2:00PM Water Cooler 9/1/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Always so much going on in Amazonia!

* * *


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 still fiddling and diddling.

52.4% of the US is fully vaccinated, a big moment, bursting through the psychological 52% barrier. Every day, a tenth of a percentage point upward. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus… (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well.)

Case count by United States regions:

Slowing acceleration…

Covid cases top ten states for the last four weeks:

Texas and California back in tandem. Both Carolinas rising. Meanwhile, Georgia and Louisiana have diverged.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report August 31, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

Less red in the Midwest. hate to be optimistic, but it looks like this fever has broken (thought the back to school bump, IMSHO, has yet to really take hold.) Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers, so the case chart still has momentum. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) 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:

The South drops, and a smaller drop in the West.

Hospitalization (CDC): This is where CDC moved its hospital data (and who the heck at Microsoft decided no header for a chart is a good idea):

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

The Gulf Coast is red, but moderating. Look at Kentucky go! And I wonder if Alabama is flat because it’s at capacity. Several states in the West are pink and increasing, except for Wyoming, which is red.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Deaths on trend rising. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions.)

MS: “Mississippi Passes NY’s COVID Death Rate As Gov. Reeves Says Mississippians ‘A Little Less Scared’” [Mississippi Free Press]. “Mississippi has now surpassed the state of New York, the nation’s original pandemic hotspot, in total COVID-19 deaths per capita. The only state where the pandemic has proven deadlier than the Magnolia State is New Jersey. Mississippi displaced New York with a report of 65 additional deaths on Friday—a day after Gov. Tate Reeves told a Tennessee audience that southerners are ‘a little less scared‘ of COVID-19 due to their religious faith.”

Covid cases worldwide:

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

* * *


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

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

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

Biden Administration

“Biden defends departure from ‘forever war,’ praises airlift” [Associated Press]. “‘I was not going to extend this forever war,’ Biden declared Tuesday from the White House. ‘And I was not going to extend a forever exit.'” • Zing! Since that’s obviously what the generals proposed; they never expected to leave, which is why there was no plan. But this is the lead: “‘A defensive President Joe Biden called the U.S. airlift to extract more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and other allies from Afghanistan to end a 20-year war an ‘extraordinary success,’ though more than 100 Americans and thousands of others were left behind.” • The warmongering by the press — many of whom lose lucrative appearance fees or consulting opportunities in the absence of a war* — has been marvelously clarifying. If you want an example of a real debacle when retreating from Afghanistan, see the Britannica: “On January 6, 1842, some 4,500 British and Indian troops, with 12,000 camp followers, marched out of Kabul. Bands of Afghans swarmed around them, and the retreat ended in a bloodbath. ” Come on, man. And please: Stop with the heart-tugging photos of babies and dogs, whether being embraced by soldiers or not. It’s sentimental slop, as befits our imperial misssion. NOTE * To be fair, there are plenty of book deals to be had. Then again:

From the only Inuk (Inuit) account I follow on Twitter. I dunno. Then again, perhaps from one colonized people to another? We shall see.

Joe Biden, peacenik:

Honestly, I’m still reeling from Biden actually delivering on this (yes, I know, drones, over-the-horizon. But still). But wait–

“Ukrainian President to accomplish years-long quest for a White House visit with Biden meeting” [CNN]. “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to meet with President Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday, the culmination of a years-long struggle to get a White House visit locked up that — at one point — saw him at the center of US politics. The much-anticipated gathering could have high-stakes implications for Zelensky, who has vied for American support since he took over in 2019. His ascension to office led to a congratulatory call from then-President Donald Trump, who pushed Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter. The call was at the heart of Trump’s first impeachment by the House before the Senate acquitted the then-President, finding him not guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.” • That should shut up the warmongers for a few hours. I wonder if Hunter will attend the meeting?

“122 – The Iraq War” (podcast) [The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds]. • For those who came in late, the Iraq War was far, far worse than anything Trump ever did, by orders of magnitude along any dimension you care to name, and the Bush Administration was not only full of crazed, lunatics, they were effective crazed lunatics, not just grifters. Such a view will not be popular among today’s RussiaGate-added TDS victims, it’s true.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Density Divide and the Southernification of Rural America” [Will Wilkinson, Model Citizen]. Deck: “The Old North/South Split Lives on in the Urban/Rural Divide.” This is a reformulation of the Blue State/Red State trope into Urban/Rural From the body: “I suppose I shouldn’t find it surprising, then, that the distinctness of Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri’s rural white cultures have faded, too. But I do find it striking. When I tour the hustings these days, that’s what strikes me: it seems so much the same wherever you go. I didn’t understand this when I was a kid, but the lived experience of growing up halfway between Branson and Lake Woebegone gave me my cultural bearings — supplied the contrasts that defined a distinct and salient Iowan identity. As those contrasts have faded, so have these distinct regional, rural identities. Everywhere it’s the same cloying pop country, the same aggressively oversized Ford F-150s, the same tumbledown Wal-Marts and Dollar Generals, the same eagle-heavy fashion, the same confused, aggrieved air of relentless material decline. Even the accents are more and more the same, trending toward a generalized Larry the Cable Guy twang. (Larry the Cable Guy is from Nebraska, FWIW.)” • That “relentless material decline” sentence really lets the cat out of the bag, though. Does Wilkinson really think Larry the Cable Guy orchestrated the deindustrialization of the Rust Belt? Because he didn’t. That was down to the “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward” (ODDMF) urbanites who are the Democrat party’s base. Readers are also invited to play “fill in the blank” on “Everywhere it’s the same _____,” but for Brooklyn or other ODDMF-class cities, like Brooklyn, like “Everywhere it’s the same Starbucks,” or “”Everywhere it’s the same jangly, over-produced world music” [snarl]. Noah Smith clucks appovingly:

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US hired 374 thousand workers in August of 2021, compared with a downwardly revised 326 thousand increase in July and well below market expectations of a 613 thousand rise…. ‘We have seen a decline in new hires, following significant job growth from the first half of the year. Despite the slowdown, job gains are approaching 4 million this year, yet still 7 million jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels. Service providers continue to lead growth, although the Delta variant creates uncertainty for this sector’, said Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist. source: Automatic Data Processing, Inc.”

Manufacturing: “United States Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI for the US was revised slightly down to 61.1 in August of 2021 from a preliminary of 61.2. The reading fell from a record of 63.4 in July, pointing to the slowest growth in factory activity in 4 months. The expansion was supported by steep upturns in production and new orders. Nevertheless, output growth was reportedly hampered by capacity constraints and material shortages.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI increased to 59.9 in August of 2021 from 59.5 in July, beating forecasts of 58.6. New orders (66.7 vs 64.9 in July), production (60 vs 58.4) and inventories (65.2 vs 48.9) increased and price pressures eased (79.4 vs 85.7, the lowest since December). On the other hand, employment contracted (49 vs 52.9, the lowest since November).”

