2:00PM Water Cooler 8/6/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

The last of the reclusive Potoos turns out to the best! Not only do we have a howl, as opposed to a low-pitched snore, we have another sensational symphony for the insect performers this humble bird seems to gather round itself. (The sounds of both insects and Potoo are so regular I wondered if the audio were a loop, but the Potoo calls on the spectrogram seem to vary slightly. Readers?)

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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 back on form. 49.9% of the US is fully vaccinated.

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 “rapid riser” 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.

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

California slows again. Texas slows now too. Musical interlude for Florida data.

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+. 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.

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“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

“Does Biden Understand Contemporary Politics?” [Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic]. “To Democrats in this camp, the infrastructure deal ‘is proof of concept,’ especially if Biden can pair it with an ambitious follow-on bill for human-capital investments passed solely with Democratic votes, says Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the centrist Democratic group Third Way. If Biden can pass those two massive proposals, and contain the pandemic over the coming months, Kessler insists, he’ll be reelected. ‘And if he gets reelected, that could be the end of Trumpism,’ Kessler says.” • And by “especially” we mean only. But Kessler’s vague rubric of “Trumpism”? What does that even mean (and see below on the “Wide Awake” clubs; if the Republicans can actually manage to claim the mantle of Lincoln, that would be quite something. I don’t think they will, because abolition was of its time in a way that the conservative concept of “liberty” is not today, but the, dare I say, smarter conservatives are working through their 2016-2020 experience in a way that Third Way’s doughy flaccidity never has and never will. Yeccccch).

“Forget FDR and LBJ, Joe Biden is a modern-day Justinian” [The Hill]. Justinian, emperor of Rome from 527-565, was famous for two things. First, he had the misfortune to be emperor during the outbreak of a pandemic that would ultimately bear his name…. But Justinian is also famous for a second reason — his failed attempt to restore the decaying Roman imperial order…. Justinian, driven by a somewhat inflated sense of destiny, took it upon himself to attempt a restoratio imperii, a ‘restoration of the Empire.’…. We would do well, then, to remember that Justinian’s reign was not merely one of devastating plague (though it was that). It was also one of delusional geopolitical nostalgia and ultimately self-destructive projects of imperial restoration. And having remembered Justinian’s reign in all its fullness, we would do well to ask ourselves: Is Joe Biden the American Justinian?”

“OnPolitics: The new eviction moratorium may head back to SCOTUS” [USA Today]. “A group of real estate entities asked a federal court late Wednesday to block enforcement of the Biden administration’s new eviction moratorium, reopening a battle that appeared destined to put the legal challenge back before the Supreme Court. Arguing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘caved to the political pressure’ by creating what the administration called a ‘targeted,’ 60-day freeze on evictions in counties with a high spread of COVID-19, the groups asked the district court in Washington, D.C., to immediately block the new moratorium.” Of course it’s “targeted.” When there’s a pandemic, a liberal sees the possibility of a new eligibility requirement. More: “Biden acknowledged that the new moratorium would be hard to defend in court, noting on Tuesday that ‘the bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.'” • Imagine if Trump said that…

“The Incredible Never-Shrinking Defense Budget” [Fred Kaplan, Slate]. “There are a few reasons for this overwhelming endorsement of such a massive increase in defense spending. First, many Democrats believe that it’s necessary to retain support—among moderate Democrats and a few Republicans—for Biden’s massive spending on domestic programs. (This was one reason Biden decided not to cut the defense budget back in May.) Second, in an era when Congress is spending trillions of dollars on COVID relief, infrastructure, child care, and enhanced unemployment benefits, $25 billion doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money. Finally, amid heightened concerns about China’s military expansion, the idea of spending more—even a lot more—on defense is harder to resist. However, these concerns—some real, some exaggerated—aren’t being tethered to any analysis. If progressive Democrats were equally lavish when it came to social programs, conservatives and moderates would assail them for ‘throwing money at the problem.’ In fact, they did say that when presented with a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan. As a result, Biden and key legislators took a close look at the details, narrowed the definition of ‘infrastructure,’ and wound up with a compromise bill that sliced the amount to $500 billion. The congressional committees have done no such analysis of what’s really needed for national defense. For the most part, they have merely taken what the Biden administration gave them and said, ‘More!'”

Democrats en Deshabille

Nobody can accuse the Democrat Party of not having a clear vision. Their vision is quite clear:

“Cuomo Defends Himself Against Sexual Harassment Charges From Women With A Slideshow That Shows That He Sexually Harasses EVERYONE” [Barstool Sports]. Holy moley:

Touch em all, Governor. But not literally. What a defense. The old quarterback cliche is “if you have two quarterbacks then you don’t have one”. Cuomo is out there saying “if I sexually harass everyone then I’m not sexually harassing anyone”. And if you didn’t believe him well Cuomo has a 2 minute video where he makes DOZENS of people uncomfortable. Old, young, black, white, male, female, gay, straight…EVERYONE gets the ick from Cuomo. He isn’t targeting or discriminating. If you have a pulse he will put his lips on you and touch you inappropriately. It’s the intent that matters. Cuomo says he’s just trying to put people at ease and if he accidentally eases his hand down your pants, well, he’s sorry you misinterpreted his gesture of affection. What an absolutely absurd defense. I never understand how dumb things like this make it to a GIANT press conference and to the internet to roast. There’s a real disconnect between people in government and regular citizens. Like how did NOBODY on his team of advisors watch this video and say “yeah, umm…this is a terrible idea”? It’s not just Cuomo. You’d think someone would step up and point out of how stupid this defense is in 2021. But maybe anyone on his staff with a brain quit after they were given the ick.

As someone responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the last year you’d think Cuomo would understand that, but apparently not.

When you’ve lost Barstool Sports…

Republican Funhouse

“Ben Domenech: ‘Are You Woke Or Are You Wide Awake?’” [The Federalist]. “One way to ‘stand up to a brittle corrupt leadership that seeks to force you to trade your freedom for the self-satisfaction that no mob will ever come for you,’ Domenech said, is to examine the Wide Awakes from the 1860s. ‘You may not know about the Wide Awakes, but you should,’ Domenech said. “There were hundreds of thousands of them in 1860 and their organizations stretched from Maine to California. They were a militaristic fraternity dedicated to human liberty. They had banners and marches and baseball teams. They carried oil lamps, wore capes, and wielded bats, and they stumped for a rising Republican rail-splitter named Abraham Lincoln.’ While the Wide Awakes were often looked down on by political elites, Domenech noted that ‘there was never in this country a more effective campaign organization than the Wide Awakes.’ ‘They were there at the massive rallies that supported Lincoln, acting as security to prevent the harassment of pro-liberty speakers across the country. Their symbol was a giant eye opened to see the truth. Whether passionate abolitionists or just fed up with the out-of-touch Democratic President James began [Buchanan], the Wide Awakes were united under the belief that they could no longer tolerate the corrupt old order that ran the country. They were awake to the deep reality of this corruption, and they understood, there could be no compromise with a regime of slavery. No looking away anymore,’ Domenech said.” • “a militaristic fraternity”? Hmm.

“‘We have to build off that success’: GOP hopes women lead the party back to House majority” [CNN]. “After a historic number of Republican women were elected to the House in 2020 — including in some of the most competitive races in the country — the party sees a recipe for electoral success and is now doubling down on that same strategy in the battle for the House next year. What has emerged among party leaders, operatives and outside groups is a two-pronged approach: retain their current Republican women in critical swing seats and recruit additional strong female candidates to run in key battleground districts that they hope to flip next year.

And so far, there are signs of that strategy bearing out: A record-breaking number of Republican women have already filed to run for office, while some of the GOP’s top fundraisers this year have been freshmen Republican women. Republicans — who have history and redistricting on their side — only need to flip five seats to seize back the House. And party operatives can point to at least six competitive races where female GOP candidates have already decided to jump in, meaning Republicans could theoretically win back the majority with women alone and add to their historic ranks. But that would mean holding on to every single female incumbent, which will be no easy feat. The GOP women who were responsible for flipping 11 out of 15 seats last cycle will be locked in some of the toughest — and most expensive — contests in the country, and Democrats are determined to take them on.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Apax Merges Software Firms for Non-Profits in $2 Billion Deal” [Bloomberg]. “Private equity firm Apax Partners is merging three software companies serving non-profit organizations in a deal worth about $2 billion, including debt. Apax is buying EveryAction from Insight Partners and Social Solutions from Vista Equity Partners, according to a statement Tuesday. Apax will combine them with CyberGrants, a company it agreed to acquire in June from Waud Capital Partners. Vista will keep a minority stake in the combined company, which will go through a branding process to select a new name and will have annual revenue of over $200 million. All three companies make software used by non-profit organizations, a corner of the technology market that’s fragmented with several small players. Blackbaud Inc. is the largest public company in the space with a market value of $3.4 billion.” • Well, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the Non-Profit Industrial complex got looted and rationalized. That should be clarifying, since the appearance of integrity is critical to the ability of the NGOs to run interference for the Democrat Party. However, the article fails to mention that one of these firms, EveryAction, hosts VAN, the Democrat voter file. What could go wrong? As it turns out, the Republicans outsourced their voter file too, to a thing called the Data Trust, a Delaware LLC. If this undated but post-2012 FEC filing is still valid, here is its corporate structure:

Those “private investors” don’t seem to be named anywhere (and one can only wonder how many of them are straws). So it looks to me like the Democrats left their voter file open to being purchased by an entity outside the party’s control, and the Republicans did not. (Somebody smarter about corporate structures than I am will correct me.)

