2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

With the sound of feet tramping through the jungle.

* * *


Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Re workload: I eliminated charts for positivity, because I think private tests make those numbers useless. I cut back to a single hospitalization chart, because I think state-by-state data is more useful than a national aggregate. I retained vaccination (new administrations per day, plus percentage total), case count, and death rate (plus total). To spot new variants if and when they emerge, I changed the world chart to include countries that have form creating new variants: the UK, Brazil, and India, with Portugal as a baseline. I also retained rapid riser counties (though for now, with things so relatively quiet, I am including only this week’s data). Winter is coming! Do feel free to make additional suggestions. (If there were a global map that showed the emergence of new variants dynamically, for example, that would be helpful.)

Today I went looking for a map of United States wastewater data; but no joy, except for Missouri. I also went looking for maps of childhood cases and/or school cases; again no joy. I will keep looking, but I’m guessing our data collection efforts remain as half-assed and pissant as they have been throughout this pandemic, richest nation on earth etc. Thank you, CDC. Hat tip, public health establishment.

Vaccination by region:

A rebound, after a weekend reporting drop. Coercion works? Or boosters? (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

56.5% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Turkey, as of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

I have added an anti-triumphalist black line to show how “new normal” case numbers still are. Even if hospitalizations and the death rate are going down, that says nothing about Long Covid, the effect on children, etc. So the numbers, in my mind, are still “terrifying”, even if that most-favored word is not in the headlines any more, and one may be, at this point, inured.

Simply tape-watching, this descent is as steep as any of the three peaks in November–January. It’s also longer than the descent from any previous peak. 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: There is the possibility that natural immunity is much, much greater than we have thought, although because this is America, our data is so bad we don’t know. Also, if the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of social 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. And although readers will recall that I have cautioned against cross-country comparisons, I’m still not understanding why we’re not seeing the same aggregates in schools that we’ve see in Canada and especially the UK, although we have plenty of anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all. So what’s up with that?

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 12, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Speculating freely: One thing the consider is where the red is. If air travel hubs like New York City or Los Angeles (or Houston or Miami) go red that could mean (a) international travel and (b) the rest of the country goes red, as in April 2020 and following. But — for example — Minnesota is not a hub. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. 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. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 737,795 734,611. A blip upward, despite a definite downward trend in death rate, mercifully. We approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found 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.)

Covid cases in historic variant sources:

Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“Capitol Police whistleblower delivers scathing rebuke to 2 of its senior leaders Jan. 6” [Politico]. • Is “rebuke” a word that’s ever used outside the Beltway? If so, where?

UPDATE Several threads on the Capitol rioters in court. The rank and file read like real sad sacks:

Biden Administration

UPDATE “Pelosi enters pivotal stretch on Biden agenda” [The Hill]. “Pelosi this week acknowledged the challenges they face as they trim the cost of the $3.5 trillion social benefits package — a figure initially championed by Biden — in ways that can satisfy centrist deficit hawks without alienating wide-eyed progressives.” • Again, why not give the list to President Manchin and ask him what to cut? Why do Democrats have to do this?

UPDATE “It’s time for bold action to save Republicans’ lives, whether they like it or not” [The Week]. “As I have previously argued, Republicans like DeSantis (who is vaccinated, by the way) are functionally conducting human wave attacks against Joe Biden’s approval rating, sacrificing their own loyal base for cheap political wins. The extent to which this is a conscious calculation may vary, but the practical effect is that the pandemic continues; Biden is blamed for it; and that (probably) does more damage to Democrats’ vote totals than the GOP loses in dead voters…. This ruthlessness must be met with bold, uncompromising action to save life rather than end it. A minority of Republicans insist they absolutely will not choose to get the vaccine? Fine. Force them to do it…. Probably the single most effective move would be to require vaccination to fly. As former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood argues, this is certainly legal given how many other safety requirements are already in place in airports. Biden might be able to pressure the airlines into doing it themselves.” • Why not be hung for a sheep instead of a lamb, indeed! (I don’t accept the theory of the case; I believe that coercion is where the Democrats were going to end up in any case, since they refused to take the measures that would have avoided it. But if you’re going to coerce, don’t be half-assed and pissant about it!)

UPDATE “Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate Moves Closer to Approval” [Wall Street Journal]. “Many executives say they have been waiting to see the mandate’s details before making changes to corporate policies. Others have pushed back return-to-office dates to give their companies time to assess the rules. Some smaller businesses have raised concerns over the potential complexity and compliance burden employers would face implementing the standard. A small-business advocacy group said it plans to sue. One state has already done so…. David Michaels, who served as head of OSHA from 2009-2017, also said enforcement of the new standard wouldn’t likely rely primarily on in-person inspections, but instead on company record-keeping and worker reports of potential violations. Workers ‘will be OSHA’s eyes and ears,’ said Mr. Michaels, now a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health.” • Oh. Will there be bounties? This looks like the text of the rule (which gawd forbid the press, even the WSJ, should link to).

“President Biden to meet with port heads ahead of expected Christmas supply crunch” [ABC]. “With global supply chain bottlenecks threatening the Christmas shopping season, President Joe Biden will highlight his administration’s work with ports on Wednesday and try to stave off the potentially politically explosive headaches Americans may face as delays threaten holiday gift-giving. The president plans to meet with the leaders of the two busiest ports in the United States — Los Angeles and Long Beach, both in California — and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, “to discuss the challenges that ports across the country and actions each partner can take to address these delays,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. The port of Los Angeles, a senior Biden administration official said, will announce on Wednesday that it will move to 24/7 operations in order to help alleviate bottlenecks. According to the White House, Walmart will increase its use of nighttime hours; UPS will increasingly use 24/7 operations and enhance data sharing with ports; FedEx will increase its nighttime hours and make changes to trucking and rail use; Samsung will operate 24/7 over the next 90 days to move almost 60% more containers out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports; The Home Depot will move up to 10% more containers out of these ports in their off-hours each week; and Target will move 10% more containers during these off-peak hours. Several of these companies and other stakeholders will participate in a virtual roundtable hosted by the White House Wednesday, according to the White House.” • Well, they didn’t put Harris in charge. So maybe there’s hope.

UPDATE “Biden’s inaction is poised to hand GOP the majority on this key agency” [Politico]. “Anxiety is rising among Democrats as President Joe Biden marks nearly nine months in office without naming anyone to serve on the Federal Communications Commission — a lapse that could soon put Republicans in the majority at the agency. It also puts Biden’s broadband goals at risk, his party says. Congressional Democrats have been sounding the alarm for months, fearing a squandered year on the president’s progressive priorities, such as reinstating net neutrality rules and demanding greater transparency on internet billing. By comparison, former President Donald Trump named Ajit Pai as his FCC chair just three days after being sworn in, and the commission’s Republicans were rolling back net neutrality by December 2017. Biden’s delay is historic: No previous president has waited this long to name a chair of the five-member body. The closest parallels are Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, who waited until mid-September to name their agency chiefs. But Biden has blown past that deadline, alarming Capitol Hill Democrats who have few legislative days remaining this year for confirming any nominees the president might offer. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about the delay.” • Molasses for brains…

Democrats en Deshabille

“Here’s when the IRS can check out my bank account” [Yahoo Finance]. The headline is a little alarmist, but: “The original plan was for the IRS to monitor accounts with balances of more than $600, which is meant to filter out inactive accounts or those held by kids. That threshold is way too low. Democrats drafting legislation are considering raising the cutoff to $10,000, but $100,000 or even $1 million might be a better limit. Any proposal to monitor bank accounts, in this climate, would need ironclad assurances that ordinary people won’t end up as collateral damage, even if they do cheat in small ways by paying household workers in cash.” • If, in 2022, the Democrats are remembers for monitoring bank accounts with over $600 in them, they will lose catastrophically. The reporter, who is clearly in “I’m only trying to help you” mode, concludes: “A $1 million minimum income threshold feels about right, for starters. In fact, how about a demonstration targeting only the richest families in America? The IRS knows who they are, and Congress could give the IRS a down payment on that $80 billion to troll around in the bank accounts of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and find their hidden money. After a couple of years, the IRS could report back, in the aggregate, and let everybody know how much extra tax revenue they were able to snag by matching billionaire bank records with other data. Then Congress could give them a little more money to go down the chain from billionaires to multimillionaires, and so on.” • That makes too much sense. I’m long stupid on this one. I bet the Democrats will go with $10,000, thereby bringing the joys of FATCA to every American.

