2:00PM Water Cooler 9/22/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Amazing jungle chorus! “[L]ow frequency explosive single note in minutes: 2.36, 2.43, 2.51, 2.54 (soft), 2.59 (soft), 3.06 (soft) 3.12. 3.18 3.24 (muy tenue) 3.28.”

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

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:

Flat everywhere but the South. Anecdotes aside, we ought to be seeing some pop soon from measures taken after Biden’s speech, which was given September 9.

54.8% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Switzerland and Malaysia). We are back to the 0.1% stately rise per day. 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:

Weirdly choppy, but it does look like we’re descending from a peak. Note also that the regions diverge: The South, which drove the peak, is finally dropping. The West was choppy too, and is now falling. However, all this drama has masked the steady rise in the Northeast and Midwest. I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line to show that the case count in the Northeast today is the same as it was during the crisis of the first peak, in April of last year.

We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January, which nobody knows the reasons for, then or now. Today’s populations are different, though. This population 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 20, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

Red in the northern latitudes: Minnesota improves, Wisconsin worse, Michigan holding, Maine worse. Speculating freely: Kids have gone back to school and the windows are closed (Minneapolis, MN ranges from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit right now.) Rockies still suffering, Ohio Valley and now Pennsylvania improving. Tennessee feeling great relief, mostly green. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. 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:

The South, the leader, steadily dropping.

Hospitalization (CDC). Everything works today!

Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the “Community Profile” report above:

Alabama now headed down, fortunately. Things are picking up in the West.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 697,041 694,795. We are approaching the same death rate as our first peak last year. 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.) (Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital. I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.)

FL: “Florida leads nation in nursing home resident, staff deaths: AARP” [Washington Examiner]. “Florida led the nation in nursing home resident and staff deaths in the four weeks ending Aug. 22, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) reported Wednesday in a ‘four-week snapshot’ analysis. According to the Florida Fact Sheet webpage accessible via AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, 237 residents and 13 staff in state nursing homes died from the disease during the span, accounting for 21% of all nursing home resident deaths and 17% of all staff deaths due to the virus nationwide. Meanwhile, Florida’s 73.6% vaccination rate of 160,000 residents in 700-plus nursing homes is third-worst among all states except Nevada and Arizona, and its 48.5% vaccination rate among nursing home employees – up 3% from July – is still the nation’s lowest percentage other than Louisiana’s 47.9% rate.”

Covid cases worldwide:

American exceptionalism?

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

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

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

Biden Administration

UPDATE “$3.5 Trillion Is Not a Lot of Money” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “Perhaps these lawmakers really would rather see Biden’s entire domestic agenda collapse than abet the passage of a $3.5 trillion spending bill. If this position is credible, however, it’s anything but moderate. The centrists’ stance rests on one basic premise: that the reconciliation bill is radical in both the scale of its spending and the tax increases it entails. The lawmakers’ avowed preference for undercutting their own party, and forfeiting all of their own objectives for federal spending, is plainly an extremist position, unless one accepts that the $3.5 trillion bill is extraordinary in scope or content. And yet, by an array of reasonable metrics, Biden’s agenda is neither…. [In terms of] immediate, single-year fiscal cost… the Democrats’ reconciliation package isn’t a $3.5 trillion bill; it’s a $350 billion one…. What about its implications for taxes? Just how ‘painful’ are the leadership’s proposed revisions to the tax code? Well, the reconciliation bill would raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent. For context, before Donald Trump took office, America’s top corporate rate was roughly 39 percent. In 2012, Mitt Romney campaigned on lowering that rate to 25 percent. So the Democratic leadership’s preferred corporate rate is a hair to the left of a Utah Republican’s and much to the right of the last Democratic president’s. As for individual income taxes, the reconciliation bill would cut taxes for the roughly 90 percent of American households who earn less than $200,000 a year. It would, however, raise the top income tax rate all the way to … where it was under Barack Obama.” • A welcome breath of sanity.

“Biden slips into political quicksand amid Haitian migrant buildup” [Politico]. “In the past 24 hours, the White House has responded to images and videos of aggressive tactics used by Border Patrol agents to corral those migrants by supporting an internal investigation into the matter. What it hasn’t done, yet, is figure out a solution to the crowding and sanitary issues arising in what’s become a makeshift encampment — or stop its policy of deporting migrants upon arrival. That’s left the president and his team with few supporters and allies.” • Lol, I thought they put Harris on that. Oh well, nevertheless. Interesting the way it became open season on Biden as soon as he ended a war.

UPDATE “Officials: Many migrants from border camp staying in US” [Associated Press]. “Many Haitian migrants camped in a small Texas border town are being released in the United States, two U.S. officials said, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion. Haitians have been freed on a ‘very, very large scale’ in recent days, according to one U.S. official who put the figure in the thousands. The official, who has direct knowledge of operations, was not authorized to discuss the matter Tuesday and spoke on condition of anonymity. Many have been released with notices to appear at an immigration office within 60 days, an outcome that requires less processing time from Border Patrol agents than ordering an appearance in immigration court and points to the speed at which authorities are moving, the official said. The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations.” • Well, Haitian Revolution -> Louisiana Purchase -> Manifest Destiny. So it’s not like we don’t owe Haiti anything….

From BoJo’s visit, this is odd:

White House aide shouting, let alone shouting at the press? What?

“Thousands of teachers rejected for public service loan forgiveness program, new data shows” [Politico]. “Thousands of teachers have been rejected for federal student loan forgiveness because they could not get the government to approve their work as public service, a key requirement for the long-troubled program, according to new data shared with POLITICO. In some cases, educators were rejected for seemingly minor mix-ups, such as checking the wrong box or missing a date next to a signature. Others were rejected on the basis that their school did not qualify as a public service employer, according to the data. The disclosure suggests further bureaucratic problems with the management of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has come under fire from Democrats in recent years for rejecting more than 98 percent of all borrowers who applied. Much of the controversy has centered on borrowers being rejected because they had the wrong type of federal loan or enrolled in the wrong repayment plan. But the new data shows, in granular detail for the first time, how the Education Department has rejected teachers and other school employees even though there’s no dispute that teachers qualify under the law.” • If teachers were seen as professionals, this wouldn’t be happening. Stoller comments:

I reject “deep state” as a concept, but in effect, this is correct.

Democrats en Deshabille

“The Decline of the Working-Class Voter” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. On the New York mayoralty election. “[Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley] together racked up far more first-place votes than Adams in the ranked-choice voting primary, the first of its kind in a citywide contest. If they were a single candidate, Wiley and Garcia would have taken 41 percent of the first-place vote, compared to Adams’s roughly 31 percent. The ranked-choice tabulation, in subsequent rounds, would have only favored this hypothetical candidate more. When absentee votes were counted, Garcia came one percentage point away from defeating Adams outright. She did this without the support of most major labor unions, elected officials, and political clubs, defying many of the traditional institutions that uplift municipal Democrats. For the many New Yorkers who still fancy their city a working-class hub, a place where bus drivers and custodians and home health aides can survive and even thrive, the results of the Democratic primary might be quietly unsettling. Garcia and Wiley, together, demonstrated that another city has taken shape, one with the power to rival or even eclipse working-class New York. Garcia nearly became mayor, even as Adams trounced her in low-income communities of color. Wiley, who is Black, also outpaced Garcia there, but never enough to be seriously competitive with Adams. Affluent, college-educated voters—renters and homeowners, white and nonwhite alike—are now a force in local Democratic primaries. The gentrifying neighborhoods of western Queens and northern Brooklyn, long derided as outposts for hipster transients, have become legitimate voting blocs, with the power to tilt future citywide elections. And the higher-income neighborhoods, like the Upper West Side and Park Slope, that have always produced robust turnout continue to punch at their weight or even above it.”


“Democrats launch $30 million field organizing program to keep Senate control in 2022” [NBC]. “enate Democrats are accelerating their 2022 midterm election efforts with a $30 million field organizing push targeting nine states that will help determine control of the chamber. The program, Defend the Majority, details of which were shared with NBC News, represents the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s largest financial commitment this early in a cycle, officials with the group said… Democrats control the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. The chamber’s even split guarantees expensive and competitive races next year. Democrats hope to grow their majority and take away leverage from moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Republicans seek to regain a majority that can block President Joe Biden’s agenda.” • I would be extremely surprised to learn that the DSCC wants to take away leverage from Joe Manchin.

Republican Funhouse

UPDATE “People close to Trump say he ‘wants back’ in national spotlight: report” [The Hill]. “‘And you start to hear a certain refrain from people who really know him, that he wants back, that he feels he has the political capital with his core supporters,’ [Robert] Costa said Tuesday during an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’ ‘He likes playing golf and he jokes; he’s off Twitter and he has more time.’ Trump believes the Republican Party is still very much in his grip, Costa said and that ‘people are going to war with him at the highest rank of the party.’ ‘And this time, even though there are others out there with ambition like Vice President Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, it’s president Trump who really wants back, based on our own reporting,’ Costa added. Trump has not announced whether he plans to run for president again in 2024, but allies and top operatives are reportedly preparing for a scenario in which he does.” • “The man must die. He tried to help my enemies.” –Baron Harkonnen. Now, I can see Trump wanting revenge (and it is true that cauterizing the intelligence community and the Washington press corp as richly deserved revenge for RussiaGate might not be such a bad thing). But does Trump really want to do the work it would take? I can’t see it.