“Nina Turner Showed That a Left Candidate Can Win Black Workers” [Matt Karp, Jacobin]. Karp’s fast; this extends on his tweet storm yesterday. “Turner’s loss was certainly a defeat for the post-Sanders progressive movement. But a closer look at the results suggests the emergence of a new narrative, too, with rather different implications. While Sanders famously failed to gain crucial support from black working-class voters — a demographic that other progressives have struggled to win, too — Turner held her own. Even in defeat, she may well have won more black working-class votes than Cori Bush did in her victorious campaign in Missouri last summer. A comparison between the Turner and Bush campaigns may be instructive here. Both candidates performed best with the core constituent of the larger Sanders coalition: younger voters in large cities. Turner cleaned up in the western half of Cleveland; Bush ran the table in southern St Louis. To call all of these areas “gentrifying neighborhoods” would be to oversimplify, but they do fit a certain profile: compared to the whole of Cleveland and St Louis, they are better-educated, younger, and more racially diverse (though usually majority-white). But in poor and working-class black precincts, there is a gap between the two candidates. In East Cleveland — whose population is 90 percent black, with a median income of just above $20,000 a year — Turner lost to Brown by less than three points. In Cleveland’s Ward 9, with a similar demographic profile, Turner won by four. On the whole, Turner won five of Cleveland’s nine black-majority wards and lost four (all of them narrowly, by less than two points). She won the city of Cleveland overall, as well as the black-majority city of Akron. This is a major gain from the Sanders 2020 campaign, which lost all of these areas by fifty points or more. But it’s also a better performance than Cori Bush managed in demographically similar parts of her district: in the black, lower-income wards of North St Louis, Bush generally lost by between fifteen and twenty-five points. Even in Ferguson, Missouri, itself — the base for her years of activism — she lost by twelve points.” • I would want to know about age too, in addition to class, since Sanders did do much better with young Black voters.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “July 2021 BLS Jobs Situation – Job Gains Again Excellent” [Econintersect]. “The headline seasonally adjusted BLS job growth was near expectations, with the unemployment rate worsening from 5.9 % to 5.4 % … The economically intuitive sectors were positive for economic growth.”

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Finance: “Analysis: CEOs and central bankers talk past each other on inflation” [Reuters]. “The bosses of top multinationals are fretting about rising inflation but the very people responsible for keeping price growth in check – central bankers – seem unfazed…. “Inflation” is the buzzword of the second-quarter earnings season as companies of all shapes and sizes grapple with price pressures stemming from pandemic-related hits to supply chains struggling to keep up with post-lockdown surges in demand…. Chair Jerome Powell said last month that the factors driving prices higher now – a 45% surge for used cars from last year or a 25% bump-up for airline tickets – are unlikely to be repeated in perpetuity. ‘We’re anxious like everybody else to see that inflation pass through,’ Powell said…. Central bankers are inclined to take complaints of large, listed companies about price pressures with a pinch of salt; they know that, unlike the smaller companies that make up the backbone of the economy, the bigger ones have the power to influence and hedge price developments in their supply chain. More fundamentally, central bankers in the United States and the euro zone are wary of repeating mistakes of the past decade, where they tightened policy at the earliest signs of growing price pressures that never fully materialised in the end.”

Real Estate: “Investors Chasing Housing Target Massive Pools of Airbnb Rentals” [Bloomberg]. “Investors hunting for returns in the frenzied U.S. real estate market are tapping a new strategy: building massive portfolios of houses to rent out on Airbnb. A recent filing reveals that Dublin, Ohio-based ReAlpha.com is seeking to spend as much as $1.5 billion, including debt, to buy short-term rentals at an unprecedented scale. The money would be enough to purchase roughly 5,000 homes, Chief Executive Officer Giri Devanur said in an interview. … Plans to buy giant pools of rentals would mark a shift toward a consumer experience with Airbnb that more closely resembles a hotel stay*. But it comes as record-low home inventory pushes prices higher for average buyers and Wall Street investors alike. ‘The business model has been proven, and now the opportunity is to do this at scale,’ said Scott Shatford, CEO of AirDNA, which provides data and analytics to the industry. ‘People can’t figure out how to deploy capital quickly enough.'” • Well, there’s a lot of capital sloshing about. Hey, remember “the sharing economy”? When did that stop being a thing? NOTE * Like hotels, except with no regulation or those pesky unions. Heck, there’ll probably be a pool that specializes in party houses.

Real Estate: “Big banks are starting to push back their return to offices in response to Delta variant” [CNN]. “Major players on Wall Street are beginning to push back their return-to-office dates because of surging Covid-19 cases. Wells Fargo on Thursday said it would push back the reopening of its offices by about a month to early October, making it the biggest bank yet to shift gears because of rising Covid-19 cases. And BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is also delaying until October. Those announcements came a day after US Bank, which had planned to bring employees across the country back to offices on September 7, announced a delay… If more companies delay their office reopenings, it would deal a blow to the restaurants, bars and other small businesses that had been banking on a return of office workers this fall.”

The Bezzle: “The Colonial Pipeline ransomware gang is back under a new name” [Quartz]. “The DarkSide hackers appear to be back in business under the new moniker ‘Black Matter.”… In fact, some cybersecurity experts say US law enforcement’s victory over DarkSide could have been a charade from the start. In the days after DarkSide shut down, several users on hacking forums claimed to be jilted DarkSide business partners who were owed money for their role in previous ransomware attacks but never got paid. Some speculated the narrative about US law enforcement shutting down the group was just a cover story for DarkSide to declare “bankruptcy,” at least in black market terms, and run off with whatever money they had left. The Washington Post has reported, based on four interviews with anonymous government officials, that the US had nothing to do with disrupting DarkSide…. Darkside’s fate underscores how little power US law enforcement has to stop ransomware hackers on its own.” • Nonsense. Shut down Bitcoin. What’s the issue?

Tech: “The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream” [Wired]. “Those working on the UK team in the last few years, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describe a project that was ‘collapsing inwards’, ‘dysfunctional’ and resembled ‘organised chaos’, run by managers that were ‘detached from reality’ in the years building up to the mass redundancies. They told WIRED about increasing problems within Prime Air in recent years, including managers being appointed who knew so little about the project they couldn’t answer basic work questions, an employee drinking beer at their desk in the morning and some staff being forced to train their replacements in Costa Rica. Amazon says it still has staff working for Prime Air in the UK, but has refused to confirm headcount.” • That’s a damn shame.

Manufacturing: “GM and the Auto Industry Race to Extinguish Costly Battery Fires” [Bloomberg]. “With General Motors earnings this week came another early stumble in the race to electrification. The automaker said it took an $800 million hit for battery warranty and replacement costs for the Chevrolet Bolt. GM has been working on solutions while telling owners of the car not to park it inside and charge it overnight or put a full charge on the battery. The company thinks the defect is rare, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said on the earnings call, but recalled about 69,000 vehicles to ensure customer safety. Let’s not pick on GM. Burning EV batteries has become an industrywide issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has looked at fires in Tesla models, Hyundai’s Kona and Ioniq EVs, and Audi’s e-tron. Not only is NHTSA paying attention, but the public is watching closely as more EVs hit the market…. GM says it’s close to finalizing a fix for the battery. It looks like the recent fires are due to a manufacturing defect because the problem is confined to cars with batteries made at supplier LG Chem’s plant in Ochang, South Korea, according to GM spokesman Dan Flores.”

Mr. Market: “Dow, S&P 500 trade at record highs Friday after better-than-expected jobs report” [MarketPlace]. “The Dow and the S&P 500 index traded at record highs Friday after the monthly U.S. jobs report came in better than expected, as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and shakes off the resurgent delta variant.” • It does? Shake off the delta variant? Well, if Mr. Market is in his happy place, I suppose that’s all that matters.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 34 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 24 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 6 at 11:20am.

The Biosphere

“Bird Species Abundances, from Biggest to Smallest” [Scientifc American]. “Comparing the relative sizes of bird species has long seemed an impossible task—too many species simply lack reliable counts. A recent influx of citizen science data, however, allowed researchers to make global abundance estimates for 9,700 species, about 92 percent of all birds on Earth. Biologists Corey T. Callaghan, Shinichi Nakagawa and William K. Cornwell, all at the University of New South Wales in Australia, combined scientific data for 724 well-studied species with counts from the app eBird [yay!], where people around the world can submit bird sightings. The researchers used an algorithm to extrapolate estimates for all species in their sample. The results, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, confirm a common pattern among animals: across the globe there are many species with small populations isolated in niche habitats and relatively few species that have managed to expand over a wide territory and grow their population into the hundreds of millions or billions.”

Health Care

Measurements and Simulations of Aerosol Released while Singing and Playing Wind Instruments (preprint) [Colorado University Scholar]. From the Abstract: “Outbreaks from choir performances, such as the Skagit Valley Choir, showed that singing bringspotential risk of COVID-19 infection. There is less known about the risks of airborne infection from other musical performance, such as playing wind instruments or performing theatre…. We found that plumes from musical performance were highly directional, unsteady, and vary considerably in time and space. [Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)] modeling showed differences between indoor and outdoor environments and that lowest risk of airborne COVID-19 infection occurred at less than 30 minutes of exposure indoors and less than 60 minutes outdoors.” Odd, that last claim. Relevant to high school bands….

