that would

        Tactical points for the evasive intro, but this is pure ad hom. Plus, “cuck” is unsuitable for a family blog, which you are making look bad.

        To this idiotic comment I would counterpose this wise saying: “Happy wife, happy life” (assuming they both made good picks, of course).

        1. Yves Smith

          Oh, you are being too polite. And since now we’ve been forced out of the family blog territory, Anon has identified himself as a man who isn’t getting laid. Only men who are willing to and indeed happy to please women get treated well in bed…other than by paying up on a transactional basis.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        I’m just venturing a guess here, Anon, but . . . . perhaps what farragut is saying is that . . . . he’s sorry, but you must have mistaken him for someone who gives a shit about what you think.

  4. zagonostra

    Matthew Dowd
    @matthewjdowd·

    The greatest predictor of whether or not you are or will get vaccinated is whether you are part of Republican base. There is no segment in society so staunchly anti science and uninterested in the common good.

    Well that Republican base does tend to have a lot of guns so they probably lack that “‘Wisdom and Fear’ that older folks have. If we can just ramp-up the fear factor, maybe tell them they’ll be impotent and stupid if they aren’t vaccinated, you know like the recent studies linked to earlier suggest.

    I also would love to see the study that shows that Republican base is “uninterested in the common good,” they certainly see getting there in starkly different (deluded maybe) way maybe.

    1. Arby

      Most unvaccinated demographic group is African Americans.

      Also the group with highest Vitamin D deficiency which hinders natural ability to fight any virus.

      1. rowlf

        In my area Vitamin D and Zinc are hard to find in grocery stores. Maybe the unvaccinated are trying to reduce their risk.

    2. kareninca

      I’m a registered Democrat and I have absolutely no interest in being vaccinated. I get really tired of the stereotypes.

  5. Michael

    The authors themselves aren’t sure what cues the algorithms they created use to predict a person’s race.

    No. That’s not scary, at all!

    1. Synoia

      The AI lack of a decision path records appears to me as negligence, driven by laziness.

      It has to be possible’e to provide a trace (and log) of the decisions made, or paths selected, and the associated decision factors.

      Yes the decision trail could make the computation slower, and generate much record, but how else can one get a provable (and thus relevant) result?

      Am outcome where the AI cannot prove the conclusion, and document the steps up to the conclusion, appears to me as sloppy practice by the controlling humans.

      Any such “result” shop;d be tossed out, and the people responsible;e for the sloppy proof should excluded (disbarred) from the practice.

      1. Tom Stone

        Synoia, you mistake the purpose of AI.
        It is there to give the right people the answers they want with a “Scientific” gloss.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Probably a way to avoid legal liability as well. In a court of law, they can say, ‘Your honour, it was not us that made that decision but the AI – that we leased from a third party. Not really anything to do with us as at all.’

          1. Greg

            Said third party being a disposable vehicle in a convenient territory. Thus the circle is closed and liability is perfect.

      2. PhilJ

        There’s a fair chance they are using some form of neural network to classify the images. In which case, there are no decision path records, just lots of nodes and paths with weights mapping to pixel values. Why the algorithm decided on the weight values quickly becomes too hard for us humans to follow.

        There is a log of all the attempts it made with different weights but there are probably hundreds of thousands of attempts and the adjustments are usually just tweaks based on a feedback mechanism of “a little more here and I get better results” plus some randomisation.

      3. vlade

        It’s pretty much impossible to have a “decision log” with the AIs*). As PhilJ above says, AI aren’t making a decisions, they are scoring inputs and then selecting the closest known output with a similar score (to put it extremely roughly).

        And why the scoring is such as it is, is something that can’t be really worked out except saying “well, when you train on _this_ set of inputs, in this particular order, it will be like that”.

        Which is why say the EU moves to make AIs more transparent is a possible death knell (and hence likely won’t happen). They fundamentally can’t.

        *) I hate calling it Artificial Intelligence, or even machine learning. They are simply statistical pattern matchers. Learning for me is not just being able to match patterns, but more importantly being able to put different things together in novel ways (novel not necessarily in the context of humanity, but definitely in the context of the individual). Which these are nowhere near to at the moment.

        The “fascinating” results (like writing essays that look as if a human did so) is just:
        – a proof that the more you restrict typewriting monkeys, the more likely they are to write Shakespeare (duh, as if one needed that)
        – a proof that most of what gets written is a mediocre garbage (duh, as one needed that either)
        – that humans see patterns and agency in everything (that’s something that bears repeating), when someone reads it and tries to see some hidden depths in it (cf Eliza). I’ll see hidden depths in it when the AI writes an essay, and THEN explains its thoughts (cogently) to a human peer running a discussion on it.