“CNN Poll: Most Democrats favor a bigger bill on social safety net and climate” [CNN]. “the Democratic electorate does not agree over which side of the debate is doing more to help the party: 49% say that progressives trying to enact ambitious liberal policies are doing more for the Democrats, while 51% give more credit to moderates trying to contain government spending. Views within the party are divided along ideological lines, but far from universally so: Self-described liberals side, 64% to 36%, with the goal of ambitious liberal policies, while moderates and conservatives line up 61% to 39% behind those focused on containing government spending. There’s also a generational divide, with those younger than age 45 favoring the progressives and those 45 and older siding with the moderates. The poll also finds that there isn’t even universal alignment between what Democrats and Democratic-leaners say they want for the bill and what they feel is most helpful for the party. Among those who favor a broader bill enacting all of the proposed social safety net and climate change policies, 60% say progressives are doing more to help the party and 40% say moderates are. Those Democrats who favor a slimmed-down bill break 74% saying the moderates are doing more to help and 26% saying the progressives are.”

“Top Democrats Own Stock in AT&T, Funder of Far-Right OAN Network” [Brick House]. “The far-right network One America News reaches millions of Americans with its content that includes election conspiracies and pandemic disinformation through the satellite broadcaster DirecTV, owned by the conglomerate AT&T. Recently, an OAN host floated the idea of executions for traitors who they say overthrew Trump’s re-election win. Last week, a bombshell Reuters investigation uncovered that AT&T-owned platforms provide 90% of the revenue for OAN’s parent company Herring Networks, and that without the telco giant’s financial backing, the company’s value would be nil. AT&T reportedly helped design the channel to grow its right-wing audience share from Fox News….. At least two dozen members of Congress or their spouses hold stock in AT&T, including Speaker Pelosi’s spouse, investor Paul Pelosi, and other members of House Democratic leadership, according to a review of House and Senate financial disclosure reports covering 2020. In the Senate, three of the four AT&T stockholders are members of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications Media and Broadband, which has jurisdiction over all sectors of communications, and three are Democrats. Speaker Pelosi’s spouse’s investment in AT&T is worth between $250,000 and $500,000 as of the most recent disclosure, with income last year to their household between $15,000 and $50,000.” • Buys a lot of ice cream!

UPDATE “Jayapal fundraising off Pelosi comments about smaller spending package” [The Hill]. “Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Wash.) reelection campaign sent out a fundraising email criticizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) comments about negotiating a lower price tag on the Democrats’ social spending package. ‘Why is Speaker Pelosi suggesting we should allow a couple of conservative Democrats to leave behind popular cornerstone policies of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act? We need to deliver,’ Jayapal’s fundraising email said. Pelosi voiced disappointment at her Tuesday press conference over the need to make cuts to the current proposal in order to get moderate Democrats on board. ‘I’m very disappointed that we’re not going with the original $3.5 trillion, which was very transformative,’ Pelosi said on Tuesday, forecasting ‘some difficult decisions because we have fewer resources.’ ‘But whatever we do, we’ll make decisions that will continue to be transformative,’ Pelosi added.” • Crocodile tears from Pelosi. Stick with the $3.5 trillion, shorten the time-frame. If the Republicans win 2022 even after voters receive concrete material benefits, let them not renew already well-recieved programs. And at the very least, let President Manchin make the cuts. There’s no reason for Pelosi or any of her minions to waste a second on doing them. Pelosi has, if anything, gotten worse over time. At least in 2006 she stared down Bush on privatizing Social Security! Now she’d cut it. This is so not hard:

UPDATE “Progressives Resist Nancy Pelosi’s Plan For ‘Fewer Things’ In Budget Bill” [The Hill]. “At a press conference on Tuesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) reiterated that message. ‘If we need to cut some of them back to fewer number of years, we’d be willing to do that,’ she told reporters. ‘Why is that? Because we are not going to pit child care against climate change. We’re not going to pit housing against paid leave. We’re not going to pit seniors against young people.’… ‘Reducing the number of years that the benefits are funded and making sure it’s funded as quickly as possible and that the benefits are as universal as possible, we think is critically important,’ Jayapal told HuffPost last week.”


“He re-elected George W. Bush. Now he wants Democrats to elect him” [Anand Giridharadas, The Ink]. Interview with Matthew Dowd, Bush’s speechwriter now running for Governor as a Democrat when he ought to be on trial in the Hague, like Bush himself: “The most fortunate refugees on earth are those defecting from the Republican Party. You see them on the news; you enjoyed their Lincoln Project ads; maybe you bought the book one wrote to cash in on telling the truth now that it was of scant use to us. Politics is, as the saying goes, a game of addition. So, on one level, you want anyone you can get to abandon Team Tyranny and sign up for Team Democracy. But then it gets more complicated. Should these recent converts not only vote with you but also lead? Should they be the ones representing the pro-democratic position on television? Should they now be the ones running as Democrats against their former colleagues? As I put it directly to one of these defectors, Matthew Dowd, in the conversation below, “There is a fine line between giving people space for redemption, having a welcoming movement, on one hand, and, on the other hand, putting those people in leadership roles ahead of other people who saw a certain truth all along.” • Paid, so that’s basically it, but the point is well made.

Clinton Legacy

Please go into seclusion and write a book about it that will be respectfully reviewed and in six weeks hit the remainder bins:

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The annual inflation rate in the US edged up to a 13-year high of 5.4% in September of 2021 from 5.3% in August and above market expectations of 5.3%. Main upward pressure came from cost of shelter (3.2% vs 2.8% in August); food (4.6% vs 3.7%, the highest since December of 2011), namely food at home (4.5% vs 3%); new vehicles (8.7% vs 7.6%); and energy (24.8% vs 25%). On the other hand, prices eased for used cars and trucks (24.4% percent vs 31.9%); transportation services (4.4% vs 4.6%); apparel (3.4% vs 4.2%); and medical care services (0.9% vs 1%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices advanced 0.4%, above forecasts of 0.3%, with the indexes for food and shelter contributing more than half of the monthly increase.” • I just love it that the “core index” eliminates food and energy. I mean, who needs them?

* * *

Retail: “Walgreens closing 5 San Francisco stores due to ‘organized retail crime'” [SFGATE]. At the end of the story: “Walgreens has closed at least 10 stores in the city since the beginning of 2019.” • So, hmmm.

Commodities: “It’s almost impossible to find hunting ammunition right now” [Bangor Daily News]. “Nationwide shortages of shotgun shells and rifle cartridges have left shelves bare in gun shops and sporting goods stores, forcing hunters to carefully use their on-hand supply as they search for reinforcements in stores and online during what is typically one of the busiest times of the season….. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year led to shutdowns at munitions factories, resulting in a drastic reduction in the amount of gun ammunition available across the United States. Then in July 2020, Remington Outdoor Company, which owned a sizable share of the ammunition market, went out of business…. While manufacturing is reportedly increasing, the current production isn’t relieving the shortage retailers are experiencing. Byron Dill, owner of Dill’s Outdoors in Bangor, has a hard time accepting the unavailability of ammo. ‘The companies say that they’re manufacturing more ammo and running at full capacity. That’s great, fine and dandy, but shops should have ammo to sell,’ Dill said. ‘I don’t understand where the ammo is going.'” • Presumably ammo is manufactured domestically, like guns?

