2:00PM Water Cooler 9/14/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

QUERY 1: At some point in the last month or two, a reader recommended — to the best of my hazy recollection — a free PDF book on soil. Naturally, I didn’t save the URL because I knew wehre to find it. However, because both our internal search function and Google are broken, I can’t find it. Can some kind person refresh my memory?

QUERY 2: A friend had their citrus grove flooded. Any way to save the trees? Or is it all up?

Patient readers, I still have a lot of catching up to do, so if I missed your favorite story, do feel free to add a link to it in comments. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

From 1962. What an incredible catalog!

One of my favorite artbots:

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#COVID19

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

We already start to an instant rebound from Labor Day, I assume because reporting is returning to normal. Nevertheless, Labor Day, as the end of summer, also signals life changes for Americans, so those changes will affect the numbers too. We shall see!

Vaccination by region:

Interesting little blip. If it persists, credit to Biden. This is Tuesday. Looks like somebody came in Monday and got caught up from last week.

53.9% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by world standards, being just below Ecuador, and just above Switzerland and Malaysia). We are back to the 0.1% stately rise. This is the number that should change if Biden’s mandates “work.” 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:

I’m almost inclined to call the last peak and, as in December and January of last year, worry about the next peak from school re-opening. I dunno. Maybe, again, somebody caught up on the backlog Monday. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January. The populations are different, though. This one is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Speculating freely: If the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report September 13, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

To my eye, the Ohio Valley looks a little redder. Fascination to see the Sturgis cluster heal, though. 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.)

Test positivity:

Hospitalization (CDC). Sadly, the site is down as of this writing, so I’m leaving yesterday’s data in place:

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

Deaths (Our World in Data):

I know deaths lag, but I could do with them lagging in a downward direction. We are now well past the peak of last year at this time. Which I am finding more than a little disturbing. (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.)

Covid cases worldwide:

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Politics

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

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

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

Biden Administration

“Democrats on Capitol Hill face a crushing set of deadlines. Here’s what’s next.” [CNN]. “It’s about to be one of the busiest seasons yet on Capitol Hill as lawmakers rush to fund the government, raise the nation’s borrowing limit, dive deeper into their probe over what went wrong at the deadly January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, and pass not one, but two major legislative proposals through the House by September 27. It may not be impossible, but pulling it off when Democrats are just beginning to grapple with the deep schisms within their own ranks is going to make it a challenge.”

“Three in five back Biden vaccine requirement for businesses” [The Hill]. “Nearly 3 in 5 American adults support President Biden’s plan to require businesses with 100 or more employees to require that their workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing, according to a new Morning Consult-Politico poll. The poll, which was conducted between Sept. 11 and Sept. 13, found that 58 percent support Biden’s new vaccine requirement for private businesses. This includes 80 percent of Democrats and only 33 percent of Republicans — indicative of the partisan divide over such mandates. The national tracking poll found similar support for other steps that Biden announced last week as part of a new, more aggressive plan to reach the 80 million eligible Americans who have not yet received a dose of coronavirus vaccine.” • I’d love to know how much of that Republican 33% is suburbanites.

“Biden Covid team sees vaccine efficacy waning in unpublished data from Israel” [Politico]. “The Biden administration’s push to roll out coronavirus vaccine booster shots this month has largely been shaped by unpublished data from Israel’s vaccination campaign, according to two individuals familiar with the matter. The Israel data, which is set to be made public as soon as this week, shows that the Pfizer vaccine’s ability to prevent severe disease and hospitalization is waning over time — as is the shot’s protection against mild and moderate disease, the two sources said. The country began administering boosters to people over 60 in July and has now expanded it to people over 30, but it has released relatively little information so far about the effect of the booster campaign. The Biden administration has long relied on data from Israel, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, to inform its Covid-19 response. Top officials from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have analyzed the latest Israeli data for weeks, concluding that the U.S. should begin administering boosters this fall, another senior administration official said.” • Oh.

Democrats en Deshabille

Come on, AOC:

There is a certain flavor of “Bernie has three houses!” aghastitude to the Twitter storm about this; and ultimately, what AOC does on the House floor with reconciliation coming up is more important. That said, I don’t mind the dress (épater le bourgeois). I do mind a servant to hold the train. What next? A tiara?

“Biden, Newsom campaign in California ahead of closely watched recall” [NBC News]. “President Joe Biden campaigned with Gov. Gavin Newsom in California on Monday, a day before the state’s highly anticipated recall election that could remove the first-term Democrat from office. Biden gave the closing pitch to a large crowd in Long Beach, calling the leading Republican front-runner, conservative radio host Larry Elder, ‘a clone of Donald Trump.’ ‘All of you know last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,’ Biden said. ‘Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I have ever seen.’ He added, ‘I’m gonna make this as simple as I can: You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you’ll get Donald Trump. It’s not a joke.'” • No, it’s too dumb to be a joke. It’s not even a Dad joke. Really, is that the best they can do?

“Democrats Swoon Over George W. Bush, In Match Made in Hell” (paywalled) [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. Quoting the last paragraph: “The War on Terror was always above all a power grab, about the expansion of extralegal authority and secrecy for its own sake. Modern Democrats have seamlessly taken over the mission, because they’re now the same exact people the Bush Republicans were, only many times over more sanctimonious and insufferable. At least Bush was occasionally funny once, sometimes even on purpose, but now… Yeesh, what a revolting love-in, and probably just getting started, too.” • Always something to look forward to!

“First look: Harris veterans launch firm to protect CEOs from being canceled” [Axios]. “A group of Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign veterans is launching a strategy firm to help CEOs avoid getting “canceled” and to advise companies how to respond to changing cultural norms before they’re faced with a crisis…. C Street Advisory Group, led by CEO Jon Henes, a former national campaign finance chair for Harris’ presidential campaign, will draw on the group’s broad political network to help corporate America diversify its workforce…. C Street is entering an emerging, competitive market with financing from Antara Capital, a hedge fund backed by Blackstone — a sign that big financial firms view the diversity field as a growing industry.” • This looks a lot like an extortion racket. Clarifying!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why Americans Die So Much” [The Atlantic]. “Before the 1990s, average life expectancy in the U.S. was not much different than it was in Germany, the United Kingdom, or France. But since the 1990s, American life spans started falling significantly behind those in similarly wealthy European countries. According to a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Americans now die earlier than their European counterparts, no matter what age you’re looking at…. Why is the U.S. so much worse than other developed countries at performing the most basic function of civilization: keeping people alive?” • It’s not a bug. It’s a feature. At least somebody in the mainstream finally noticed, though; Case-Deaton didn’t get any traction at all.

“Corn dogs, butter sculptures and political civility: Republican, Democrat model civil bipartisan exchange” [ABC]. “But Reps. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and Dusty Johnson of South Dakota were looking for something else: an opportunity to find common ground and prove that civility in the country’s politics is not extinct. At a time when partisanship is uglier than ever in the halls of Congress, Phillips, a blue state Democrat, and Johnson, a Trump country Republican, are piloting a novel bipartisan political exchange program, featuring joint visits to each other’s districts and intimate joint town hall meetings with a diverse mix of constituents…. Both lawmakers are members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of moderate consensus-seekers on Capitol Hill who have notched success brokering compromises around COVID-19 relief and in shaping debate around a bipartisan infrastructure agreement.” • Oh gawd. Most of the worst ideas in politics are bipartisan (i.e., they’re accepted by most of if the political class. The PATRIOT Act, the AUMF, PayGo, American exceptionalism… All are bipartisan).

Stats Watch

There are no statistics of note today.

* * *

Capital: “Cutting Tool Demand Surging at Midyear” [American Machinist]. “U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers consumed $172.1 million worth of cutting tools during June, 7.1% over than the May total ($160.7 million) and 20.5% higher than the June 2020 ($974.7 million) result. The Cutting Tool Market Report, from which the results are drawn, tracks cutting-tool consumption as an indicator of current manufacturing activity. ‘The U.S. economy has fully recovered from its short recession and is entering (the) second half of 2021 in boom conditions,’ according to consultant Eli Lustgarten, cited by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute. ‘We expect that the recovery of cutting-tool demand should continue through the remainder of 2021 and well into next year.'” • Now, if we could make our own cutting tools, we’d really have something….

The Coinage: “How you can help America deal with its COVID-related coin circulation problem” [MiamI Herald]. “Is there really a coin shortage? No. There isn’t a coin shortage in the United States, reports WFAA-ABC8. There’s a coin circulation problem, according to the U.S. Coin Task Force…. The task force found that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the U.S. coin supply chain. People stopped spending cash in stores and turned to electronic spending, such as via your smartphone or computer. Businesses also shuttered, which exacerbated the circulation problem…. If you’re a retailer, the U.S. Coin Task Force urges you to not stop accepting cash as a first-line solution to the coin circulation issue. Also, don’t stockpile and hoard the coins you have on hand. That’s detrimental. ‘Coin moving through the supply chain is the quickest way to regain stability,’ the task force stresses.” • So coins are something like shipping containers? Besides being made of stamped metal?