Construction: “United States Construction Spending” [Trading Economics]. “Construction spending in the US went up 0.3 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of USD 1.569 trillion in July of 2021 after showing no growth in June and above market expectations of a 0.2 percent gain.”

* * *

Manufacturing: “British sports car brand Lotus to produce EVs in Wuhan” [China Daily]. “Lotus Cars is to unveil four electric vehicles by 2026, as the British sports car maker owned by China’s Geely Holding Group accelerates its electrification campaign. Of them, there will be an SUV that will come out in 2022 and a five-door sedan in 2023, said Lotus CEO Feng Qingfeng at an online event on Tuesday to celebrate the establishment of Wuhan Lotus Technology in Central China’s Hubei province. Lotus said it has appropriated 26.3 billion yuan ($4.06 billion) for its operations in the city, including an 8 billion yuan plant that will become operational later this year. With an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, it is British carmaker’s first plant outside of the United Kingdom. Lotus said the Wuhan facility will produce those vehicles designed for daily use, while the UK plant will manufacture electric and gasoline hyper cars.”

Manufacturing: “New Apple Watch With Larger Screen Suffers Production Snags” [Bloomberg]. “Manufacturers of the product began small-scale production last week but didn’t get satisfactory output, Nikkei said…. Apple is counting on the new line to broaden the appeal of smartwatches and continue fueling a product category that’s been one of its fastest growing. The Cupertino, California-based company got more than 11% of its revenue from wearables, home products and accessories in the last fiscal year, up from about 4% in 2015.”

The Economy: “Inflation is cooling some, but not all the reasons are good ones” [Claudia Sahm, Stay-At-Home Macro]. “The recession ended in April 2020, making it the shortest on record, but the pace of the economic recovery has been frustratingly uneven. You can see it everywhere from inflation to jobs to income. It’s not simply wiggles in the macro data, it’s hardship and uncertainty for families, especially those who remain unemployed or unable to return to work. The uneven economic recovery is a direct reflection of our uneven success at containing the pandemic. Inflation is not our enemy. It’s Covid.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Neutral (previous close: Neutral Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 1 at 12:57pm.

The Biosphere

“The costs and risks of AMR water pollution” (PDF) [World Economic Forum]. AMR = Antimicrobial resistance. “AMR risk is a product of pollutant discharges and socioeconomic vulnerability. Discharges into waterbodies result from human consumption of antimicrobial drugs in healthcare systems and the community, animal consumption in agriculture, and the manufacture of antimicrobial drugs. Vulnerability then reflects the rate at which AMR propagates, the rate at which humans are exposed to it and the effect this has on their health. Key vulnerability factors are environmental, for example the temperature and quality of receiving water bodies, and societal, notably population density and the efficacy of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in mediating human contact with polluted water. The availability of ‘last resort’ antimicrobials, a product of research and investment by the pharmaceutical industry, can determine the resulting clinical outcomes. Risk is expected to become increasingly concentrated in the Global South over the next ten years, but it will always remain a global phenomenon.”

Health Care

“This “Waning Immunity” Argument Against the FDA’s Covid Vaccine Approval Is a Scientific Quagmire” [Hilda Bastian. PLOS]. On Doshi’s BMJ article and the associated petition. “What about the petition to slow down FDA approval? That essentially boils down to this: since the vaccines can already be used with their emergency authorization, the bar for full approval should be raised far higher than usual. They don’t provide a solid justification for this, especially in a pandemic. The FDA put it this way when they denied the petition: it ‘does not contain facts demonstrating any reasonable grounds for the requested action.’… There’s sure to be so much data coming now, that it’s going to be a difficult phase to navigate. Be prepared for a lot of fear-mongering about vaccine effectiveness, and some awfully confusing conflicting messages. However, one thing is still unambiguously clear. We need to vaccinate the unvaccinated and under-vaccinated – everywhere. That remains urgent, both scientifically and morally. Casting doubts on the vaccines with smoke and mirrors, and scaring well-protected people into boosters before they’re needed, are both natural enemies of that absolute goal. Superficial and scientifically specious hot takes on powerful medical platforms is the last thing we need.” • On Doshi’s BMJ article and the associated petition. I take the point that this is a pandemic. However, I and I suspect many others would have been much happier with the FDA’s Pfizer approval if there had been a public hearing and any new data made public. So I think Bastian’s “slow down” is a bit of a straw man, even though that’s what Doshi advocates. It isn’t like there was no advance warning that the FDA’s EUA would need to be transformed into full approval at some point So why didn’t FDA resource the effort so the approval was fully functional and fast?

“Don’t have your baby in January” [Libby Watson, Sick Note]. “It’s not news that the resetting of deductibles, and other annual “accumulator” mechanisms, shapes people’s use of healthcare. Many hospitals see a rush of patients scheduling elective procedures in December, when they may have already spent most of their deductible, before it resets in January. But for most parents, trying to schedule their baby’s birth for December is difficult, if not impossible. You’ve got to be pretty lucky to get pregnant the very first month you try—and for most people, like Michael, it just isn’t at the top of parents’ minds. Michael and his wife had been trying for a while and receiving fertility treatment, and then it just happened. Michael told me it was “frustrating” that the fact she would be born in January, after their plan reset, was “one of the first things” he said out loud when he found out his wife was pregnant. (The same thing happened with their first baby. Double bad luck.) The deductible is just one of those arbitrary features of the American health financing system that are stubbornly not taken into account by human bodies when they need medical care. Hearts and kidneys do not pay attention to calendars or insurance plans when they fail, and babies will come when babies come.” • The father: “We show up [and] they’re like, ‘Okay, you owe us $1,200,’ and we pay it.” • America has the best health care system in the world. Best at some things, anyhow.

“Fear-Addled Bugmen” [IM 1776]. • I’m linking to this only to show that framing one’s political opponents as vermin is trans-partisan.

Groves of Academe

“How Schools Lie” [Jain Family Institute]. “When prospective students navigate the process of choosing a college, financing is a central and often determining factor in the final decision of enrollment…. But much of the financial data that prospective students receive is misleading. In the cost information offered to prospective students, higher ed institutions consistently underestimate the non-tuition costs of attending college, and overestimate the amount of incoming aid from grants and scholarships. Discrepancies between estimated and real prices can add up to thousands of dollars in unanticipated costs, burdening students who already struggle to afford college. In our research, we find that 41 percent of colleges underestimate room and board costs for off-campus living, with a median difference between real costs and estimates of $1,488 for public colleges and $2,045 for private colleges. Similarly, we show that students can expect to receive an average of $3,000 less in free aid as upperclassmen versus their first year of college. Overall, 83 percent of higher education institutions in the academic year 2017–2018 presented information that obscured similar reductions in financial aid for upperclassmen.” And: “With each passing year, a greater share of students feel the effects of these oversights: dwindling grant or scholarship resources, student loan accumulation, and, in the worst cases, the inability to make ends meet when both tuition and cost of living continue to rise. The sticker shock of college hits hard once funding sources run dry, leaving a wide swathe of students worse for wear, through either unanticipated indebtedness of the student (and/or family through the Parent PLUS loan system) or delays and decline in college completion. The widespread misrepresentation of cost data exacerbates the harsh trends of the student debt crisis, by denying students and their families the information they need to make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.” • Let’s all give a hand to our university administrators, especially the admissions office!