Commodities: “USDA bets big on World Animal Health Organization to help protect U.S. pork trade amid African Swine Fever fears” [AgWeek]. “ASF has been detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and if it reaches the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands — just short boat rides away — major pork importing countries would be within their rights to ban all U.S. pork. That is, unless the U.S. successfully uses a new provision in the World Organization for Animal Health’s chapters called the ‘protection zone.’ … he spokesperson said ‘USDA is transferring $500 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS [FDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] to support activities related to African swine fever findings in pigs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The funding allows APHIS to work with our international partners to conduct monitoring, surveillance, prevention, removal, and other activities to prevent the spread of ASF and protect the health of the nation’s swine herd and U.S. trade,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Additionally, the funding will support enhanced exclusion, surveillance, testing, laboratory, and response preparations on the mainland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.’ Keeping ASF out of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is key, and that’s why APHIS says it is doing everything it can to help eradicate the disease from the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but the protection zone and the layer of insulation it places between the U.S. territories and the U.S. mainland is even more important, according to U.S. industry officials. That’s why the U.S. banned all pork and live pigs from the territories even though the disease isn’t there. If the disease does spread there, APHIS is counting on the protection zone to make sure that U.S. pork exports are not impacted. But there is no guarantee. The OIE [The World Organisation for Animal Health, formerly the the Office International des Epizooties] is recognized by the World Trade Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations but does not have any regulatory authority over its 182 member nations, which can choose to disregard its standards and procedures.”

Shipping: “Port truckers win $30 million in wage theft settlements” [Los Angeles Times]. “One of the world’s largest trucking companies, XPO Logistics, agreed Tuesday to pay $30 million to settle class-action lawsuits filed by hundreds of drivers who said they earned less than minimum wage delivering goods for major retailers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach…. The settlements amounted to a major victory for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which applauded the lawsuits as part of a decades-long effort to organize the twin ports’ more than 25,000 drivers…. But as the pandemic has driven supply chain snarls, port drivers have voiced growing frustration at a loss of income as they wait in hours-long lines at the ports — time for which they would be compensated if they were employees. The settlements do not require XPO to reclassify its drivers as employees, but labor leaders nonetheless hailed the agreements, which will compensate 784 drivers, as a turning point in the fight over port drayage. The settlements are preliminary, but individual drivers could receive as much as $100,000, depending on how long they worked for the company.” • Curious timing.

The Bezzle: “Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show” [Reuters]. “Thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters – including emails, strategy papers and business plans – show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets. The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from Amazon.in to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report for India put it, ‘in the first 2 or three … search results’ when customers were shopping on Amazon.in… The internal documents also show that Amazon employees studied proprietary data about other brands on Amazon.in, including detailed information about customer returns. The aim: to identify and target goods – described as ‘reference’ or ‘benchmark’ products – and ‘replicate’ them. As part of that effort, the 2016 internal report laid out Amazon’s strategy for a brand the company originally created for the Indian market called ‘Solimo.’ The Solimo strategy, it said, was simple: ‘use information from Amazon.in to develop products and then leverage the Amazon.in platform to market these products to our customers.’…

The 2016 document further shows that Amazon employees working on the company’s own products, known as private brands or private labels, planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products targeted for copying. That’s because they learned that these manufacturers employ ‘unique processes which impact the end quality of the product.'” • Wow. Who could have seen that coming. Fortunately, this is India. I’m sure they’re not doing anything like that in the United States. And this is all from 2016. So I’m sure they’ve stopped by now. (And what’s gotten into Reuters? They’ve been doing some real reporting lately.)

The Bezzle: “U.S. asks Tesla why it failed to file recall notices of its Autopilot driving system” [Los Angeles Times]. “In a letter post on the agency’s website Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the company that it must recall vehicles if an over-the-internet update addresses a safety defect. ‘Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,’ the agency said in a letter Tuesday to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field quality. The agency also ordered the company to provide information about its “Full Self-Driving” software that’s being tested on public roads with some owners. The latest clash is another sign of escalating tensions between Tesla and the government agency that regulates partially automated driving systems. In August the agency opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after receiving multiple reports of vehicles crashing into emergency vehicles with warning lights flashing that were stopped on highways.” • Because they’re crooks, and Elon wants the money?

Tech: Yesterday’s odd little AWS situation was resolved:

The “And so it begins” messaging was premature. But I assume that’s only a matter of time.

Tech: One imagines InDesign giving the same sort of message based on unacceptable text:

(I assume this is the Cloud version of Photoshop; all the more reason never to use The Cloud for anything important.)

Tech: “How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account” [Wired]. • Too complex to summarize, but well worth a read. You can delete your account, or you can delete your account and all its data. Supposedly.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Proposes Fix to Prevent Deadly Engine-Cover Failures” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. aviation regulators are reviewing a request by Boeing Co. to redesign engine covers on the 777 and 737 jet models that have led to multiple dramatic failures, including a passenger death in 2018….. Federal regulations require that engines are encased in a shield to prevent damage to a plane when a fan blade fails, but in multiple incidents on certain 737s and 777s blade fragments bounced forward and damaged less protected areas. The proposal is the first step in getting government approval for strengthening the engine covers. Because current regulations on the so-called cowling at the front of the engines don’t require the fixes, the company is requesting an exemption to the rules to proceed with its redesign.” •

Supply Chain: “‘Desperate for tires.’ Components shortage roils U.S. harvest” [Reuters]. “Manufacturing meltdowns are hitting the U.S. heartland, as the semiconductor shortages that have plagued equipment makers for months expand into other components. Supply chain woes now pose a threat to the U.S. food supply and farmers’ ability to get crops out of fields. Farmers say they are scrambling to find workarounds when their machinery breaks, tracking down local welders and mechanics. Growers looking to buy tractors and combines online are asking for close-up photos of the machine’s tires, because replacements are expensive and difficult to find, said Greg Peterson, founder of the Machinery Pete website which hosts farm equipment auctions. ‘As harvest ends, we will see farmers at equipment auctions not for the machinery – but for parts,” Peterson said. “We’re already hearing from guys talking about buying a second planter or sprayer, just for parts.’… The supply squeeze has put particular pressure on equipment dealerships, who typically see their service business boom during the traditional September through November harvest season. This year, some have resorted to sifting through decade-old inventory for solutions. One pain point for dealerships is an industry-wide shortage of GPS receivers, which are used to run tractor guidance and data systems.” • Well worth a read, considering there’s also a shortage of fertilizer for next year.

Concentration: One for Stoller:

Employment SItuation: “A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, led by food and retail industries” [CNBC]. “Workers left their jobs at a record pace in August, with bar and restaurant employees as well as retail staff quitting in droves, the Labor Department reported Tuesday… Quits have been seen historically as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though labor dynamics have changed during Covid-19 crisis. Workers have left their jobs because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.” • I would bet a large number of them are also tired of enforcing masking requirements on [glass bowls] who won’t wear them.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 13 at 1:00pm.

The 420

“Many breast cancer patients are using marijuana and not telling their doctors” [NBC]. “Many breast cancer patients use cannabis to ease the symptoms of the disease and its treatments, but few tell their doctors, a new survey finds. In an online anonymous survey of more than 600 adults with a breast cancer diagnosis, 42 percent reported using some form of cannabis for relief of symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, anxiety and stress, according to the report published Tuesday in Cancer.”

The Gallery


These slides will still be readable when the power fails, unlike their digital representations stored in The Cloud, or some such.

Feral Hog Watch

Jackpot metaphor? Wait for the last three seconds:

The Agony Column

“How to Know You’re Lonely” [The Atlantic]. Not exactly on point, but interesting: “There’s a very famous study at the University of Rochester where students were asked about what their goals in life were, and then it followed up a year later to see whether or not they hit their goals after graduation and to see how happy they were. And those who had extrinsic goals, which is money, power and fame—they wanted to get ahead; they wanted to do really well; they wanted to make more money—they got those things. They were doing better than average. But they were a lot less happy than those who had intrinsic goals. And those intrinsic goals were all about love and relationships.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Wow Great Insight” [Eschaton]. • Atrios is so terse I have to quote it all:

I get so enraged by journalists praising an utterly banal insight, something that should have been obvious to them all along and was screamed at them by shitposters they ignored for years. This got lots of praise yesterday!