Housing: “The Rapid Increase in Rents” [Calculated Risk]. “According to the Census Bureau, it took 6.8 months on average to build a single family home in 2020, and 15.4 months to build buildings with 2 or more units. With the pandemic related supply chain delays, the length of time to build probably increased significantly this year (2021 data will be released in March 2022). Second, if what is driving household formation is a spike in younger adults moving out – and in divorces – that might ease by 2022. So my sense is the rapid increase in rents will not persist.” • Many charts.

Commodities: “Series of Black Swans Driving up Fertilizer Prices” [Modern Farmer]. “Upswing in market prices, a natural disaster and disruptions in trade and logistics have brought increased attention to the fertilizer industry. … Last week, CF Industries put out a force majeure letter for its Donaldsonville, Louisiana facility, saying there would be issues of product coming out of the facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. CF Industries has 19 plants at the facility—which includes six ammonia and five urea producing plants. … ‘Our view for the rest of the 2021 calendar year is the world trade flows are tight on phosphate and urea and most every fertilizer out there,’ [Josh Linville with StoneX] says.”

Shipping: “The World’s Shippers Are Earning the Most Money Since 2008” [Bloomberg]. “The global shipping industry is getting its biggest payday since 2008 as the combination of booming demand for goods and a global supply chain that’s collapsing under the weight of Covid-19 drives freight prices ever higher. Whether it’s giant container ships stacked high with of 40-foot steel boxes, bulk carriers whose cavernous holds house thousands of tons of coal, or specialized vessels designed to pack in cars and trucks, earnings are soaring for ships of almost every type. With the merchant fleet hauling about 80% of world trade, the surge reaches into every corner of the economy. The boom back in 2008 brought with it a huge wave of new vessel orders, but the rally was quickly undone by a demand collapse when a financial crisis triggered the deepest global recession in decades. This boom’s causes are twofold — an economic reopening after Covid that has spurred surging demand for goods and raw materials. Alongside that, the virus continues to cause disruption in global supply chains, choking up ports and delaying vessels, all of which is limiting how many are available to haul goods across oceans. That’s left the majority of the shipping sector with bumper earnings in recent months. The bonanza is centered around container shipping — where rates are spiraling ever higher to new records, but it is by no means limited to it.”

Shipping: “Cargo Congestion Worsens With More Ships Waiting to Enter U.S. Ports” [Bloomberg]. “The number of container ships waiting to enter America’s top three ports has been on a steady rise since July. There were 40 container vessels waiting to offload at the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California as of Wednesday, the most since Bloomberg developed an index tracking port congestion globally…. Port congestion is worsening during one of the calendar year’s two peak seasons for global shipping demand. In the U.S. and elsewhere, bottlenecks along all modes of freight transportation are delaying deliveries for retailers and manufacturers, sapping capacity and driving cargo costs to record highs…. In China, congestion off the docks at Ningbo has eased considerably since numbers soared at the end of August, but some of that traffic was dispersed and led to higher counts off regional gateways like Qingdao, which also recorded its highest waiting ship tally since August.” • What fascinates me is that two-digit number: n = 40. How often do we see two-digit numbers affecting anything, let alone the global economy? There are not very many of the ships.

Shipping: “Trans-Pacific all-inclusive rates run sideways as supply-chain woes persist” [Hellenic Shipping News]. “‘Three times a week I’m on calls with customers saying ‘what if we pay more, what if we pay more.’ It’s surprising to me that people are immune to 30 grand rates into the Midwest,’ the forwarder added.” • I wonder how many of those calls are for urea…

Shipping: “Shipping Options Dry Up as Businesses Try to Rebuild From Pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “A wave of shipping consolidation over the past five years is adding to the supply-chain woes caused by Covid-19 outbreaks, further delaying the movement of cargo across the oceans. A handful of big shipping players control the majority of containers via giant vessels, leaving the world with fewer routes, fewer smaller ships and fewer ports that could keep the flow of goods moving when the pandemic disrupted operations, according to cargo owners and freight forwarders, who secure ship space to move cargo.” • One for Stoller!

Tech: Everything’s going according to plan:

Tech: Oh, Mark:

Tech: “TikTok’s algorithm is promoting sexual content, drugs and alcohol to children as young as 13, shocking investigation reveals” [Daily Mail]. “The more the user lingered on sexual content, the more sexual content was shown in the for you page – despite the users age being set in their profile. TikTok said they don’t currently differentiate between videos served to adult and children accounts, but were working on a new filter tool for younger accounts. … The WSJ reporters sent TikTok almost 1,000 videos showing drugs, porn and other adult-related content that had been shown to their 13 to 15 year old bot accounts. Of those videos, 255 were removed soon after they were sent to the Chinese-owned platform, including a dozen showing adults entering relationships with people calling themselves ‘littles’ – legal age adults pretending to be children.”

Manufacturing: “The reshaping of automotive supply chains is reaching the very steel that makes up the cars. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz this month signed a deal to have a unit of Swedish steelmaker SSAB supply low-carbon steel to the auto company…, a sign of the rapid moves European car manufacturers and steel producers are undertaking to develop and use lower-carbon steel” [Wall Street Journal]. “The steel sector is one of the world’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide while auto companies are one of the largest users of steel, putting the industries at the heart of Europe’s climate plans. Auto makers are taking carbon-cutting steps through technology that are already fostering new relationships with battery makers, chip companies and other suppliers. Shifting the kind of steel manufacturers buy would mark a major change.”

Manufacturing: “Executives from car and chip makers are establishing closer ties to address the global semiconductor shortage and working together to introduce new products. … [I]ntel CEO Pat Gelsinger told an auto industry event in Munich this month that he expects semiconductors to make up a fifth of the materials costs in premium-segment cars by 2030, up from 4% in 2019” [Wall Street Journal]. “That’s a dramatic measure of how technology is resetting automotive supply chains. Car makers have long dealt with chip suppliers indirectly, a structure that contributed to the chip crisis that has crimped production for many car makers this year. Chip makers are counting on auto makers as a fast-growing market, and the closer relations could signal similar moves in other sectors increasingly focused on technology.”

Labor Market: “Regulatory efforts aimed at Amazon’s California warehouses may reach into logistics operations across the U.S. Lawmakers in the state are pressing for a new law that would place new oversight on the way the e-commerce giant manages workers in its fulfillment centers… [T]he measure would impose new transparency on Amazon’s enforcement of performance goals and how that affects the health and safety of its workers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The legislation targets the highly detailed, closely watched requirements for workers known at Amazon as ‘making rate’ that play a significant role in the company’s intricate and rapidly growing logistics network. The performance goals have been a source of tension inside Amazon warehouses, however, and led to complaints by workers. Competitors keep close tabs on Amazon as they build rival e-commerce distribution operations, and changes in California operations would reverberate across the state’s big warehousing operations and beyond California’s borders.” • ”Making rate” sounds a lot like piecework, except where the boss counts the pieces and doesn’t let you see. “Trust us, it’s an algorithm!”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 37 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 14 at 12:23pm.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Gog (Russia). “Russia has been generally quiet the last few months” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

The Biosphere

“Pivotal climate summit dogged by COVID and equity concerns” [Nature]. “An international climate-action coalition is calling for the postponement of a pivotal climate summit slated to take place this November in Glasgow, UK, because COVID-19 pandemic restrictions could prevent the world’s poorest nations from fully participating. But many developing countries say that delaying the summit could have dangerous consequences for the planet and want to push forward. The summit, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), is the most significant global climate meeting since countries gathered in Paris in 2015 to sign an accord to limit global warming to 1.5–2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. The 196 governments participating in this year’s summit are expected to formalize a new round of commitments to dial back greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to limit the extreme weather currently pummelling countries around the globe. COP26 organizers in the United Kingdom have responded to the call for postponement with concessions intended to enable broad participation. UK officials told Nature that COVID-19 vaccines are now being shipped out for delegations without access to them, and that the first jabs will begin within days. But some observers still fear the proceedings will not be equitable because of reduced participation from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which often advise low-income countries and which are facing the most significant challenges in getting to Glasgow.” • Notice how “fully participating” means that “NGOs can’t come.” Who’s funding the NGOs, one wonders?

For soil fans:

(See NC here for an original version of the “textural triangle.”)