  6. zagonostra

    Didn’t see any link’s reference Trumka’s death (he was so gungho on mandatory vaccines)

  7. zagonostra

    >Saagar Enjeti: Media IGNORES BOMBSHELL New Lab Leak Evidence

    So it looks pretty conclusive it was a Lab Leak. Oddly, not too many people seem to be interested in origins anymore.

    I’m glad Saagar is reporting on this (and it has been available in other venues for sometime), but I disagree with his conclusion, that we are all in some way responsible for wrong headiness about origin because of Trump induced cultural war.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgAl0uSB9cA&ab_channel=BreakingPoints

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Wait until they tell us that the leak was caused by one of Fauci’s endowments to Wuhan Lab.

    2. chris

      There’s a lot of evidence on the natural evolution of this virus. There’s also the 2 other times recently a coronavirus has developed and caused a multinational outbreak, so remember that when you say it’s a lab leak you have to account for that possibility too. Even if this didn’t come from a lab we need to reinstate the ban on finding for gain of function research so that the next one doesn’t!

      And regardless of whether it leaked from a lab or gree up in the wild we need to do better with handling the current crisis. We also need to get ahead of the next one. We need to fund the sewer survey for projects like the rat study. We need to figure out how we went so wrong with this pandemic early on. We need an Operation War Speed for anti-viral prophylaxis. We need to finish seeing if drugs like ivermectin actually help with covid!

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    “Not a banjo to be heard.”

    i’ve been keeping a close eye on those particular maps since you started providing them…i like county level things…i can visualise my area better.
    however, i wonder about reporting…or lack of reporting…in the more rural areas like where i live.
    my county has 5 actives officially…including one of 2 guys who does vehicle inspections.
    all last year, the official county #’s were way below what the jungle drum network said they should have been.
    of course, for the last 3+ months, i’ve been so covered up with the ongoing layered chaos that we haven’t been talking to people or paying much mind to our contacts within the jungle drum network…and haven’t been home reliably enough to hear the scanner.
    so i’m at a loss as to what the real story is out here.
    hardly anyone but dems (and actual lefties…a mere handful) and old/sick folks are wearing masks…and the official count of vaxxed is around 35%…unknown how accurate that is…especially since one cannot get a shot here, in our county.
    we also don’t have a hospital…or an ER…so no numbers at all for that and/or deaths…save what the JD Network provides.
    my point is that i suspise that it’s still difficult to get an accurate picture, in this part of texas…and i would assume that goes for other rural places in red states, where the pols have an interest in downplaying the crisis.

    1. albrt

      It’s not just in rural places. Here in Maricopa County, Arizona, it’s very difficult to get tested even if you want to, and neither the red nor the blue powers that be have any interest in anything that would lead to reporting more cases.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i haven’t attempted to get tested…last time was in february(?)
        easy enough, then…even out here.
        it was the kind with a giant q-tip stuck up yer nose into your brain
        as i’ve said, i’ve been far too busy to do my usual informal surveys/eavesdropping/talking to people in the feedstore…and the 2-5 nurses who would show up out here, at least one a day, for stepdad’s wound care have been absent while he’s been at the VA for 3 months.
        the few times i’ve had opportunity to speak to them in that time, it was all about stepdad…me wanting a different source than just mom as to his condition.
        so i’m in the dark completely about testing in this part of texas.
        i will note that the roadside testing outfits, from here to san antone, have vanished.
        if last year was any indication, we’re not doing near enough testing.
        far too many “it ain’t real”-ers in my neck o the woods….local authorities simply don’t want a bunch of angry yelling people thronging their offices, or following them home…their hands have been thus tied from the get-go…unable to anything substantial except beg, plead and mildly cajole.

      2. Tom Doak

        It’s not just difficult to get a test, but it isn’t guaranteed to be free, either. I had to get a test today after hearing that someone I had lunch with last week had tested positive. Nobody could tell me how much my test will cost; it’s going through my insurance, but likely to be $100 or $200 and keep me waiting for 2-3 days on a result. There are, naturally, lots of people who would just blow off getting a test in those circumstances, and I can’t say I’d blame them.