“Kevin McCarthy’s Extreme MAGA Makeover” [Rolling Stone]. “For four years, McCarthy dutifully served as one of Trump’s most loyal wingmen in Congress, defending the president after the latest racist tweet, running interference in both impeachment cases, and generally making himself available to do whatever necessary to defend the MAGA cause. When Trump tumbled down the conspiratorial rabbit hole after the last election, McCarthy followed after him, adding his name to a long-shot lawsuit seeking to overturn the result in several blue states and voting to invalidate the vote count in Arizona and Pennsylvania mere hours after the January 6th insurrection. McCarthy’s alliance with Trump has served him well: He now stands at the precipice of becoming the most powerful member in Congress, next in line to be speaker of the House if the GOP wins back the majority in 2022. Yet McCarthy’s embrace of MAGAdom is rich with irony. Long before he was ‘my Kevin,’ McCarthy was a ‘Young Gun’ conservative, the face of a new generation alongside the likes of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor (remember him?) that couldn’t be more aligned with big business and the K Street crowd. McCarthy was the swampy Beltway creature that Trump raged against, the kind of Republican who was more at ease at a corporate fundraiser than a tarmac rally, the sort of insider who said behind closed doors that Trump was on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s payroll. (He later said he was joking.)” • Oh, and speaking of rabbit holes, so-called–


“New Proof Emerges of the Biden Family Emails: a Definitive Account of the CIA/Media/BigTech Fraud” [Glenn Greenwald]. “A young reporter for Politico, Ben Schreckinger, has published a new book entitled “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power.” To his great credit, he spent months investigating the key documents published by The New York Post and found definitive proof that these emails and related documents are indisputably authentic. His own outlet, Politico, was the first to publish the CIA lie that this was ‘Russian disinformation,’ but on Tuesday — without acknowledging their role in spreading that lie — they summarized Schreckinger’s findings this way: the book ‘finds evidence that some of the purported Hunter Biden laptop material is genuine, including two emails at the center of last October’s controversy.’ In his book, the reporter recounts in these passages just some of the extensive work he did to obtain this proof:

A person who corresponded with Hunter in late 2018 confirmed to me the authenticity of an email in the cache. Another person who corresponded with Hunter in January 2019 confirmed the authenticity of a different email exchange with Hunter in the cache. Both of these people spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing fears of being embroiled in a global controversy.

The Greenwald article is a must-read, because it lays out the whole sorry episode in detail. Greenwald comments:

Of course, you can well imagine what would be happening if this was a story about Trump instead of Biden. The moral panic would have been instant, and would have gone on for weeks. I also wonder what a Venn diagram of “horse paste” people vs. “It’s Russian disinformation!” people would be. Not a circle, I would think. But pretty close to one! Certainly Maddow is in the overlap.

Stats Watch

Housing: “United States Existing Home Sales” [Trading Economics]. “Existing-home sales in the US unexpectedly declined by 2% mom to 5.88 million in August of 2021, well below market forecasts of 5.89 million as prices grew further and supply remained tight. Each of the four major U.S. regions experienced declines on both a month-over-month and a year-over-year perspective, breaking a two-month streak of increases.”

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The Bezzle: “Facebook says it underreported ad performance due to Apple’s iPhone privacy update” [CNBC]. “Facebook estimated it underreported web conversions on Apple’s iOS by about 15% in the third quarter, noting there’s a ‘broad range’ for different advertisers. ‘We believe that real world conversions, like sales and app installs, are higher than what is being reported for many advertisers,” Graham Mudd, vice president of product marketing at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. Facebook shares were down more than 3% on Wednesday morning. Facebook CFO David Wehner warned of the potential effect of the iOS changes on the company’s July earnings call, saying he expected to see a greater impact from the changes in the third quarter.” • Hmm. I would say that if Facebook didn’t take a hit, what Apple did isn’t working.

Tech: “The porn industry turns to K Street to fight Trump-fueled internet regulations” [Politico]. “A trade organization for the adult entertainment industry has hired a D.C. lobbying firm to build its relationships with lawmakers and to advocate on behalf of key policies that affect the industry. Most notably it is trying to beat back major changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — a shield for internet platforms that safeguards them from liability for what their users post. The provision has become a flashpoint for conservatives after former President Donald Trump seized on the issue as a means of firing back at the platforms that have policed his posts. Like the large and powerful social media companies, the porn industry says that Section 230 is key to its ability to exist. The same law that protects Instagram and YouTube from being sued over illegal content posted by its users — such as threats or hate speech — also protects sites like PornHub and OnlyFans from their own unlawful content, like child pornography or revenge porn.”

Tech: “File Not Found” [The Verge]. The deck: “A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans.” “Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist, started seeing the problem in 2017. She was teaching an engineering course, and her students were using simulation software to model turbines for jet engines. She’d laid out the assignment clearly, but student after student was calling her over for help. They were all getting the same error message: The program couldn’t find their files. Garland thought it would be an easy fix. She asked each student where they’d saved their project. Could they be on the desktop? Perhaps in the shared drive? But over and over, she was met with confusion. “What are you talking about?” multiple students inquired. Not only did they not know where their files were saved — they didn’t understand the question. Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students. Professors have varied recollections of when they first saw the disconnect. But their estimates (even the most tentative ones) are surprisingly similar. It’s been an issue for four years or so, starting — for many educators — around the fall of 2017.” • Agnotology! I can’t imagine not knowing where my data is stored. Remarkable. It’s like not knowing where to put the bread in a toaster. And I wouldn’t call students who lack this knowledge jackpot-ready. I would, however, call them jackpot-compliant.

Supply Chain: This thread on the supply chain from last year is terrific. Here is a nugget:

I seem to recall some wannabe unicorns wanted to do all this with an app a year or so ago. That died quickly. Here is the start of the thread. Do read it all:

Note, again, that Huntsman asked this excellent question a year ago.

Concentration: “ShortageWatch: ‘Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.'” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. This is a must-read. Buckle up. “In the last BIG issue, I asked you for help identifying shortages in your neck of the woods. Hundreds of you responded, so I’ll talk about some of the shortage stories you are sharing, as well as how this problem is resonating among policymakers. My favorite story is quintessentially American, and un-American, at the same time. It’s from a Florida realtor who was in a hurry and stopped at a Burger King for lunch. He saw a sign, ‘Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.’ At first he thought he was imagining things. What kind of fast food place runs out of fries? Is this, he wondered, a sign of things to come? It’s a good question. Fast food exists in a land of plenty, of surplus, of mass produced food with a reliable infrastructure of trucks, trains, farms, and distributors. Shortages of everyday goods conflicts not only with most of our lived experiences, but also with our very conception of who we are. There’s a name for this framework, and it’s called affluence…. So what is happening in the case of this particular Burger King? It’s hard to say, but the problem is clearly widespread. Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks are having trouble sourcing ingredients, as are school and college cafeterias….. One culprit is the food distribution industry, which is highly consolidated (due to the standard litany of anti-competitive tactics like mergers and exclusive contracts with customers and suppliers). … If you listen to transportation executives, they’ll tell you the real cause. “It comes down to money for drivers in many respects,” said Mark McKendry, regional vice president of intermodal at NFI Industries. ‘If we get the pay right, you know, we’ll have a little more flexibility.’ Driving a truck, which used to be a middle class job in the 1970s, has become a cyclical low-paid profession with high burnout and little stability, a so-called ‘sweatshop on wheels.’ While it’s tempting to blame this situation on trucking firms, the reality is that the problem is due to the market structure of transportation created by the deregulation of the 1970s.” • I note that Stoller was adopted the NC tactic of asking the readers. And this makes sense, because we don’t have any data.

Mr. Market:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 26 Fear (previous close: 23 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 22 at 12:50pm. Suddenly Evergrande looks like it’s not contagious?

The Biosphere

“Extinction of Indigenous languages leads to loss of exclusive knowledge about medicinal plants” [Monga Bay]. “Many of today’s mass-market medications are derived from medicinal plants. They range from acetylsalicylic acid—commonly known as aspirin, whose active ingredient is extracted from white willow (Salix alba L.)—to morphine, which is extracted from poppies (Papaver somniferum). As Indigenous groups traditionally rely on the spoken word for intergenerational knowledge transfer, the disappearance of these languages will take with it a universe of information. The study’s scientists analyzed 3,597 vegetal species with 12,495 medicinal uses and linked this data with 236 Indigenous languages from three biologically and culturally diverse regions—the northwestern Amazon, New Guinea and North America. From this, they concluded that in these regions, 75% of the medicinal uses for medicinal plants are known in only one language. ‘We found that those languages with unique knowledge are the ones at a higher risk of extinction,’ says [Jordi Bascompte, researcher in the Department of Evolutional Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich]. ‘There is a sort of a double-problem in terms of how knowledge will disappear.’ The Americas stood out in the study as a hotspot for Indigenous knowledge in which most of the medicinal knowledge is linked to endangered languages, and the northwestern Amazon particularly proved to be a prime example of the double-problem mentioned by Bascompte. The study evaluated 645 plant species and their medicinal uses according to oral tradition in 37 languages and found that 91% of this knowledge exists in a single language only. Therefore if a language is extinguished, as could happen with many in the Amazon in coming years, the medicinal knowledge therein will also die.”