Health Care

“A Second Major Seasonal Virus Won’t Leave Us Any Choice” [Scott Gottlieb, The Atlantic]. “In our large, open, and globally connected society [unlike China lol], getting to zero COVID, the goal that Australia and New Zealand have pursued, is as politically unrealistic as it is biologically implausible. Americans are mostly done with the onerous shutdowns that such a goal would require. The virus has now spread so widely in the world [and why is that?] that even tight, long-lasting limits on Americans’ movement—restrictions far beyond what we [Who’s “we”? I bet most Americans would tolerate 14-day quarantine for international travellers just fine] would tolerate—could not stamp it out entirely. Instead, SARS-CoV-2 will [one hopes] become an endemic virus, settling alongside the other four strains of coronaviruses that circulate widely among us. But while the other four coronaviruses typically cause little more than the common cold, SARS-CoV-2 is likely to remain a more serious threat even after this pandemic wanes, even after the virus becomes primarily a seasonal pathogen, even after drugs and vaccination limit the damage it does. The virus will become a persistent menace at least on par with the yearly flu—a threat that, though seemingly routine, strains health-care systems, businesses, and schools every winter [the resources are “strained” because their optimized for profit, so there is no slack]. With SARS-CoV-2 mingling alongside influenza—and causing a comparable level of death and disease—the harm to public health and economic productivity will be too great for society to simply shrug off.” • Let ‘er rip! Perhaps I should have filed this under Class Warfare, or Realignment and Legitimacy. Commentary:

But that would call the sanctity of the wage relation into question. Can’t have that.

Sports Desk

“I Am Begging Sports Commentators To Teach Me The Nuts And Bolts Of The Game” [Defector]. “My poor colleague Giri Nathan, who knows so much about tennis, was seated next to me at the bar and in 10 minutes of listening to Giri, I learned more about the game of tennis than I did over the course of the eight U.S. Open matches I watched. That’s because Giri was telling me about the nuts and bolts of the game instead of the broad sweeping generalizations announcers usually stick to. I asked a simple, fairly stupid, question: Why does the serve toss wind up directly above the server’s head instead of in front of it? Giri pulled in front of him on the table a glass mug, and a takeout container, which he propped on its side to explain that the reason the ball needs to be above their head has to do with the mechanics of the serve, and (more importantly) with angles. Not only does tossing the ball over their head allow tennis players to serve the ball with their dominant arm fully extended, it allows them to create an angle over the net that achieves maximum power, while keeping the ball in bounds. Giri also explained to me why players are always picking up four tennis balls and choosing only one to keep (the balls get fluffier the more you hit them, which makes them more difficult to hit hard). Rarely are these basic pieces of knowledge that enrich the viewing experience offered by announcers.” • Agreed. Maybe someday I’ll understand cricket.

Under the Influence

Kardashians:

Perhaps I should have filed this under Zeitgeist Watch. A-a-a-a-n-d Kargashians gotta Kardashian–

“North West Exposed Kim Kardashian for Being ‘Fake’ Again” [Teen Vogue]. Again! The horror: “While Kim is getting started to show off the products she got in this month’s box, North’s punchy comment of the day arrives. ‘Why do you talk different for your videos?’ the 8-year-old inquires. ‘Why do I talk different for what? For my videos? I am the same human being, I don’t talk different. How do I talk different? Guys, do you think I talk different when I’m talking about contour?’ Kim then adds. Now, her question might have been rhetorical but [North’s beloved cousin Penelope Disick] answered it anyways with a resounding ‘yeah.’ Before Kim can even begin to question anything else, North starts to imitate her mother’s ‘promo’ voice courtesy of a high-pitched, nasal inflection. ‘Guysss, so today I got these new masks and these new bronzers. I got this,’ North narrates, which immediately get Penelope’s agreement.” • Be quiet, North. Mommie’s working.

Zeitgeist Watch

Shrines. How Third World:

“Cycles of identity formation”:

And best of all, each transition in the cycle can be monetized!

“Global Village Coffeehouse” [Cari Institute]. “Global Village Coffeehouse” is the name of an aesthetic style, defined thus: “A network of aesthetics emerging in the late 1980s, some an evolution of prog-punk-zolo memphis-y squiggles, keith haring, woodcut revival, a “return-to-the-natural” handrawing movement, reaction against the computer aided design boom, late 80s environmentalism revival, etc. Still very postmodern in the sense of appropriating seemingly endless prior artistic movements, mainly for commercial/corporate purposes. Peaks in the mid 1990s, falling out of favor later on as the pendulum swung back to the minimalism/tech/clean vibes of Y2K & Gen X/YAC. It’s very wide-ranging and could be split into many sub-groups, but this format seems to work better. Common motifs include: woodcuts, ‘tribal/ancient imagery and iconography’, moons, suns, spirals, hands, eyes, stars, simple styled flowing/curvy figures, ‘aroma swirls’, coffee cups, natural elements like trees/waves/landscapes, earth tones, hand-drawn look, ‘airbrushed dirty look’, the earth/globe, hearts, colorful gradated backgrounds, rough irregular borders & lines. Overlaps with ‘pop surrealism’ from the same time period, though GVC is usually trying to convey ‘sincerity’ as much it is needed to sell something; sorta faux-naive, down to earth, warm.” • Sounds like Starbucks.

Class Warfare

Good idea:

But also, it’s hard to pick out a ring-leader given the shape of an actual ring. I wonder if they’ve adopted anything like this in Myanmar…

Impressive movie-making:

I am here for Fesshole:

News of the Wired

More high-grade content for cutaway fans:

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

RH writes: “A carpet of pine needles is always arresting in person.”

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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.

130 comments

  1. Hubert Horan

    “Maybe someday I’ll understand cricket”

    When working at Qantas in Sydney in the 80s I tried watching cricket on television, but the custom then was for announcers to go 10-15 minutes without saying a word.
    I finally asked one of the Qantas folks who had spent time in the states to explain the sport. He asked “why do people go to Wrigley Field on a Sunday afternoon?” I replied, “to sit in the bleachers and drink beer fro three hours” He then explained “Well we do it for five straight days.” The lightbulb went on.

    Reply
  2. Alex Cox

    Re. circulation of coins, our local hardware store now keeps a dish with change on the counter – not just pennies, but all denominations. If you pay with cash, you can make the exact change this way. And if you get change you can leave it in the dish – just like ’rounding up for literacy’ at the market.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I’m thinking the coin shortage is more along the lines of lower denomination consumers squirreling away modest $4.01k’s, with the more affluent able to go big on $40.01k’s.

      Reply
    2. upstater

      Canada did away with pennies. It is a whole lot nicer using cash not having pennies or dollar bills. Of course with loonies and toonies, businesses take advantage with pricing.

      Reply
  3. Dr. John Carpenter

    The Fesshole Tweet reminds me of the Adventures of Mixerman, a pseudonymous faux(?) journal of an audio engineer working on a doomed project. Specifically, there was an entry where the manager was requesting more “sparkle” on the recording. So for the next day, Mixerman wrote “sparkle” on a piece of tape and slapped it above an unused knob on the mixer and turned the manager lose on it, with the warning that a little went a long way and to go slowly. At one point the manager believed he’d applied too much of the imaginary “sparkle” and even dialed it back.

    * Since the name of Mixerman was revealed, he has claimed both that the book was a composite of many sessions and that it was completely made up. Regardless, the details (which I may have slightly wrong, as it’s been ages since I read it) were so on the nose, it’s not impossible to believe it couldn’t have been true.

    Reply
    1. pricklyone

      I read that one, too. I think the gag pre-dates him, though.
      I read another from a cabinetmaker, whose manager insited that some pcs. were 1/32″ too long. He restacked the pieces, and conviced the manager he had retrimmed them by the 1/32″ amount.

      Reply
  4. Three-Jaw Chuck

    Cutting tools: when I took wood shop in high school, I was really looking forward to turning stuff on the lathe but before we could begin turning the instructor made us first make our own cutting tools from steel blanks. It took time to do but we all left the class with our turnings and our own tools we’d made ourselves.

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      do they even have wood shop at any public school in this country?

      our school 20 years ago had an entire 4 bay autoshop on the premises, mothballed since the late 70s. the woodshop apparently housed the special ed class.

      Reply
      1. Valerie

        That piggybacks on why most schools don’t offer drivers ed anymore and why my theater kids were not allowed to build sets using power tools- Liability Insurance costs. Also none of those skills are on the state test.

        Reply
      2. megrim

        I think this depends. The rural New England high school I went to in the 1990s still has a vo-ag program, and I’m sure they still have courses in small gasoline engine repair and taxidermy, along with an “IT” (wood shop) dept. If you want to become a mechanic or a cook, there is the technical high school one town over.