      3. chris

        And there’s also the difficulty of what happens if you’ve already had COVID, completed whatever requirements your jurisdiction had, and want to get tested again. Our current system isn’t cut for this.

        I’m lucky that at my employer we have the option of in-house testing. I have no idea what other people do.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Completely off topic, but I wondered if you’ve ever visited Bamberger Ranch Preserve. We talked about the place yesterday as part of a weekly “good news” story, and I wondered how you felt about it. It shocked me that Bamberger cut down all the juniper trees as a first step (not a gin drinker apparently). His read was that his area was too arid to support trees initially, and that he had to go native grass to build the soil first. Different strokes for different ecosystems, I guess.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        mesquite came to the hill country with cows from south texas/mexico.
        wasn’t here, before the late 1800’s(think Lonesome Dove).
        the juniper…what we all call “cedar”, as in “cedar fever”…was once confined naturally to the hill tops and hillsides…until humans started suppressing wildfires.
        both trees are water hogs….and both are also aleleopathic: they suppress germination and growth of other plants, like native grass, under their driplines.
        bamberger, if i remember right, were the folks that did a long term experiment, regarding getting rid of the mesquite altogether, and limiting the juniper to the hilltops and sides…and watching the springs come back.
        it worked.
        springs on the place that hadn’t run in an hundred years, flowed again.
        this experiment has been ongoing since at least when i moved out here…some 25 years ago.

        the rich folks who have been buying up distressed legacy ranches out here for 20 years often follow this model…clearing out cedar and mesquite, and planting all manner of native plants.
        i’m all for such efforts, so long as they stick to the guidelines as far as what gets planted(ie: not coastal hay or hemp or something…but actual natives.)
        it should also be noted that clearing cedar and mesquite is hard frelling work…cedar brakes are cleared with a skid steer, and then by hand, with chainsaws, etc…mesquite, with chainsaws and human labor.
        my eldest is employed with a local company that does this kind of work.
        they use an herbicide(can’t recall the name off the top of my head) to clear out the prickly pear that often prevents even approaching the rogue trees.
        end result is short grass prairie with scattered oak motts and all manner of woody brush along the gullies and creeks that thrived here, prior to fire departments.
        again, i’m all for these endeavors…this is what restorative agriculture looks like: restoring the hill country to a landscape similar to what was here 150 years ago.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Thanks for that background. I think there’s such a chorus of, “Plant trees!!! They’ll save us.” that we lose sight of the fact that some trees are not big positives.

          The pictures we saw of the Bamberger place reminded me of the old Nicholson movie “Goin’ South” that was shot, if I remember, in Mexico.

  9. jsn

    “• I’m surprised savings in the US are lower, given our grotesquely swollen vehicles.”

    I think the US does better here than Inda and China because old coal plants are even worse than American SUVs.

    1. MRLost

      Paragraph 2 of the link states the study only compared mid-sized vehicles so those 4000 and 6000 pound pickup trucks aren’t in the pool.

      Thanks so much for the Stones vid. They really are the world’s greatest rock & roll band, bar none. And Mick once stated that Charlie Watts IS the Rolling Stones.

  10. saywhat?

    49.8% of the US is fully vaccinated. lambert

    Unless you subtract the early ones whose vaccinations have expired?

    Personally, I believe in residual immune protection unless co-morbidities negate that residual protection but per the official line that immunity only lasts 6-8 months after vaccination, shouldn’t you start subtracting as well as adding to the fully vaccinated percentage?

  11. Robert Hahl

    re: Mask-fit tips from Dr @SandhyaRamanat1

    I saw this tip last year, probably here. My wife and I tried it, but it didn’t work for either of us. Our faces were too big though we are not large people.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Do not stand behind someone with a poor mask fit” is new advice to me. Thanks for gesturing in that direction!

      2. jsn

        We bigger faced people can achieve close to the same effect by simply folding the ear loops as she does in the video before tying them, but not tying them: the strap off the bottom of your ear pulls better tension over nose and cheeks, the one above your ear pulls up against your chin.

        It’s the only way I can wear one without fogging my glasses.

    1. Anon

      The mask-fit tips were very helpful to me. I have a small face and have been struggling to get a good fit for my masks for more than a year! Thank you!

    2. jr

      You can also wear a surgical mask under the 95, properly positioned it’s a pretty strong seal. And don’t forget holding your breath in tight spots like passing someone in a hallway etc.