As I read Grisham’s book, I kept thinking that it felt, in some ways, like the story of the Trump presidency was less about one demagogue than it was about the everyday choices of the smaller people working at the levels below policy-making, and how run-of-the-mill self-centeredness and expediency, when practiced by dozens or hundreds of people in an organization, amounts to the system that allows evil. The Trump administration was not possible because of Trump and his brain trust, as it were. It was possible because of the people like Grisham who let them, in minor and individual ways, function.

[clearing throat]


Now do the Obama administration. And the Bush administration. And the Clinton adminstration….

Class Warfare

“”We’re gathering picket supplies” | John Deere employees brace for a strike, ahead of a looming deadline” [WQAD]. “Negotiators for UAW are back at the table with Deere executives, after an agreed upon contract was voted down by nearly 90% of union employees. A strike deadline is set for 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13. If a new agreement isn’t found by then, union leaders can either extend the deadline again, or authorize a strike. Union members had previously voted for strike authorization by overwhelming margins earlier this fall. This all comes just six years after the previous contract between Deere and UAW passed the approval cutoff by less than 200 votes, out of 10,000 eligible voters. Not much is known about the current state of negotiations. Representatives from both Deere and UAW have not commented on where they are ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. But, union workers tell News 8 they are ready to join the picket line, if it comes to that, on Thursday morning. One member from the Quad Cities said his chapter had already begun gathering strike supplies and sending out plans on Tuesday afternoon, anticipating that no agreement would be reached. ”

“Workers: Deere canceling Iowa employees’ shifts as strike looms; deadline is midnight Wednesday” [Des Moines Register]. “[M]anagers ordered third-shift employees in Waterloo not to report to work at their usual 11 p.m. start time. Employees at the company’s Ankeny and Ottumwa plants said Deere also canceled their second shifts, which start at 3:30 p.m., unless the UAW and the company reach a contract agreement sooner. Employees are working under a contract that expires Friday, but the UAW told Deere that its 10,100 members will go on strike Thursday morning if the two sides cannot reach a tentative agreement. Workers have not gone on strike against Deere since 1986.”

“Over 10,000 Deere workers brace for strike, supplemental employees could be left behind” [The Courier]. “If a strike does take place, each plant covered by the contract is organizing its own strike outside of its respective buildings, most of which will begin striking at 7 a.m. Thursday. Once a strike is started at a plant, it will continue for 24 hours a day, seven days a week until an agreement is reached. Strike pay will be available for Deere employees. According to the UAW, weekly strike pay is $275 per week, or $55 per day, beginning on the eighth day. A bonus check is paid the week prior to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Meanwhile, scores of other workers might be left out of the new contract regardless of the strike. Supplemental employees at Deere plants are full-time workers that receive fewer benefits than full UAW members while still paying union dues, according to David Schmelzer, a Deere inspector at the Milan plant who began his career as a supplemental worker. Schmelzer said language in the union’s master agreement allows supplemental workers to be paid about $5 less than full corps members. In addition to less pay, supplemental employees have three days of paid leave and sometimes work holidays and Sundays. In the most recent tentative agreement, supplemental workers did not qualify for paid family leave that full corps members received, according to Schmelzer. ‘The fact that this company thinks that it’s OK to do that is just disgusting,’ Schmelzer said. ‘They’re people just like everybody else.'” • The fact that the UAW signed a two-tier contract is disgusting, too.

News of the Wired

“The 2021 State of Digital Nomads” [Nomadlist]. On methodology: “This page is build LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every hour. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there’s a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it’s not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.” • Nice work if you can get it.

But perhaps internal expatriation is not for everyone:

A fragile flower indeed!

* * *

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 (JM):

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Mikel

    “Top Democrats Own Stock in AT&T, Funder of Far-Right OAN Network” [Brick House].

    There is also this to remember about AT&T and its stock:


    The end of the article:
    “A spin-off will help AT&T prioritize its broadband business and pay down its huge debt load. “AT&T would receive $43 billion (subject to adjustment) in a combination of cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt,” Monday’s announcement said. Zaslav said Monday the new media company will start with $55 billion in debt.
    AT&T’s shareholders will get the majority of the shares in the combined company, at 71%, while Discovery’s shareholders will get 29%….”

    Another note: AT&T will be cutting its dividend payouts. Will be interesting to see how these larger shareholders hold or sell as that date approaches…
    Just additional info to ponder.

  2. chris

    Lambert, Re: photoshop, I’m not sure there is a non-cloud version anymore. I use a variety of tools to make art. My friends who are pros all subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud, because that’s the only way they’re allowed to use Photoshop. Which is an industry standard. You really are screwed if you need to work with images of money and this kind of a block occurs.

    This is really bad. When will services like Kindle and Audible stop letting you open offending books using their tools? When will publishers be blocked from printing offensive content? Time to stock up on all the books and music and art you love because you never know when TPB will take it all away.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Re: photoshop, I’m not sure there is a non-cloud version anymore

      Presumably local storage is allowed in some way. Some photographers have terabytes of material!

      1. chris

        I don’t think it’s the storage that’s at issue here. What seems to be happening is that a review of the file occurs prior to the image being opened in the workspace. If during that review, offending content is detected, they prevent the file from being opened. They are probably doing that because a number of other software packages can work with and create PSD files for use in Photoshop. Lots of clients request that file format for finished work too. So this stops the whole process from being used on an industry standard application.

        I use Clip Studio, Procreate, Art Rage, and natural media. I also play around with Corel Painter. I have used Photoshop and I used to really like Elements. I need those tools mainly to bring in my art that I create with natural media so I can work with it digitally. I had purchased a Creative Cloud account for my youngest who is a budding artist so that she could start learning Photoshop and Illustrator. But if this is the way Adobe is going I will cancel that and switch her to something else.

        1. Sub-Boreal

          What would you recommend as Photoshop & Illustrator substitutes? When I retire from my current job in a couple of years, I’ll lose the academic discount access to Adobe products, but will occasionally still need to fiddle with photos and make simple graphics. I don’t use many of the features of those programs, but I can do those things efficiently after ~ 20 years of practice, so it would be annoying to have to start over on something new. But extortion is even more annoying!

          1. Kevin Hall

            Many serious photographers have moved on from Photoshop ever since they started with their “you don’t own your purchased software” attitude and switched to the subscription model.

            Luminar and Capture One are what most have chosen. I use Capture One myself along with Topaz for noise reduction and sharpening.

            Photoshop was comfortable and there were some things to adapt to, but I am making better images than ever before.

            I don’t miss it at all.

            1. Milton

              Yeah, since Lightroom was also an Adobe piece it went the same as Photoshop. I’ll have to look into the two you mentioned.

            1. Gc54

              There is a mod for gimp that makes its menus resemble those of “traditional” (AKA pre-crapified) Photoshop.

              Personally, I like Canvas Draw, which combines superb vector editing with ok raster images. Unfortunately also subscription based unless you pay $199 and give up maintenance.

      2. Paradan

        What they probably do is keep the original image on your drive, but every operation/filter/etc that gets done is saved on the cloud. That would only amount to 200Kb or so at most.

        1. lambert strether

          Impossible. That would mean you didn’t really own the changes you made to your own work. Oh, wait…

    2. Arizona Slim

      There are alternatives to Photoshop that work quite well. I, for one, am a huge fan of the Affinity suite, which includes Affinity Photo. It’s one of those “buy it and you own it” kinds of software.

      1. chris

        Well sure. There’s also GIMP, which is free. There are lots of options. But this is the industry standard with the file format that many of those other applications export your work to so that a client or a collaborator can work on the image. The issue appears to be driven by the resolution of the bank note in question. Lower res versions seem to be OK.

        This is like MS Word having some kind of block that prevents you from loading any file that has the word “expeditious” in it. It’s annoying beyond belief if you need to work with the blocked item. Especially because you’re paying a decent amount to use the application that has created the problem.

        1. Late Introvert

          Face it, you got punked by Adobe.

          There are lots of alternatives, some free that are very good. Gimp is one of them. Resolve is one for video. Even better are the pay for options, I can vouch for DxO products.

          You are paying for “industry standard” and that’s it. Family blog that.

    3. Mikel

      I’m just hanging on to my Adobe Suite 6.0.
      Installed via disk and need to make sure I haven’t lost it.