Zeitgeist Watch

Precarity enacted:

When life gives you vegetables, make an extraordinary supermarket display:

Reinforces one of my pet views, that there’s a lot more creativity in the working class than our current arrangements for managing the means of production allow. Not perhaps for high (let’s just to ahead and call it bourgeois) culture, but creativity generally, “the augmentation of the complexity and intensity of the field of intelligent life” (Ursula LeGuin).

Class Warfare

The Bearded One on the continental geopolitics of the Civil War:

Yes, a victory for the Confederacy would have had exceptionally nasty consequences (fitting right in with the self-confidence of the Slave Power, see Karp’s This Vast Southern Empire). Note also the account.

“USPS has shorted some workers’ pay for years, CPI finds” [Associated Press]. “The Postal Service regularly cheats mail carriers out of their pay, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. Managers at hundreds of post offices around the country have illegally underpaid hourly workers for years, arbitrators and federal investigators have found. Private arbitration records tell part of the story. From 2010 to 2019, at least 250 managers in 60 post offices were caught changing mail carriers’ time cards to show them working fewer hours, resulting in unpaid wages, according to a batch of arbitration award summaries obtained by Public Integrity for cases filed by one of the three major postal unions. Supervisors found to be cheating were rarely disciplined — often receiving only a warning or more training. In four cities, arbitration documents show, post office managers continued to alter time cards after promising union leaders they would stop. Since 2005, meanwhile, the Postal Service has been cited by the federal government 1,150 times for underpaying letter carriers and other employees, including one case that involved 164 violations, according to Labor Department data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The agency determined that those workers lost about $659,000 in pay. But it allowed the Postal Service to pay back less than half after negotiations with the agency [(!!!!)] — a common practice at the Labor Department. About 19% of the cases did not indicate whether the Postal Service paid back employees.” • Only “some”? Obviously, we should privatize the Post Office completely, so it’s “all.” No halfway measures!

Gawd forbid that our frivoulous NGO funders should ever build any permanent infrastructure:

NPR showing its derrière:

News of the Wired

Not feeling wired today. Perhaps tomorrow!

* * *

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

PM writes: “Not sure what these are except beautiful.”

And since I blew past the plant yesterday, a make-good (Mike Layton):

Mike Layton writes: “Here are some lush photos of tropical rainforest vegetation and flowers. They were taken along an unmarked trail in the mountains of Canóvanas, Puerto Rico, just outside of El Yunque National Forest.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Byron

    ABC10 sues to release messages between Newsom staff and PG&E regulators after the CPUC refused to share records.

    Newsom’s main contributor. What a coincidence.

    “California transparency laws call the ability to review records of government business “a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state,” but a powerful state agency seems to have found a simple way around that: dragging its feet.

    “It started in November 2020 when ABC10 asked the California Public Utilities Commission to hand over messages between its top official and high-ranking staffers in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. ABC10 wanted to see what CPUC President Marybel Batjer and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said to each other while orchestrating a complex plan to help PG&E exit bankruptcy in the wake of the company’s crimes.

    The CPUC refused to release the messages and delayed ABC10’s ability to challenge its decision in court.

    “Under the logical extension of [the CPUC’s] position, they can essentially ignore all Public Records Act requests for months or years and never be held accountable for that,” said Steve Zansberg, a freedom of information attorney representing ABC10 in the case. “Or for the actions that those public records describe.”
    Credit: ABC10/KXTV
    Under Governor Gavin Newsom, California’s state government responded to PG&E’s deadly crimes by giving the company rewards and protection. ABC10’s three-part investigative series reveals how it worked.”


    1. Total

      Forget the emails! How about an accountancy of how the state budget is spent????


      quote: California is the only state refusing to disclose all state spending. Forty-nine states produced their line-by-line vendor payments after auditors at OpenTheBooks.com submitted open-records requests.

      It’s a basic issue of accountability. The people, press, and politicians must be able to follow their tax dollars. After all, it’s their money.

      In 2020, we sued California Controller Betty Yee, a Democrat, in state court after she argued that her office couldn’t “locate” any of the 50 million payments that the state admitted making last year. Our lawyers are the public-interest law firm in Washington, D.C., Cause of Action Institute….

  2. Mikel

    “Readers are also invited to play “fill in the blank” on “Everywhere it’s the same _____,”

    The game could go on for a long time. But it demonstrates that for all the cries about “diversity,” it is not really valued.

    1. Sawdust

      Or maybe diversity is valued because of its increasing scarcity. Perhaps the likes of Noah Smith are starting to realize, but cannot yet admit, that escaping the dreary homogeneity of Dollar General America only landed them in the dreary homogeneity of Whole Foods America.

      1. Sawdust

        Also, Will Wilkinson is puzzled as to the proliferation of Confederate flags, but it seems pretty obvious to me. Will already hates those people, they are fully aware of it, and they know that waving the Stars and Bars is the best way of hating him back.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Malvina Reynolds wrote a song called “Little Boxes” in the early 60s, but it’s quite prescient looking forward even to the 2020s except that the boxes are huge now:

      Little boxes on the hillside,
      Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
      Little boxes on the hillside,
      Little boxes all the same.
      There’s a green one and a pink one
      And a blue one and a yellow one,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

      And the people in the houses
      All went to the university,
      Where they were put in boxes
      And they came out all the same,
      And there’s doctors and lawyers,
      And business executives,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

      And they all play on the golf course
      And drink their martinis dry,
      And they all have pretty children
      And the children go to school,
      And the children go to summer camp
      And then to the university,
      Where they are put in boxes
      And they come out all the same.

      And the boys go into business
      And marry and raise a family
      In boxes made of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.
      There’s a green one and a pink one
      And a blue one and a yellow one,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

      Sung by Malvina Reynolds (I think)

      Pete Seeger Cover

      (The first time I remember hearing the song was as the theme of the television series “Weeds.”

      1. IMOR

        I sang along to it at a summer school in the Bay Area as a second grader ’67 or ’68, and it was background to several KRON and ABC7 local documentaries used various ways into the mid-70s.