        Reply
      3. rowlf

        Our local high school has autoshop, nursing classes and classes for computer program certification. My son almost tested for his ASE but the pandemic got in the way. He still eventually graduated and got hired immediately by a dealership that is large enough to support training courses for their staff. His plan is to wait two years for the universities to unscrew themselves.

        A local airline was trying to start career training in the local high school too but I don’t know what happened to the program.

        Reply
      4. eg

        Our local high school (the same I attended in the 70s) has a wood shop — my son is taking construction next term. No auto shop or manufacturing, though. For those he would need to go to a couple of other schools in the city.

        Reply
    2. anEnt

      Lambert,

      We’re still doing ok in cutting tools…

      https://www.kodiakcuttingtools.com/
      https://www.shars.com/
      https://titancuttingtools.com/

      And having used some American and Chinese end mills, the Chinese quality just isn’t there yet. Moreover, industrial cutting tools come in tremendous variety due to heat and load management for each particular application. They’re an expensive consumable and there is value in having knowledgeable manufacturers within overnight shipping distance for when your production line blows through your spares.

      Reply
    3. Eclair

      Talking to an electrician friend last week, here in Jamestown NY, who said he had spent the day relocating and rewiring machines at a small precision tool shop here. They have developed a niche business, supplying places that need fast precision work, but can’t wait to ship to China and back.

      Jamestown, NY, btw, was a once-thriving city, making much of the nation’s wood furniture (we have inherited a houseful of solid wood furniture, still beautiful), as well as hosting large worsted mills.

      I listened to a local ‘historian’ the other day, explaining why the worsted mills closed, finally, in the ’50’s. It was because men stopped wearing suits.

      Reply
  5. Laughingsong

    “ Rapture Index: Closes down one on Gog (Russia). “Russia has been generally quiet the last few months”

    No, our Screaming Meamies in the press have pivoted to Afghanistan and China, giving the impression that there’s nothing from Russia.

    And yes, I too would love to see a couple of cricket matches with a knowledgeable person helping me out.

    Reply
    1. marku52

      Worse to me is Australian Rules Football. What’s with the guy in the white lab coat, and what is he doing when he waves his arms around?

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        That’s the goal umpire – though they stopped wearing white trench coats some time ago, alas. Their job is to signal when a score has been registered and what the score was (6 between the big sticks, 1 between the big and small sticks), whether a ball was touched before it crossed the line (1 point) or hit the post (1 point for the bug sticks, out of bounds for the little ones). Nowadays, they also refer to a video score review if they’re uncertain of an outcome.

        I know AFL tries to grow the game a little bit (they have had “combines” in the US and Ireland, for example) and I think it’s even shown on American TV now and then – I would assume they use a “simplified” commentary rather than the Australian feed? Anyway, don’t be put off by the minutiae; at its heart it’s a simple game and a brilliant sport. Alas, I’m going off it for 6 months as my team was knocked out at the penultimate hurdle on Saturday. The Grand Final (Superbowl) is on on Saturday week and should be a great game.

        (the waving of the arms with flags, btw, is to signal like a semaphore to the opposite goal umpire and the scorekeeper and fans what the score was – more useful at sub-AFL level with no cameras/broadcasting infrastructure.)

        Reply
        1. Laughingsong

          Not a fan of Aussie rules, I like the full on ruck and breakdown, and much prefer 15s to 7s. Looking forward to to the new United Rugby Championship, a reconstituted Pro14 …. It will be interesting.

          Reply
          1. Foy

            How could you not like bearded 208cm Maxy Gawn bringing the house down with one of the great displays in the Preliminary Final last Friday?! Big marks, chase and tackles, goals on the run, whats not to like?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D83wjOAb-Q

            One of Big Maxie’s goals on the run was 55 metres out and it sailed through easily . I lived in South Africa for 8 years and grew to love Rugby Union a lot but I’ll take our big pack marks and running goals over a ruck and breakdown any day!

            Reply
      2. eg

        To add to the confusion, there is also Gaelic Football, which is closer to Aussie Rules than either Rugby Union or Rugby League, though it’s strictly amateur as governed by the GAA.

        Reply
  6. Asgard Trondheim

    The California recall election is today. I wanted to mention something that is not getting a lot of coverage in the media. Newsom and allies have spent $70+ million for the recall election. He and the party should be ashamed that they had to spend so much money defending in the recall in a state where they have a 2-1 registration advantage. If they had been doing a good job and there was not real dissatisfaction with the party’s rule in the state, they would not have had to scramble and could have spent much less than they did.

    Reply
    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Granted Newson sucks, but isn’t the fundamental problem caused by the ease with which recall elections can be called especially by wealthy funders?

      The reactionary misdirection of many California referendum, originally created as a Progressive Era response go a captive legislature, goes back at least to Proposition 13 in the late 70’s, which helped ring in the neoliberal era.

      Reply
      1. Asgard Trondheim

        I strongly disagree. This is just the second governor recall election in the entire history of the state, which shows how difficult the process is even with wealthy funders. Complaints about the ease of having recall elections come off as disingenuous whining to redirect the real dissatisfaction with the state party and governor.

        Reply
      2. Nikkikat

        Michael Fiorillo, you are correct. The ease with which a recall can be done by big donors is the real problem. It should have been fixed after the last time that Gray Davis was successfully recalled. He too was just a cookie cutter corporate Dem like Newsom but the expense of running an election and being recalled for frivolous reasons should be revised. Newsom is no better or worse than anyone else we have had as Governor.

        Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I was ambivalent about the recall until I spotted ‘Denver Stoner’ as a replacement Governor on the ballot, and cast my vote accordingly.

      Reply
    1. Otis B Driftwood

      One of Greenwald’s better articles recently.

      It is a powerful symbol of the growing rot at the core of America’s cultural and social balkanization: a maskless elite attended to by a permanently faceless servant class.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Over a century ago, an American visitor went to an English country mansion and was disturbed to see that when he encountered a servant that they would immediately move to a wall and turn their face to it. The servants there were under standing orders never to look at family members or their guests so were expected in encountering one to do so. A lot of those old mansion were built too so that servants had their own rooms and hallways so that the family would never see them until they called for them. And you get the same sort of thing happening with modern celebrities as well. Years ago I read that if Al Pacino (?) wanted to go to a toilet in a bar, his goons would clear everybody out of them so that Pacino could go in alone.

      Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        I recall some factoid that up until the beginning of the 19th century servants were treated as (and often literally were) family members. As the 19th century wore on the occupation became more and more degraded (and degrading). Somehow related to industrialization?

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          I suggest Graeber’s “Manners, Deference and Private Property” (featured in WC long ago) for a peek into the servant culture of the English. There’s an academic version and a lay version, distinguished by the titles. Servants weren’t quite family, but they weren’t fully estranged either. Parents of the Puritan persuasion customarily sent their children away in later childhood to a slightly higher-born household, to get better service out of them. Arguably, the custom helped knit the community together across classes, for what that’s worth.

          Reply
  7. IM Doc

    Never thought it would be a blue state where this happened first – but I feel we should be getting used to this.

    That is a temporary restraining order against the State of New York. They are at this time not allowed to follow through with the state vaccine mandate for health care workers apparently until further notice.

    I think there are lots of responsible people out there in health care who realize just what a complete disaster this mandate plan would be for staffing. It is not a guess, I know that many of these legislators and judges are hearing some back channel warnings – maybe even from their own primary care docs.

    Look right here. This is the official press release from the American Hospital Association from Friday Morning – the day after Biden released his plan. Interesting to read through this – they admit in the first half that they are all for the mandates, but spend the last half describing what a disaster they would be and that they need to work together to come up with some other workable way. Firing people is not going to be too helpful right now.

    We live in fascinating times.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal

      At UNC where my sister teaches there is no mandate but a very high percentage of students are vaccinated. Almost as high is the faculty. It is staff—receptionists and maintenance etc—who are vaccinated at the lowest rate.

      I imagine it is similar in hospitals. God forbid that corporate medicine instead of whining about losing their workforce should increase salaries and benefits for the least among us, using the carrot instead of the stick. No, they’d rather spend the $ on lawyers. Keep it in the PMC.

      Reply
    2. voteforno6

      We live in a society where everything is politicized, and with something as big as a pandemic, it’s no surprise that this is, too. I’m sure a lot of people can remember having to get vaccinated before being allowed to attend school, or join the military. Talk to people about the polio vaccinations, and they’ll tell you there wasn’t nearly this much pushback. For religious people to complain about these mandates, well, it comes off as being rather hypocritical on their part, to be complaining about someone else forcing their beliefs on them. So, there may very well be some staffing issues because of these mandates, but the other side of that is there is a lot of support for them as well. Besides, how much can we trust a health care provider who won’t undergo certain medical treatments themselves, due to religious beliefs? Are these same beliefs affecting the treatment that they provide to others?