Health Care

“CDC Stands Up New Disease Forecasting Center” (press release) [CDC]. “Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing a new center designed to advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making. Once established, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together next-generation public health data, expert disease modelers, public health emergency responders, and high-quality communications, to meet the needs of decision makers. The new center will accelerate access to and use of data for public health decision-makers who need information to mitigate the effects of disease threats, such as social and economic disruption. The center will prioritize equity and accessibility, while serving as a hub for innovation and research on disease modeling.” • American Rescue Plan funding.

“Can we learn lessons from the FDA’s approval of aducanumab?” [Nature Reviews]. “On 7 June 2021, aducanumab was granted accelerated approval for the treatment of Alzheimer disease (AD) by the FDA on the basis of amyloid-lowering effects considered reasonably likely to confer clinical benefit. This decision makes aducanumab the first new drug to be approved for the treatment of AD since 2003 and the first drug to ever be approved for modification of the course of AD. Many have questioned how scientific evidence, expert advice and the best interests of patients and families were considered in the approval decision. In this article, we argue that prior to approval, the FDA and Biogen’s shared interpretation of clinical trial data — that high-dose aducanumab was substantially clinically effective — avoided conventional scientific scrutiny, was prominently advanced by patient representative groups who had been major recipients of Biogen funds, and raised concerns that safeguards were insufficient to mitigate regulatory capture within the FDA.” • Ouch.

“Hospital ICUs At Capacity With Reporters Covering Anti-Vaxxers Dying From Covid” [The Onion]. • Never happened with opioids, I would imagine because the press didn’t feel personally endangered.

Household Tips

“How to Buy Clothes That Are Built to Last” [New York Times]. Fabric: “As a rule of thumb, thicker fabrics last longer than thinner ones. For T-shirts, you should look for a fabric weight of around six ounces per square yard. ‘Imagine a 36 by 36-inch piece, and when you put it on a scale it will weigh six ounces,’ said Sean Cormier, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Since most of us don’t go shopping with a scale, it’s easier to simply put a hand between the top and bottom layer of the T-shirt. If you can see through it, it’s too thin. The hand rule applies to things like button-down shirts and sweaters as well. If you can see your hand through it, it’s too thin.” And stitching: “It’s important to make sure your clothes are stitched together well. For bras, Ms. Harrington recommends, ‘making sure your stitches are even, that you don’t have skipped stitches or loose stitches or places where you already see the stitching coming apart.'” • I was also taught, years and years ago, to test for 100% cotton: Pull out a thread and put a match to it. If any part of the thread melts, it’s not 100% cotton. Readers will no doubt have other suggestions.

The first good reason I’ve heard for men to wear makeup:

“Adversarial makeup” — great phrase!

Famous Last Words

W.E.B. DuBois:

It occurs to me that we are governed by elites who don’t believe any part of this.

Poetry Nook

In honor of the today’s equinox:

Class Warfare

And then famous Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson threw them all in jail:

News of the Wired

“Scroll” [Ryan Hanson]. • For some reason, the brain geniuses at Apple decided to make the surface of the Mac’s Magic Mouse™ — you know, the mouse Apple encourages you to buy two of, by making it impossible to mouse and recharge at the same time — work like a trackpad. In other words, if you rest your fingers on the mouse pad, and then make the slightest movement with them, the “content” on the screen will move too. Needless to say, when I’m doing desktop publishing, that makes me insane, because I rest my fingers on the mouse at all times, preparatory to clicking, and that good habit (minimizing finger motions being one way to avoid carpal) causes my document to randomly jerk around. Anyhow, I very rarely do product endorsements, but this little app makes that behavior go away.

And speaking of UI/UX:

Other examples in the thread.

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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 (johnnyme):

I forget the name of this flower, but I’ve always liked the way the furry stems catch the light, particularly late in the afternoon.

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Eduardo

      As a (now mostly retired) software designer and developer ‘usability experts’ told me for years that users shouldn’t have to know anything about disks or files or data storage. Concepts like those supposedly got in the way of what users wanted to do.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        My hacker nephew has a t-shirt that says simply ‘there is no cloud, there is only other peoples computers’.

      2. t

        This must be behind the hellscape of “recently used.”

        “You’re not gonna go back to the way things were. You have to accept it.” Does it seem reasonable or wise to accept the students will be unable to find assignments from very recently?
        Never mind work from years ago.

        1. Milton

          My family always gives me a hard time when they see my computer screen, and it has like 50 thousand icons.

          So why should their computer desktop be any different than their bedrooms.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Does it seem reasonable or wise to accept the students will be unable to find assignments from very recently?

          Yeah, that would assume Americans have the memory of goldfish. Oh, wait….

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              From the article:

              In reality, goldfish (Carassius auratus) have much longer memories — spanning weeks, months and even years, Brown said. And the science to back this up has been around for more than 60 years.

              “We’ve known about the reasonably good memories of goldfish since the ’50s and ’60s,” Brown said. “Despite what everybody thinks, they’re actually really intelligent.”

              Brown has studied the intelligence of fish, including goldfish, for more than 25 years and thinks the misconception comes from a combination of ignorance about fish intelligence in general and guilt, because pet owners often keep them in small, boring tanks.

              Well, live and learn. I need another trope! (I think indeed it’s the image of the goldfish embubbled in its bowl that creates the association.)

      3. JohnnySacks

        Users shouldn’t know… works well until… Truly awful the way an ‘expert’ makes an assumption that something should be easier for a neophyte.

        Just dealt with a semi-luddite and totally non intuitive/inquisitive friend on the exact same issue on a new Windows computer. The obfuscation and lack of intuitiveness on folder hierarchies is only exacerbated by the new ways they push storage into their cloud infrastructures (OneDrive). Where are my pictures? Well, could be in a folder named Pictures under your user folder hierarchy, or in a folder named Pictures in OneDrive folder under in your user folder hierarchy.

        I couldn’t even find how to bring up the folder hierarchy tree I always used back in the day, not for want of trying, but I wasn’t really into PC 101 training on a nice day either. (I haven’t used Windows Explorer for over a decade, sorry, bought Altap Salamander 14 years ago and never looked back)

        Was trying to explain how the cloud storage mirrors copies of everything in some locations… oh never mind, just put them there and forget about it. Maybe it won’t fill up your quota and trigger a pay-me nag and I won’t have to explain any more.

        1. steve

          Its really quite amazing how effective they have been at making so much dependent on being online. If it doesn’t work offline, you don’t own it, you rent it.

      4. Weighfairer

        I think this ethos has been dominant at Apple for a while. Making it difficult to access files makes strengthens their iOS garden’s walls. Honestly surprised that Android and even Amazon devices still have accessible file storage systems since it makes getting out of their ecosystem easier.

        1. Pat

          I can get to files much easier in the Apple universe than in the Android, phone and tablet. Although I will admit that the iPad is tougher than my Mac. Windows computer is probably somewhere between the Mac and the iPad.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Making it difficult to access files makes strengthens their iOS garden’s walls.

          iOS has managed to create two parallel file storage systems. I only use it for photos, so one is the old one where you just dump a photo into the photo role. The new one acts like a proper file system (but without a proper windowing system is useless in any case).

          However, they are not integrated at all. This, to my mind, is a Conway’s Law-like misfeature; the structure of the OS is now mirroring the structure of the institution; I have no doubt the development teams were siloed.

          Sign of decay.

    2. hunkerdown

      Teach them about hierarchical storage, soon they’ll be thinking critically about systems. Nobody who’s Somebody wants any of that action.

    3. jr

      I am using an Windows device and they are constantly trying to get me to sign into their cloud or whatever by telling me there is a “problem” that needs to be resolved by signing into the service. I ignore this and store my data where I always have: on my desktop in folders. No problems here.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I get the same messages. Windows 10 desktop computer. I have always disregarded these messages and the computer works just fine.

        1. jr

          In the vein of pushy notifications, I signed up for Zipcar about a year back or so. There was some kind of screwup on their end and it got complicated, requiring me to be on the phone for an hour to correct their mistake. I halted the signing up process as other things distracted me.

          I began to receive the most aggressive, downright hostile reminders to finish a registration process I have ever seen. Messages entitled “No register, no drive-y!” and “Hey, did you forget something?” It was really bizarre, it was as if I owed them something, which to be clear I did not. I finally did complete it, mostly to have a bug out vehicle option if necessary, but it was striking how rude they were when going about asking me for my money. As if the onus was on me.

        2. John

          Excellent comment thread! The ‘cloud’ as a name for rened space on someone else’s computer is is a PR move in the same class as calling the noxious urine and feces ponds of industrial pork producers ‘lagoons’.

  1. Samuel Conner

    There seem to have been a lot of socialists in what is now called “flyover” country.

    Maybe that’s, at some deep level, part of what establishment Ds deplore.

      1. clarky90

        “………There were two different scenarios for extermination in Sobibor. (1) The Polish Jews, transported in cattle trucks, were probably already aware of the real function of Sobibor so their treatment was marked by intimidation and cruelty.