        1. Beyond the rubicoN

          Yea it is also the intro song to the show Weeds. I thought it was written for the show specifically since it was all to perfect with the tone of the show and the intro segment. The show came out in the mid 2000s. First 4 seasons are worth a watch.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Me too. And then I thought it was a Pete Seeger song because It showed up on my Spotify feed (that AI is getting into my brain). But in sourcing a version to accompany the lyrics, the Seeger version includes an intro by Pete telling us about who really wrote the song. Malvina Reynolds is kind of like Betty Grove Eisner.

            It did fit “Weeds” very well. Seeing the text of thewhole song printed out though, it strikes me that Reynolds’s vision is essentially robots capable of replicating themselves. OMG! Cylons! And skin jobs at that!

      2. The Rev Kev

        Remember that one as a kid but even then it struck me as written by some intellectual who enjoyed sneering at other people’s lives. I was thinking at the time what alternate ways of living would that author like to see how people lived.

        1. Darthbobber

          Malvina Reynolds? Also wrote “You Ain’t done Nothin’ if you Ain’t Been Called a Red.”

          I think your assumptions about her attitude or those of Pete Seeger and Victor Jara are probably incorrect.

        2. ChiGal

          Maybe she’s sneering, dunno, but I guess she would have preferred socialism to the rat race and a few tradesmen mixed in with all those doctors. She was probably a pacifist too.

          From Wikipedia:
          Malvina Milder was born in San Francisco to David and Abagail Milder, Jewish and socialist immigrants, who opposed involvement in World War I. Her mother was born in Russia and her father was born in Hungary.[2] She married William (“Bud”) Reynolds, a carpenter and labor organizer, in 1934. They had one child, Nancy Reynolds Schimmel (a songwriter and performer), in 1935. Malvina earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and later earned a doctorate there, finishing her dissertation in 1938.

        3. Mikel

          I don’t know. Maybe to be able to have any color house, maybe a different kind of career, and not have to go to summer camp or university?

      3. Antagonist Muscles

        Wukchumni is so prominent with song lyrics here, I immediately assumed, “Wuk is at it again with the creative parodies.”

  3. Glossolalia

    Apologies for front running the Texas abortion ban story, but if the law says any Texas resident can sue anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” it, can we anticipate the Texas courts being swamped with thousands of such suits? And how will they handle that?

    1. curlydan

      I was just reading about the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 last night, and this Texas bill came to mind. In that 19th century act, “any person aiding a fugitive by providing food or shelter was subject to six months’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers who captured a fugitive from slavery were entitled to a bonus or promotion for their work”.

      there are some sick dudes running the state of Texas.

      1. skk

        and in the Fugitive Slave Act : “these commissioners( the judges) were paid $5 if an alleged fugitive were released. They received $10 if the fugitive was sent away with the claimant.”

        And in the new abortion law: “In addition to a $10,000 penalty, SB8 would saddle violators of the law with their opponents’ attorneys fees. It provides no such relief for defendants, even if they win.”

    2. marym

      The objective of the law is intimidation, harassment, and professional and financial damage. Court backlogs would cause on-going legal costs and uncertainty in the lives of the people being sued. This would be a feature, not a bug, as far as the authoritarian goal of exerting power and inflicting harm.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I heard that it would even permit a non-resident of Texas come into Texas to sue somebody under this law. That reminded me of the Fugitive Slave Law as well.

      Perhaps we should start calling it the Fugitive Abortion Law. Or also the Texas Rat Fink Law, depending on context.

      And people living in not-Texas might want to start keeping track of every resident of not-Texas who decides to sue someone in a Texas court under the Texas Rat Fink Law. Every person from not-Texas who does this should be made known to all the people in that sue-er’s particular state in not-Texas so all the other not-Texans of that sue-er’s particular state can dox the sue-er and destroy the sue-er’s life as totally as possible. Get them fired, denied business, etc. Make the price of non-Texans suing in Texas under the Texas Rat Fink Law so high that no non-Texan will dare to do it.

      That way, at least the only Rat Finks who would sue under this law would be within Texas itself, and perhaps within the reach of whatever social sanction that Texans Against Rat Finks could apply to them.

      Hey! That could be the acronym for an organization. TARF. Texans Against Rat Finks.

    4. allan

      Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away,

      Why Roe v. Wade is most likely not in grave danger no matter whom Trump nominates [NBC, July 2018]

      Contrary to what many commentators and Democrats are saying, Roe v. Wade is probably not “doomed.”

      Abortion will likely not be illegal in 20 states within 18 months. A new justice will certainly create a new balance on the court. Retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was the fulcrum, now Chief Justice John Roberts is the median vote. But Roe will not be overturned just because there may be a new conservative majority on the court after President Donald Trump, who is set to announce his nominee on Monday, replaces Kennedy. …

      But the court will not overturn a past decision unless there are strong grounds for doing so. This doctrine, “stare decisis,” promotes the consistent, reliable and predictable development of the law, while assuring the public of the court’s integrity. …

  4. hemeantwell

    Yay! I’ve learned that it was the Golden-sided Euphonia that you hear so often in Herzog’s _Aguirre, the Wrath of God_

  5. Carolinian

    Re Nice Polite Republicans strike again against the beloved Ed Asner.

    Hey at least they are polite?

    And re that FDA “approval”–alt Covid sites are saying the approval is only for the commercial, upcoming drug and that existing vaccine doses are still under the EUA. From what I read once the Emergency Use goes so does Pfizer’s legal immunity waiver.

    Smarter medical minds care to comment?

  6. IM Doc

    With regard to the Noah Smith tweet above about being picked on as a millenial kid —

    I found this response just now on Twitter – I could not have said it better if I had to.

    One thing for sure about Twitter and other social media – it sure decreases the ability of people to hear themselves and how absolutely ridiculous they sound.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      A guy I ran with growing up ended up with this attitude and I never understood it. If you’re living your life to spite the people who wronged you in high school, they’re still controlling you. Seems pointless to me, but what do I know.

      I’m a lefty GenXer and I never had an issue with the “rednecks” in my town. Guess I was just lucky? The cops were a much bigger thorn in my side.

    2. Mikel

      Not only that excellent comeback, but the obvious omit in Smith’s “anaIysis” (which is keeping the “anal” in analysis): the rich kid sneering and jeering all too common in schools has to be considered.

      Well, maybe not as common now considering the almost total separation of social classes between schools/school districts.

      1. skk

        Quite. Since I started following Glen Greenwald’s twitter feed I’ve come across so many assholes that he excoriates that I’d never even heard of. Ignorance was bliss, I’m tempted to unfollow him.

        1. haywood

          I’m about to unfollow GG on Twitter as well. The interpersonal Twitter drama is boring and off-putting.

          But he is still a valuable and increasingly rare voice on so many other issues that I may subscribe to his newsletter at the same time.