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        Has any other vaccine been fast tracked like the Covid 19 vaccines? Has the FDA a history of approving products that had to be removed from use later on?

        Come to think of it, what are the Covid 19 vaccination rates at the CDC and the FDA? 99%? Are they leading from the front?

        Reply
      2. IM Doc

        I cannot recall a single patient saying a word about aborted fetuses as being the cause of their hesitancy.

        I have however – had large numbers of 20-30 year old female CNAs and other staff in my office very worried about losing fertility. Their being fired would be the proximate cause of hospital failure – this is THE group of concern. This is not a religious issue – this is a natural human impulse – to have kids.

        I have no idea if this is a real concern or not – what I do know for certain is this has been being discussed on social media from the beginning. This has been all over the Internet for months. When the health officials have made it a habit of lying, manipulating, and dissembling about so much else, I cannot blame these people in the least for their concerns.

        The federal health officials have completely ignored this problem from day one. They have acted like it does not exist. I have been at a conference back in April with FDA officials where a physician went out of their way to warn them this was happening…..their response – “We do not have the time to deal with conspiracy theories.” And here we are. Complete and total incompetence. I did not find it ironic at all that during the very same week that the mandate program was announced, suddenly in the national media were stories about trials starting to investigate fertility. Too little too late. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY – announcing those trials has the side effect of making all these young women feel “You know – there may be something to this after all.” I have never seen such complete incompetence in my life. Such complete ignorance of primal human desires to have kids.

        Since you brought up past pandemics – it is important to note the smallpox campaign. Very early on, it was brought to political leaders’ attention that the vaccine would cause a scar on every patient and that may cause hesitancy. Did they try to hide it? Did they mock Americans for being conspiracy theorists? Did they call people stupid? Did they ban people from the media? HELL NO. That instant, they got on the media and told every single American this would happen – and it would be a “badge of honor”. And we all know the end of this story.

        So many lessons have been learned by our public health folks in the past. And this current generation has decided that the best course of action is to flush all those lessons right down the stool – or worse, they have shat all over them.

        I find it incredible how many people are BLAMING the great unwashed and dirty throng of unvaccinated. That is morally incorrect in many cases given the abysmal nature of how this has all been handled. The real blame belongs with the total incompetence of our politicians, the media, and our health officials.

        Reply
      3. tegnost

        So, there may very well be some staffing issues because of these mandates, but the other side of that is there is a lot of support for them as well

        um… the support is from the people who are served by the staff… of course there are a lot of angles here, for instance are uber drivers working in a 100 employee company? They’re contractors. Does this mean the gig workforce will get a boost? Probably.
        And in your comparisons to the past, has wall st ever been so in control of the apparatus of gov as now? Brooklyn Bridge nailed it the other day…we should all hope for a patentable treatment to come along…no other one will be used.

        Reply
  8. Basil Pesto

    Good morning from the antipodes where I am laid low with post-AZ chills and aches, yet have summoned the energy to add some inane discurse on:

    > “Global Village Coffeehouse”

    I have long observed a different coffeehouse aesthetic, one whose vernacular is almost as immediately recognisable as the classic American Diner or this newer Global Village style, and is reliably exported to major cities across the world (I’ve even been to one in Bucharest, for god’s sake): the antipodean coffeehouse

    There are perhaps some broad similarities with the GVC as described but it typically eschews the natural imagery and motifs (probably preferring instead, yknow, actual flowers), in favour of a trendier modern/clean/’scandi’ appearance. They will always serve ‘flat whites’ (my coffee of choice). The other thing is, while GVC is clearly pitched towards globalisation and/or franchising, the antipodean coffeehouse avoids it: samey but unique, They’re almost always independent and local, and as far as I know, no cafe chains have successfully co-opted the style, yet. It’s also well known that Australian cities are resistant to overseas cafe franchises (there are some Starbucks in Melbourne and Sydney but they serve tourist and foreign student areas).

    It’s nice enough but it’s become comically trite. For examples of the style you can go to ‘Broadsheet’. which is an online collection of ‘city guides’ but in reality a server for hosting outsourced press releases for small hospitality businesses. They once blocked me from their fb page after I commented “wankers” after every post they shared.

    Within Australia, the antipodean coffeehouse is of course ubiquitous, and they are a fixture of communities , which seems to me very nice and good. There is another style, though: early-antipodean coffeehouse, somewhat behind the times as far as good coffee goes and with its roots unmistakably in post-War immigrant culture – ie very Italian.

    Probably my favourite kind of place to have coffee is the central European cafe/coffeehouse, which is typically open from breakfast til late and more like a deluxe pub than a cafe as we understand it in Australia (another typical feature of the antipodean coffeehouse: the will close at 1500-1600, as they predominantly focus on breakfast/brunch service, with coffee service usually stopped up to half an hour before closing, which I resent as a non-brunching night owl)

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I really hate how so many coffeeshops now are just straight out of international architecture magazines and could be anywhere.

      Korea has a surprisingly great coffeeshop culture. It seems to be a bit of a competition to see who can be more unique, especially in Seoul, some are quite amazing. My favourite coffeeshop in Dublin was owned by a Korean couple, who sadly had to leave (the landlord decided he could get more money from AirBNB), but they recreated their lovely art based cafe back in Seoul. I think part of the reason is that the Koreans have made it very hard for the big chains to expand too much (even Starbucks is mostly a locally owned franchise). Japan and Vietnam also have some lovely unique places. The Vietnamese have the advantage that their own coffee is wonderful (although much that is claimed to be Vietnamese comes from Laos).

      Dublin used to have the amazing Bewleys mini chain, palaces clad in real 19th Century Chinese silk wallpaper, where posh wannabe poets rubbed shoulders with working class women on a break, all drinking that super strong milky brew (back when you just ordered ‘coffee’, and it was brewed in milk) along with sticky buns. The buildings are still there, but they’ve had the usual corporate vandalism inflicted on them. From what I can tell, so many of the great European coffee houses in Paris and Vienna and so on have just become tourist traps.

      Reply
      1. Coldhearted Liberal

        Starbucks isn’t mostly owned locally in Korea, it’s entirely owned by Samsung, which has an exclusive franchise for the whole country.

        Reply
  9. Zachary Smith

    From the coin article:

    There is more than $40 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households.

    I seriously doubt this is true, for when I divided 40 billion by 128 million, the result was $312.50 per household. Coming in from shopping, I’ve always dumped my pocket change into a quart-sized plastic jar. I’ve never redeemed more than $100 when taking that jar to the bank counting machine. Sixteen million US households are reported to have a negative net worth, and they aren’t likely to be sitting on cash. Neither are the hand-to-mouth types.
    No, I think the coins are being kept under wraps by big banks wanting to force people to use their highly profitable credit cards.
    Regarding those “coin kiosks”, around here they charge 9 or 10 percent. Pure rip-off. If the Biggest Box Store really wanted to get coins, they could put their own Coin Counter Machine out front with a No-Charge sign on them.
    For the B.B.S. managers, credit card readers are much cheaper to buy and maintain than the complicated self-checkout cash machines. Also much quicker at the hard-to-find human checkouts.
    Blaming US citizens for a clearcut case of Banker Greed doesn’t cut it with me.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      I dump my change into plastic jars larger than 1 gallon, and I probably have 10 or more. No idea how much that is. I’m waiting for retirement to redeem it since that’s basically my retirement savings.

      Wait, actually, I’m hoarding change as a protest! Yeah, that’s it! I’ll let you know what I’m protesting when I figure it out.

      Reply
    1. farragut

      A shame. He could be absolutely savage in attacking his very deserving targets who often were powerful elites deemed otherwise ‘untouchable’ (eg, Bill & Hillary, Michael Jackson). He also hosted SNL about a year after he was fired from the show, IIRC. He proceeded to roast the substandard quality of the show and its management during his hilarious opening monologue.

      I also seem to recall he had a certain amount of misogynistic humor in his act (not as extensive as say, Jimmy Carr), but it’s not clear to me whether it was him or just an act for laughs; I know nothing of his personal life.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        the misogyny claim might be based on certain bits, like Janice (NB the cancer-related opening of this), which is pretty dark but I find hysterically silly nonetheless. Dunno if he was genuinely misogynistic, and I don’t think he ever got proper cancelled like Louis CK. There may have been attempts to tar him with the “conservative” brush and guilt by association.

        One of my fave things is his appearance here on Conan in the 90s. I don’t think it’s misogynistic but it’s pretty darn rude I guess, in a professional sense (and hilarious). Just the cutting through the bullshit of the whole talk show enterprise.