        On arrival of a Polish transport, SS men in the background kept yelling: “schneller, schneller, raus, raus, rechts, links” (faster, out, right, left) and they and the Ukrainians beat and kicked the prisoners. From that moment on, everything had to go in double quick time, accompanied by yelling and beatings. The guards now kept a very close eye on the prisoners. On the one hand to prevent escaping, on the other, the slightest sign of panic or unrest could be struck down immediately.

        When a transport of (2) non-Polish Jews came in though, everything was done to prevent the prisoners from the west from finding out what their fate was. Usually they arrived, neatly dressed, in passenger coaches. Prior to departure the Jews had been informed that they were being taken to a labor camp in the Ukraine. The majority of them believed it. On the one hand it was utterly unimaginable what was in store for them here, on the other hand, rumors and stories about Aktion Reinhard were not taken seriously outside Poland, and certainly not broadcasted world wide. The SS managed to keep their victims ignorant about their fate until the doors of the gas chambers were closed.

        Thus, on arrival of such transports, merry tunes were played by the camp orchestra, consisting of experienced musicians. The members of the Bahnhofkommando were neatly dressed in blue overalls and wore caps with the sign BK on it when transports from the west arrived. They helped people disembark, took their luggage and even gave them a receipt for it. People were so ignorant about what was in store for them that some asked the members of the Bahnhofkommando if they had finally arrived in the Ukraine, how far to travel to the next station, when the next train would depart and where they could change trains.

        Others even wanted to tip the Bahnhofkommando for carrying their suitcases. The Bahnhofkommando played its role as a group of tragic actors. Disclosing the secret of Sobibor spelled certain death; Karl Frenzel was always hanging around.”………..


        1. clarky90

          Sobibor can be read as a metaphor…..

          The SS were management.

          Middle management were a hundred or so Soviet POWs who were selected from POW camps and then trained at Trawniki. Although they came from all corners of the Soviet Union and even from Poland, the Arbeitsjuden called them Ukrainians.

          The workers (Arbeitsjuden) were selected on the spot, from the victims arriving on the trains. They were able to live for a few extra days, weeks or months…

          Only a handful of actual German SS Nazis presided over this hierarchy of doomed inmates. The higher up inmates ran (perpetuated) the death factory, that would inevitably consume them as well.

          Very few people, high or low, survived Sobibor.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      These were the socialists persecuted and repressed by Twentieth Century America’s most evil President, the despicable Woodrow Wilson.

  2. doug

    It appears Google has spent several billion on a building in NY, despite not be able to shakedown the town. I think such was predicted by our hosts.
    Plus the fall twitter was creative. thanks.

    1. jr

      Just an anecdote but an old barroom pal worked at that building they took over in Manhattan before Google drove everyone out. They aren’t making any friends with the neighbors. He said the Google staff, mostly 20/30 somethings, are incredibly rude and self absorbed: blocking sidewalks in their gaggles, lingering in elevators after the doors open because phones, clogging the building with lunch deliveries while the local lunch deli’s etc. lose their old regulars…

      1. Pat

        I live in a neighborhood with two major Google buildings. We also have a fair number of trust fund types. They are surprisingly similar in arrogance and lack of awareness.
        Their leaving the neighborhood was one of the few perks of lockdown. Unfortunately it was temporary.

  3. curlydan

    “The money, which will pass through the state parties and other coordinated campaigns, is expected to pay for field staff and offices, organizing and communications programs, and staff for a previously announced voter protection initiative.”

    Will we actually see Democrats in the true “field”, i.e. knocking on doors? Or will they open up offices with paid “field” staff and a bunch of people annoyingly robo-texting me from their homes. Let me know when $15/hr jobs are opening up for door knockers–then I’ll know they’re serious.

    On the other hand, if I’m an DNC-affiliated operative, when my kid gets home from school tonight, it’s “Who’s going to college now?!? Find a good one”

  4. Mildred Montana

    “How to Buy Clothes That Are Built to Last” [New York Times]

    Suggestion from my frugal mother: Buy second-hand. She always said that if an item was good enough to survive a couple of wearings and washings and show little sign of wear, it was good enough for her.

    I no longer buy new jeans or shoes. Too often in the past I have been burned by poor-quality products regardless of brand name. I’ve found shoes today are designed to look good but not to last (I walk a lot).

    As far as jeans go, a tip that many people may not know: Belt loops are important. How many and where they are located. A cheap pair of jeans will not have the loop in the center directly above one’s derriere and seven loops are better than five.

    1. The Rev Kev

      We had a neighbour across the road who was from one of the mill towns in England. When she emigrated, she brought a stack of material as back then it lasted for decades, unlike the one-season cloth of nowadays. In fact, in the 18th & 19th century wills you have women list and pass down their clothing as it lasted long enough to do so as a practice. Someone on NC said that they made a point of buying older clothing from decades ago as not only did it last but it still looked fashionable. If there is a jackpot, you can count on the fact as that as modern clothing will not last, that we will all end up as nudists.

      1. Anon

        A classic, well-made secondhand wool sweater, coat or suit will last for decades if cared for properly. Wool sweaters can be washed by hand and laid flat to dry. No need for dry cleaning. Don’t use mothballs to protect them either. There are less toxic alternatives. I have wool sweaters from the 1960’s that are in excellent condition. Impossible to find new sweaters of comparable quality. Same with coats and suits. Bought them in local charity shops for a few dollars.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          What are those less toxic alternatives? ( One wonders if some of them are plant-based or herbal based and human-safe enough that they could also be used to keep brown rice from getting weevils or moths in storage).

          1. Basil Pesto

            cedar wood is one (you can buy ringlets to loop on to coathangers, or coathangers made of the wood themselves, or little rods to put in drawers near your woollen garms.

            Peppermint oil as a repellent is another (put on cotton wool balls and chuck them in your wardrobe/drawers.

  5. Jason Boxman

    I’ve probably said this before, but I’ve been giving it some thought, and the measures taken at the onset of the pandemic were in response to what was a novel event at the time. No one really knew how catastrophic it might be, so measures were taken.

    But with deaths concentrated in older cohorts, and much lower for younger people, and airbrushing out the effects of long-COVID which we might not feel the full impact of for decades, in retrospect a return to “normalcy” seemed inevitable in the United States where the principles of neoliberalism apply.

    From that prism, the response makes sense in its entirety, I think, and why bending the curve to supposedly save hospitals is no longer considered at all relevant by decision makers today.

    That said, I shudder to think what the response might have been had the death rate been much higher. I don’t have an abundance of faith in leadership and honestly had expected to see lockdowns at gunpoint if that had been the case, and quite possibly, killing of those attempting to evade lockdown or quarantine. Maybe that sounds outlandish, but look at the response we’ve gotten these past 18 months and the complete lack of concern for American’s lives and health.

  6. smashsc

    Lambert said re Stoller/Dept of Ed: “I reject “deep state” as a concept, but in effect, this is correct.”

    I once was sitting with a mid-level manager in an Agency HQ on Independence Avenue. He said: “These political appointees come into the agency with these big ideas on how they are going to make things better or different. I’m just going to keep doing things how we’ve always done as they’ll be gone in 2 years, 6 max, and I’ll still be here. This too shall pass”. So “deep state” may not be particularly nefarious in this case, but certainly not cooperative in changing how things are.

    …BTW, this was 1994 – Clinton’s 1st term…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      How many people like the Agency mid-level manager you talked to were themselves conservative moles, embeds, saboteurs, etc. injected into the Agency by the Reagan Administration?

      How much of this is the ongoing conservative program of ” deconstructing the Administrative State from within” ?

      How many thousands of conservative moles, embeds, left-behinds, gladios, etc. would have to be purged from the Administrative State in order to decontaminate it, de-sewage-ize it, etc.?

      1. albrt

        That would be a tough job, since you would never be able to tell the republican moles and saboteurs from the Clinton and Obama hirees by their conduct.

        I guess you could just fire everybody who was hired within a certain date range, but that would be contrary to the basic tenet of today’s democrat party, which is that there are lots of good republicans and we should be competing to win them over.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Good point. Actually, the Clintobama hirees should also be purged and burned out of those agencies and departments as well, just as fast as they can be replaced with New Deal Revivalists or other decent people.

          But I still suspect that the Thatcher-Reagan types have a deeper rooted mission of actual destruction from within of the agencies and departments and bureaus and services they are in.
          And so they and their younger mentees should be purged first and worst.

      2. smashsc

        Wow, that escalated quickly!

        If you took my anecdote as an indication of an “ongoing conservative program” IMHO you have not spent much time around Feds. Would you like another anecdote?

        The Feds spent large amounts of money over the past few decades sending Project Managers thru the formal “PMP” certification. Recently, there was discussion of expanding Medicare to include Dental and Vision, but the word was that it would take YEARS to implement. Why, you ask? Because CMS is known to be incredibly dysfunctional at the IT project level. I’ve sat in meetings that the Project Manager has called with only a Title of the meeting – no agenda set. During the meeting, no one is assigned to record & publish minutes. Topics that were discussed last time are re-hashed all over again. No decisions are made or committed to paper. Repeat this one month, 3 months, 6 months later. Having a Project Manager with a paper certification but no desire or capability to actually promote good project management techniques makes for a long, frustrating process.