  12. jsn

    “UPDATE I hate this talking point, so so much:”

    The much larger monument behind the one in focus, who’s inscription is outside the frame, reads, “I listened to the Experts”

    1. The Rev Kev

      They should have showed the ones at Arlington-

      ‘I thought that I was fighting for Freedom and Liberty.
      Turns out I was fighting for Dow and Jones.’

      There is a name for people that do their own research, consider the evidence, and make judgement calls on the basis of what they have learned – citizens.

    2. jr

      Even if you listen to the experts, why the hell wouldn’t you still do your own research? And what if the experts disagree or, as our experts often do, contradict one another? I’m so tired of PMC’s and their ilk. They have the safety of “herd stupidity” to fall back on. Uncritical, incapable of an independent thought, cocooned in a soft, downy web of self-conscious delusion.

  13. cnchal

    > . . . We don’t know how AI works, and we can’t maintain AI systems. Why are we doing this?

    Because playing with fire is what we do. That piece of chip is freaky. Either we get the hang of it or it’s going to hang us.

    There is no way to stop it unless the system grinds to a halt on it’s own from way too much complexity. We have jumped the shark already with a chip shortage and effects, container shortage and massive price increases for shipping crapola all over the world with Covid now everywhere, data breaches and hijacking crimes, some no doubt using AI to become better crooks, and on it goes. It looks to me as if the disruptions are amplifying themselves.

  14. marku52

    AnecData from Jackson County OR, that red rectangle at the CA OR border in the CDC riser picture.

    There is a drive through testing lab next to our grocery store. Last month, zero to one car in line. Today, the line goes all around a Home Depot sized building.

    I’m not presuming this is a good sign….

  15. Dr. John Carpenter

    One of the best compliments I ever got as a drummer was when someone found out I played and said they figured because I gave off that vibe. I asked them to explain, because I’m thinking the stereotypical, Animal from the Muppets thing, which is really not me at all. She said “you just have that Charlie Watts vibe” and I was beyond flattered. I’ve always really loved his playing and think he’s the coolest Stone. Definitely the best dressed.

    1. marku52

      Another cool thing about Charlie. Watch his hi hat hand. He almost always drops the HH beat that is in time with the snare. I figure he learned that back playing with a loud band before real PAs and monitors became a thing and needed the extra reach to really whack the snare.

      His beat to “Monkey Man” is deliciously insane.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        I love watching drummers in a band covering a Stones song because so few of them do this and it always sounds wrong. The dropped hi-hat beat is the key to Charlie’s sound. (He also has a slight shuffle feel, as someone who worships jazz guys would probably pick up. It’s another little bit that makes his playing distinctive.)

    2. begob

      Lisa Fisher’s performance featured in the excellent documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about backing singers in the US music industry.

      Also the unaccompanied backing track by the singer on the original recording, Merry Clayton – spine tinglingly spooky. The band called her in the middle of the night for the recording, and she turned up at the hotel with a fur coat over her nightie, intending to “blow them away.”

      The stories of the singers are sad – mostly used and discarded in a heavily skewed system of hierarchy. Bitter irony, given the lyrics of Gimme Shelter: If I don’t get some shelter/
      Ooh yeah I’m gonna fade away.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Also the unaccompanied backing track by the singer on the original recording, Merry Clayton – spine tinglingly spooky. The band called her in the middle of the night for the recording, and she turned up at the hotel with a fur coat over her nightie, intending to “blow them awa

        Clayton was also four months pregnant at the time…

  16. Keith

    Two articles about work place policies requiring the covid vax, one at CNN and the other one about the drummer from the Offspring having to resign his position in the band for refusing the vax, due to his medical history. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/cnn-fired-3-staffers-for-coming-to-the-office-unvaccinated-against-covid-19/ar-AAMZ7Og and https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-offspring-drummer-claims-he-was-fired-for-refusing-to-take-covid-19-vaccine-due-to-his-pre-existing-conditions/

    Both articles mention that the vax is becoming industry standards. I am wondering when the next shoe drops where the unvaccinated start claiming discrimination and launching lawsuits. With this issue being quite contentious and high profile (plus potentially lucrative), I can see lawyers wanting to get involved. Plus, there is the slippery slope argument, how much medical privacy must we give up to live in a society. Today it is a virus with a low lethality (although there are concerns and debate about lingering effects) rate and an experimental vaccine, which to me sets the bar pretty low for further imposition of interests by private enterprise at the behest of the state. I guess that brings up other questions, such as how much of this is being pushed by the state and at what point does this private action encouraged by the state become a state action? It seems like the vaccine debate is also an opening a door (or perhaps another door) to fascism.