    3. Darthbobber

      If he thinks that bullying/being bullied is a thing peculiar to rural areas, or to rednecks, or to conservatives he’s greatly deluded. You can see this at the most elite boarding schools.

      And if he paused to think for half a second before opening, even he would know better.

    4. FluffytheObeseCat

      All of you are incredibly fortunate to be posting your condemnations of Noah Smith after Amfortas the Hippie has signed off for the evening.

      This way you can pretend all and any dislike of “rednecks” is merely attributable to hurt feelings in adolescence.

    5. Antagonist Muscles

      I am impressed IM Doc has the patience to use Twitter. I certainly don’t have the patience.

      I have so many software customizations on my computer that all social media websites don’t work properly in my browser. I suppose that’s a good thing because when online communications turn abrasive, I get angry – even if I am not actively participating.

      Apparently, the main point of social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Reddit – is really to encourage everybody to say ridiculous things. Zuckerberg, in his zeal for more user engagement, wants ridiculous, offensive, bigoted, delusional, and even dangerous remarks. The grounds for encouraging all of this is the pretense of free speech, and the result is insidious. A group of insiders self-congratulates its own supposed knowledge and wages war on the outsiders.

      But the political and financial elite rise above the battle waged by those insiders and outsiders. “Let the little people fight. We shall seize the spoils.”

      Thanks to the moderators who keep the discussion here civil. We as an “insider” community shall not become so self-righteous as to harm others who disagree with us. Our target is the aristocratic financial and political elite.


    I completely get the overall point, the generification of American culture has hit the urban environments just as much as the rural ones. I would propose the Apple Store as the biggest signifier of this; Starbucks got suburbanized years ago. However, no offense, but “jangly overproduced world music”? That stereotype of the urbanite is a couple decades past its relevance.

    Regarding Noah Smith’s tweet, he’s right that the Gen x-ers and millennials who could get out, picked on by rednecks or not, left the rural environments for urban ones. However, his implication that those people are to blame for the rural material decline falls into the same fallacious thinking as the “skills gap” explanation does, that the rural areas are economically degrading because not enough people there know how to code. Those people, by and large, didn’t leave for culture war reasons, they left because they were following the jobs. Blaming those people just gives a pass to the capitalist class that de-industrialized the hinterlands for short-term profit juicing.

    1. jsn

      Thank you! When it’s not hippy punching it’s intergenerational sniping!

      Let’s put the responsibility where the power was: with the auto corrupting US political class that saw the green on offer from the progeny of the Powell Memo and sold out the New Deal / Great Society traditions for cash.

      “The Big Chill” indeed, the heart was dead, only the impulse of the somehow still animate body remained, and this is what our society has become.

      1. urblintz

        “the auto corrupting US political class that saw the green on offer from the progeny of the Powell Memo and sold out the New Deal / Great Society traditions for cash.”

        succinct, precise and historical.


      2. Left in Wisconsin

        Maybe I’m misinterpreting but both you and Lambert seem to be putting primary responsibility for deindustrialization and the demise of the New Deal on the feckless Democrat PMC. (Does Wilkinson really think Larry the Cable Guy orchestrated the deindustrialization of the Rust Belt? Because he didn’t. That was down to the “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward” (ODDMF) urbanites who are the Democrat party’s base.)

        While Krugman, the Clintons et al were certainly cheerleaders, and the PMC supportive consumers of imports, the power was and is with the leadership of the multinational corporations that took the work from here and moved it to there. The Dems were the ones who told us everything was grand but they were hardly the power players. At best (worst?), we could say they were the ones who broke up the New Deal coalition so that any pushback against neoliberalism was inconsistent and ineffective.

        1. lance ringquist

          but trump was correct when he said to hillary, you let us do it, you let us move. and the worst policy blunder in america’s history was bill clintons free trade.

          truman kept Gatt a treaty that allowed protectionism. that was all removed by bill clinton. the rest is history.

        2. eg

          Globalization and American deindustrialization were policy decisions. Ones that the (American and traitorous) leadership of the multinational corporations desired and exploited, to be sure, but impossible without Dem legislative complicity.

          See Judith Stein’s “Pivotal Decade”

  8. mark bowllan

    Longtime Naked Capitalism lurker… first time commenter.
    I belatedly noticed an entry in last Thursdays Water Cooler about Harry Reid spawning a new generation of progressive leaders back in the 2000s.(Nation) The first annual YearlyKos, which later morphed into Netroots Nation, was a pivotal moment and was mentioned in the article. Harry Reid was the keynote speaker.
    I made a video about YearlyKos 2006 and Harry Reid leads and ends the piece.
    There were many weighty panel discussions which were streamed live, so I concentrated on capturing the ambience. I didn’t know alot of the players by sight and probably walked right by many I should have spoken with. It was an incredible moment and I was happy to have experienced it.
    Times have changed… and so have a lot of the players. To relive the early, more innocent days of the progressive blogosphere… check it out. YearlyKos 2006 – Bloggers Woodstock

  9. zagonostra

    >“This “Waning Immunity” Argument Against the FDA’s Covid Vaccine Approval Is a Scientific Quagmire” [Hilda Bastian. PLOS].

    Be prepared for a lot of fear-mongering about vaccine effectiveness, and some awfully confusing conflicting messages. However, one thing is still unambiguously clear. We need to vaccinate the unvaccinated and under-vaccinated – everywhere. That remains urgent, both scientifically and morally. Casting doubts on the vaccines with smoke and mirrors…

    Wow, I wish I could believe Hilda, I really do. But I listen to a wide spectrum of people with Phd’s after their names whose messages are certainly in conflict. One in particular is Jonathan J. Couey who started a web site and streams on gigaohm biological. He is a biologist who lost his Job at the University of Pittsburgh for “casting doubts.” He basically gave up his job to teach listeners immunology 101. I listen to him almost almost daily.

    What is “unambiguously clear” is that no amount of TV watching will provide you with the truth. You really do have to work at getting to it. I’m learning and appreciating the miracle of our immune system that I never knew anything about.

  10. Hepativore

    So, in light of recent foreign policy events, it looks like that while Biden wound down Afghanistan, the forever wars will continue in other countries and will probably be ramped up.

    Looking at how much has been wasted in Afghanistan alone, I wonder if in addition to making money for private military contractors if Orwell was on to something in 1984 with the war economy in the book. I.e. the governments of Eurasia, Oceania, and Eastasia purposely wasted resources building massive weapons platforms that were obsolete and dismatled as soon as complete, only to do it again. The reason they did this was to intentionally destroy resources to cause artificial supply shortages for many goods available to their citizenry. This way the political class could maintain high prices, low standards of living, and keep the underclass desperate as a means of control.

    Perhaps the US forever wars serve a similar purpose. Basically, a massive dump of resources, money, and personnel, to keep people preoccupied and to serve as a constant excuse to ignore domestic policy as our nation’s infrastructure falls apart and inequality rises.