        No political “bent” is evident. Maybe Peter Principle…

        1. jr

          Anecdote: My mother, formerly a Democrat and now Trumper in her deservedly demented old age, and my step-father, a longtime Republican/Libertarian type, both retired from government service about 15 years ago or so. He was a GS 14 and she a GS 12 when they retired, if memory serves. He was a project manager and she was a kind of “super secretary” with a security clearance many field grade military officers will never see.

          I never fully understood what they did but they were always ribbing each other about the other’s job. “Managers are clueless!” and “Go take a memo!” kind of stuff. I got the sense they were on opposite ends of some kind of work-culture dynamic. Whatever it was, they were government service through and through, never a thought of private sector work.

          One thing always stood out clearly: They hated teachers. The unions were bullies, the teachers lived high on the hog with Summers Off!!, it’s all just babysitting anyway. “Get a real job!” my stepfather would say. I seem to recall this attitude was shared by the workmates of theirs that I met.

          Recently, my sister, a teacher, was talking with our mother and was treated to a rambling rant about how Trump had been undermined and backstabbed. Guess who was one of the culprits: the teachers unions. Point being, I suspect teacher-hating runs deep in the government service sector.

          1. neo-realist

            Your libertarian stepfather never came to grips with the hypocrisy of working for government and simply enjoyed the benefits of doing so, it seems.

          2. Harold

            Government service people are just as susceptible to foolish ideas as anyone else. They hear this stuff from the media.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          No, I didn’t take your anecdote as evidence of a conservative drive to destroy the agencies from within at all.

          I commented all-on-my-own to remind the readers that there was also a concerted drive by the Reaganites and beyond to put moles, embeds, saboteurs, etc. into the agencies. Anne Gorsuch was not merely a ” this too shall pass” barnacle of the sort you describe. She was an active destroyer.

          So were / are people like Mulvaney, Pruitt, De Joy, etc. in our own day. They are not “this too shall pass” barnacles. They are conservative anti-public-governance gladio embed moles.

          You were writing about the barnacles. I was writing about the shipworms. And the termites.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > How many thousands of conservative moles, embeds, left-behinds, gladios, etc. would have to be purged from the Administrative State in order to decontaminate it, de-sewage-ize it, etc.?

        Generalizing, this is one reason I object to the term “deep state.” It implies a monolith without internal conflict, a static entity with one part open, the other part hidden (like an iceberg). That’s just wildly oversimplified. In reality, a lot of what we call the state is created by accretion or bricolage, as factions wax and wane in their power (like our 17 intelligence agencies (thank God. Imagine if there were only one)).

        Gramsci said something to the effect that state and civil society are only separable as objects of academic study. I think he’s right. I believe it was Arther Silber who said “It’s called the ruling class because it rules.” And the ruling class rules using the tools that come to hand, not via an org chart with boxes in one color for deep, and boxes in another color for not. They’re very flexible about some things, up there….

    2. Acacia

      > I reject “deep state” as a concept

      Here’s Glenn Greenwald:

      This theory that there’s this kind of unelected permanent power faction in Washington composed of, at least in part, the intelligence and military community gets treated so often like it’s some deep, dark, exotic, bizarre fringe conspiracy theory, when in reality it’s totally basic to how very sophisticated people have talked about Washington for decades. The person who originated the theory was Dwight Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, after serving for eight years as president.

      1. Michaelmas

        Good for Greenwald.

        Sorry. But I don’t think anybody in the UK, for instance, would be naive enough to imagine that there isn’t a Deep State, and there aren’t Civil Service mandarins (maybe even still quite a few Sir Humphrey types) who communicate with their opposite numbers at Six and Five and GCHQ, and who mostly went to the same universities, and who know people at the B of E and in the City.

        With allowances for differing cultural histories, it works the same way in Paris and Moscow and, I assume, in Beijing.

      2. John

        What there is, is bureaucracy. Political appointees can be removed. Civil service jobs are effectively eternal. A well dug-in bureaucrat is 10% visible, like an iceberg. The other 90% is roots branches old boy/girl/colleague/ back scratcher/scratchee networks within networks and timeless procedures for the-way-we-do-things-here. Good luck substantially changing it.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Yes. I think there is minimal to no evidence that there is any kind of coordinated conspiracy at work. It’s not centrally planned, and there isn’t necessarily anybody pulling the strings.

          But there definitely is a kind of commonly held institutional viewpoint, which is heavily shaped by how things are done, or have come to be done, and a lot of individuals who act on that viewpoint in various ways. It’s not necessarily planned or coordinated, but it can look like it is if you squint, because all the people doing it are subject to the same institutional culture and ideas and tend to react in much the same way.

          We know this happens because people tell us that it does, often quite openly. The Trump leaker, for example, wrote an anonymous op-ed in which he/she/it was quite explicit that they did it because Trump was violating their sense of institutional propriety. Many other examples exist.

        2. JBird4049

          >>>Good luck substantially changing it.

          It has already happened.

          Much of the federal bureaucracy has been contracted out. Edward Snowden worked as a contractor at the NSA. National security is the prime example, but the CDC is also another one.

          More chunks of it, especially in the legislative branch, for example the congressional office staff, and those agencies that used to support the legislators with the expertise needed for creating good bills have been defunded over the past thirty years.

          What we have is a facade hiding a grift, not an iceberg hiding a functioning bureaucracy doing the work needed to make a government run. This is one of the reasons for all the fails of the past two years. The ability to carry them out has been profitably eliminated.

          1. Old Sarum

            Grift or Corrupt Corruption.

            My view is that there is always corruption and there is a sliding scale of corruption till you arrive at “corrupt corruption”*. The difference being that relatively few are aware of major corruption but when you arrive at “corrupt corruption”, things really start to deteriorate and a nearly everyone is aware.

            Pip pip!

            *hold your breath as you approach bridges (and kiss your Rs goodbye).

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Ahh . . . ! Then a New Deal Revival Party, if it could attain overwhelming power at the Federal and other levels, could de-contract it back into the actual Administrative State government and hire whole new bunches of sincere uncontaminated people.

      3. jsn

        There’s the iron law of institutions, careerism and the alignment of bureaucratic interests.

        But there’s no coordinating hierarchy with conscious agency.

        Or if there is, it’s Pynchon’s hero from Gravities Rainbow, Tyron Slothrop: sloth or entropy.

      4. Acacia

        P.S. See also Michael Glennon’s “National Security and Double Government”.


        National security policy in the United States has remained largely constant from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. This continuity can be explained by the “double government” theory of the 19th-century scholar of the English Constitution, Walter Bagehot. As applied to the United States, Bagehot’s theory suggests that U.S. national security policy is defined by the network of executive officials who manage the departments and agencies responsible for protecting U.S. national security and who, responding to structural incentives embedded in the U.S. political system, operate largely removed from public view and from constitutional constraints. The public believes that the constitutionally-established institutions control national security policy, but that view is mistaken. Judicial review is negligible; congressional oversight is dysfunctional; and presidential control is nominal. Absent a more informed and engaged electorate, little possibility exists for restoring accountability in the formulation and execution of national security policy.

        Although Glennon doesn’t use the term “deep state” in this essay, he approvingly quotes other scholars who speak of a “deep structure” of the presidency; i.e. a deep state, by any other name?

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        This statement by Greenwald is loaded with vitiating qualifiers, which I have helpfully underlined:

        this kind of unelected permanent power faction[1] in Washington composed of, at least in part, the intelligence and military community gets treated so often like it’s some deep, dark, exotic, bizarre fringe conspiracy theory, when in reality it’s totally basic to how very sophisticated people[2] have talked about Washington for decades. The person who originated the theory was Dwight Eisenhower[3], in his farewell speech, after serving for eight years as president.

        [1] “Faction” singular. Surely not. What an absurd claim. The State is riven by factional conflict (where with Madison factions are defined as the representatives of property interests).

        [2] I think that very sophisticated people don’t think about the “deep state” at all. They think about how to leverage individual people and agencies to achieve their personal and factional ends.

        [3] This is absurd too. Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex,” not the deep state. If the MIC = the deep state, which is Greenwald’s claim, then “deep state” cannot give an account of either the intelligence community or the press (and intelligence embeds within in), which is absurd, given Greenwald’s careeer.

        Just another example of how the term “deep state,” with its air of pseudo-profundity, falls apart whenever examined closely.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I first heard the term in 2015 as something that specifically related to Turkish politics (derin devlet), so that when it came up in the American context I immediately recognised it, and relative to the specific turkish context it seems appropriated and bastardised to me.

  7. Pat

    As little coverage of the newest confirmation that the Hunter Biden story was not Russian disinformation will get, my cynical self says it will still be much more than we would have seen prior to the Afghanistan pull out.

  8. bassmule

    from the Huntsman twitter thread: “In general, the US imports consumer goods and exports materials (lumber, grain, chemicals, etc).” Well, since we don’t even know how to make consumer goods, this should be expected.

    1. Lost in OR

      A third-world country is one that exports raw materials and imports finished goods.

      I remember learning that 40+ years ago and think of it every time I pass the piles of raw logs at our local shipping terminals.