    In my line of work, while no official guidance is available, the general consensus will be an attestation with no proof needed to declare whether or not you are vaccinated.

    1. marku52

      Theoretically, it is quite illegal to require someone to accept an experimental drug. There must be fully informed consent. And that just lets out any notion of requirement.

      But we aren’t going to let anything like the law stop us from minting some more Vaccine Billionaires.

  17. petal

    Hanover reinstates mask ordinance after COVID-19 spike at Dartmouth
    Snip: “HANOVER, N.H. —
    Hanover, New Hampshire, selectmen are once again requiring people indoors to don a mask as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state.

    Town officials paused the mask ordinance in June as COVID-19 cases dropped, but it’s now back in force. The decision was made in an emergency session of the Board of Selectmen after a spike in cases at Dartmouth College among vaccinated people.

    “To see a tenfold increase — mind you, from one to 10, that sounds overly dramatic — in 24 hours, combined with the fact that these folks had been vaccinated, that was for us the sort of uh-oh,” said town manager Julia Griffin.
    ….In a statement, Dartmouth College said, in part:

    “Dartmouth is concerned by the rise in cases among fully vaccinated members of our community. We are discussing what steps we may want to take and will make an announcement soon.”

    The town said another driving force for reinstating the mask mandate was the proximity of the campus to the downtown area, along with the desire to be proactive.

    “We have the highest counts in the county right now,” Griffin said. “That has us concerned.”

    One difference from the previous ordinance is that masks are not required outdoors, physical distancing is not required, and there are no limits on the size of gatherings.”

    A little more at the link but not a lot.

    One of the cases is on a dept floor at work(not mine, but a little too close for comfort). As soon as the mask rule was dropped, I had told my group you can still get it and transmit it if vaccinated. As I posted before, they went back to wearing masks within a week. Funny to see it all playing out now. Our dept chair had been gung-ho masks off and you’re totally protected(vaccines give you freeeeeedom!) and pushed to get the mask rule dropped. Vaccinated people didn’t have to wear a mask and were only being tested once a month. Unvaccinated had to keep wearing masks and be tested twice a week. Was informed that is going to change now for vaccinated people(more frequent testing+masking). Thank you, NC. You protected me and my people. I’m doing my best to educate those around me, including the lab, my family-bartender brother and elderly mother, using the information here and it’s working. Am very grateful to all of you. “News you can use” for sure.

    1. zagonostra

      The whole idea of vaccine passports is absurd. Even with the vaccine, people will catch the new COVID-19 variants, and they will pass them on to others.

      Very thorough article, thanks for posting.

      My spider senses tell me the desire to institute passports come from multiple motives and will have multiple uses outside of CV19 related concerns. With digital technology the ability to track people is going to be very useful to certain people/corporations/gov’t. It’s just too good to pass up on passports, never let a crisis go to waste.

      1. Carolinian

        Biden has truly flipped on the vaccine issue and demonstrated one of his bigger character flaws which is to attack people who question or criticize him. White House reporters get the bulls eye and not just deplorables and Trumpies. He’s probably also getting some very bad advice.

        If the article is correct that vaccines merely delay and extend Covid then the presumed end game will be that anyone remotely likely to be susceptible will eventually get it and move the immunity solution more in the direction of natural immunity rather than the engineered version. According to Worldometer over 30 million Americans have gotten it and likely many more haven’t been recorded

        Or that’s how this amateur reads it. Perhaps more qualified commenters disagree.

    2. Carolinian

      A good article I think and reflects some of the concerns that are now coming through on this site.

  18. allan

    The states are the laboratory Petri dish of democracy:

    New York will let local schools set COVID guidelines, including on mask mandates
    [Rochester D&C]

    New York state health officials have abandoned plans to issue new COVID-19 guidelines for in-person learning for K-12 schools this fall, leaving decisions on mask wearing and other precautions to the discretion of local school officials, according to two education groups informed of the decision.

    Robert Lowry, of New York State Council of School Superintendents, said officials with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office late Wednesday informed him of the decision to allow local school and health officials to devise individualized plans for reopening schools.

    The move marks a sudden turnaround from prior comments from the state Department of Health, which indicated state government would issue some form of universal guidance soon for keeping students and teachers safe amid the delta variant surge. …

    There are 688 school districts in New York.