      Keeping an old computer with legacy OS and run that off line.
      Will have other computers that I keep with more up to date OS systems.

  3. Carla

    Addressing the Christmas supply crunch with entirely private sector actors. NO MENTION OF THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE which DeJoy continues to dismantle with every passing day. “According to the White House, Walmart will increase its use of nighttime hours; UPS will increasingly use 24/7 operations and enhance data sharing with ports; FedEx will increase its nighttime hours and make changes to trucking and rail use; Samsung will operate 24/7 over the next 90 days to move almost 60% more containers out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports; The Home Depot will move up to 10% more containers out of these ports in their off-hours each week; and Target will move 10% more containers during these off-peak hours.”


    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Does the Joemala Administration have the unilateral power to fire the entire Postal Service Oversight Board and install all-new replacements? If Joemala doesn’t have that power, then there is nothing Joemala can do.

      If Joemala DOES have that power, then Joemala is reFUSing to use it. In which case, that would mean that Joemala supports DeJoy and Joemala is an active part of the conspiracy to abolish the USPS and sell off the profitable parts of the wreckage.

      In which case, several Deep Blue States should be getting ready NOW to force the issue of buying up every single USPS asset within the borders of their Deep Blue selves, so that they can set up their own
      ( Blue) Interstate Postal Service, keeping all the routes, buildings, postal delivery trucks, employees, everything, exactly as now within their borders but with the new name of IPS ( Interstate Postal Service).

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Biden named two new people to the Oversight Board months ago. Their confirmation is hung up in the senate.

        DeJoy is still the head of the USPS until those two are confirmed. Look for the senator holding up their hearings and you’ll find out who is getting contributions that match that perspective.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          My fault for not knowing that. ( Though the MSM helped by not reporting much about it). So . . . that would be an interesting question. Who is holding it up? Sine? Manchin? Both? Others?

          I do remember reading in the media that Trump was able to appoint “acting” heads of this and that Agency, Bureau, etc. to bypass the Senate confirmation process. An “acting” couldn’t do as much as a “confirmed”, but could still do something.

          Would the Joemala Administration be allowed to appoint “acting” members to the Postal Service Oversight Board? Does anyone here know? If the answer is yes, could “acting” members of the Board vote to fire DeJoy? If the answer is yes again, has anyone suggested to the Joemala Admin the expedient of appointing two “acting” members to that Board?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Biden named two new people to the Oversight Board months ago. Their confirmation is hung up in the senate.

          Perhaps we should see what President Manchin can do. Or the Parliamentarian.

  4. Carolinian

    Re OAN–I’ve watched it while at my brother’s since he has cable. Didn’t get much of a Goebbels vibe. It seems to mostly consist of talking heads reading out normal news but with added stories about Trump that acted as though he too was normal. Not too shocking unless you think that last bit was shocking. The whole thing is obviously low budg.

    However this impression based on very limited viewing.

    1. Wukchumni

      I had time to kill last year with lengthy periods trapped indoors thanks to the Castle Fire and a torn retina that had me housebound for months, and feel confident in my assertion that i’ve watched more OAN than anybody else on NC, perhaps a dozen hours worth.

      For starters you gotta be physically attractive to be a newsreader there, between 27 and 34 years old with the most assertive woman presenter also being the most beautiful, but not in a Fox way where all the wimiin’folk had to wear skirts/dresses, OAN was aiming differently-not at the aged men viewers hinging on Hannity’s every word @ Fox, but more the 30-50 year old conservative, it seemed to me.

      If you’ll remember during press conferences in his last year of sentence that Trump would often call on a reporter from OAN, and now we find that it was almost wholly supported by A T & T, which as far as their fledgling news outfit was concerned could have stood for All Trump & Tribute

      1. Carolinian

        Well I’ve only watched a little bit, but I’d say this channel is the least of ATT’s many many sins.

        And why shouldn’t Trump have a channel? It’s not as though the rest of the MSM sans Fox and a few newspapers aren’t just the opposite.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I was in high school the hottest looking girls became cheerleaders and it didn’t matter what they said as it had gravitas because they were beautiful, now expand that exposed to a much wider net.

          Content, what content?

  5. allan

    ‘I felt disposable’: UMich faculty experience difficulties obtaining approval for remote instruction this semester [Michigan Daily]

    Instructors across campus are expressing concerns about COVID-19 protocols currently in place despite being told the classroom is “the safest place to be on campus” by University of Michigan administration.

    Among those concerned is Rackham student Ryan Glauser, co-chair of the Graduate Employees’ Organization’s COVID-19 caucus, who told The Michigan Daily he felt no reassurance in returning to the classroom this semester.

    “It more pissed (GEO) off because we know of students who are positive (for COVID-19) coming to our classrooms, sitting in class and then leaving,” Glauser said. “We don’t know how (the University) is making (the) assessment (that classrooms are particularly safe), but we know it’s not based off of numbers because they can’t provide them to us when we asked them.” …

    Oh, it’$ ba$ed off of number$, just measuring tuition, not viral load.
    But have no fear, you can always apply for an exemp …, oh, never mind:

    … For faculty members to teach remotely, they must submit a request through Work Connections, the University’s disability management program. According to University President Mark Schlissel in an email obtained by The Daily, 28 requests for remote teaching were submitted through Work Connections. Of those requests, 20 were denied and 4 were accepted. …

    File under the Graves of Academe.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      I was a member of GEO, the UMich grad students’ union (we did/do most of the teaching there and similar places). The UMich Administration is pusillanimous and vicious even by university administrator standards, which is saying something.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is the spawn of Richard Dreyfuss agitprop, playing a liberal for Red State Media consumption?

  6. zagonostra

    >Behind NATO’s ‘cognitive warfare’: ‘Battle for your brain’ waged by Western militaries

    Interesting article from the Gray Zone

    Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.”


  7. Lego Gadsen

    Re: Several threads on the Capitol rioters in court. The rank and file read like real sad sacks

    This transcript from a (presumably not-well) encrypted Signal chat authored by “Retired Green Beret than ran for FL-14” Jeremy Brown contained in a Probable Cause Statement issued by DOJ raised an eyebrow-

    BROWN coordinated travel plans and rendezvous points. On December 23, 2020, he messaged,

    “We have a RV an Van going. Plenty of Gun Ports left to fill. We can pick you up.” On January
    1, 2021, BROWN, referring to his RV as “GROUND FORCE ONE” wrote:

    GROUND FORCE ONE Departure Plan:
    If you can, come to my house anytime Saturday. You can stop by and drop stuff
    off, or stay the night. This way we can load plan, route plan, and conduct PCIs
    (Pre Combat Inspections).
    I would LIKE to depart by 0645 on Sunday morning, Jan 3rd. Push through to the
    NC linkup on the 3rd, RON (Rest Over Night) there, then push to DC on the 4th.
    This will give us the 4th/5th to set up, conduct route recons, CTR (Close Target
    Reconnaissance) and any link ups needed with DC elements.
    If you need to be picked up, then we will work that into route plan and will
    provide exact pickup time by Saturday evening. Please have EVERYTHING
    ready once we arrive. It will be an ERO (Engine Running Onload).
    IF YOU ARE RIDING WITH ME, dm me with your plan to come here or be
    picked up. I will send address via the dm.
    I am willing to make adjustments all the way up until we pass your ass headed
    north, but it is now time to shit or get on someone else’s pot. READY? GO!!!

    Is incompetence exculpatory? I don’t think it is.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Is incompetence exculpatory? I don’t think it is.

      Match for that straw? Where did I ever say rioters shouldn’t be convicted of rioting? Convicting people of cosplay is another matter. I mean, “It will be an ERO (Engine Running Onload).” Come on, man.

    1. Wukchumni

      A buke is more of a post it note with something like “hey, you do realize you took up 2 parking spots!” left on the windshield under the wipers.

      whereas a scathing rebuke means you wait for the offending parker to return, to deliver the post it note in person.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      The only rebukes I’ve ever encountered were “stinging rebukes”. Is a scathing rebuke harsher or milder than a stinging one?