    2. Valerie

      There was no shortage of fries when we went to eat at Culvers on Monday, but they had a shortage of cup lids. As such they were only being used for drive-through orders. I just returned from Dollartree. 2/3 of the toy department was bare shelves. There was very little in the way of Halloween, despite it not being October yet and they seemed to be making up for that lack by starting Christmas early. At Ollies the only Halloween goods seemed to be candy, the only Christmas goods were wrapping paper and the store seemed to be largely stocked with rubble. Labor shortages are especially noticeable around here. Our local Walmart has aisles stacked with unopened boxes of merchandise and several departments have clearly not been tidied in several weeks. Walgreens was similar. Cases of Halloween candy have sat on a pallet next to an empty shelf for the last week. The store seems to be run by ONE cashier and ONE pharmacy tech. The holidays should prove challenging this year.

      1. Sub-Boreal

        “shortage of cup lids”


        Another data point: on Monday, I had a take-out coffee from the Tim Hortons outlet at the small university where I work in interior British Columbia. No lids were available.

        At the time, I just assumed that this was unique to this outlet. I’m not a regular patron of fast food establishments so I don’t know how widespread this shortage is in Canada.

      2. NIkkikat

        Valerie, I had the same experience at a Walgreens in my neighborhood. Halloween section half finished, full pallets and 2 clerks in the store. Pharmacy and front counter. We have a local Wendy’s that has only one or two people working. Constantly being shut down, Door locked and drive through only. Go to Kroger, shelves half empty. Only one check stand open. No one to bag groceries, must wait for clerk or bag your own. Everything that I buy cost nearly double what it did prepandemic. Same issues dealing with businesses like auto insurance or utilities. Long holds, people with no idea what they are talking about and they don’t care.
        Phone tree that do NOT allow you to ask for information you need. No ability at all to talk to a person. Call centers in other countries, language abilities almost nil. Companies like ATT which has farmed whole sections of the company to other companies that are completely unaccountable. Government state, local and federal also privatizing with no way to get any accountability. If you complain about your trash not being picked up, you are just told to call the company and complain.There is nothing they can do about them. I have spent the last three days trying to deal with problems with these companies, government. Hours of wasted time and no resolution. Everything has just gone to hell. The added bonus is the postal service is worse everyday. Have to try and call in my bills as mailing them results in forty five dollar late charges.

        1. neo-realist

          For most bills nowadays, you could go to the company’s website and pay with your debit/credit card or set up the account through bill payer on your checking account and pay that way.

          But yes, customer service in companies has gone to hell.

        2. rsm

          Everything that I buy cost nearly double what it did prepandemic.

          Maybe you should switch to impossible burgers, which are dropping in price?

            1. newcatty

              Yes! Its not just that they cost more than hamburger or chicken per pound, its awful that they are basically made from Big Ag sourced GM soy, chemicals and salt. Oh, maybe some beet juice, or something, to make the fake meat have fake “blood” in their product. Not to mention loaded with salt. I cringe whenever some person pushing them as alternatives to beef, chicken products, base their argument only on how evil meat is for human consumption. True vegetarian food is not processed junk. Do not have links, but just research which billionaires, etc.are investors in these products. Our local chain naturals food store is crammed with “healthy alternatives”. Examples: plant based frozen pizzas with fake pepperoni or sausage. Most eschew real dairy cheeses, so hydrogenated oil based fake cheese, too. We did not notice a shortage of these things. An advertising slogan for a full page of these things is”Try something new!”

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          The postal service gets worse because of deliberate defunding via the forced retirement pre-funding mechanism, and deliberate sabotage and destruction-from-within driven by DeJoy and other Republican embeds and gladios. With the undercover support of the Feinstein’s Husband Democrats who carefully leave DeJoy in place and unfired deliberately on purpose in order to get the postal service abolished and dismantled so that Feinstein’s husband can make money selling off postal service buildings.

    3. Samuel Conner

      > since we don’t even know how to make consumer goods

      I think that a lot of our junk food is manufactured domestically, though I suppose that should be considered “consumer bads.”

    4. lance ringquist

      we are a banana republic, without the bananas. nafta billy clinton called this his 21st century economy.

      its worked so well, that a huge amount of people no longer have to work, because they can no longer find gainful meaningful work. the ones who still do, get to work part time at walmart unloading trucks full of consumer goods made in the free trade utopia communist china.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        When Clinton made his speech about “building a bridge to the 21st Century” I wondered how many homeless people would be sleeping under Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st Century.

  9. The Hang Nail

    File Not Found.
    The Verge story perplexes me. Has this professor not heard of cloud-based storage? he’s absolutely right that the confusion started a few years ago but fails to take into account that people don’t store things directly into their directory. That’s one possibility of course but now we have Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and so on. Some files are shared and in a shared folder in a cloud environment and some are not. Many of the cloud-based systems like Google and Microsoft don’t use the same hierarchical directories as on your hard drive and it is confusing. And many organizations have shared drives. Do you save it on the shared drive or on your computer hard drive? Or both? Then there is the perennial problem of remembering if it is a shared doc or a private one? Did you set the shares to edit or view-only? The first step in retrieving a file is remembering where and how it was saved. Like all the passwords we all have to constantly update it gets confusing and a source of anxiety. This is why students look perplexed. It’s not that they don’t understand a hierarchical storage system, it’s like they live in a mansion where things are stored in various rooms and in some rooms there are file cabinets neatly ordered and in some rooms things are strewn about in a haphazard manner.

    1. Yves Smith

      Huh? Who are your “people”?

      I store nothing on the cloud, either personally or for NC. We used hard disks or server racks run by relatively small fry that we trust.

  10. jr

    Re: Guy-liner

    There are lot’s of good reasons for men to wear makeup and now there is one more! I have to dig out my Midnight Charcoal liner stick and get back into practice. For, um, liberty’s sake…

  11. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Re: Republican FunHouse. Mr Trump should not be astonished to learn that the horde of actual centrists (as opposed to NPR Blob centrists) have decided Trump was largely a fraud, who campaigned on telling home truths which humiliated and shamed the ‘experts’ (“Hillary always came to me and begged me for money.”) Plus all the anti-war folks who thought maybe his rhetoric about calling off the ‘R2P’ dog chewing on the third world and simply dealing honestly with small nations instead of acting as Mssrs Buffett and Soros’ fulfillment layer might be in earnest. He’s lost all those folks. I know a lot of them. I voted for Stein and then Trump because the ‘experts’ pretty clearly would rather anyone pulling in less than a million five just go lie down and die. So anyone fearful Mr Trump will get any traction in 24 can rest easy. He’s as demonstably as fraud as is Ms Harris.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I’d agree with that assessment: Trump as symbol (a pudgy orange brick flung through the Establishment window in 2016) is completely different from Trump the change agent and repository of people’s hopes (and delusions).

      His 2016 tweet “I alone can fix” has been shown to be as vacuous as any other politician’s promise. That’s now abundantly clear to the swing voters who were willing to take a chance then, but have seen nothing change since, except some harsher rhetoric. Words words words.

      Imho, DJT still had a chance to win the 2020 election at the end of the final debate with Biden, by stepping back for just one moment and directly addressing Americans desperate for leadership and suspicious of Biden’s ability to be more than a sock puppet.

      ….It really didn’t matter what issue he chose. Just so long as just one time, it *wasn’t* about TRUMP or “the Lying __________.”

      And he couldn’t. He just couldn’t. It had to be TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

      That monomania is what bemuses all people who have direct dealings with the man, whether or not they are actually afraid of him.

      As a GOP spoiler, he still plays a powerful role, sucking all the air out of the room and forcing any ‘Unifying’ figures on the GOP side to abase and diminish themselves, or else to denounce him and risk being called RINO and cuck by the hard core.

      As an electable leader though, his time is finished, even if we are in Weimar 1930 stage by 2024.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      So how would a Trump v. Harris election in 2024 turn out?

      It might present an opportunity for Tulsi Gabbard to reenter politics if she can assemble a big enough movement to force her way in.

  12. JM

    I’m involved a little bit with local public health, and heard that almost exactly 50% of our COVID positives in the County are breakthrough cases. I don’t think they spoke to hospitalization and breakthroughs. According to their numbers we are over 70% partially vaccinated, and just about at 70% for full vaccination. Averaging around 100 positives a day over the past week or so.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Earlier today, I got an email from the local affiliate of a business networking group. Live presentation this Friday! But you *must* be fully vaccinated!

      I am going to stay home and watch the live stream of this presentation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That business networking group could also be known as a live fire exercise in faith. Yeah, better to stay home and in the boring bits, get some house cleaning done and relax with a few brewskies.

  13. Wukchumni

    “Biden slips into political quicksand amid Haitian migrant buildup” [Politico]. “In the past 24 hours, the White House has responded to images and videos of aggressive tactics used by Border Patrol agents to corral those migrants by supporting an internal investigation into the matter.
    A couple things…

    I was scared shitless in regards to quicksand in the 60’s, it was seemingly everywhere on tv and in the movies, and yet i’ve never come across any…

    Secondly, the look of armed enforcers with whips at the ready reminded me of Planet of the Apes, when they’re rounding up humans.