        He did the comic socratic irony thing extremely well; no doubt in my mind he’s a very smart dude – you get hints of it in his standup when he’ll be all folksy plain-speaking one moment, and then he’ll add some incongruously florid verbal embellishment. He also had pretty darn good literary taste, and wrote an “autobiography” which I’ve been meaning to get but haven’t got around to yet.

        Reply
        1. ChuckTurds

          I just learned a few weeks ago that he had become a devout Christian in the last 10 years or so. Was kind of disappoint in his lack of tolerance for religion jokes. It makes more sense to me now. RIP Norm, funniest comedian of his generation.

          Reply
  10. Jason Boxman

    So Scott Gottlieb leaves out long-COVID in his column, and depending on how that plays out over the coming decades, we might wish we did pursue an elimination strategy, or at least those with the misfortune to contract long-COVID will.

    Stay safe out there!

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Thought they were pursuing an elimination strategy–just a failed one.

      There’s an old fifties movie called On the Beach about an atomic war that leaves the people of Australia spared but waiting for the cloud of fallout and their doom. Message: no Australian is an island. Or perhaps merely atomic war is bad.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Down here they are saying that vaccines will make us ‘free’ to do what we want which is total bs as that is what we had only several weeks ago. Last weekend I took my grand-daughters to the movies because we have eliminated the virus in my State. If I did that in Sydney that would be lunacy as imagine sitting in that cinema and hearing someone with a bad cough. I am afraid that you do not get it. The virus is not being spread by the NSW State government so that we just make like the cool kids/nations like the US & the UK. It is being done for he sake of the economy. People in power have decided to just let people be killed in this pandemic because it is easier to ‘manage’ than wait for a sterilizing vaccine to be developed. Our PMCs want their trips to Bali back again and the governments are promising with full vaccinations, that we can go to Paris! Only history will tell who had the better approach but I myself reckon that Scotty got his marching orders at the recent G-7 about this.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Hey don’t get me wrong. I love Australians. When I went to Europe long ago there were lots of ’em. Seems many of their young people do a “grand tour.”

          But zero covid strikes me as unrealistic. And when you get your vaccines they will still only help for awhile as now appears. Will it be quarantine forever? And how long can we be deprived of Margot Robbie?

          Also vulgar commerce does help people feed their kids–and grandkids.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I am probably sensitive to this whole saga as we had a safe country but some of our elected leaders have said that we have to throw that away for the sake of ‘the economy’ – the 2019 economy that is. Scotty has said that we have to have the tourists back again, the cheap overseas workers as well as the international students so he is going for full herd immunity. So he and Gladys opened up to let ‘er rip when vaccinations were at only about 30% because Scotty did not order enough vaccines.

            You guys will probably get it worse in North America simply because of how you don’t have universal health care. That Scott Gottlieb article made me mad because this American Enterprise Institute twerp was saying that America will just have to learn to live & cope with this pandemic. But I am guessing that that will mean that it will cope in the same exact way that Americans had to deal with the opioid crisis. And we all know how that all went down.

            Reply
          2. Basil Pesto

            But zero covid strikes me as unrealistic

            I have commented repeatedly that the Australian governments have self-sabotaged and capitulated on the question of zero covid, so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much (In light of that, it’s effing ridiculous for Gottlieb to claim, in September 2021, that zero Covid is Australian policy, while purporting to be undertaking a serious analysis). There’s no chance they would have acquiesced so cravenly if there wasn’t a vaccine whose value they could dissimulate about. There is a lockdown and mask mandate in Melbourne now but it is a joke because information about masking has not been updated since last August, when mask mandates became policy several months too late (and don’t give me a “oh, but can we really know if the science on masks is better now? so much information! so confusing!”). I’ve pointed out that even the CDC’s mask advice (and that of some major private US companies like Disney) is better than that of Australia’s. The fact is, Australia could achieve zero covid or something very close to it in a couple of months with updated mask advice, government supply of P2/KN95 masks to all residents (as they are doing with vaccines), and a renewal of the mandates and enforcement. The benefits of this approach should be clearly and forthrightly explained to the public. But this would all require serious government, serious leadership, and public buy-in (which flows from those first two things). There’s none of that, instead we are getting stealth Great Barrington-lite, and people are going to die and get very sick unnecessarily as a result. Suffice it to say I am very much sick and tired of professional “realists” telling us what is and isn’t possible.

            Also vulgar commerce does help people feed their kids–and grandkids.

            You have missed the point. Australia’s economy under zero covid thrived in relative terms last year, and there was a lot of vulgar commerce. NZ’s economy is outperforming other countries too. As a general rule, commerce goes okay when people don’t have to fear death or serious illness from doing it. There has been plenty of non-trivial analysis arguing that zero covid policy is better for the economy, and much else besides.

            Reply
            1. Jason Boxman

              This is tragic and I’m quite sorry to see it unfolding. It’s bizarre that it’s so obvious what happens when SARS-COV-2 runs wild, and yet with the world as a case study in this, Australian political leadership is pursing insanity.

              Stay safe!

              Reply
            2. The Rev Kev

              The OECD is trying to give political cover to the government by saying that the economy is going great but just ignore the actual economic signs of recession. It also wants us to cut taxes while raising the GST among other things.

              Meanwhile the body count is up 206 people dead since Gladys decided to let ‘er rip but the OECD is smiling at us so there is that.

              Reply
            3. Carolinian

              So you achieve zero covid via your plan and then what? Shut out the world forever? How does this stop in your country or anywhere without some kind of herd immunity? Covid is not going to be eliminated like smallpox since it can live on in animals. When you finally reopen to the rest of the world then won’t you be more vulnerable than ever to the latest strain?

              And that’s my point to the extent that I understand any of this. The issue is not whether zero covid is achievable but whether it is sustainable.

              Here in America a huge number of indigenous died from not having the particular bugs around and I believe that happened in your country as well after settlement. Now that covid is here do we really have any choice but to live with it?

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                Wash your mouth out. There is no herd immunity with a virus like SARS-COV-2 where immunity lasts 5-8 months. I’m tempted to rip out all comments that treat it as if it’s an achievable end state with Covid and assign troll points as well. You are already in moderation and can’t afford more.

                Reply
              2. Basil Pesto

                That’s a harder question and my crystal ball can’t see that far ahead. But it’s not really the point right now. The point now should be to minimise complexity, uncertainty, and bad health outcomes in the near to medium future. The vaccines don’t get us there. The successful and repeatable elimination of covid – which we know is achievable – does. But we have abandoned it bc magic vaccines. It’s an incredible abdication of leadership by politicians and public health leaders.

                the “are you gonna shut out the world forever?” line is a cop out. It’s amazing that people still don’t really seem to get that the world has changed forever. But the solution to this problem is pretty obvious, if not a bit extreme by the norms of the last 100 years of international travel/globalisation: close links and relative freedom to travel established between countries with covid elimination policies, and extremely strict quarantine for those who aren’t. The idea of not taking a disease – that we barely understand and whose future course we cannot accurately predict – seriously, out of yearning for and belief in a right to a normalcy (return to 2019 status quo) that is never going to come back if we don’t eliminate Covid. Herd Immunity, as has been documented repeatedly, is a bullshit slogan. We can certainly hope for it, but it’s completely unproven with this virus and not something we can rely on in the short, medium or long term to manage an infectious disease like grown-ups.

                The point about animals might be cause for concern but the way it’s brought up now I’m not sure how serious it is or if it’s just a “can’t eliminate so don’t bother trying” meme. Regardless, if eliminated in human populations, we could certainly manage potential vectors for animal-to-human transmission as they occur, and monitor this closely. I don’t know operationally how much of a thing animal-to-human transmission is now.

                The idea that what we’re doing now, around the world, is in any meaningful way sustainable is risible.

                Reply
                1. PlutoniumKun

                  I’ve noticed how the use of the term ‘herd immunity’ has shifted from the concept that the virus would eventually prove just an occasional annoyance to meaning that its endemic and somehow manageable.

                  As to ‘cutting off countries’ it would be interesting to see some figures for many countries as to how much movement in and out is important for business or family needs, and how much is simple casual tourism or jollies tarted up as business.

                  Here in Ireland, we are repeatedly told that tourism is vital for the economy. I’ve not heard one single commentator in the news point out that in 2019 Ireland ran a 1.1 billion euro deficit in tourism.

                  Reply
      2. Jason Boxman

        I’ve seen it, although the book is vastly better than the movie and has an even darker ending as well. I was on a nuclear war kick a few summers ago and watch a few of these; also watch The Day After?, but as we’ve learned since, there really is no “after” from a nuclear war.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          I think it’s available on Youtube now and seems to be so obscure that when I searched DDG all I got was links to probable porno movies also “on the beach.”