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Rebuke was one of those Soviet era terms, along with ‘chastise’, as in:

      “….Chastised for a politically immature speech.”

  8. Watt4Bob

    Politico has the Democrats problems figured out.

    Their reserve army of young, upscale liberals keeps stepping on their message.

    Why can’t the dims figure out it isn’t about ‘messaging‘?

    Their problem is not that their messaging isn’t ‘centrist‘ enough, their problem is that they are loyal to nobody other than their corporate donors.

    The democrats don’t keep their campaign promises, and they keep thinking the solution is better lies.

  9. SD

    “Rebuke” is akin to “scathing” when it comes to Versailles on the Potomac. The luridness of the descriptor in the press seems to be the goal and also a signal to cessation of action. If Massachusetts had a shored-up bridge or proper public school lunch program for every time our Sen. Warren delivered a scathing rebuke to some FIRE sector exec, well… I guess I’d think I was living in Finland!

  10. enoughisenough

    What is the “jackpot”? It’s being used a lot around here, but I’m not clear what it refers to.

    Sounds bad, right?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The careful placement of Darwin Filters all over the world designed to kill several billion people over about a hundred years or so and make it all look like an accident.

    2. Larry Y

      Yves’ own reply to this question:

      From William Gibson’s the Peripheral:

      [the Jackpot] killed 80 percent of every last person alive, over about forty years. ….

      No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves. And all of it around people: how people were, how many of them there were, how they’d changed things just by being there. ….

      1. BlakeFelix

        And IIRC called the jackpot because surviving it was like winning the lottery, you got lucky, by some definition of lucky…

    3. paintedjaguar

      “The Year of the Jackpot” by Robert Heinlein. First published in March 1952 in Galaxy magazine. When every statistical trend towards disaster hits simultaneous peaks.

  11. Pat

    Just a NYC perspective on the San Francisco Walgreens closure… if it is anything like here they need to shut stores because they have over saturated the market. For a period there I had five major chain drug stores within four blocks of me, one CVS, one Rite Aid and three Duane Reade/Walgreens. (This ignores the two local non chain pharmacies in the same area.) Two have closed in the last couple of years. Admittedly this is Manhattan, and I would bet that it isn’t as bad the further away from Manhattan you get. But there is still an ungodly amount of chain drug stores in this city. Still Just as I have seen numerous Starbucks closures (here I am now down to four in my five block radius from a high of seven), I am now seeing downsizing of Walgreens that still leave several within a few blocks of each other.

    I am not saying they do not have an organized shoplifting problem there, it is happening here, too. Just saying that it is a lot less embarrassing to say you closed a large number of stores for an external reason you haven’t been able to salvage, rather than we got ridiculous with our expansion plans.

    1. Leftcoastindie

      Same here on the west coast. Ten – fifteen years ago pharmacies were being built at a furious pace. Too many in the area for sure. At the time I figured they got some sort of tax break to build so many. So they did. And then once the tax breaks had run out, shut down the unprofitable ones, which they are doing.

  12. chuck roast

    “…David Michaels, who served as head of OSHA from 2009-2017, also said enforcement of the new standard wouldn’t likely rely primarily on in-person inspections, but instead on company record-keeping and worker reports of potential violations. Workers ‘will be OSHA’s eyes and ears,’ said Mr. Michaels…”

    So, workers will have to be “…OSHA’s eyes and ears…” because OSHA’s enforcement arm was amputated years ago as Mr. Michaels knows well. This is a 50 year old Democrat scam wherein they pass wonderfully protective health and environment legislation and somehow forget to fund the statute’s enforcement mechanism. To my knowledge wetland protection legislation was the prototype for this bait and switch. Developers could fill a kettles or a drumlins without fear because they knew that no environmental cops would ever come calling. Eyes and ears…blind and deaf.

    1. Adam Eran

      An interesting side note: The FBI/Police-published crime stats omit wage theft, police crime and violations of the Clean Water Act (and, one presumes, violations of OSHA)–which dwarfs the theft/burglary reported. Lies, damned lies and statistics, I say.

  13. marym


    A Henry County judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to inspect Fulton Couny’s [2020 election] absentee votes for counterfeits after state officials reported an investigation found no evidence to support the claims.

    Judge Brian Amero wrote in an order Wednesday that the plaintiffs…lacked standing and also failed to allege a particularized injury in their lawsuit that claimed fake ballots were counted in Fulton’s totals.

    The swift decision by Amero comes hours after the Secretary of State’s office filed a brief detailing investigations into the core claims of the suit.

    “Based upon interviews with the foregoing witnesses, as well as other witnesses who were interviewed during the course of the investigation, and in the inspection of approximately 1,000 absentee ballots and ballot images, the Secretary’s investigators have been unable to substantiate the allegations that fraudulent or counterfeit ballots were counted,” the filing read.


    Detail on the ballot inspection results:

    The court document filed on behalf of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said investigators reviewed 1,000 absentee ballots from batches in Fulton County that allegedly contained “pristine” ballots with perfectly filled-in ovals and no fold lines. All ballots in those batches appeared to be legitimate.


  14. jr

    Good Gravy when will Hillary Clinton plunge into the Pit, talons clutching air and shrieking all the way? At least Bill seems to have sort of retired, slithering from his lair for the occasional Girl Scout booster event or something. But her, gads, a howling void that no amount of attention, honors, titles, or corpses could ever satiate. It would almost be worth it to see her try again in ‘24 just to know the agony she would feel when President DeTrumpis assumes power. Where do these people come from?

    Rant over.

  15. Sardonia

    On the Walgreen’s closures – my local pharmacy is on the list. It’s been something to behold in there.

    Each time I’ve gone in recently, someone comes in with a Hefty garbage bag and a calculator. They load up on cosmetics mostly, and use the calculator to make sure their goods total under $950, as they won’t get prosecuted for that, even if anyone stopped them.

    The store hired a big security guard, but when I asked him, he said he’s instructed to not interfere – the risk of lawsuits for doing so is too steep, so Walgreen’s policy is “hands off”. Police can be called, but the response time is too slow.

    Over the last 6 months, every time I’ve gone in, entire shelves have been empty, like an old Soviet bakery. The young women cashiers have said they’re in fear for their lives, as many of the “shoplifters” have threatened them.

    This isn’t “Oh, some poor homeless man needs bread.” This is an organized crime ring, taking advantage of a state law and a local DA’s office that won’t prosecute. It’s no different than an old Mafia extortion – “I’m here for my weekly protection payment. Nice place you got here – hate to see anything bad happen to it.”

    When Walgreen’s looks at the bottom lines of their stores and sees some that are bleeding red and full of terrified employees, and potentially costing them far more if an employee gets hurt from this, it makes sense that their only real recourse is to shut the door.

    But well done, San Francisco cheerleaders of criminals (I mean, our local politicians and pundits), who insist that Walgreen’s is the real criminal (because profit), while these organized thieves are “Just doing what they need to do”. (Oh, I’m sure that guy needs $949 worth of eyeliner….)

    I have multiple disabilities, and rely on this pharmacy. Meds I need cannot be delivered – must go in to get them. The nearest pharmacy starting next month will be over a mile away, with 2 big-azz steep hills both ways, which my legs cannot navigate.

    I imagine I’ll get roasted here, for defending a corporation – probably a little less than I get roasted here in the local news comment sections for talking like this.

    1. cnchal

      Where might the little criminal capitalists be fencing their stolen goods? At the big criminal monopolist, Amazon, is where, and their crap built on lies department will deny it with protestations of innocence.

      Amazon is not a serial liar. It is a parallel liar.

      What puzzles me is why Walgreens’ CEO and the rest being ripped off aren’t punching Bezos in the face for his fencing operation? Omerta among the corporate elite?

      1. Sardonia

        That’s right. Let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs. Add to that the phone companies because the thieves talk on the phone. And the taxpayers who pay for the sidewalk upon which the thieves drag their haul of booty. And whoever makes Hefty trash bags. And whoever made their shoes.