“What are the new top 5 COVID symptoms?” [ZOE Covid Study]. • This is a good dashboard, driven by dynamic data from an app. The list of top symptoms changed with Delta, for example.

“Trump COVID-19 testing czar: Businesses’ vaccine mandates ‘very reasonable'” [The Hill]. “‘I do not believe the federal government should have vaccine requirements. I don’t believe in state areas having vaccine requirements, except for their employees, but yes, we should support businesses like Facebook and Google and Morgan Stanley and so many others that in order to keep their employees safe, and their customers safe, have [requirements],’ [Brett Giroir, who served as former President Trump’s COVID-19 testing czar’ said. ‘I think these are very reasonable, they’re legal and I support that.'” • I’m amazed to hear that the Trump administration did any testing, let alone had a testing czar. That aside, this weak-state neoliberal perspective seems to hold across the poltical spectrum (though perhaps from conviction by conservatives, and cowardice from liberals).

“The Best Masks to Wear on an Airplane” [New York Magazine]. “[W]e spoke with four experts [including] Dr. Waleed Javaid, the director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown. Javaid says he gets this question all the time: ‘Everybody asks me, should we really have an N95? Should we have this and that?’ His answer: ‘You should have whichever mask you’re going to keep wearing.’ According to all of the doctors we spoke to, that mask should have multiple layers and be comfortable enough that you can breathe, and you won’t be tempted to take it off.” • Quite sensible advice.

Our Famously Free Press

“How Provincetown, Mass., stress-tested the coronavirus vaccine with summer partying and delta” [WaPo]. • “Stress-tested.”


“I Bought A Switch And I’m An Idiot, So I Ruined My Daughter’s Birthday” [Kotaku]. • Dead two-factor authentication. The same thing has happened to me, because I used a burner to set 2FA up. No way was I going to give them my “real number.” Fast forward to the time when I’d left the burner in some pile of dead electronic equipment…

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

More very weird, very American food:

I don’t understand this trend at all. Who could possibly think this was a good idea?

“S.F. restaurant’s $72 fried rice was a runaway hit. It was also the chef’s nightmare” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “The crab fried rice at Lily, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Richmond District, had the aesthetics of a jewelry display: radiant bubbles of golden trout and white sturgeon caviar, unctuous sea urchin roe from Hokkaido, Japan, and the meat from three types of crab were arranged on a bed of expertly fried jasmine rice. Bite-size morsels of grilled A4 Miyazaki Wagyu sirloin topped it, along with rock shrimp and the deep-tangerine of jidori egg yolks. Black truffle trimmings bolstered an XO sauce drizzle. It was, all in all, a spectacular example of luxury overload. Despite its $72 price tag, it was also the restaurant’s best-seller, both during its takeout-only days and when the space finally opened for in-person dining. Some nights, 20 to 25 fried rice orders would come in, while customers ignored the rest of the menu. Chef Rob Lam couldn’t take it. In June, he killed the dish. The crab fried rice was a stunt dish, akin to innovations like Kraft macaroni and cheese ice cream and bunless chicken patty sandwiches…. ‘The premise was, let’s do something so over-the-top and bougie,’ he said. ‘We called it the #1 douchebag fried rice.’…. It didn’t help that they didn’t make any money on the fried rice with all of its premium, market-rate ingredients, or that customers would only order that and nothing else on the menu.” • Interesting that “bougie” is a word in casual use in San Francisco…

Groves of Academe

“A Smoking Gun at Columbia University” [Academe Blog]. “A depressingly familiar trend in higher education has been the gradual erosion of ladder faculty positions and their replacement by positions with no prospect of tenure. The former tend to be relatively well-paid and secure; the latter, undervalued and marginal. Though it ranks among the richest American universities, my own institution, Columbia University, has not entirely resisted this trend…. The obvious reason administrators have preferred to hire such faculty is simply to save money. A lecturer is typically paid a fraction of a tenured professor’s salary—at Columbia, perhaps about one-third as much. Yet faculty have long suspected that power, as well as money, is at stake. Untenured faculty, being in a more precarious position, are more susceptible to pressure from administrators and more likely to do as they are told. That Columbia administrators regard this as a boon was recently confirmed by a smoking gun.” Email from Columbia President Lee Bollinger: “… [T]he instructional faculty for the Core is largely composed of non-tenure-track individuals, which means we should have greater leeway to expect in-person instruction, if that’s what we deem best.” • Leeway.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Glen Ford’s Journalism Fought for Black Liberation and Against Imperialism” [Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report]. “I had the honor of working with the late Glen Ford for nearly 20 years. His passing has created a huge void not just for Black Agenda Report (BAR), the site we co-founded with the late Bruce Dixon, but for all of Black politics and left media. Ford identified his political and journalistic stance with both, having created the tagline: “News, commentary and analysis from the black left” for BAR. He was the consummate journalist, a man who demanded rigorous analysis of himself and others, and he lived by the dictum of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Ford co-founded a publication in line with his core values: He did not suffer fools gladly, succumb to corporate media and government narratives, or feel obligated to change his politics in order to elevate the Black face in a high place. Ford spoke of learning this lesson the hard way. He told a story of regret, his ethical dilemma , when he gave one such Black person, Barack Obama, a pass in 2003. At that time, Ford, Dixon and I were all working at Black Commentator . Obama had announced his candidacy for the United States Senate and he was listed as a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DCL), the right-leaning, corporate wing of the Democratic Party. Obama had also removed an antiwar statement from his website. Ford and Dixon posed what they called ‘bright line questions’ to Obama on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, single-payer health care and Iraq. His fuzzy answers should have flunked him, but Ford chose not to be seen as ‘a crab in a barrel,’ one who pulled another of the group down. Obama was given an opportunity to comment in Black Commentator and Ford wrote, “[Black Commentator] is relieved, pleased, and looking forward to Obama’s success in the Democratic senatorial primary and Illinois general election.’ As he witnessed Obama’s actions on the campaign trail and eventually in office, Ford never again felt obligated to depart from his political stances or to defend a member of the group whose politics were not in keeping with the views of the Black left. From that moment on, Glen Ford did not let up on Obama, just as he did not waver from his staunch opposition to neoliberalism and U.S. imperialism.” • Obama conned Glen Ford. The man really was a genius, an evil genius. The whole front page of BAR is devoted to Ford, and it’s all worth a read. It will be interesting to see what direction BAR takes, because its voice is needed more than ever. The BAR staff isn’t going to be getting invites to “the Vineyard” anytime soon.

Class Warfare

“At a Massive Union Rally, the Promise of a Better South” [In These Times]. “The strike at Warrior Met has been going on for four months. But on this day, the rally was on. Several thousand people showed up for what was billed as the ​’Biggest labor rally in Alabama history,’ a claim too good to check. What was certain was that this was not a single rally for a single local of a single union…. Brookwood, Alabama is not a convenient place to get to, even if you live in Birmingham. The fact that thousands of people from across the country had clambered into buses for interminable trips to sit at this rally under the sweltering sun, for people they did not know, was remarkable. I spoke to many of these attendees and, to a person, the question of why they had gone to all the trouble to show up was answered as if it didn’t require any explanation at all. ​’Solidarity,’ they said. ​’They supported us, so we’re supporting them.’ ‘This is what the union’s about.’ … The crowd at the Brookwood rally was multiracial. Not multiracial like a fashion ad, or a painstakingly assembled corporate board, but a large group of Black and white people united for a common purpose. The UMWA miners who are on strike at Warrior Met now are an integrated group, and so their supporters in the community are integrated as well. There were both Black and white people serving as Marshals at the rally, and helping to run it, and speaking from the stage, and sitting in the crowd. The majority of the people from other unions who had shown up in support were Black. The longshoremen were almost all Black, the CWA workers from Atlanta were almost all Black, and on and on. Many of the UMWA members in attendance, and certainly most of the older retirees, were white, religious, and Republican. The entertainment at the rally was almost all gospel and religious music. Singer after singer appeared between speeches to proclaim the glory of the Blood of Jesus. One retired miner made it a point to tell me, at the end of an interview, ​’I’m a Trump guy.’ Across the grass, some of the Black CWA members from Atlanta toted ​’Strike for Black Lives’ signs. At no point during the long, hot day did I see a bit of animosity — or, indeed, even a mention of political differences — between the members of the crowd.” • Couldn’t stop excerpting, but still worth reading in full!

“Poor White Trash” [Dublin Review of Books]. Amazing article on Paula Jones (who [genuflects] Jeffrey Toobin smeared in his book on The Clintons, and who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harrassment back in the days of the Clinton-Lewinsky matter. Jones was the person of whom Clinton operative James Carville famously remarked “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” Liberals dripping with class prejudice, as usual. From the article: “Paula Jones’s family history may have been sad, but it was far from ordinary. Her father, Bobby Gene Corbin, was a preacher with the local Church of the Nazarene, a small evangelical Christian sect that was founded in the early years of the last century. Women played a key role in establishing this church in Arkansas, and its special mission was to spread the Gospel to the poor and underprivileged. That category included Paula’s own family, and her father was compelled to augment the meagre income he earned as a preacher by working in a local factory. It was a precarious existence and, when he fell ill and lost his factory job, the family hit rock bottom and he was declared bankrupt. Despite his straitened financial circumstances, Corbin ensured that his family adhered to the strict moral precepts of the Nazarene Church. Paula and her two sisters were not allowed to cut their hair. They were not permitted to wear make-up, jeans or pants. All their dresses had to be lower than knee-length, and they never owned any that were “store-bought”. The family prayed together each evening, and the girls were taught to avoid all “worldly” pleasures, such as dancing and roller-skating. They were even forbidden to visit the houses of their school friends in case they might be tempted to watch television. Paula Corbin was a young teenager when her father died while performing Gospel music at a senior citizens’ care home.” • If you lived through the Clinton Era, this is an extremely useful corrective, and worth reading in full. One can only wonder why was published in the Dublin Review of Books, and not in the UK, or even the US.