    1. Captain Obious

      Those troops may come in handy to help our good friends in Israel if “Plan B” becomes necessary.

  11. Phillip Allen

    The first plantidote is Tigridia pavonia, aka: “jockey’s cap lily, Mexican shellflower, peacock flower, tiger iris, and tiger flower” (via Wikipedia). I really like them. They are grown as annuals or tender perennials in the US. T. pavonia is native to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and are herbaceous perennials in their native range. I’ve grown them in New England in ground as an annual, and had good results with holding over dormant potted tigridia from year to year. Though I never tried it myself, apparently tigridia seed is easy to germinate, and takes as little as two years to flower. Open pollinated (OP) seed produces a range of colors. There are a number of cultivars in horticulture that were selected from OP sowings and propagated.

  12. Expat2uruguay

    More items of interest from South America: were US influence shows signs of crumbling”

    Venezuelan opposition leader Guevara calls for “coexistence” with Maduro government, significant because Guevara is the leader of the Popular Will opposition party:

    “The Popular Will party was at the forefront of a 2019 effort to push Maduro from power through a U.S.-backed plan in which opposition leader Juan Guaido assumed an interim presidency after disavowing Maduro’s 2018 re-election as fraudulent.”

    Mexico is calling for the elimination of the Organization of American States (OAS) to be discussed at the next meeting of the Community Latin American States (CELAC) on September 18th:

  13. ChiGal

    >52.4% of the US is fully vaccinated, a big moment, bursting through the psychological 52% barrier.

    And 61.5% of those aged 12 and up, the only ones who are currently eligible.

  14. saywhat?

    and theologians of the slave holder’s party had tried to prove … that slavery is the lot of working men everywhere. Karl Marx

    Totally bogus, Biblically speaking, since:
    a) fellow Hebrews (ie. fellow countrymen or believers, including converts) could not be permanently enslaved but only held as well-treated indentured servants for at most 6 years and released well-provisioned the 7th year.
    b) not even wage-slavery was the norm for fellow Hebrews (ie. fellow countrymen or believers, including converts) since they would all normally be roughly equal landowners (cf Leviticus 25).

    1. Synoia

      Slavery was the working man’s lot was until the Enlightenment.

      I m not so sure that the current system is better than the pre-enlightenment era. Both are cruel and merciless.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      ” not even wage-slavery was the norm for fellow Hebrews”

      I think that even by the Bible’s own terms, the Jubilee was more an aspiration (they had politicians too) than a reality. In Jeremiah 34, YHWH speaks to Judah reminding it that the covenant included the law of slavery as appears in the Book of the Covenant in Exodus and as revised (slight return) in Deuteronomy. Here’s the ruling from YHWH on the proposition that Israel had been faithful to that particular covenant:

      Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me.

      The current leaders’ guilt and fear, with the help of Jeremiah’s preaching led them to repent and finally proclaim the long-promised freedom. But as the guilt and fear subsided, they reneged.

      Their failure adhere to the obligations over the centuries to give freedom to their slaves and their most recent betrayal brought on a severe judgment:

      You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim freedom for you, declares the LORD–freedom to die by the sword, plague and famine.


      Even if the Jubilee was more of a dream than an historical reality, it did follow the general thrust of the law of slavery in the Bible in what we in our Enlightenment mindset would consider a positive one.

      And it’s good to remember that the whole thrust of the histories is to adopt the warnings of the old prophets as to why they found themselves, even upon return from exile, in a ruin of what had been a city whose proudest possession was the house of YHWH that was now nothing but rubble. It cannot be that YHWH failed Israel. Instead, Israel failed YHWH.

      Nothing new under the sun, they say.

      1. eg

        You might enjoy Michael Hudson’s “And forgive them their debts” which traces the origins of the Jubilee back to the deror/andurarum of the Bronze Age civilizations.

  15. urblintz

    from Wolf Street:


    “Things started to run into the ditch when my doctor adopted electronic medical records. Although this is a complicated topic for another day, EMR is not something the medical community clamored for. It was shoved down our throats by the ObamaCare legislation. It imposed large costs and decreased productivity on physicians and hospitals.

    I refused to cave in and as a result I got the stick instead of the carrot. Not a bad decision since the carrot turned out to be rotten and the stick (2% cut in Medicare fees) was nowhere near the cost of a loss of 20% in productivity with EMR.

    Looking back, do you recall a drop-off in quality time with your doctor after 2010? EMR.

    I put up with the diminished level of service for a few years. Then my doctor merged with a corporate conglomerate.”

    Yves has written extensively on the subject.

    1. Synoia

      do you recall a drop-off in quality time with your doctor.

      No, thy still guess and fumble diagnosis.

      I lived with an allergy to some Beer’s (of some yeasts) for 40 years, which I eventually self-diagnosed.

      1. MonkeyBusiness

        LOL. I suffered from Vitamin D deficiency which affected my sleep quality for the longest time. I’ve had very good health insurance, seen a bunch of “good” doctors and none of them ever suspected the lack of Vitamin D as the culprit. CPAP wasn’t helping. Then Covid came, and Vitamin D became a hot topic, which led me to start consuming it regularly (at least 2000 IU a day). Voilla, I have been sleeping MUCH better the last few months.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      When the first regulations for a national electronic medical records came out — as I recall, well Before the Obamacare disaster — the u.s. Army had a working system for electronic medical records — Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) and a family of supporting systems hardware. It enabled medical personnel “…to digitally record and transfer critical medical data from point of injury to medical treatment facilities worldwide.” [https://asc.army.mil/web/portfolio-item/medical-communications-for-combat-casualty-care-mc4]

      I never worked with it or on it but as far as I could tell it was well regarded by its users. Of course it did not not provide information for billing purposes, which is critical for use in CONUS civilian facilities.

  16. Synoia

    Manufacturing: “British sports car brand Lotus to produce EVs in Wuhan”

    I believe that Lotus is owned by General Motors…but I am out of date

    r… it was bought by General Motors, then Romano Artioli and DRB-HICOM through its subsidiary Proton. It is currently owned by Chinese multinational Geely, with Etika Automotive as an equity partner.

    So it is a Chinese owned car builder going to build for it’s parent company’s Domicile…

    Quelle surprise./s

    I hope the Chinese enjoy the North Easter “Lazy winds “in Winter.

    1. John Beech

      Once owned an Elan S3. Great fun. Offered waaaay more than I paid for it and sold it a few weeks after buying it.