        Yeah, keep going down this road – it leads to the Palace of Wisdom…

        1. cnchal

          Where do you suggest the crime be stopped? Are there enough jails for them, are there enough cops to arrest them all? Obviously not. How high should your property taxes be to fund all the cops required to stop this? Double or triple to what you are paying now?

          I get that you are inconvenienced by that particular store closing, now keep in mind who the gang of thieves are going to target next, since the easiest target is going away. I suggest carrying a stick or gun when you have to go to the farther away Walgreens.

          I failed to save the link, but there was an article describing exactly this and Amazon is the fence. They don’t know their customers (third party sellers) and don’t care to know as long as they can siphon money off of any transaction they are a party to.

          Dragging garbage bags, phones and sidewalks into the discussion misses the point.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Gangs stealing this amount of stuff are not stealing it for their own personal use or even for their friends and family. What could they be stealing it for? ” To resell” makes sense. And I too remember that recent article here on NaCap about some Big Box store CEOs compaining about several billion dollars worth of goods being stolen from their fleets of stores each year and then fenced on Amazon.

          Why isn’t Amazon investigated for RICO prosecutions for this? Probably because Amazon is above the law. Possibly because Amazon IS the law.

          These CEOs probably hate workers more than they fear bankruptcy and liquidation due to Amazon’s ” not-policy” of fencing everything that every gang can steal. Therefor, they will not give the few hundred million dollars to the Amazon workers to support them organizing and putting Amazon in a permanent future of pain. Because they would rather see their own Big Box chains go bankrupt than to help their Enemy’s workforce organize against their Enemy.

  16. JBird4049

    >>>That makes too much sense. I’m long stupid on this one. I bet the Democrats will go with $10,000, thereby bringing the joys of FATCA to every American.

    Anyone, please correct me if I am wrong, but I think that the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 established that depositing $10,000 in bank account is when a specific report by both the bank (and you) must be sent to the IRS. Failure to do is A Bad Thing and will get the IRS to go after you. Depositing a similar amount in smaller amounts over a year’s time, for instance if you are a small business, or gotten lucky in gambling, can and has gotten the IRS to declare it an attempt to avoid the reporting. If it had been adjusted for inflation the limit would be over $72,000 in today’s money.

    This is separate from declaring your income and reporting to the IRS at tax time and then paying your taxes then.

    Then we can add civil asset forfeitures where the cops take your cash, car, house, and anything else, and sometimes the funds in your gift and debit cards using special card readers, because they declared proceeds from drug selling. People have had a few hundreds taken from their wallets, thousands of dollars taken from their luggage, and funds from any cards stolen, or even taken from the postal mail because it can be declared (without trial or charge) illegal because somehow, in someway, it must have been used in criminal activity. I am neither joking or exaggerating.

    I know that county level Health and Human Services clerks have assess to your tax records, I guess because poor people must be crooks?

    And having too much of the wrong kinds of financial aid in education can get you punished by the government or get you over the asset limit of just $2000 in things like disability or Medi-Cal, which you can then lose. Even if you are going to use it for your education. Which hasn’t happen to me. Yet. But has happens to others. This, in a state in which an apartment cost $2000 per a month.

    But of course, although the IRS knows who the wealthy are and doesn’t audit them and the drug cartels routinely launder millions through banks with the banks’help, while bodega owners get hammered by the IRS for supposedly laundering money through their cash deposits.

    So, if I were going to save some money for an emergency like a car repair or an apartment move, I would have to use my mattress. Because I might be a criminal mastermind. Sadly, I don’t have a family of my own, but I can’t imagine how poor or working class people manage. I have read that to survive while poor you have to lie. I image that this is double true for a poor family. (Nooo, it is not what you are thinking– do you have roommates, got married, have some bits of inherited jewelry, got some savings, does anyone in your apartment have anything like this? Very likely it’s goodby benefits.)

    The wealthy (and members of Congress) routinely lie, cheat on their taxes, steal, or get bribes, yet somehow, if someone gets married or gets a roommate, they could lose their aid due to income and asset limits.

    Can anyone prove to me we are not living in a hellish financial and societal, kleptocratic panopticon for keeping the wealthy wealthy and everyone else poor?

    1. griffen

      I can’t disprove what you have said and the various scenarios as presented. There are layered upon layered compliance rules that essentially all US institutions have to follow up or report and also retain the records. It’s pretty extensive.

      AML for anti money laundering. You have the BSA listed. Reporting also includes SARS (Suspicious Activity…) And then there is FinCen reporting. It’s essential to learn all the associated acronyms!

      Orwell could not dream it up much better.

  17. Wukchumni

    Supply Chain: “‘Desperate for tires.’ Components shortage roils U.S. harvest”
    I’ve been reading of tales of shortages of many sizes of consumer tires across the country, and could we be heading for something similar to 1942, when due to a different set of circumstances-the war & rationing, no new cars or tires were available to the public for many years?

    The stage is set with automobiles, go take a look at the new car dealership lots around you, there is plenty of nothing on display with that sweet msrp sticker on the side window.

  18. Michael Ismoe

    Probably the single most effective move would be to require vaccination to fly.

    They call it “Flyover” for a reason. Not being able to go to an airport and ride in a cramped, overbooked airplane is not the punishment that these people think it is. If this is the penalty for not being vaxxed, can I undo my vaccination? I never ever want to fly again.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the government enforcers see people taking that ” no more flying for me” approach and going by AmTrak or Greyhound instead, they will try extending it to ” no vax, no train or bus”. And if they see people just resort to interstate driving, they will try extending it to ” no vax, no interestate driving allowed” with checkpoints on every Interestate border crossing. That would force drivers onto obscure State Highways and even more obscure Scenic Routes and Country Roads to drive across borders. If the government tries pursuing them all the way there with its ” no vax, no drive” checkpoints, then government will kind of force a series of armed confrontations at state borders.

      1. Yves Smith

        I went to and from New York when the state supposedly had a test and quarantine requirement.

        Even at Laguardia, the easiest imaginable check point, they weren’t enforcing it. No putting people back on planes who didn’t have test results. And that was despite having National Guardsmen in a show of seriousness.

        Now the Feds can prevent people from getting on planes by forcing verification onto airlines, which they will resist. And refusniks could really wreak havoc by booking tickets, turning up with no vax proof (whether or not actually vaxxed) and leaving airlines with lots of empty seats.

        Long-winded way of saying no way does the US have the institutional capacity to enforce this sort of rule on roads. Planes yes.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Then there are creative ways to undermine and frustrate the mandate with no need for violence at all. Or even harsh words.

          But if people “book” tickets, doesn’t that mean that they had to pay for the tickets? And if so, and if they show up without ID and cheerfully accept that they will not be allowed to board, won’t their empty seat have been already paid for anyway? And if so, why would the airlines care?

          (I used to fly on average once every two to three years, so I don’t know much of anything about this, as you can see.)

  19. Jason Boxman

    News from our crapified health care system.

    I signed up for access to my ‘patient’ portal for my provider. It’s actually an instance of eClinicalWorks, but renamed. It might have been possible to use a browser, but it looks like installing “the app” is the desired workflow for a new patient.

    So I installed the app for my phone. It asked for my name and DOB, and then my “provider code”. From this, it was able to identify me and my provider. Which means my data is out there in the cloud somewhere, probably on some AWS server ready to be hacked.

    It wanted access to my camera and speaker and GPS, ostensibly for virtual appointments.

    Very comforting.

    There is a PIN to access the app, but that doesn’t do much for my data in the cloud somewhere.

    What I apparently cannot do is easily create a web site account nor upload documents from my phone, which was the entire purpose of this odyssey. So it looks like I’ll be mailing stuff in anyway. How useless.

  20. Jeff W

    But [those participants who had extrinsic goals] were a lot less happy than those who had intrinsic goals. And those intrinsic goals were all about love and relationships.

    I’m not sure which study the quote is referring to—Kasser and Ryan did a bunch of them in the 1990s and 2000s. They, along with Ed Deci at University of Rochester (Deci’s 1996 book Why We Do What We Do remains one of my favorite books), did a lot of work in self-determination and intrinsic motivation/extrinsic motivation, the latter two later expanded a bit more broadly as autonomous motivation and controlled motivation.