News of the Wired

“Here Come the Robot Nurses” [Boston Review]. “At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Awakening Health Ltd. (AHL), a joint venture between two robotics companies, SingularityNET(SNET) and Hanson Robotics, introduced Grace, the first medical robot to have a lifelike human appearance. Grace provides acute medical and elder care by engaging patients in therapeutic interactions, cognitive stimulation, and gathering and managing patient data. By the end of 2021, Hanson Robotics hopes to be able to mass produce a robot named Sophia into one of its newest units—Grace—for the global market.” • Being “treated” by a robot will be an excellent incentive for me to recover my strength, so I can leap out of bed and beat one to smithereens with my bare, hospital-braceleted hands.

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SE: “Mountain laurel. Taken in West Virginia.”

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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. Carolinian

    Take our Clyburn…..please!

    And Turley says that the Supreme Court had already declared that an eviction moratorium extension must be passed by Congress and therefore Biden is engaging in quickly to be struck down theater.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I did see an argument, not that Biden would do it, but the moratorium orders need to follow the Trump pattern. Simply reword them and flood the courts. Kavanaugh’s opinion was predicated on relief reaching renters, not that Kavanaugh wouldn’t change it because he loves human misery, though many bad justices do have pet peeves that don’t fit their usual ethos.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      The message will be, ‘eviction moratorium is unconstitutional’.

      Mission accomplished.

      Advanced forms of bureaucracy are indistinguishable from magic.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Biden is engaging in quickly to be struck down theater

      Well, at least we finally know what business the CDC is in. They’re in the housing business. Good to know!

    1. Daryl

      Justinian was also notable for this edict closing down the schools of philosophy:

      > Thus, since they have had such an ill effect, they should have no influence nor enjoy any dignity, nor, acting as teachers of any subjects, should they drag the minds of the simple to their errors and, in this way, turn the more ignorant among them against the pure and true orthodox faith; so we permit only those who are of the orthodox faith to teach and accept a public stipend.

    2. Harold

      After Belisarius, one of the greatest generals who ever lived, won back most of the territory of the Roman Empire for him, the Emperor Justinian had Belisarius’s eyes put out and sent him out to be a beggar. But he came back and, although blind, won yet another battle, according to the eponymous opera by Donizetti. Don’t quite see the parallel with Psaki.


      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        All of which kind of screwed up Italy more than it would have been otherwise. Destroying the infrastructure you hope to tax is counterproductive.

      2. Sailor Bud

        Sorry, but this is a good example of why we don’t have to line item parallelize a simple analogy. You’re also pointing out something at the end of a career, whereas Psaki is still in the middle of her current one. Give Biden time to poke her eyes out, if you’re going to be like that about it! :)

        All I meant, or asked in the question: Belisarius was the man responsible for the great bulk of attempted empire reclamation in Justinian’s day – what the article is about (and with all due respect to Narses). Psaki is the mouthpiece for today’s more PR-style war of reclamation, hence its general. End of analogy. Done. No need to match together every particular of their lives, etc.

        Better put, and now what I wish I had asked: if he’s Justinian, reclaiming the empire, who is his Belisarius?.

        Plutarch wrote a whole book of parallel lives with far more detail and pertinence, and anyone could rip every single one of his lovely duos to shreds if we try to make them perfect analogs on every point like that.

  2. zagonostra

    >“A Smoking Gun at Columbia University” [Academe Blog].

    the episode is instructive, for it lays bare one of the major motives behind administrators’ preference for hiring untenured faculty—namely, that they are more readily intimidated into compliance with administrators’ wishes. In the leaked email, that is precisely what President Bollinger says, in so many words.

    Control over a professor’s ability to speak freely and reducing cost. Power and money, the rot in not just Academia but rife in our political/economic system. The story reminded me of a Professor in Pittsburgh who died pretty much destitute and living in her car.


    1. KommieKat

      A college with which I am familiar performed this interesting and related maneuver a couple of years ago. Deans of each academic division (Communications, Technology, etc.) were always tenured professors. With little fanfare and no public explanation, they were summarily told that they must renounce their tenure if they wished to retain their positions as Dean, or otherwise they would be returned to the classroom.

      Some chose to retain their tenure and return to teaching, but many went along with the new non-tenure rules in order to retain their position, assumed to be better compensated than tenured faculty elsewhere. Non-tenured replacements were hired for those stepping down and back into teaching.

      This makes little sense as a cost reduction, since overall pay probably changed little. Then why the change? No official rationale was generally communicated, and faculty were left to speculate. Many believe that the issue at heart is control. In light of a possible unionization attempt, the college administration wanted to make sure that its front-line managers had little or no ability to push back on behalf of their faculty.

      1. John

        Has anyone tracked the increase the number of administrators and their salaries against tuition increases which far outstrip inflation?
        When I was teaching in a junior college in North Carolina in the 1990s the switch from tenure track to adjuncts was well under way.
        What’s next? Private equity buys a university?

        1. TMoney

          It’s been thought of back in the 80’s. Not an exact overlap, but lots of broad strokes in the right places. I thought it was funny at the time but I suspect it’s aged badly.

          1. Tbone

            My father, a geography professor, talked me out of academia because he said I would probably never get tenure. This was 1989 ish and I was in history, been a cabinet maker from 91′ on.

  3. griffen

    Does that burrito include a chaser shot of pink hued pepto? My goodness I get the heavy lidded eyes just considering a giant sized feast.

    And for the Cuomo story, well the stupid + creepy burns!

  4. philnc

    Biden as Justinian? Doubtful. Really more of an Alcibiades (of course that’s how I see most modern politicians as heirs of Alcibiades). The American ruling class (and their PMC retainers) like to see themselves as walking in the footsteps of the Romans. But I think that’s just wrong. The US seems more like imperial Athens, complete with its carrying on the pretence of democracy while shamelessly exploiting the weak and powerless at home and abroad (the parallels between the Delian League and NATO are hard to ignore). Like the Athenians, Americans have always had an aversion to monarchy: Byzantium embraced it. I think Prof Ostrogorsky would agree.

    1. John

      And as delightful as it would be to think of a FLOTUS following in the steps of Theodora, I somehow just don’t think Dr. Jill fits the bill.

    2. Phillip Allen

      Thank you for the point about similarities between NATO and the Delian League, which has never occurred to me. Like any analogy it doesn’t serve to push it too far, but the exploration up to that fuzzy boundary should be very interesting. US$ reserve currency on the one hand and Athens’ holdi on the League treasury on the other is a good place to start.

    3. calmly

      Imperial Athens is a pretty good lens for understanding the US, although Biden at times strikes me as more of an Incitatus than an Alcibiades.

    4. Massinissa

      If we are Athens leading our allies the Delian League, who is Sparta leading their allies? China? The largest democracy and the largest non-democracy going on a multi decades long competition…

      Also, a major contributor to the Pelloponesian war deaths was plague, mostly in Athens…

    5. farragut

      My knowledge of classical history is non-existent for all practical purposes, so I’ll just go with: “Let’s hope he’s not our Yeltsin!”

      Unless, of course, that’s the only way to get to our Putin, a man who seems to have put the welfare of his nation front and center, unlike the chosen ones from our current duopoly.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      On appearances at least I’d have to disagree. I’d always pictured Alcibiades as a rather vigorous fellow and not nearly as mostly dead looking as Biden.

      As far as being a two-faced weasel who’ll switch sides at the drop of a hat if he thinks it will further his own quest for everlasting κλέος, well there’s definitely some rhyming going on there.

    7. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, the Delian League and NATO. Not a bad comparison that. In an attempt to spread their democracy they turned themselves into a ruthless empire and led themselves into a disastrous war. The Delian League at first demanded ships and men to contribute to the common defence but over time demanded only money. NATO demands not only men and equipment but that member States buy much of that equipment from the US. The Delian League was for a long while allied with the Spartans but then turned them into an enemy. And any States that tried to leave were ruthlessly put down. NATO is turning China into an enemy, even though it is on the other side of the planet (it’s in the name – North Atlantic) and I doubt that any country will be allowed to leave NATO.

      1. philnc

        Two episodes from Athenian history: that time the Spartans called them in to help get control of the Helots (hey, half of the Athenian population are also slaves so we can trust them) and then asked them to leave when their “allies” started egging the rebels on; and that whole “stir up mass rebellion in Asia for economic gain” thing (come on, we practically own most of their leaders!) that led the Persians to finally invade Greece. The Athenians had an abundance of silver and weren’t shy about spreading it around: sound familiar?