          But it made a huge impression on me as a kid. We were all scared to death of the bomb.

          Reply
  11. Mikel

    “Why Americans Die So Much” [The Atlantic]

    One day there will be an expose on all the hereditary wealth that was kicked off by life insurance collection.
    Not really a “family friendly” story, I’m sure.

    Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Hunter S. Thompson’s views, the day after 9/11

    It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive “figurehead” — or even dead, for all we know — but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper.

    We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.

    This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.

    http://proxy.espn.com/espn/page2/story?id=1250751

    Reply
  13. John k

    Lots on AOC being served by masked servant…
    I can’t imagine the twit she replaced advocating ‘tax the rich.’ She’s cleverly keeping progressive ideas on people’s minds.
    In order to get anything done she will have to work and get along with other members of congress.
    And the voting public loves their celebs… the way she gains clout in her line of work in spite of her messages is to be popular.
    I see her and Bernie as doing hard work in a hostile environment.

    Reply
    1. remmer

      Yes. Had she attended that Gala quietly, wearing an Oscar de la Renta gown (and with no “servants”) — that would have bothered me.

      Reply
    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Do you think whoever it was who paid $30K for her to attend, and now has guaranteed access, is at all interested in the concerns of working people or socialism?

      I don’t.

      Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Oh, my dear! Don’t blunt their effulgent displays of distaste for a clever young beauty by revealing such an obvious fact!

          As for Greenwald’s derision….. yesssss. The masked servant thing is disgusting. So disgusting I’ve even found myself angered by it here in Reno. Where I see local notables indulging in it every day. The most numerous and therefore worst offenders – nationwide – are social peers of our commentariat, not the hyper elite. Hence the extreme attention paid to the hyper elite on this matter. It is way too uncomfortable to acknowledge how common it is, or to critique our neighbors for it.

          https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/09/links-9-14-2021.html#comment-3606162

          Reply
        2. Objective Ace

          And the Met is funded by various companies and private individuals, whom I’m sure had plenty of opportunities to schmooze and exchange business cards with all of the invitees there on their dime. There’s a reason elected officials get invited

          Reply
      1. Nikkikat

        Good point Otis. I keep seeing comments about her “accomplishments”…..really?
        As to her brand of socialism, it seems to be more about the bourge than the prole.

        Reply
      2. ChiGal

        Greenwald’s take was scathing. Can’t remember at what point I realized it was sarc—maybe when he started talking about how the word placement showed off the cut of the dress to best advantage.

        Reply
    3. Tom Doak

      That report completely obscured that the red on the back of her dress is “Tax the Rich” scrawled graffiti-style, which she wore to THE MET GALA. Has to be the ballsiest move ever to that crowd.

      I suspect the person holding the tail of her dress was trying to conceal what it said, but I don’t know who he was doing that for.

      Reply
    4. Asgard Trondheim

      Glen Greenwald has an excellent article about what was so problematic with the MET Gala:

      https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-masking-of-the-servant-class

      “Even with all of this deceit and manipulation, there is something uniquely disturbing — creepy even — about becoming accustomed to seeing political and cultural elites wallowing in luxury without masks, while those paid small wages to serve them in various ways are forced to keep cloth over their faces. It is a powerful symbol of the growing rot at the core of America’s cultural and social balkanization: a maskless elite attended to by a permanently faceless servant class. The country’s workers have long been faceless in a figurative sense, and now, thanks to extremely selective application of decisively unscientific COVID restrictions, that condition has become literal.”

      Reply
  14. hamstak

    In re: Global Village Coffeehouse, after a brief browse through the gallery an alternate name for this loose aesthetic category came to mind: alt-brunch.

    Reply
  15. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding AOC’s carpet walk at the Met Gala, I sincerely try not to give in to aghastitude, but any way you cut it, it’s a bad look, and might suggest worse in the future. Hopefully it’s just a cringey misstep, but I keep having this recurrent image of her and her handlers congratulating themselves on their pomo “transgressiveness.”

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      When it comes to the the Squad, Sanders, their actions or lack thereof, Jimmy Dore’s observations of late represents my mild mannered response to them. That said… the dress, the theater here is fantastic. The man tending the train just pegs the meter.

      Reply
  16. Pat

    I realize that I am not on the same page as the powers that be, but I have distinct issues with the vaccine mandate BESIDES my opinion that it is asking for problems in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, the post office, etc.
    I am of the belief that the mandate reinforces the notion that you cannot get Covid from a vaccinated person. Not only is mandate foolish and asking for trouble. Then there is the problem of the efficacy reduction, which without further information is hard to pinpoint. At some point the vaccination status becomes meaningless. There are going to be some dumpster fire level outbreaks.

    What should have been mandated is frequent testing for the entire population vaccinated or not, with all testing paid for by the government. Every week minimum but preferably three or more times a week, people should be tested. Oh they could continue to urge vaccination, but they should strong arm testing and quarantine more. Yes, I know that one day you can be negative, the next positive, but frankly this is closer to being able to show status than the vaunted proof of vaccine.

    Unfortunately everything has been bet on the vaccine unicorn. And because of the royally fubared actions at the beginning of the year (and even more so at the beginning of last year), we are stuck with relying on the unreliable and worrisome vaccines because they are better than the alternative in the environment this neglect of public health standards has created.

    Reply
    1. Nikkikat

      I just really can’t believe this is okay with people either. I am vaccinated by choice and after months of consideration. I would NEVER let my employer or the Government force me to get the vaccine they are pushing. No data, no sterilizing immunity, questions about how long efficacy lasts. I also worry about what kind of precedents this may set.
      As to testing and masks they are seemingly throwing these mitigate out the window in order to further force people. According to some polls 3 in 5 people think this is a great idea.

      Reply
      1. Laura in So Cal

        This particular vaccination aside, the precedents worry me as well. If they can mandate a new vaccine using a new technology on people who don’t want it, what else can they do if they decide it is for my own good?

        Reply
          1. JBird4049

            “We seem to be heading… ?”

            I think we, the people, are at the door with hand on the handle. It is only having so many factions competing to install their version of authoritarianism or totalitarianism that is slowing the process down. The Professional Managerial Class-Big Tech-Democratic Party-Security State Complex with their allied Wokerati, then the adjacent sometimes allied, sometimes competing Rural elite/local businesses-White Nationalist-Republican Party-Police State and their allied Dominionists and the John Birchers, or the bank-rollers of the Libertarians and their allies?

            I’m counting at least four main factions with several smaller allied ones all maneuvering for advantage and all of then are intending to seize not political power, but political control. One faction is more likely authoritarian and the other is more totalitarian with both going to kill, or at least try to, what’s left of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This includes any truly functioning government aside from raw military or police power and control over our communications with the economy functioning only for the top 10 to 30 percent of the population.

            Below all this are several reformist movements on the Left, the *old school Liberals, *old school Conservatives, and the Alt-Right White Nationalists also all maneuvering, but I do not have a good enough understanding of them to give any good descriptions.

            It is really terrifying to see the same kind of factions and rhymes of the early 20th century start to reappear and exert influence. What happened in Europe and the United States happened in all the major, and not so major, powers. I almost wish I did not know so much history or have a good imagination.

            *the factions, usually moderate, and wanting to govern, not grift, that use to run the Democratic and Republican Parties before the political purges of the 1980s and 1990s.

            Reply
  17. Eustachedesaintpierre

    The pixel thing takes me back to my days freelancing as figurine modeller for various large & small potteries / giftware companies. Sometimes usually when there was a group of marketing people present within a large company, somebody would say something like ” I don’t think that such & such is right ” often with an explanation of why they thought it wasn’t. So I would go back & try to figure out what the hell they were talking about & make some changes & then return for the piece to be passed.

    A fella at another company always found something he thought needed changing just for the hell of it, so for him I eventually always added an obvious mistake that I could fix then & there as I would always take some modelling tools with me. As for the other crowd I decided on changing nothing, telling whoever it was who had wanted the change that I had done so & they would then examine it & pass it as before when it had been changed occasionally saying something like ” I knew that would make it better “.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t think you could get away with it now, but back in the days when wine with meals was a bit of a posh thing and nobody here knew a good bottle from bad, a restauranteur friend of my father claimed that when people sent wine back for being ‘a bit off’, he just topped it up with tap water and sent it back out again, and was usually met with approval from the customer.

      Reply
      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        During the late 90’s while I was coming over to Ireland to work for a giftware company in Mullingar for a couple of weeks at a time before returning to England, I got my free evening meals at a local popular restaurant that subsequently was discovered to have been watering down the wine that was served in carafes. I don’t know how it was discovered as it did the trick for me as I generally staggered across the road to the hotel & it’s welcoming Father Ted decor, but then again I am certainly no wine expert.