  17. Pamina

    About all of that equipment the US left behind in Afghanistan. My experience is that so much of what we appear to have abandoned is overpriced crap that requires too much upkeep to keep it all running. How would Ratheon make any money if the UH-60 Black Hawks didn’t constantly need new parts? I saw the photos of the Taliban sitting in some HMMWVs and my first thought was, I wonder what they’ll do when the vehicles inevitably all break down and need parts. Does the Taliban have enough JP-8 to keep um runnin’? On the other hand I’m sure the Afghans have some whiz bang mechanics to figure it out. One of my biggest headaches when I was a squad leader was keeping the two HMMWVs that I was assigned fully mission capable. When it came time to send volunteers to help out in the motor pool rather than sending a Specialist I used to go myself. Did I have more important things to do? NO. The mechanics taught me a lot about the internal combustion engine, plus I was able to build a rapport with many of them so that when I did have one break down they were remarkably responsive to my maintenance request. The same was true of the radios I maintained when I was the COMSEC NCO of an aviation company. The radios had to be constantly cycled through various tiers of maintenance to keep functioning. Since I had a college degree (somehow everyone knew, probably had something to do with the history and anthropology books with lots of foot notes by Marxist scholars that I always used to lug around in the map case that I converted into my “Army purse”) it was really important that they understood that I sincerely did not regard myself as superior and that my stripes weren’t any different than theirs. Fortunately I did manage to keep our equipment FMC, but just barely. If I hadn’t cultivated those relationships with maintenance and supply who knows? Plus I learned a lot from them. What the US really should have done was leave the Taliban a couple of F-35’s to sit on an airstrip to rust in the sun. Best use of them I can think of for most of our equipment. Also, when all else fails the US military has plenty of leaky HAZMAT to dump on it’s supposed enemies. Maybe the Taliban will stick with the weapons they used to defeat the ANA. Sorry about the constant “life and times of Pamina” shtick but I think that sticking with my own experience is the best way not to venture beyond what I actually know.

    1. jo6pac

      Hopefully the Taliban will sell all Amerikan weapons on the open market like Nam did. The use the money for their citizens and Russian& Chinese weapons. Amerika will buy them through a 3rd party hand them over to the Ukraine and other so-called friends of Amerika.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Does Afghanistan have Lemon Laws? If not, their version of Craigslist is going to be packed with all sorts of ads for “lightly used” equipment with the phrases “ran when parked” and “bring a trailer” in the descriptions.

    3. enoughisenough

      I mean, the Taliban didn’t plan 9/11, the Saudis did, and we funnel weapons constantly to the Saudis, as well as grovel before them at all times, so it’s hard to prioritize fear of the former, when the latter is an ongoing thing.

      The idea that Americans need to be worried about a proliferation of weapons seems pretty laughably hypocritical, kinda too late for that, innit.

      Also, the idea that all our military crap was safe from the Taliban when we were there is ludicrously false. Our stuff went missing and ended up in enemy hands on the regular. We lost palettes and palettes of cash.

      While we were there!

      This is just not a reason to stay, or be worried about it now.

      1. enoughisenough

        I think I remember people referring to the Afgh. War as “keystone cops”-level incompetence, like even during the rah rah days.

        It’s always been a clustershow.

    4. Milton

      Better to leave the future police accoutrements over there and have the local Afghani populous deal with it than to have it used against us over here.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I find it very ominous in how ‘brittle’ some of that gear is maintenance-wise and it sounds like deployment in a low-intensity warfare situation was pushing it to the limits of it performance. With so many vehicles, I am sure that Afghan mechanics will be able to figure out how to keep them running for years saving the expense of buying such vehicles when they reform the Afghan military. You do wonder how much a UH-60 Black Hawk would be worth to the Russian or Chinese military though. And the Afghans still have at least one UH-60 Black Hawk pilot in-country who knows how to fly it and can help show them how it is used. One has been spotted flying over Kabul recently. I will say that after reading your comment again that your people were lucky to have such a good officer.

  18. bassmule

    What I love about r/produce: You know damn well they’re paid disgracefully, yet they clearly take pride in their work. Creative work!

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    I visited the local Post Office today and they had the new Raven’s Story stamps. I think they are very beautiful.

    1. LaRuse

      Thanks for mentioning those. I hadn’t heard and looked them up. They are very beautiful and I think I will go buy some stamps tomorrow.

    2. Judith

      The post office almost always has a nice selection of stamps. The Ravens are great. I find that the post office workers are quite pleased and proud of their stamps. (Could be the nicest part of their job.)

  20. Mikel


    Grab your popcorn. The knives are really coming out for Rogan now. Never listened to his show, but started getting a big negative buzz around sites, especially among those keen on discounting all ways to manage the pandemic that don’t include big $$$$ or non-sterilizing vaccines.

    Hey people, there are forms of FDA approved Ivermectin that are prescribed for humans no matter how much you jump up and down in denial.

    Maybe alot of these whiners have bought Pfizer or Moderna stock?

  21. Riverboat Grambler

    This is a test comment. I’ve tried making a comment in the Star Trek thread and it’s disappeared after I hit Send about four times now, no moderation, nothing. Strange

    1. ambrit

      Go back and double check. I had a comment on that same thread “hang up” for ten minutes and, after I had vented my spleen, appear, to help me in my masochistic self abuse.
      I refer to the “culprits” as the Internet Dragons. Occasionally hungry for bitz and bytez. The mantra has often been; “Inscrutable are the ways of Skynet.”
      Despair not. It’s not a conspiracy.

  22. CoryP

    Cool, cool. Ontario is implementing vaccine mandates/passes for most “non essential” establishments just as the first batch of people who got fully vaxed back in March are probably having it wear off.

    This is “necessary” to make sure we can keep businesses open and not have our ICUs collapse.

    If I really believed they would have that sort of effect, maybe I’d be understanding, but my mind just keeps going to ulterior motives or, at best, delusional incompetence.

    Im tempted to avoid any subsequent doses just out of spite, which isn’t really a mature response…

    1. eg

      What CoryP doesn’t mention is that the Ford government (yes, he’s the brother of THAT Ford, former mayor of Toronto of US talk-show infamy) has been a day late and a dollar short in ALL of its COVID responses.

      They got dragged kicking and screaming into the “vaccine passport” theatre because polling in a province with 83% (of the 12+ population) having received a single dose. Presumably the demand for it represents the ongoing misunderstanding regarding the non-sterilizing nature of the vaccines themselves.

      At least Ontario does a good job of reporting cases/hospitalization/ICU occupancy (including a breakdown of the vaccinated/unvaccinated


  23. Valerie

    As per the USPS workers getting shafted, in the eighties My husband at the time and I were hired as young technical interns for a major regional theater company that had just hired a mercurial new Tony-Award-winning artistic director. As the director alienated employees who quit or fired staff for various reasons, the interns were assigned to add those people’s duties to our own. It only took a few months for us to be clocking 100 hour weeks for $135 a week. We met with the executive director as a group and said we had to have minimum wage for every hour worked ($3.35 per hour then.) for every hour worked. We would not press for overtime. We were told “No” that this was just how things were done in the big leagues, we were whiners and if we quit we would never get another professional theater job as long as we lived.