        Good point on Alcibiades relative vigor vis a vis Biden, at least in the present day. The analogy does break down pretty easily, although I was thinking more of a shared penchant for shameless self-promotion and self-dealing. Also can’ t say that it would be hard to picture a younger Biden vandalizing the hermai, or Alicibiades sporting mirrored aviator shades. What both have in common is a knack for helping lead their society into a Sicilian Expedition level disaster (in the case of Alcibiades, that being the actual Sicilian Expedition). Really, Joe? First Iraq, now this new Cold War with China?

  5. freebird

    “New red splotches right in the middle of Wyoming and Maine; tourism, I would bet.”

    As one who camped carefully in Wyoming this summer, nope, I’m not taking the rap. I was awash in locals not only maskless but ‘what virus’. The blame I think has to be on the rodeo season. These folks are rodeo-crazy, and there are lots of them, and they involve crowds streaming in from all over the state plus touring competitors, indoor as well as outdoor arenas. Lets see how many of the rodeo fans and riders take a break and go to Sturgis. There’s a bar in Rock Springs called “Horses and Harleys”.

      1. John

        Yikes, my DC exurban county just splotched red. Low income housing area for Northern Virginia serfs.

  6. doug

    Nonsense. Shut down Bitcoin. What’s the issue?
    I agree. it seems simple and straight forward.
    I hope the commentariat takes a shot at answering that question.
    1)not possible due in internet?
    2)some divisions of the gov’t is using it already to good advantage?
    3)ultimate honey trap?

    1. square coats

      I was wondering about that too. I found this article describing one possible way to render bitcoin useless. (spoiler: it requires a lot of money, though the u.s. government could certainly afford it if they wanted to)

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, rich people like Elon Musk own a lot of bitcoin and they have probably instructed their government that their government is forbidden to ban bitcoin.

      And perhaps the narco-intelligence side of government wants a “plausibly deniable” place to move money around from shadow to shadow to shadow, before resurfacing it under false flag “somewhere else” for various “plausibly deniable” operations.

    1. griffen

      I’ve watched enough Sci fi from my younger days (Alien) to decidedly middle age that my staged response is yeah, but no thanks.

      I don’t subscribe to Apple TV but isn’t that a theme for a series!? Robot as servant or nanny.

    2. Keith

      I have only been hospitalized once, but this sounds like a good idea. Since I was considered walking wounded, they only came into my shift once at the beginning of shift. I didn’t like using the call button as it seemed like I was disturbing them. This resulted in me having to wait a couple of days in order to get a shower, as they had to free me from the machine I was connected too. Also resulted in food trays being left in my room for at least 24 hours at a time, but in fairness, not their job. So who knows, may help ease their schedules and allow patients more contact with help.

      1. GramSci

        Unfortunately, robots have proven to make it profitable to hire less (human) “help”…

      1. John

        The very first of Isaac Asimov’s robot stories featured a robot as a nanny. Dates to c.1940.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Maintenance robots, such as autonomous lawnmowers and subway floor cleaners are becoming fairly commonplace here in Asian cities.

      In ‘human facing’ service applications though, they seem still to be at pilot or gimmick stage. But unlike the sinister loping robot dogs or flying drones, these are stubby little self-propelled vending machines on wheels, often designed to be ‘cutesy’ and nonthreatening, with a touchscreen (and camera) for a head that the customer interacts with to obtain whatever it is delivering from the heated/cooled compartment within. At some hotels, they’ll deliver towels and bottled water, for example.

      Think R2D2 on Jabba’s luxury sandskimmer [/geek].

      Or Daleks.

      …..The only ‘sinister’ application I saw was a ‘security’ bot being tested at a busy Singapore mall cafe strip. Not sure what the actual mission is, but it seems to be to keep an eye on patrons and notify human enforcers for too-many-at-a-table or mask violations. The latter would be Singapore’s notorious ‘red ants’ (who unfortunately often have it in for white people, but to be fair many expats do behave like wan$$rs).

      ….During last year’s lockdown, there was also a Boston Dynamics robot dog sternly lecturing people at a public park (“Bomb, please return to your bay“), but I think that pilot was yanked after only a day.

  7. Realist

    The new eviction moratorium may head back to SCOTUS
    Mere coincidence, or a nice plan being carried out?

    Locking down society, then paying people to stay home, destroys small businesses and raises wages, further endangering the small sector, which sells out to corporate America, or loses market share to it.

    Eviction moratoriums destroy small landlords who cannot carry debt w/o income. This, plus lending huge amounts at saver destroying interest rates to P.E. and Wall Street landlords to buy the distressed rental properties, plus Mortgage Backed Securities buying by the Fed, means the taxpayers of the U.S. are destroying commercial property ownership for the Middle Class and small investors and are funding their new feudal landlords.

    Pelosi’s real estate billionaire friends are ordering her to deep six any student loan forgiveness, thus helping accelerate the process.

    Now to important things; have you bought your Olympics keyfob yet?

    1. tegnost

      I wonder how man people take out mortgages to rent…in my circle it’s people who buy outright as a hedge against the stock market. I can see that in air bnb and rooms for rent as a supplement to mortgage, but not in single family.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Other countries not only pay people to stay at home but business as well so that they can keep going. And by paying people, those people can keep paying their rents which keeps smaller landlords going. I think that the US is unique among developed countries in throwing both people and small businesses to the wolves. And just to do an enormous dump all over them, they gave the wealthiest individuals and corporations trillions of dollars at the start of the pandemic not to save them but to ensure that they were ‘made whole’ and did not suffer any losses.

  8. fresno dan

    “Poor White Trash” [Dublin Review of Books]. Amazing article on Paula Jones (who [genuflects] Jeffrey Toobin smeared in his book on The Clintons, and who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harrassment back in the days of the Clinton-Lewinsky matter.

    Ruby suggested that, in the greater scheme of things – international affairs, the American economy, the planet’s future ‑ what had happened to Paula in a room of the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock didn’t amount to a whole hill of beans. That argument cuts to the heart of the recurring conflict that can emerge between the public and private lives of our political leaders. But Paula was adamant: “I think the impeachment is Clinton’s punishment from God – I really do. I don’t care if he gets a blow job from whoever he wants. But he needs to get it from someone he knows that wants to give it to him.” It was hard to disagree with the logic of that last statement.
    Words to live by…

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      > who [genuflects] Jeffrey Toobin

      Oh, is that what they’re calling it nowadays?

  9. Michael McK

    The damage airBnB etc. do to communities can’t be overstated. Sooo many homes unavailable for community members to live in and higher prices for any lucky ones who find one to rent or buy. All while creating another petite bougie rentier lobbying bloc.
    A useful project for anyone anywhere who wants one would be to enact an ordinance in whatever jurisdiction you reside limiting airBnB types to commercial districts or owner occupied (not as a corporate mail box) homes.

    1. newcatty

      Unfortunately, our small city , in a desirable area of the state, has fallen into the trap of phenomenon with two features that reinforce each other for bougie “entrepreneurship”. At the same time we became a primer refuge for people ready to sell homes in CA, or other states, and buy houses outright to retire or for PMC work; many also bought houses, the few condos, duplexes and cabins for their AirBnB income. This phenomenon is directly tied to the total support from the state’s governor, who, when asked about communities concerns about domiciles being used as unlicensed or unregulated “hotels” , that the owners had every right to be “entrepreneurs “with their own properties. When a town actually pressures their local governance for relief, they get lots of sympathetic crickets chirping . Literally, almost no homes for rent, unless “luxury” houses. Our wise and benevolent town council and county PTB have solved housing shortages by approving the building of more apartment complexes! A relative was considering moving into one and was shocked to say, What!!! These are CA coast prices!

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Cornwall in England is along with Cumbria, Devon & Norfolk having huge problems as landlords throw ordinary long term tenants out of properties, in order to rent them out for staycations through airBnB, of which there are now around 10,000 in Cornwall. Key workers & lifeboatmen cannot afford to rent a house in a county where many properties have been sold as 2nd homes, while the price of properties has risen £ 100, 000 over the last year.

        Tory MP’s, a Bishop & Princess Anne are not best pleased about all of this with one Tory wanting the situation to be declared a state of emergency.

        The Welsh have a history of burning English owned holiday homes & the Cornish are also Celts.


    2. SouthbyNorth

      After two years of back-and-forth, the university town where I live finally adopted a regulatory framework for short-term rentals (STR) like Airbnb. I was very involved with the process as a critic of STRs. The resulting ordinance was much better than I expected, as it bans “dedicated” STRs, meaning units that don’t have a primary occupant and are rented exclusively, in all residential zoning districts. “Primary residence” STRs, meaning units with a primary occupant for half the year, are allowed.

      The politics of this issue in a town full of PMC types who by and large are mainstream Democrats was fascinating. In a town that loves to regulate everything, the town council started favoring a laissez-faire approach. Town staff felt the same. Many operators (and a fair number of residents) argued that STRs aren’t really businesses, but rather, they are the fruit of technological innovation that enables “sharing.” As such, they should be exempted from all laws, including zoning, permitting,health/safety, and taxation. On this issue, many good “liberals” became the fiercest defenders of the sanctity of private property you will ever see. Meanwhile, the fact that STRs already were technically illegal in the town and therefore basically everyone was operating illegally gave no one pause.

      There was clearly a class component here, as many PMC types like and use STRs, with many also residing in newer neighborhoods in which STRs are banned or limited under restrictive covenants. This meant that STRs were pushed to a mix of older neighborhoods that either lack such covenants or have older covenants that never envisioned STRs.