    1. curlydan

      My kids’ school district in Kansas just updated their mask guidance this afternoon. After initially only requiring masks for elementary (K-6) which was still against the norm around here, they have now changed for masks for everyone K-12. Sanity. I’m relieved.

      It is a district by district decision around here as well.

  19. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    Link to the CDC PowerPoint that shifted their stance re: the Delta variant. This was linked on Mike the Mad Biologist’s website; crediting him for the content.

    1. antidlc

      The recommendation in the presentation was for “universal masking”.

      Yet, that’s NOT what the CDC recommended.

    2. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

      Also, I’m starting to think that all these workers being hit with workplace Covid vaccine mandates should tell their employers they are not vaccinated, regardless of their true status either way. Think about it: It’s the only way for most regular Americans to finally get Covid tests. Let the boss pay for it.

      The next logical step is for the boss to take on contact tracing too. If you have test data, you have a duty to act, right? I’m sure your basic American middle manager is just dying to be on the Covid front lines interfacing with the CDC app to report positives and contain workplace outbreaks. Also, I’m sure your supe can’t wait for all those employee one-on-ones every week to relay sensitive test results and hear all those whiny sick leave requests.

      I really do not think anyone has thought this through.

  20. AndrewJ

    I’ve lost sight of the point of avoiding the virus anymore, on a personal level. In the left coastal urban city I’m in, mask-wearing in grocery stores never really stopped, though these days there’s a few unmasked walking around there. But that’s not true for restaurants, bars, events, Costco… lots of bare faces. Music shows are resuming, and a few are requiring proof of vax or a 72 hour negative test for entry, to which the clueless liberals I know respond with 🙌 YAS QUEEN, which frankly makes me depressed about how poorly informed the people around me are. Never mind that someone could very easily get Covid in the 72 hours between test and entry, but that these vaccines’ leakiness means 39% of the holy vaccinated will be spreading it around to all and sundry, which should mean that these vaccine mandates by my ostensible peers are pure theater, posturing, and shaming in service of holding up these leaky vaccines as The Only Solution.
    But the horse isn’t just in the next county, it’s on a rocketship to the Moon. Consistent masking this year, maintenance of social distancing, closure of borders, so many things could have been done to give us time for development and testing of therapeutics or development of sterilizing vaccines. But that didn’t happen.
    So now it’s just getting used to life with endemic Covid. Right? Easy for me to say, I suppose, I’m young-ish, got the j&j (so I don’t have to feel like a berk should I end up hospitalized), and suspect that not only did I get Covid last year, I bet ya I got a variant a couple weeks ago, with similar minor symptoms.
    All this is to say I just don’t see the point anymore. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. Me being cavalier enough to go to a show and lower my mask to sip a drink or smoke on the patio is nothing compared to the international travellers, the weekly brunch set, the bar crowd, or the idiots that have been making policy decisions for the last year and a half. I’m keeping my masks for now because I made them, I like them, and I like having not had the flu for a while, or feeling like I’m a vector to others indoors. It feels like the “blue” world has given up our tools of meaningfully controlling the spread as surely as the “red” world has, only with an extra helping of sneering pointless-vax propaganda on top.

      1. upstater

        Andrew Cuomo decreed business as usual for the New York State Fair, beginning in 2 weeks. In normal times 100-125K people attend per day. Makes Sturgis look tame most days. Thanks, Andy!

  21. Geo

    I’m not a bumper sticker person but this line:

    “Extroverts are gonna kill us all”

    makes me want to start putting bumper stickers on my car. Right next to this one from a week or so ago:

    “Binary thinking is gonna kill us all”

    NC needs a merch store!

    1. chris

      Now, I’m confused… is it only crowds of actually peaceful people that are spreading the virus? If they were “mostly peaceful” would the virus still be spread amongst their groupings?

      Awfully strange how that talking point has changed over the last year :/

      1. marym

        If this is a reference to BLM protests in the summer of 2020, that’s maybe conflating 2 different issues. “Mostly peaceful” was an argument made against claims that the protests were mostly violent.

        As far as pandemic issues, people sympathetic to the cause did sometimes argue that the cause was great enough to justify the risk, not that there wasn’t a risk. I didn’t save links, but city officials encouraged protesters to get tested, and there was monitoring and reporting in the weeks following the protests. There was discussion about whether apparently small or not noticeable spikes in cases after the protests were a function of warm weather, protesters mostly being masked, outdoors, facing the same direction while marching. I don’t know if there was further analysis of the outcome, but at least at the time the potential risk was certainly discussed.