    1. KLG

      Me too. It seemed to lurk in those Tarzan reruns. But quicksand is now on those lists of things that really weren’t worth worrying about…

  14. Cocomaan

    The disclosure suggests further bureaucratic problems with the management of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program

    These aren’t bureaucratic problems and the press needs to stop reporting it that way. Stoller is right that the education department likes their cash flow.

    I suspected from the get go that the PSLF program was a big empty promise. Sad to see that it’s playing out that way. As an older millennial I know tens of people who have confided in me that they were relying on that program for their personal finances.

    Where are the courts on this one?

  15. Wukchumni

    We had a utopian socialist community here in the 1880’s, pretty early on for such endeavors in the USA

    Inspired by the writings of Laurence Gronlund, colony leaders attempted to apply the ideals of scientific socialism. The writings of United States socialist Edward Bellamy also influenced the project. March 9, 1888, the colony was legally established through the Deed of Settlement and Bylaws of Kaweah Colony. This colony based its economy on logging. Membership cost $500 with $100 payable upon application and the remainder in installments of cash or labor. Estimated nationwide membership peaked at 300-500 individuals, many of whom were non-resident supporters. The resident population at its height was around 150. The colony published the local area’s first newspaper, the Kaweah Commonwealth.

    Kaweah Colony was noteworthy for its exploration of giant sequoia groves. The colony re-named the General Sherman tree to the Karl Marx tree just prior to the establishment of Sequoia National Park when the name reverted.


    Bellamy’s book: Looking Backward: 2000–1887 is damned interesting, he predicted quite a few things that came true.

  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” “Extinction of Indigenous languages leads to loss of exclusive knowledge about medicinal plants”

    Those mainstream civilizations which exterminate the Indigenous languages have no right to the knowledge of those medicinal plants. In fact, they have no right to any knowledge whatsoever that is contained in those indigenous languages.

    If these Indigenous groups have any GENUINE supporters among the Dominant Society populations, those supporters will advise those Indigenous groups to boycott and reject all Dominant Society scientists who come to the Indigenous societies to learn things from them. The Indigenous societies will make established protection for themselves and their land base and their languages the pre-condition for teaching the Dominant Society scientists or anyone else from the Dominant Society about the knowledge for which only the Indigenous groups have words.

  17. fresno dan

    UPDATE “People close to Trump say he ‘wants back’ in national spotlight: report” [The Hill].
    Now, I can see Trump wanting revenge (and it is true that cauterizing the intelligence community and the Washington press corp as richly deserved revenge for RussiaGate might not be such a bad thing). But does Trump really want to do the work it would take? I can’t see it.
    The work of revenge or the work of running for president? The work of revenge would be exhausting and require extensive knowledge of the bureacracy and how to craft law and regulations to have an actual effect, as well as being able to choose appointees that would in fact carry out Trump’s wishes (e.g., ?Durham? did he do a good job? did he want to do a good job?) and marshalling political support among republicans against the defense and intelligence communities – I agree Trump does not have the focus or work ethic to be successful at revenge.
    But running for president – based on 2016, was Trump doing a lot of work campaigning? Appearances at stadiums = work?
    Trump can get the repub nomination, and if he can get the nomination, it is possible for him to get the presidency…

  18. Watt4Bob

    WRT “File Not Found”;

    I developed an intra-net with websites for our company’s 3 locations back in the mid 90s, early 2000s.
    It had a bunch of stuff we used to share on print outs of spread sheets that had to be faxed between locations.

    I showed the keepers of these spread sheets how to save them to a specific directories on our network servers which published them on our intranet, all run on windows servers running NT 4.0.

    This all worked quite well for years until new users lost all interest in understanding of directory structure, and so, could not understand the difference between saving their edited sheets on their own desktops as opposed to the proper directory on the server which ran the website.

    I started getting calls every day from users who relied on the spreadsheets being updated, correct, and most important, in their browsers.

    I would have to run between our company’s three locations looking for the lost files, which always turned out to be up to date, but saved on the local user’s PC rather than on the server.

    When I attempted to explain the problem to the wayward users, and show them how directories worked, they’d look at me as if I was speaking Latin.

    It seemed to happen over night, every thing worked just fine for about 5 years, and then it didn’t.

    So we started using Google Docs, and now Office 365, but I still look at that progression as going backwards.

    It was soon after, that employees started thinking that they had mad tech skills because they knew how to use facebook, and text on their phones.

  19. chuck roast

    Manchin: West Virginia has $299 million in GARVEE bonds that were issued in 2017 and 2018. These are typically short term munis tied to the state’s 10-year transportation improvement plan. Payment for these bonds is directly related to the projects in the plan that are federally funded. The presumption is that the Feds have signed-off on the plan and will come up with the money for the projects when it is due. Biden simply has to instruct Manchin that there has been difficulty getting the cash from the FDOT to the SDOT, and the problem has no solution until Manchin kisses the ring. Ha, ha, ha ha…

  20. shinola

    Thank-you Lambert for including the Greenwald article about the Bidens “influence-peddling-for-profit” I didn’t realize GG’s reporting was getting so much push-back from the MSM.

    For any of y’all who may have the time (just over an hour) Greenwald’s video is worthwhile…

  21. jr

    re: shortages

    Just came back from the bank and there was a sign apologizing to the customers because they were short on coins. The sign also asked if customers would kindly bring in their own (wrapped) coins to help the bank get along. This was striking to me because a few years back, at another bank, when I came in with around 70$ in coins I was given a rather cold look, a piece of paper to fill out, and a heavy-duty plastic bag in which to put the wrapped coins. The lady told me it would take around a week (!) for the money to be credited to my checking account. It was obvious they wanted nothing to do with my coins then.

    1. Yves Smith

      I remember when the old Commerce Bank had coin machines. They’d count them in the store and print out a little total. You would then go to the teller and get your dough.

      1. diptherio

        My little rural bank had a sign up a couple of weeks ago asking customers to bring in their coins, as they were running low. I obliged and brought in a couple years worth of pennies, nickles, and dimes in a pillow case. They ran them through the counting machine, while we made guesses about what the total would be, and they gave me my cash right then and there. But admittedly they’re a bit of a throwback: they still write deposit and withdrawal receipts by hand.

  22. jr

    re: coin circulation problems

    Just came back from the bank and there was a sign apologizing to the customers because they were short on coins. The sign also asked if customers would kindly bring in their own (wrapped) coins to help the bank get along. This was striking to me because a few years back, at another bank, when I came in with around 70$ in coins I was given a rather cold look, a piece of paper to fill out, and a heavy-duty plastic bag in which to put the wrapped coins. The lady told me it would take around a week (!) for the money to be credited to my checking account. It was obvious they wanted nothing to do with my coins then.


    ” However, Coinstar estimates approximately $18 billion in coins are idle, likely in people’s homes,” the company said in a statement to VERIFY.”

    That’s one big water cooler jug. I was chatting with some supermarket employees once about their Coinstar and they told me something interesting. The homeless and panhandlers use those Coinstars as their banks, lining up before the store opened, cashing in coins, and then buying breakfast at the store. The guys said the machine was once down for a few days and they nearly had a riot out front.

  23. Matthew G. Saroff

    I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that Facebook’s claims of under-reporting ad conversion is actually a function of them engaging in systematic ad fraud. (I have been pointing to this for years.)

    What is going on is that Facebook’s stalker mode of advertising makes it easier for them to falsify things like conversions, and so now we are getting more accurate, but probably still fraudulent, ad numbers.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “ShortageWatch: “Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.”

    There may be another cause behind this in that it is not so much a shortage of potatoes but processed potatoes. When McDonalds first started up back in ’47, they actually had young kids out back peeling bags of potatoes and turning them into fry-shapes and some got real fast doing it. But the McDonalds philosophy was to totally de-skill the workforce so that they could be not only paid less but more easily replaced. This, in the case of fries, meant bringing in frozen bags of pre-peeled & cut fries which only had to be cut open and dropped into hot oil. So perhaps in the case of the shortage of French fries, it is a matter of a shortage of processed French fries rather than just potatoes.

    1. Wukchumni

      Went to PetCo and cans of Fancy Feast were in good supply, albeit @ 71 Cents a can, not 64 Cents like a few months ago, 11% inflation.

      We’re being hit with shortages of all sorts, along with inflation where they can’t really change the size that easily, so inflation is obvious.

      On the other hand, there’s plan B: ‘shrinkflation’. I’ve been eating Frito Lay sunflower seeds in the shell since I was a tyke. They come in 99 Cent bags, and the weight used to be 4 1/2 ounces, now down to 3 3/4 ounces @ the same price, a stealth inflation rate of about 17%

      1. petal

        Found out this afternoon I’m unable to get irrigation water, saline, needles, or syringes from our scientific stockroom. They are unable to get them from their supplier, the hospital. Hospital is refusing to hand them over. Didn’t know if it’s because the hospital is behind in their own supply, or they are hoarding for a potentially bad winter season. Received an email from a pipet tip maker this morning explaining what they’ve been doing to keep up with the 60% increase in demand for tips due to covid testing. Also got some goss about the employment/job opening situation at the hospital and it’s not good(700 open positions at the main site alone). Will see what happens when the vaccination deadline rolls up at the end of this month. We were also told this morning we no longer have custodial service on our research floors due to the staffing shortage(down 41 people in environmental services dept). What janitors they do have left are being focused on clinical areas.
        This afternoon, I pulled up CCR on my laptop and played Bad Moon Rising. Sure feels that way-not just at the local level but at every level. Disintegration.