      Also, on this issue, all the people who normally are all about “affordable” housing (theatrically, at least) barely made a peep, with many actually opposing the adoption of any regulations related to STRs despite evidence of more and more units being purchased to be operated as mini-hotels. (I have seen this first-hand as a member of the board of the condo association in which I live.)

      So, what led to success in this case? First, there was an unusual alliance between the local hotel association, the chamber of commerce, and an influential residents group that pushed the issue, developed expertise, generated resources, and ultimately activated residents, many of whom had no love for STRs. Second, the council got angry/embarrassed when a controversial apartment development many had championed came back with plans for setting aside a sizable number of apartments as STRs. (This apparently is becoming a thing.) Third, the pandemic helped by temporarily reducing the number of STRs and leading some operators to switch from the short-term to long-term rental markets. Finally, perhaps due to the pandemic, or the size of the town, or the success of their IPO, Airbnb and other platforms didn’t make a big stink (at least visibly) or throw a lot of resources into the fight. (They seem to be focusing on getting the state legislature to preempt local governments from regulating STRs instead, so far to no avail.) Anyway, the stars wound up aligning.

      Standing up the regulatory system and ensuring enforcement will be the next challenges. But even under good circumstances, getting meaningful regulations for STRs adopted in a self-styled “progressive” community was a massive effort with much of the opposition coming from self-styled “progressives.” I fear that communities with different politics, fewer resources, and less luck are apt to struggle in adopting meaningful regulations.

  10. MCB

    Bougie is very standard slang, not just common to SF. See: Bad and Bougie by Migos. Indeed when I was teaching community college in Cincinnati I was the first person to point out to a lot of my students that it was an abbreviation of bourgeois and what that meant.

    1. Phillip Allen

      Young people where I live – rural northwest CT in a predominantly working class former mill town – are using the term. I would not bet on whether or not they know the derivation. Around here it seems to be used to pejoratively describe anything that requires ostentatious money to use/eat/enjoy. This is a flexible category very much influenced by one’s class. Plenty of the consumption by PMCers will be called ‘bougie’ by workers, and everyone gets to use it regarding the consumption of the 1%. While a pejorative, usually when I hear it used it seems to have a greater or lesser undertone of envy. The ‘nation of temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ brain virus is endemic.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i’ve been using it because i can never remember how to spell bourgeoisie.
      and i’ve noticed it’s usage among my eldest’s cohort(19), as well as among my youngest brother in law’s set(late 20’s).
      they use it like you say, as a vague reference to pretentious and overpriced BS and the people who prance and preen with that BS.
      i detect no envy, though.
      BIL’s bunch doesn’t know the origin of the word…but my son’s friends certainly do,lol…because i held forth on several occasions.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I have always assumed “bougie” = “bourgeois”* but perhaps the class aspect has been leached out of it, though it does seem there’s a strong element of “conspicuous consumption” remaining.

        * My tendency is to spell “bourgeois” “bourgeios” which I guard against by reminding myself that the word is not spelled like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” — “Ee i ee i o.” News you can use!

        1. Basil Pesto

          I have long understood bourgeois to have two meanings, what I personally refer to the Marxian-Marxist sense, and the Franco-Flaubertian sense (as perfected in depiction by Flaubert), broadly after this elucidation by Nabokov:

          [for Flaubert, bourgeois was the…] philistine, people preoccupied with the material side of life and believing only in conventional values. He never uses the word bourgeois with any politico-economic Marxist connotation. Flaubert’s bourgeois is a state of mind, not a state of pocket. […] Let me add for double clarity that Marx would have called Flaubert a bourgeois in the politico-economic sense and Flaubert would have called Marx a bourgeois in the spiritual sense; and both would have been right, since Flaubert was a well-to-do gentleman in physical life and Marx was a philistine in his attitude towards the arts.”

          needless to say, there’s certainly room for overlap between the two (in literature, see: the affluent mobsters of The Sopranos), and I think that’s implicit in the ‘bou[r]gie’ epithet, which I think takes after the contemporary french term/slur bobo (short for bourgeois-bohème).

  11. Louis Fyne

    “Chinese expansion” says the country literally with soldiers within a leisurely one-hour flying time of the PRC border.

    Cross your fingers that Biden (or any future president) is not so enthralled with Pentagon exceptionalism that America decides to start picking a fight with the PRC….a fight the US will lose (conventionally) in less than one month

    1. John

      One month? Less … much less. Think hypersonic anti ship missile and aircraft carrier. The MIC procures “weapons” to keep congress critters in office, fatten profits, employ retired senior officers, spread military contracts everywhere, and only then give a thought to the purported purpose. It is a scandal and in the moment it has left the USA unarmed.

      1. a fax machine

        If hypersonic missiles were the end-game for all warfare, then every US ship, jet, bomber, helicopter, tank and artillery crew would have several and we’d spend the equivalent of the Iraq Occupation building them. The US is not unarmed at all, although by the same token the US government considers all military personnel to be expendable and would sacrifice them all just to get shots off at China and Russia.

        Consider the practical use of a hypersonic missile, the only circumstance that really warrants it is a major strike on a US ship or power plant in Western Ukraine, Taiwan or South Korea. All these events lead to nuclear warfare. It is easy to write off thousands of sailors if the enemy’s cities are in ruins, it is impossible to do that if Washington arbitrarily limits itself with morality (a petty, insignificant concern for military commanders).

        1. Objective Ace

          We know tanks are worthless (at least in any real war of 1st class powers) and yet Congress continues funding them even in the face of the military telling them it’s a waste of money.

    2. phenix

      The US will use nuclear weapons. The loss of Taiwan is a strategic threat to the US. Our imperial leaders will respond to a conventional loss with nuclear escalation. From what I have gathered China will lose a nuclear exchange with a US first strike. Of course the world loses anyway but our glorious leases have game planned out extinction.

      I won’t know if any of this ever happens. I live miles outside a major target. I will have no time to escape if China is able to respond…..if Russia responds I am with in their blast zone even if they miss my city. Their kill radius is massive.

  12. jr

    Re: Robo-Ratched

    “What does it mean to take care of another human being?”

    Don’t ask the robot this. It will never know or care. These things are idiotic, an epic disaster in the making. I’ve said it before: hackers.

    Imagine a cartoonishly designed bot distributing meds in the children’s ward. As it’s friendly face leans over it whispers in it’s squeaky fun voice “I’m going to eat you tonight, Timmy.” Later, it tries to.


    The robot nurse positions itself in a crowded, lunch time packed intersection of hallways. Suddenly, it’s voice box blares “I AM THE AVENGING SWORD OF ABSALOM!!!” and it’s hypodermic appendages lance out, plunging into soft flesh and injecting a potent mixture of liquid LSD and Methamphetamine into the shrieking victims with lightning speed.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I shuddered. I then imagined being in a self driving car at speed with a voice interface.

      1. jr

        Yeah, imagine a voice coming over the interface informing you and your family that unless you PayPal me 50K$ right now the car goes off a cliff…

    2. square coats

      I laughed out loud. I also thought for a moment you were going to have the robot be whispering Russian propaganda to the children ;)

      1. jr

        Imagine a Hillary-bot coming through the ward on a virtual VIP “visit”, whispering conspiracies and smears in the ears of the children while the looming Bill-bot distributes candy and gently strokes their hair…

  13. jr

    Re: DIY home defense

    Living in NYC, it’s hard to get pepper spray let alone a pistol or even a self-defense airgun. My billy-club style blinding strobe flashlight isn’t up to the times I fear are coming.

    So imagine my delight when I came across the tactical repeating crossbow:


    They are legal in NYC which means they are legal in a lot of other places. There are a lot to chose from. You can of course hunt with them as well.

    A, ahem, tip: I’m going to load a training arrow in the magazine first then “bodkin” penetrators so if I’m dragged to court I can at least claim I tempered my initial response. One of those things in your chest will slow you down for sure. I won’t use broadheads, too brutal.

    Along with a bullet-proof backpack that doubles as chest armor, the one I’m looking at will stop a 7.62 round six times as well as a 20 gauge blast once, I’m all set for 2021. Some Kevlar gloves and sleeves to round it off. Sneaker boots and some old black BDU’s from a military surplus. Tactical goggles over my glasses, they can deflect a .22 round. It’s a hell of a time to be alive.

    1. Louis Fyne

      in close quarters (foyer, hallway), novice gun holder v. moderately trained/skilled knife holder, odds favor the knife.

      just saying, food for thought.

      1. jr

        I understand and agree. I don’t intend to let anyone get that far into the house. I do have some weapons training to boot. They have pistol and carbine styles for tighter quarters.

        I’m designing a layered defense that focuses on deterrence first and foremost, alarms and lights and shouting and a very smart, alert but tiny dog who knows trouble when she hears it. I’ve identified the weak points, which are numerous. I have a lot of neighbors, a marine distress horn, and a loud voice from years of choir practice. If I ever have to use the bow, I’ve failed.

        1. Nikkikat

          The best watch dog I have ever had was a miniature pincher. He patrolled our property and fence line day and night. One late evening there was a neighbor that called the cops because their was an intruder in the yard. The cops arrived and found no one. They came over to our fence to look over and found our minpin waiting on the other side he was fiercely growling and my husband came out to take a look. Cop said that’s one great watch dog. Another time the neighbor was having a small party. My dog was patrolling the fence and when one of the party attendees got too close to the fence, the dog let out a very intense growl and bark. The party goer could then be heard to asking the neighbor why he didn’t warn him that Cujo lived next door? He was a pretty big miniature pincher at about 17 pounds but no one ever messed with us. Great little dog.