        1. chris

          It was a reference to last summer’s protests which were considered virtuous despite a lot of related property damage. We didn’t see any spikes in transmission supposedly from those events. And yet now, with many people having been vaccinated, we’re told these gatherings are awful ideas. Why?

          1. Basil Pesto

            I believe it’s because last year’s strains of the virus did not readily spread outdoors, whereas delta does.

            This was not understood at the time
            last year, so many took a risk and got lucky. Nevertheless, I believe a lot of organised protests last year encouraged distancing and masking, which would have helped.

            I think, particularly with delta, a lot hinges on crowd density, wind, masking uptake etc.

  22. Lee

    Speaking of not being able to find what you want on the internet. Could someone please advise on what percent solution of providone-iodine that is safe and effective to use as a nasal spray. I can buy it at the local pharmacy at 10% concentration but that’s for topical use.

      1. Late Introvert

        Been wondering that myself, and found this from a previous post on NC. Very specific instructions:

        https://today.uconn.edu/2020/06/uconn-health-researchers-find-simple-oral-rinse-can-inactivate-covid-19-virus/

        “Bidra and Tessema recommend using 9.5ml of water and 0.5ml of a commercially available 10% povidine-iodine antiseptic solution to create a 0.5% diluted solution. The dilution should be done immediately before rinsing and the rinsing should be for a minimum of 30 seconds. The only contraindication is for anyone is allergic to iodine, pregnancy or having thyroid problems.”

        1. Yves Smith

          Anything up to 2.5% has been tested as fine if you don’t have thyroid issues.

          Cheap and can’t hurt.

          You can also use it as a nose spray.

    1. upstater

      Trumpka showed promise 40 years ago, but I have been consistently and thoroughly unimpressed in the decades since.

      Hopefully Sara Nelson can become the next AFL-CIO president.

      1. Procopius

        Thanks for that. I never paid enough attention to him because I pegged him for a self-server. All the details are lost in the mist, but I remember being incensed by something he did in support of Hillary that seemed to me clearly anti-labor. I’ve had the impression that, with few exceptions, most of the national labor “leadership” are fat cats who have theirs and want to stay on management’s good side. I should look into the details, but I thought Trumka presided over a decades long decline in the union movement. I recall he just recently criticized President Biden for stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline.

  23. Geo

    Classic ‘People Hug People‘ Defense: “I have to say I never got the impression that Cuomo was “warm.” Mean as a snake, perhaps.”

    I imagine his hugs are like that of a python: predatory.

    Scaramucci once claimed he’s “not a backstabber, I’m a front stabber.” Cuomo seems like the type to give a hug and as he walks away you notice a knife in your back.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Cuomo showed a photo montage of himself affectionately greeting people of various demographics but I would be more interested in seeing the X-rated montage that he managed to acquire.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      So the liberal Democrats have figured out how to implement the libertarian dream of “every road a toll road” by using high tech to conceal the toll, good job

  24. allan

    Critical ocean system may be heading for collapse due to climate change, study finds [Sydney Morning Herald]

    Human-caused warming has led to an “almost complete loss of stability” in the system that drives Atlantic Ocean currents, a new study has found – raising the worrying prospect that this critical aquatic “conveyer belt” could be close to collapse.

    In recent years, scientists have warned about a weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which transports warm, salty water from the tropics to northern Europe and then sends colder water back south along the ocean floor. …

    Scientists haven’t directly observed the AMOC slowing down. But the new analysis, published on Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change, draws on more than a century of ocean temperature and salinity data to show significant changes in eight indirect measures of the circulation’s strength. …

    Video Pack ice in the Irish Sea or it didn’t happen.

    1. Daryl

      It’s grimly amusing how impossible to prepare for all these events seem. I’ve been thinking to myself I should relocate to a colder climate, but then it seems like those climates might be unbearably cold if this collapses. Ah well.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        People who have thought more about this than I do will correct me here, but I don’t think the central variable is air temperature (modulo wet bulb conditions). What you want is high ground (breeze; defensible) and a well. Of course, groundwater is its own issue….

  25. The Rev Kev

    “These Algorithms Look at X-Rays—and Somehow Detect Your Race”

    I think that what American Healthcare would really want is an AI that can look at your X-ray and calculate the maximum amount of money that can be sucked out of you before you go bankrupt.