        1. TroyIA

          This could be related.

          COVID creates shortages of an array of U.S. medical supplies

          Shortages of masks and gloves that marked the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic have spread to a host of other items needed at medical facilities in the United States, from exam tables and heart defibrillators to crutches and IV poles.

          It can now take up to five months to get some types of exam tables, for instance, compared to three to six weeks before the pandemic, according to CME Corp, a distributor of medical equipment that handles over 2 million products.

          “Right now, because of the supply chain stress that’s being caused by COVID, almost everything is delayed,” said Cindy Juhas, CME’s chief strategy officer. “A lot of the stuff we sell is not sitting in a warehouse where you just call and say send it over. It needs to be built.”

          But shortages of raw materials, including plastics, metals, glass, and electronics, have hampered production.

        2. Jen

          And I hear that the hospital is hiring outside cleaning firms to work after hours. One wonders if the employees of said outside firms require their employees to get vaccinated.

      2. jr

        A friend decided to buy a pasta machine recently and came to me for advice. I told her to physically go to a store and look them over, not to buy one on Amazon. They can vary widely in quality and a crappy pasta machine is not worth the time.

        So of course she went through Amazon. All the standard cheap pasta machine problems presented themselves: flimsy construction, the cutting attachment didn’t cut the pasta ribbons all the way through, the handle was wiggly. But what really hit me was how light the thing was. When I used pasta machines professionally they were like anchors, you could kill literally someone with one of them. These weren’t high end machines either, probably a bit better than the bottom of the barrel one she bought but still, metal is metal. Or so I thought.

        This new machine felt like it was made out of aluminum, not steel, light as a feather. It’s own weight contributed next to nothing in terms of stability. So she sent it back and got her 25$ refunded. She noted that while she was tooling around the site, the same machine was now being offered at around 30$. This was all within a two week period of time.

      3. diptherio

        New radiator for my 15 year old van cost about $70 more than my mechanic was expecting. He also reported that other Napa stores (of which he is one) were refusing to send parts to him. They still sold him the parts, mind you, but he had to drive 90 miles to the other Napa to get them. They just wouldn’t ship them to another store. It didn’t make any sense to him why they’d do that, and I’m not sure I can make sense of it myself.

    2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      In regard to Lambert’s comment on Matt Stoller asking his readers for examples à la NC, I’m proud to say that he quoted me at length about my inability to find lids for mason jars. To come full circle, I learned about Stoller here at NC. Of course, I learned about a lot of folks here at NC.

  25. ambrit

    Today was the first Grand Jury day in three months. There was a lot of catching up to do. We got through about a hundred ‘cases’ today. A “self defense” killing and a lot of sexual crimes with and against minors. One involved the pregnant thirteen year old daughter of the man’s adult “girlfriend.” Several cases of so called adult men ‘grooming’ girls in their “care.” (It immediately made me think of the Bill Clinton “Blue Dress” episode, as one case involved a fairly high up local politico.)
    One of the usual Assistant District Attorneys who we would see and hear from was in the hospital with Covid. He has been in the intensive care for five weeks. Intubated for a while, but no longer. No one could say what version of the virus he had. The mid-level functionaries we dealt with mentioned a manpower squeeze in City Hall due to all the workers out sick over the past three months.
    Oh well. Welcome to the South! (Pray for us.)

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve been considered for the Grand Jury in Fresno, and i’m hoping that its the pay scale, a thousand each time I have to endure America’s drunkest city, although just between you and me, i’d be ok with $850 per visit.

      1. ambrit

        Watch out for the scam the County pulled on us. We get paid for the entire year in the following Janurary, in Credit Memos from the Banco National de Deploristan! Try ‘floating’ that paper.
        I don’t know about the Golden West, but we get $40 per day and mileage for travel over a certain distance from the courthouse. I live close by so I miss out on that perk. Oh, and pizza for lunch, and the twice dreaded Courthouse Coffee. (I bring my own milk.)
        How’s the fire situation? Safe we hope.

      2. fresno dan

        September 22, 2021 at 8:24 pm
        … I have to endure America’s drunkest city…
        well, if not drink, how else are you suppose to endure Fresno…LSD, heroin, meth? at least booze is legal
        I generally begin the day with a case of beer, followed by a fifth of wiskey, and than a caste of wine. This takes me to noon, at which time the serious drinking starts.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks! But, I must say that you have the harder situation to endure. The thought of having to accede to the wishes of so called “leaders” who aren’t smart enough to plan ahead for shortages in basic supplies must be galling. The sort of work that I sense you do must be hostage tio the cleanliness of the surroundings. There is nothing worse than contamination.
        Stay safe! Be strong.

  26. Anon

    We have experienced shortages of cat litter. When we find it, we stock up. Also some shortages of Fancy Feast.

  27. jr

    A friend decided to buy a pasta machine recently and came to me for advice. I told her to physically go to a store and look them over, not to buy one on Amazon. They can vary widely in quality and a crappy pasta machine is not worth the time.

    So of course she went through Amazon. All the standard cheap pasta machine problems presented themselves: flimsy construction, the cutting attachment didn’t cut the pasta ribbons all the way through, the handle was wiggly. But what really hit me was how light the thing was. When I used pasta machines professionally they were like anchors, you could kill literally someone with one of them. These weren’t high end machines either, probably a bit better than the bottom of the barrel one she bought but still, metal is metal. Or so I thought.

    This new machine felt like it was made out of aluminum, not steel, light as a feather. It’s own weight contributed next to nothing in terms of stability. So she sent it back and got her 25$ refunded. She noted that while she was tooling around the site, the same machine was now being offered at around 30$. This was all within a two week period of time.

  28. allan

    Suicides in Canada fell 32 per cent in first year of pandemic compared with year before [Globe and Mail]

    Despite isolating lockdowns and a sharp rise in unemployment, suicides fell by 32 per cent in the first year of the pandemic compared with the year before it, according to a new report.

    This is the lowest suicide mortality rate in Canada in more than a decade, says the study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

    “It’s a remarkable finding, that during this awful time, we saw a decrease,” said the report’s lead author, Roger McIntyre, a University of Toronto professor of psychiatry and pharmacology.

    “This tells us there are things that we can do,” Dr. McIntyre said. “We don’t need to accept suicide rates, we need to rethink how we’re approaching this from a policy perspective.”

    Dr. McIntyre and his co-authors credited government-funded financial benefits and an increase in mental-health support with creating a sense of security in this country. …

    Sure, but where are the payfors?

  29. VietnamVet

    “FDA authorizes coronavirus booster shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious illness, including from job exposure”. FDA conducted a risk benefit analysis on the Pfizer mRNA vaccine booster shot.

    This is a 180 degree turn from the earlier FDA’s no public hearings approval of Pfizer’s Comirnaty Vaccine for everybody older than 15.

    Two reasons;

    First, the Imperialists have turned on Joe Biden, just like Dick Nixon, for ending a war. They are already after him with “Bordergate” and all future debacles will be placed at his feet. Bureaucrats don’t need to protect him anymore.

    Second, the mRNA vaccines (no matter what corporations and the big-six media say) only prevent severe illness and death, long term, in very roughly 50% to 80% of the vaccinated. 20% or more of the vaccinated get sick and could die. The vaccines do not halt transmission and the delta variant may be more deadly to the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. Vaccine mandates and passports are worthless. The federal science agencies (unless headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci) no longer defend the Trump Administration’s Warp Speed Big Lie; “mRNA vaccines are safe and effective”.

    White House staffers may not have gotten the message. mRNA Vaccines will not control the pandemic. The White House’s future pandemic policy can only be “Let ‘er Rip” or the full restoration the national public health system.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “File not found”

    Been thinking about this one today as it is a bit disturbing. Certainly kids are great with stuff like computers but this made me wonder. Maybe what they are really great is computer interfaces and not computers as such. Having a place with thousands of files in no particular order means that you are dependent on a Search function or otherwise you would have no chance finding a particular file yourself. And that makes you dependent on an intermediary.

    We have seen this with people getting themselves lost or killed even by following a GPS device in a car without understanding the real world that it was referring to. It’s a model. When the real world is aligned with that model, then it works, but when it doesn’t, that is where the fun begins. And that is what makes me uneasy about those kids. They have no understanding about those files and to them, it is really a black box. They don’t even have that model.

    1. Taurus

      Most people don’t understand that “the cloud” really means “a hard disk somewhere in Tennessee “

      True ownership of data is highly strengthened by physical possession of the hardware. Cost of a NAS is now relatively low. Granted, you have to learn a little about how to make it work.

      I take a lot of pictures- mostly of my children and relatives. I keep them on a server at home.

      In 20 years of running a file server at home, I have had disk failures but never simultaneous failure of mirrored data.

      Anyway – read Google’s fine print – their liability for losing your files is equal to what you paid for their services. Plus, even if they paid me money, I couldn’t go back 15 years to retake the pictures of my child’s th birthday:)

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