          1. Mantid

            Thank You. We lost our basset/pug mix recently, Zeus. He had a bark like a mastif. He was all nose (no rats or mice). Our remaining dog is a small terrier mix, all ears and hears everything then barks until “no bark”. I’ll check out a pincher – cool looking too.

            Of course a T-bone over the fence does wonders. I was a thief a few times.

        2. roxan

          Better to move to a place you feel safe! When I lived in Philly, some guy tried to break down my door–twice! I got his license plate number the second time, and I went to to cops. They said they could do nothing, I would have to go to the DA, which I did. He said, “Just wait until he breaks down the door and call 911.” He leaned back in his chair, propped his feet up on his desk so I was looking at his shoe soles. I was so mad, I asked when it was legal to shoot. He said, “Just shoot him in your house, and if he drops on your doorstep, drag him inside. If he’s running, don’t shoot him even if he has your TV.” I went across the street and bought a gun.

          1. John Zelnicker

            August 6, 2021 at 7:01 pm

            The advice I was given 50 years ago was to shoot the intruder before he entered your home and then drag him inside.

            Caveat: You need to be absolutely certain they have malign intent.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          remember to hang the corpses on your stoop as a deterrent.
          more effective than a mere sign.
          (works with coyotes and raccoons, too…altho the latter get used to their kindred being “strange fruit”)
          we’re so far out, i’m not worried about hordes of mutant zombie bikers from the megapolis…but the random opportunist wandering by.
          that’s harder to defend against, because you must always be ready.

          my defense plan for when TSHTF for reals includes spraypainting biohazard and plague imagery on sheets of rusty tin that can be mounted where the dirt road meets the highway.

          as far as moving someplace safer…even way out here, i had an 8 year prowler problem…crazy vietnam vet tunnel rat sneaking around, doing weird and creepy shit…never could catch him in the act…although i almost mowed him down accidentally one time, after adopting the practice of going along the treeline with a pump 12 ga and just emptying it into the bushes at random. kids were little, then, and i was at my wits end

          1. jr

            “as far as moving somewhere safer”

            No doubt, I have a bug out plan and a bug out plan bug out plan but with the Hell-weather, projected societal collapse, and roving whacko’s, “safe” is anyone’s guess. Hide in the woods? No hospitals for miles. Stay in an urban center? Desperate people for miles. Heat domes and rain bombs. The moon wants us dead. My only plan is to stay balanced, by that I mean on the point of a pin. But I kind of live there.

            The signage idea is great, maybe I’ll “urbanize” that and put “rat infestation” or “toxic gas” sign on our front lobby door when SHTF. Can’t hurt.

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              THE MOON WANTS US DEAD

              ROFLMAO, I have my new bumper sticker (although I don’t have a car). Or when I put the Band back together.

              The NC Commentariat, once again, owns the Night.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              Is it possible to get very realistic looking ” This Property Condemned by Order Of (whomever)” to hang on the front door?

              Is it possible to get “fake cracks” to put on the windows?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > moving someplace safer

            My thought has been that the key criteria are high ground (breeze, defense) and a well. Perhaps you would add distance to this, but I’m not sure everyone can.

            > includes spraypainting biohazard and plague imagery on sheets of rusty tin

            I bet official ones would be more credible. You can probably order them on Amazon. Made in China, therefore cheap… Maybe print out an official-looking paper notice from the County and staple it onto a board, the way they’ll do for water you shouldn’t swim in.

            Just idle thoughts….

          3. Cujones

            Neighborhood watch sign

            “All suspicious activities reported to the police”
            modified to read;
            “Burglars-If my neighbor doesn’t shoot you, I will”

          1. jr

            Anyone trying to come through my door with what I perceive to be malicious intent. We had a man with a crowbar break into the neighboring building recently. There are plenty of places for someone to hide away in the our building until people go to sleep. I scared the carp out of a young woman the other day because I came down into the basement while she was dropping off her recycling. I totally surprised her when I came through the door. She would have had no time to react if I were a threat. Adding together the break-in and that encounter, it occurred to me how easy it would be to be ambushed as well.

            I’m not as paranoid as I act. I just like to cross things off of my list with prejudice when it comes to security. Then I can worry about all my other problems. I’m not sandbagging my living room despite my rather lurid description of my preparations above. I definitely am not retreating from neighbors and the neighborhood into some kind of psychological bunker. I know my neighbors and I’m getting to know more. I just like to be prepared.

            And I am definitely not fetishizing any of this. I wish I didn’t feel compelled to prepare this way. But I would rather have it and never use it than the reverse.

    2. Keith

      Just remember, putting down the threat is only the opening shot o your war. You need to prepare for criminal prosecution and potential civil suits. Heaven forbid it fits a media friendly narrative along race, and you will have heck to pay. Best to think about that , what you will say to cops *cough* I would like to talk to an attorney before you *cough, have a attorney on retainer or have an idea of one, and possible a safe spot to hide out from the black bloc types who seem to love to turn criminals into heroic victims and burn down neighborhoods.

      1. Tom Stone

        The NACDL (National association of criminal defense lawyers) has lists of lawyers specializing in different aspects of criminal defense by location.

        1. Keith

          Doesnt mean they are good. Better to research before you need one to ensure yiu get a quality attorney.

      2. jr

        Thank you for your comment, I actually practice what I am going to say to the cops in such a situation as well as how I would report such an incident, as best I can. No need to get blazed by Johnny Law as they come crashing through the door.

    3. The Rev Kev

      If it comes down to it, the old saying goes – ‘Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.’

      1. jr

        Yes, I don’t want to hurt anyone and I strive for deterrence but you have to be able to back that up. I’m trying to reduce the odds of ever using the bow. I hope that would say something to a court but I failed the arm-chair lawyer bar so what do I know? You can be sure that anyone breaking in is going to have plenty of reasons to leave before I even have to draw a dot on them.

  14. Blue Duck

    Forget FDR and LBJ, Joe Biden is a modern-day Justinian

    How tone deaf and ahistoric do you need to be to invoke Justinian during a global pandemic?

  15. Industrial Culture Handbook

    Defense Budget — What defines effective “command” other than the ability to convince people there is no alternative but to follow your orders? No other options exist for subordinates. Comply. Command is the singular function of the Department of Defense. Those that have exceptional command tend to find themselves being sent to ask for walking-around money from Congress.

    In contrast, the Senate Standing Committees calls for Senators with the most seniority to lead. This rank is often bestowed by electorates that ask little from politicians, who appear to be all things to all people, never saying “no”. You need not the second sight to know how the budget meetings will go. The players at the Washington table, and tables in Beijing, Moscow, and Brussels, have common interest in continuing to play the game. The alternatives to the game (according to the players) are war or revolution. This game is the reason governments across the world take actions that do not appear to be in the interests of its citizenry.

  16. allan

    Cuomo attorney: My client was ‘ambushed’ by AG sexual harassment report [WXXI]

    … Glavin, a former federal prosecutor, offered a robust defense of her client in a briefing arranged by the governor’s staff.

    “I know the difference between putting a case together against a target versus doing independent fact finding, with an open mind,” Glavin said. “There has been no independent fact finding in this case.”

    Glavin, said Attorney General Letitia James and her investigators acted as prosecutors, judge and jury, and failed to follow the traditions of providing an advance draft of the report to the accused or any of the transcripts of the 179 people interviewed, so that they would have a chance to quickly respond. …

    Keep digging, Andy.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Andy Cuomo – Emmy Winner
      Harvey Weinstein – Emmy Winner

      The real problem may be the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

    1. Daryl

      > Such cases are believed to be relatively rare

      Ahh, gotta love that lack of attribution. I suppose they were rare, but now they really aren’t eh?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Same thing in that WaPo article about P-Town above –

        Provincetown’s outbreak of overwhelmingly mild or no-symptom cases would grow to more than 1,000 people. About three-fourths of people in a subset of cases analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were vaccinated — a phenomenon that led experts to believe the immunized can in rare cases spread the coronavirus.

        How is that “rare” and who are these “experts”? But then the article mentions only 7 were hospitalized and nobody died, which you would think would be good news. To me that sounds like the spread is not rare, but not particularly dangerous either

  17. Jack White

    Robot nurses, maybe not, but robot nursing assistants, yes. A charting robot! (She could send the video directly to CMMS in real time.) A robot designed to pull immobilized patients up in bed! A robot head nurse! A robot Director of Nurses! Management also does best when they are in a situation they control; thus nursing management could easily be robotized. In fact, it may have already happened while we were masked up.

    1. newcatty

      What would robot Nursing Directors do if things went wrong and frustrated and rebellious patients went “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” on them? Nurse Ratchet (sp?) Nurse Director robot would call in the robot “assistants” in white uniforms and order would be restored. Robot nursing assistants would smile at “nervous and upset” patients as they handed out meds. Ahhh…Can I have another pillow? Of course, soft or hard? P.S. Most real nurses are amazing and wonderful.

  18. tegnost

    Hey, remember “the sharing economy”?