        Reply
  18. ambrit

    All Mz ‘K’ needs to complete her Met Gala ensemble is a scythe.
    As for AOC, I’d say that a suitable tiarra for her would be the appointment as Deputy Whip.

    Reply
  19. Ben Fitzkee

    Was the PDF about soil “Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan” by F. H. King? It was originally published in 1911.

    Reply
  20. petal

    Buffalo Bills to require fans at games to be vaccinated against COVID-19
    3:09 PM ET

    “Buffalo Bills ownership has announced a new policy that will require all fans to be vaccinated to attend games at Highmark Stadium and KeyBank Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres, this season.

    Pegula Sports & Entertainment, along with Erie County, announced Tuesday afternoon that beginning with the Sept. 26 game against the Washington Football Team, all fans ages 12 and up must have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot in order to attend. That rule will expand to requiring all attendees over the age requirement to be fully vaccinated starting with the October 31 game vs. the Miami Dolphins.

    Masks will no longer be required for those above the age of 12 once the new policy is in place.

    “If you do not want to get vaccinated … that does not give you a right to go to a football game or a hockey game,” Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said. “If you want to go to the games, get vaccinated.”…
    There will be a number of ways for fans to prove they are vaccinated, but photos or copies of vaccine cards will not be accepted. The physical vaccination card, New York state Excelsior Pass, clear digital vaccine cards and government digital vaccine proof from outside New York state will all be accepted.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Makes me want to Ralph, hearing the owner is threatening to leave if public money doesn’t come through with the do re mi to build a new stadium.

      That said, if the Fresno Bills become a reality, i’ll probably make it to a few games.

      Reply
      1. petal

        Hey Wuk, I hope your cabin is still standing!
        I wish western NY would tell the Pegulas to go pound sand, but I doubt it will happen. A friend went to the game this weekend, and they were masked, but nobody else was. People were packed in like sardines. What could possibly go wrong? It’s ridiculous they are still propagating the “magic bullet” vaccine line. Is it any wonder nobody trusts them?

        Reply
  21. dcblogger

    From National Nurses United; for those who are interested:

    Take action against Medicare for All’s top corporate opponent on September 18th
    It was recently revealed that CVS Health, the largest health care corporation on the planet, had quietly become the largest single donor to the corporate effort to stop Medicare for All.

    On Saturday, September 18th, Medicare for All activists around the country will take action to make sure CVS hears loud and clear that we won’t accept their efforts to undermine Medicare for All.

    Let us know that you’re in and we’ll send you more information soon on taking action.

    https://act.medicare4all.org/signup/cvs-doa?akid=s419647..MbsoLw

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      I can see why drug manufacturers and medical insurance companies wouldn’t like Medicare for All, but don’t see how pharmacies would suffer. If anything they’d be more sure of getting paid. Maybe the usual corporate fear that a successful federal program is a slippery slope to socialism?

      Reply
      1. Obective Ace

        Sure they’d get paid, but at much reduced negotiated prices. Monopolies dont want their customers to group together and become an equitable negotiating partner

        Reply
  22. T

    just a random thought, I’ve not seen it mentioned yet. How does the reaction to covid-19 put evolutionary pressure on the flu?

    Reply
    1. eg

      I don’t know, but my pretty stringent adherence to isolation, masking and hand hygiene has coincided with zero colds and flus for me since February of 2020.

      Reply
  23. Katie

    Weirdness at the California governor recall polls in Marin County.

    Every little stand where you fill out your ballot had felt tip pens.
    The instructions are to NOT use a felt tip pen, which will not be counted, instead one is supposed to use a ballpoint.

    An elderly couple tried to vote. They didn’t bring in their mail-in ballot to surrender, thus were given provisional ballots which will not be counted today, or tomorrow, or possibly ever. Nowhere on the instructions to voters does it say that one must surrender their mail in ballot to get a regular ballot.

    I surrendered my mail in ballot and the poll worker attempted to give me a provisional ballot. “Bullshit! I get a regular ballot”He consulted with his coworker and gave me a regular ballot.

    So, who typically votes in person? Looks like the Demopharmic Party machine is pulling out all the stops again, just like they did with Bernie in the primary. His defeat, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of uncounted and provisional ballots in L.A. County alone.

    Reply
    1. Ra

      Weirdness in Cal recall

      Wow. Thanks. That’s some pretty heavy-handed thumb on the scales observations.

      On the Bernie primary results, something always smelled fishy to me about those results.

      I could be losing my faith in democracy.

      Reply
  24. Verifyfirst

    Well I guess AOC thinks it was all part of the plan….

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds to backlash over ‘Tax the Rich’ Met Gala gown

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-responds-backlash-tax-rich/story?id=80010808

    I don’t know, the whole MET gala is just so unspeakably gross…..de Blasio was there, hunting for his sinecure, I would guess….. I guess it’s ok, just so long as she didn’t enjoy herself?

    Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Things are looking grim here in tiny town, the KNP Fire complex in Sequoia NP is pretty much running amok as its too smoky for aerial assault and too steep and full of duff for ground support. Suddenly we’re in the same conditions as a century ago where lightning strike fires merely burned themselves out, eventually.

    The 2 conflagrations have joined up and now total 5,000 acres-versus 1,500 yesterday, and are trending towards Moro Rock and the Giant Forest where the largest Giant Sequoias hang out. Its one thing the 9th largest Sequoia-King Arthur, dying by wildfire last summer after having made it through 2,000 years, if nobody had ever seen it or been to it, but what if we lose a bunch of biggies in the place where everybody visits?

    Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    ‘A person called OwlKitty changed the Business Card scene from “American Psycho” to the guys showing each other pictures of their cats on their phones… and it could possibly be the greatest masterpiece ever’

    OwlKiity is a fun site and once or twice I have linked to their ‘Catzilla!’ video. Here is their YouTube channel-

    https://www.youtube.com/user/tiboayache/videos

    Their ‘Avengers Endgame with my cat OwlKitty’ wasn’t bad either-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYr0hGFzU2I (58 secs)

    Reply
  27. Kengferno

    Owl Kitty is the best! Great behind the scenes videos about how they get the cat to do the movements. They usually involve things tied to string.

    Interestingly, I read the link in the neo-liberal post, Because Markets & Go Die! It was from 2014. There were 50 comments and they were, as usual, astute and entertaining. The thing that caught my attention was that there wasn’t one person there who I recognize! I’m pretty active on another community and that seems to be a really high readership turnover. Not sure what it means if anything, just something I noticed.

    Reply
  28. John Beech

    Make our own cutting tools? We do, Lambert, we do. I buy local to me from two manufacturers. I don’t know anybody buying imported tooling, nobody! Anyway, Kennametal is based in Pittsburg (https://www.kennametal.com/us/en/home.html) but has a facility just up the road maybe 20 miles and GW Schultz (https://www.gwstoolgroup.com/about-our-company/) is about 15 miles away in Tavares, FL. Both good people. And for our part, we make ProModeler (https://www.promodeler.com) servos right here in FL. Point being, don’t despair, stuff still gets made here.

    Reply
  29. The Rev Kev

    RH writes: “A carpet of pine needles is always arresting in person.”

    RH got that right. I came across the same in a German forest and it was literally like a carpet which made it easy to walk through those woods. There were no entangling bushes or shrubbery as those pine needles would help smother them while the overhanging trees made the woods dark enough to help stop any such growth. From outside the woods it was like looking into a dark cave and when you entered, the temperature dropped several degrees straight away. Stuff like that you wish you could go back to.

    Reply
  30. DJG, Reality Czar

    I grow increasingly skeptical of data from Israel on the pandemic. There are two reasons: First, for years, who knows what information has been fed by Israeli intelligence services to U.S. intelligence services–with the result that Israel uses the U S of A as cat’s paw. Iran? Syria? Saudi? Bad data are a planned part of U.S. imperial policy.

    Second, Israel, not so surprisingly, has a structure of ethnic discrimination and religious fundamentalism that isn’t so far away from U.S. problems:

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-s-astonishing-covid-vaccination-drive-left-some-groups-behind-1.10148007

    So I’d say that the data in Israel can be extrapolated to a certain other country with an “overly active” religious imagination and a large ethnic group traditionally kept down and denied services. (And I won’t even mention the West Bank.)

    The figures for a highly particular county, with its own distinctive history, but less inequity, are somewhat different. Portugal:

    https://visao.sapo.pt/visaosaude/2020-04-01-covid-19-a-situacao-em-portugal-em-atualizacao/

    So I’d say that Israel may show the future of the U S of A, but I’m not sure that Israel shows the future of the pandemic. Yet Israel has a great P.R. machine.

    Reply

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