    We quit and turned the theater in to the Department of Labor, filing formal complaints. I think there were nine of us. Eventually we received a letter from the Department of Labor reporting that we were correct, the theater had been in the wrong and we were owed a substantial amount of back pay and overtime. HOWEVER as the investigation into our claim had taken two and a half years and there was a two year statute of limitations on cases like ours we would not be receiving any compensation. The treatment of the USPS workers should be no surprise to anyone. The rules exist to support employers not the rank and file.

    Surprisingly, the majority of the people I interned with went on to have long theater careers. The artistic director has at this point not had a paid directing gig in decades. Do you think that had something to do with his reputation for being difficult?

    1. jonboinAR

      Funny, about 30 years ago I went to the labor board with a similar complaint. They told me straight out that by the time they got my case settled the statute of limitations would of run out and I would probably never receive anything. I guess some things don’t change.

  24. ChrisPacific

    Re: vegetable supermarket displays

    The local supermarket where we used to live was unremarkable in most respects except for its produce department, which was a thing of beauty. We were once stopped by the produce manager and offered samples of some fresh locally grown fruit he’d just got in that day (it was glorious). I’m pretty sure he would have loved this.

  25. Darthbobber

    The FDA resignation story is turning into that Holmesian dog not barking in the night. Saw it initially 1st thing in the morning as CNN breaking news. But there’s already nothing up about it on their site. Has yet to appear at all on BBC or CBS. Shows up way down the NY Times site, well below Osaka and Cam Newton. Says if you had the paper version it would be on A14. WaPo also still with nada.

    Curiouser and curiouser

  26. Soredemos

    >“Fear-Addled Bugmen” [IM 1776]

    The most I’ll say in defense of this is that hyper-capitalism does have a tendency to funnel people into various avenues. There are people walking around who really can seem like husks that one corporate identity or other has been poured in to fill. Whether this be the caricature redneck whose personality entirely revolves around his gun collection and how many American flags he has waving from his pickup, or the stereotypical ‘soy boy’ nerd with a wall of (hideous) Funko Pop figures, or the vapid girl who has no interests beyond makeup and fashion. Usually these people will have a bit more going on once you get to know them, but not always.

    It’s not a partisan thing; husks exist all over the political spectrum.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      The author of that piece, Adam Winfield — I think the blog is ex-military — has the same name as one Spc. Adam Winfield who was part of a US Army death squad in Afghanistan, for which he was court-martialed.

      I do not know if these are the same Adam Winfield. Does anyone here at NC?

  27. Jason Boxman

    So some years ago? NC posted a link to a discussion of funding for various idealogical causes, and as I recall it found that conservative funders were willing to go the distance, while liberals wanted to fund very specific efforts with all kinds of conditions. I guess liberals just can’t help themselves with means testing and eligibility requirements. I guess if you’re always fighting for funding, you’re always sure to toe whatever the particularly line of the day is. It’s hard for liberals to get those big wins, like completely reinterpreting antitrust law and getting most judges in American to buy into it. Oops. (But liberals bought into ‘consumer welfare’ antitrust, too, so bad example maybe.)

    1. hunkerdown

      Each one is simply furthering the reproduction of their respective theories of change. Remember when Google used to put “beta” affordances on the products that weren’t finished? Now we are in the era of living standards and living services that can be withdrawn on a whim.

  28. urblintz

    British Heart Foundation: Covid-19 spike protein binds to and changes cells in the heart

    “Researchers from the University of Bristol have found that the spike protein binds to cells called pericytes which line the small vessels of the heart. This binding triggers a cascade of changes which disrupt normal cell function, and lead to the release of chemicals that cause inflammation. This happened even when the protein was no-longer attached to the virus.

    There is some previous evidence to suggest that the spike protein can remain in the blood stream after the virus has gone and travel far from the site of infection. In this study, researchers only studied pericytes from the small blood vessels within the heart. However, pericytes are found within small blood vessels all over the body, including in the brain and central nervous system. This latest finding may start to help explain the effect of the virus on organs away from the site of the Covid-19 infection. ”


    1. Randy

      Arent these the same spike proteins the vaccines cause your body to produce in great numbers? The spike itself is pathogenic? You don’t say…

  29. Basil Pesto

    Some commenters were hypothesising about the potential benefits of double masking yesterday with respect to ‘the space between’ the masks, in terms of what you might call the ‘microclimate’ between masks and how that might affect the virus. This got me thinking about double masking in general and I had this thought:

    Mask efficacy can be expressed in probabilistic terms, Let’s say for the sake of argument that a generic cloth mask or a poorly fitted surgical mask each present a 10% likelihood of being infected in the course of a day in a place where SARS2 endemic (this is a number I have come up with out of thin air, it is not real data). How does this change if they are worn on top of each other? Even accounting for all the assumptions I’m making, is it more or less a straightforward question of mathematical probability? ie:

    0.1 x 0.1 = 0.01

    ie probability of infection with double mask would then be 1%?

    This also assumes that the probability of the second mask outcome is independent of the first, which I don’t think it can be – if a virion passes through one mask, it is unlikely to do so ‘neatly’, and its dynamics will be affected, no? The nature of the interstitial mask space is likely to have some effect too. I can’t imagine these effects are going to make the virion more likely to travel through the second mask layer.

    Am I an idiot or is this a reasonable line of thinking?

    Does anyone know of any studies on double masking technique specifically?

  30. The Rev Kev

    Looks like Iran have gotten themselves a supply of US military vehicles. A convoy of them were driven in a convoy by Afghan soldiers fleeing the Taliban into Iran so now they belong to the Iranian military who will probably incorporate them into Iranian forces. Spare parts? I’m sure that Iran can buy all they need from Afghanistan now-


    McConnell is going to throw a fit when he finds out.

    1. drsteve0

      At about 4:30 in, …’knowing about what this virus is and what we can do with it’…
      18 months ago, hmmm.

  31. Even keel

    Re: don’t have your baby in January.

    My wife has had a baby on January, and one in December (12/30 in fact). I much preferred January. All the prenatal care was bundle billed as of the date of delivery, so it all rolled into the January calendar year, and we got free health care the rest of the year.

    By contrast, for my December baby, the prenatal care counted in the old year, as did the delivery, but the post-delivery care and hospitalization was billed against the next year! In other words: the calendar quirk doubled my deductible, and the December baby cost an extra five grand.

    Health insurance sucks.

    1. eg

      While a January baby is (apparently — up here in Soviet Canuckistan we have socialized medicine where such distinctions are meaningless) expensive for the parents, those children have significant advantages in school and in sports, especially in the early years.

Comments are closed.