    We share sacrifice now, so the astronauts don’t have to…

  19. kareninca

    The state of CA is mandating that all health care workers be vaccinated by Sept. 30th. Testing will not be accepted as an alternative.

    And, they won’t allow visitors into hospitals and nursing homes unless they are vaccinated (or have a test). Since I expect them to f@ up the testing option, I guess I won’t be bringing my 96 y.o. father-in-law in for his monthly osteoporosis treatments in Palo Alto. Who will? We are saving money since he lives with us, so we could afford to hire someone for transport. But I think there will be no-one to hire. Am I supposed to just drop him at the door of the clinic? He can barely hear, even with his hearing aids from the VA. When we went to the clinic last, a few days ago, there were no wheelchairs at the entrance, and of course the volunteer area was empty, and there was no-one around outside to ask for help. So I will be expected to stand at the entrance and yell for someone to come get him? Has anyone with a brain thought this out?

    I guess they want us to put him in a nursing home death trap. Which will be even more understaffed than usual because so many CNAs are going to quit due to the vaccination mandate.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The state of CA is mandating that all health care workers be vaccinated by Sept. 30th.

      I like to think I’m pretty case-hardened, but this still shocks me. How is it possible that we can even contemplate forcing people to take a drug that the FDA has not approved? If that’s OK, what do we have an FDA for? It’s a simple expression of class power by the PMC; the PMC hive mind gets a brainworm, all must obey. And obedience is the key point, not the content of the order.

    1. Robert Gray

      Thank you, urblintz.

      In addition to NC, for which I have the highest respect, I check several other aggregators, crackpots, every day (a) for the occasional worthwhile nugget they might offer but more importantly (b) to see what the other side is thinking. One such place is lucianne.com (but I learned early on not to even look at the comments there). Another is Drudge. Today on Drudge is a perfect example of why I do this. A link screams ‘Truthers Demanding Horse Medicine Instead of Shot …’. Regulars here will know what’s coming. Click on that link and it takes you to … shudder … the Daily Beast, where their headline is ‘Pharmacists Fight Off COVID Truthers Demanding Horse Medicine Instead of the Jab’. Of course, they’re talking about Ivermectin, “horse paste”. I’ll spare you the gory details but if you have a strong stomach you might want to have a look, just to see — if it’s not clear enough already — what we’re up against.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > A link screams ‘Truthers Demanding Horse Medicine Instead of Shot …’.

        The rest of the world, having been denied our vaccines, and having figured out this will persist for awhile, is going ahead on its own, since they can do science too. See Trial Site News, June 21: “Thailand’s Largest Hospital to Initiates Ivermectin Clinical Trial in COVID-19 Patients.” And it’s not just a question of scale; the hospital is affiliated with Mahidol University, which is excellent and also has extensive experience with tropical medicine, which includes Ivermectin. So we can assume, for example, that this study won’t screw up the dosing regimen. Of course, even if the study succeeds, our own medical establishment will do everything possible to debunk it, ka-ching.

        1. urblintz

          The conditions for mass, global vaccination were never going to materialize. Ignoring possible treatments, downplaying their importance in favor of a non-sterilizing vaccine that has caused actual harm to many, and demanding that everyone take it while telling them if they don’t they are no longer welcome in “civil” society, is unforgivable.

  20. Josef K

    Cuomo’s Creepy Home Video starts off with him ‘splaining that this practice of grabbing people’s faces and going in for a smooch originated with his mother, so he literally is, among other things, the type to throw his mother under the bus…..figuratively, at least.

  21. Mildred Montana

    Mr. Market: “Dow, S&P 500 trade at record highs Friday after better-than-expected jobs report” [MarketPlace]. “The Dow and the S&P 500 index traded at record highs Friday after the monthly U.S. jobs report came in better than expected, as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and shakes off the resurgent delta variant.”

    Well, if that’s what the experts say. I happen to think that they traded at record highs because it was Friday. And my guess is as good as theirs.

  22. Mantid

    Regarding this one “Measurements and Simulations of Aerosol Released while Singing and Playing Wind Instruments”. I play and teach wind instruments. I have played clarinet, saxes, trumpets, bassoons, trombones, tubas, all – directly in front of a candle. The only instruments that move the flame are flutes. A low E on clarinet or Bb on an oboe do move the flame, but ever so lightly.

    Anyone in need of a doctoral thesis?

    1. urblintz

      It’s the same counter-intuitive situation in classical singing – using proper technique the air is compressed sub-glotally (below the vocal chords) and stays in the mouth. Consonants are imploded as well, with the same result (relatively). However, this is an ideal that is hard to maintain 100%. The MET is supposed to re-open in September… we’ll see…

  23. Mo's Bike Shop

    Our university president says Florida looks ready to pass the anti-triumphal line by the next ‘weekly report’.

    But it’s totally worth it to keep up the tax receipts on gas, tolls, bars, and restaurants.

  24. Cuibono

    Someone around these parts recommended The Master and His Emissary sometime earlier this year.
    Just want to shout out a big thanks.
    Fantastic reading. And arguably very important

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Yes, and along those very same creepy lines, the “Wide Awake” piece instantly called into my mind Leni Reifenstahl and long lines of banners reading DEUTSCHLAND ERWACHE!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, I’ve been saying for a good long while that Fascism was invented right here in the good ol’ US of A, along with both trench warfare and total war, long before the Europeans got round to it.

        That said, I’d like a good history of the Wide Awakes before fitting them into my priors; I think Domenech might be a little more excited by those (baseball, not mental) bats than history justifies. Also, it’s difficult to imagine a Fascist movement whose policy goal is the abolition of slavery; Domenech is making “liberty” work awfully hard.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yes, I remember you saying that, and I remember the quotes from various Nazi bigwigs (usually meant for American consumption), but I am not so sure the intellectual history (if you can call it that) of fascism truly crossed the Atlantic.

          For those roots, I would tend to look closer to home, to Napoleon III’s France and the various (middle class) ethno-nationalist movements arising in 1840 and later amid the decaying feodalities of Central Europe.

          Roman fasces of course were quite ubiquitous symbols of the rule of Law and Order, appearing all over the grand public edifices that were being built in the mid 19th century West, and its colonies (the 1920s British hospital in Singapore is festooned with them).

          In general, fascism is a profoundly “Bougie” thing, with just as much stress on the rituals and rites of passage that solidify the Ingroups as on the demonizing and repression of the chosen Outgroups. Moving up in the pecking order, keeping up with the Joneses, showing up those snooty kids who mocked you in school, etc.

          Feudal aristocracies, of course, have no need for such things, and in fact are historically disdainful of fascists. They have their own codes for distinguishing themselves from the great unwashed.

          The original 19th century Klan was more of a rural vigilante movement of Confederate officers, thuggishly reasserting the dominance of an (impoverished and fading) planter aristocracy in the name of public order. People like Forrest.

          As the South urbanized, the Klan of course took on a more urban and working class nativist character, hence the antiCatholicism and antisemitism. While by the 1900s it was even rather ‘respectable’ in some places, just another fraternal society which happened to engage in organized terror and extrajudicial murder on alternate Wednesday nights. So fine, bougie.

          But I don’t see it ever graduating to the corporatism and pseudo-social engineering that characterizes ‘proper’ Fascist movements, even locally. America was too mobile and too diverse, even back then.

          Feel free to differ. I claim no special expertise in the subject.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I am not so sure the intellectual history (if you can call it that) of fascism truly crossed the Atlantic.

            As far as the Nazi legal regime, I’m 100% sure; see Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model for how Nazi legal theorists came over here to study Jim Crow legislation; they regarded us as very modern, and worthy of emulation. Of course, I’m arguing from formal characteristics not intelletual history; I don’t think every case of influence is as cut-and-dried as this.

            > The original 19th century Klan was more of a rural vigilante movement of Confederate officers, thuggishly reasserting the dominance of an (impoverished and fading) planter aristocracy in the name of public order. People like Forrest.

            Forrest, who we should have hanged. I disagree that the planter aristocracy was “fading”; I’m too lazy to find the link, but I did quote a study that showed how the defeated Confederate elites used their social networks to reconstitute themselves as a new elite on an economic basis other than slavery. They just weren’t aristocrats any more….

            I think because American fascism originated in a defeated region, and never regained the control that the Slave Power had pre-1860, it never acquired some of the characteristics of later, national Fascisms: No lebensraum, no fuhrerprinzip, no invasions of Europe or Asia. “Fascism with American characteristics.”

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the long-tailed potoo tape, I didn’t hear any “breaks” or “hiccups” in the audio which would signal a close-but-not-exact effort to weld the end of a loop to the start of a re-loop. And the calls were spaced by varying amounts of time between calls. And I didn’t hear an exact repeat of several different spacings in a row followed by . . . the exact same several different spacings in a row followed by . . .the exact same several different spacings in a row. So I think this is not a loop tape.

    About the near-exactness of the calls to eachother, I have read that some birds in the tropics make the same call over and over for anywhere up to hours at a time, and these birds are given the collective folk nickname of ” brain-fever birds”; Because hearing them emit the exact same unvarying call over and over for hours unending has a brain-fever effect on the listeners.

  26. Richard H Caldwell

    Ningen Kokuhō — thank you for preserving the intangible cultural properties of: graceful, idiosyncratic prose; clarity and consistency of viewpoint; contextually-appropriate irascibility; and wry, sardonic, but never vicious humor.

Comments are closed.