    1. JBird4049

      We don’t know how our “scientific” tools work, but we blindly trust them to give us answers, because reasons. I think Mathbabe’s (Cathy O’Neil) statement that “algorithms are biases in code” is correct; her statement keeps popping into my thoughts whenever AI or algos are mentioned. I would add my own belief that AIs are that as well it seems.

      The problem is that our tools lack the awareness needed to notice and adjust for whatever bias they have as well as to explain to us how they get to their conclusions. At least an aware individual can realize that they have a bias and try to adjust, and if they can’t accurately do so, they can tell someone else about it. Instead, “It’s Science!!” so therefore it cannot be biased unlike those flawed humans. So no safeguarding against bias, nor is the potential bias acknowledged by the system so that we can adjust our own judgment of the machine’s.

  26. anEnt

    Lambert,

    The following phone may interest you…

    https://www.wired.com/story/justine-haupt-rotary-phone/

    https://www.justine-haupt.com/rotarycellphone/

    https://www.skysedge.com/unsmartphones/index.html

    https://skysedge.com/unsmartphones/RUSP/index.html

    And the designer’s rant about IP, both pragmatically and with respect to IP’s intended purpose, to spur advancement. I agree with most of it, with the addition that if you ever invent anything, for God’s sake don’t do a patent search. If you are later found to infringe and knew about it you’re subject to additional damages where unintentional liability is limited to what reasonable royalties would have been, but in any case, no more than you took in.

    https://www.skysedge.com/philosophy/index.html

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s a very interesting ( to me) article I found at Ran Prieur’s blog, called ” One Lost Methyl Group = Huge Amounts of Food Production.” It describes a kind of genetic engineering having been done on certain plants ” just to see”, and the results in greater growth and production look impressive. But could it pose the kind of lurking dangers that other GMOing has created within food? It should be subjected to years of hostile study to see and make sure, and if nothing bad is found after every GMO sceptic has inspected it every possible way, perhaps it should be considered for use.

    Anyway, here is the link.
    https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2021/07/28/one-lost-methyl-group-huge-amounts-of-food-production

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s really hard to deal with people who claim the high ground both intellectually and morally, and who are also completely tactical in all their views. I know that politics ain’t beanbag, but to me this is so, so beyond the pale. It’s like Lincoln saying slavery is OK because he’s worried about his polling*. It’s just bizarre. No common thread but class interest (as Frank basically says).

      I assume there are principled conservatives out there who feel the same about the Republican Party, I don’t know.

      * I make a gift of the title “If Lincoln Had Been a Democrat” to whoever wants to make the video. “With malice toward some, with access to justice…”

  28. tegnost

    The means/covid outreak conditions on the eviction ban are a total giveaway to dems. Look at the map of rapid risers, Largely in dem areas, so fewer evictions there, almost no outbreaks in red areas out side of florida so those people are on the street.
    How’s that for eleventy dimensional…

    1. Wellstone’s Ghost

      That is one of the best watch while stoned videos I have ever seen.
      Secret Life of Plants. Watch it.

  29. a fax machine

    Late to Thursday’s discussion, but perhaps pertinent to Friday’s is today’s Commonwealth Club topic about how the second amendment was typically designed and used to oppress black people:

    https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2021-07-21/carol-anderson-race-and-guns-fatally-unequal-america

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with the position, I’m inclined to beilive it’s just more anti-gun rights rhetoric from someone who wants to ban guns. For clarity, in my view this is about as useful as anti-speech rhetoric from someone who wants to ban free speech (something which, to a much larger degree, was designed for white people and used to oppress blacks in most of the country until the 20th century). However, I don’t have it in me to completely write off the book entirely because, as far as I can tell based on book reviews and the CC’s program, she herself is not necessarily against the idea of black people owning guns. And, in a larger context, traditionally most machine equipment used in the US were used to oppress black people (and women, and the irish, and mexicans) too, yet they became the primary instruments to which the lower classes took (some) power from the upper classes.

    Which leads to my second point: the reviews for this book frame it entirely within race and guns, when I beilive there is more nuance at work. Has anyone here read the book? I’m not exactly asking for buying advice, but I don’t want to sit through a few hundred pages of content I already know for a conclusion I disagree with (or at least, a position I disagree with that falls within the nominal spectrum of liberal politics without any nuance or unique angles). While there’s certainly merit to her argument, I want my ideas challenged in a way that is at least not “guns bad and white people bad” as human social relations are more complex than that.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > sit through a few hundred pages of content

      There’s always (sorry) Amazon preview or (sorry) Google Books. I realize this is a purely technical answer….

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