    To summarize it all briefly, extrinsic goals (e.g., achieving fame or attaining fortune) are dependent on others and they’re instrumental—so they won’t in themselves make you happy—whereas intrinsic goals (e.g., “growing” and learning new things, having “deep, enduring” relationships) satisfy supposedly basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. (I say “supposedly” only because I’m not big on “needs” as explanatory mechanisms in psychology.)

  21. The Rev Kev

    Good idea about looking to spot new variants if and when they emerge. It may be that a new variant will supplant Delta in the same way that the Delta has supplanted the original Wuhan variant. It was not that long ago that we were reading about examples being found of this Delta strain in places like L.A. and now it is everywhere with the Wuhan variant almost extinct.

    Re: ‘I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.’ If the US has made such a shambles of collecting basic health data, it may also include the total death toll. Over at the Worldometers, they are reckoning the death toll for the United States as being about 739,269 which is about 80,000 more.

    During the great flu pandemic a century ago, they never knew how many people actually died of it with estimates running from 17.4 million to 100 million people dead. And by the time this Coronavirus pandemic is over, we once again may have no idea how many people will have died of it in spite of now being a ‘surveillance planet’.


  22. Soredemos

    >It’s time for bold action to save Republicans’ lives, whether they like it or not

    I’m sorry, but what the hell is that PS2-quality CGI Biden?

  23. ObjectiveFunction

    > thereby bringing the joys of FATCA to every American.

    This expat, for one, welcomes our new IRSect overlords, on the sardine ‘bait ball’ principle. Many many fish in the school, far lower chance of being singled out as a ‘person of interest.’

    … at least until the AI driftnets go to work, of course.

    The ‘Supercab’ (contractor) segment of the American gentry — aka Trump rally attendees — not so much lol.

  24. ObjectiveFunction

    Well-written piece on China’s infra diplomacy in the South Pacific. (HT to the Harris Bricken site)


    (I haven’t spent any time in Tonga, but I’ve seen lots and lots of ‘blue jumpsuits’ in a dozen other countries. A lot fewer concrete material benefits to locals though, as in, none, beyond a few menial jobs digging ditches or pulling security. Oh, and Benzes for certain local officials. But I think that’s a feature of the underlying societies, that only their leaders’ consent matters. Tongans seem a lot more egalitarian, and good for them).

    Democratic elections reward politicians who can bring in the cash and Beijing knows this.

    Beijing also doesn’t do the funding tease that the West does. They don’t promise cash only if the people will change their ways. The Chinese government doesn’t impose smoking bans and seatbelt laws and gender equality initiatives.

    “The Chinese will show up with the money and say, ‘Do you need a palace?’”

    There’s the Chinese ambassador who faithfully attends every islander committee meeting, however trivial, however irrelevant to foreign powers, and always takes copious notes. The donations keep coming: water tanks and houses, a convention center and a new high school, fishing boats and tractors.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a recent little news item about Trump ” asking Republicans to not vote in 2022 or 2024″. The story itself explains the clarifying reasons and conditions under which Trump would make that call. If he does, it will be interesting to see if the Republicans ignore it, defy it, or obey it.


    I have a conditional if-then prediction to make. If Trump gives the order and Republicans obey it, numbers of Cultural Fascist Jonestown Trumpanon mobs and shooter teams will kill as many likely-Democrat voters as they think they can get away with at anti-election anti-polling place violence to terrorise the likely-Democrat vote down to smaller numbers.

    Will voting rights activists prepare in advance with greater numbers of better pro-voting counter-terrorists and pro-voting shooter teams? That I would not dare to predict about.

  26. The Rev Kev

    ‘Susan Dobson’s precisely composed images depict abandoned university slide libraries – examining the value and progression of knowledge.’

    Those slides are going to need protecting as well because mold could get to them. I have a coupla thousand slides from my late father and that is a bit of a worry that. I plan of digitizing them so that the images will be much for accessible than trying to use that old slide projector of his.


  27. Even keel

    Two ideas today.

    First, re: atrios. The new allegation from the PMC of choice is selfishness, or self-centered ness. If someone is not obeying the PMC’s dictates, that person is selfish. I’ve heard that criticism three times in the last two days (not of me ;)) from a university professor, a lawyer, and now the author quoted by atrios.

    In none of the situations did it appear to be true, or the best way to describe the transgression at issue, but was rather a way to shut off debate. How could you defend a selfish person?

    2) Kaiser nurses vote to authorize strike in their ongoing labor negotiations.
    Oregonlive: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/2021/10/big-majority-of-kaiser-employees-approve-strike.html%3foutputType=amp

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Nikita Khrushchev was denounced in 1964 for the unspeakable crimes of ‘voluntarism’ and ‘subjectivism’.

      Good enough for the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet, good enough for the KHive!

  28. The Rev Kev

    ““USDA bets big on World Animal Health Organization to help protect U.S. pork trade amid African Swine Fever fears”’

    When China had to deal with African Swine fever, they slaughter millions of their national herd to deal with it. But if it hits the US national herd, will the Biden admin have the nerve to do the same? Especially if opposed by the pork industry?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture is ” big ag ” Vilsack from Iowa. He will probably take Vilsack’s advice.
      Vilsack’s advice will probably be that multi-thousand hog herds inside concrete buildings can be sealed off and protected from the virus.

      But gourmet artisanal hog micro-herds on outdoor pasture and sleeping in outdoor shelters ( such as the “pigloo” . . . https://www.producer.com/news/dome-home-built-for-pigs-but-other-uses-springing-up/ ) will be accused of spreading and vectoring the swine flu virus in a totally uncontrollable manner, and the Joemala Administration will make a billion dollar effort with hundreds or thousands of armed goons roaming the countryside to find and kill every artisanal heritage-breed pig.

      That’s my prediction if swine flu comes to America.

      That is what the Modern World Do-Gooders did to the long-legged tropical hardship hardy creole pig native to Haiti, in order to replace them with Corporate Shitpigs from the Big Ag sector of America.

  29. Tommy

    Regarding Walgreens and Crime wave hype. This is part of a nation wide thrust to counter BLM,police reform, etc, pushing this skyrocketing crime trope IMO, as Fair has pointed out. Homicide IS up in many cities..but otherwise, that’s it, as that good Will Bunch article you posted researched…..Anyway, Walgreens was planning on closing stores years ago…And it’s just an outright lie that the new DA is not prosecuting criminals etc. Here is the Mayor (No friend of progressives) and Chief of police saying the hype is a lie: ..https://abc7news.com/san-francisco-crime-sfpd-mayor-london-breed-in/10881799/…….Even the conservative SF Chronicle had an op ed that said the same:…….https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-No-the-Bay-Area-is-not-in-the-midst-16321086.php. As far as anyone claimed counter, it is very simple just to look at the records, and even the crime blotters of every SF neighborhood police station. For anyone to claim “SF is not arresting or prosecuting criminals” is a complete lie……As far as the viral video (talked about in a FAIR.org article) that was shown 300+ times all over the country (!!)…the man was arrested outside quick after. ..which is never mentioned. Even a short hoodline article gives facts left out: “But there are reasons to be skeptical of the claims that Walgreens woes are all because of San Francisco shoplifting. Again, the closures were announced in 2019 because of declining revenue, with the company not announcing locations, and we are learning the locations now. Consider that the 3400 Cesar Chavez St. Walgreens is one of three Walgreens in a seven-block stretch of Missions Street. They may just be saturated in this town. The Chronicle reported in May that there were 53 Walgreens in San Francisco, which even if you lose a few locations, is still quite a lot for a seven-by-seven-mile city.”…Seriously 7 blocks with 3 of them???…..https://hoodline.com/2021/10/walgreens-closing-five-more-sf-stores-in-outer-mission-sunset-hayes-valley/….Hell, broke ass Stuart even did better research then MSM on car break ins: https://brokeassstuart.com/2021/06/28/that-car-break-ins-are-up-750-in-sf-report-is-bullsht/…..and have to close with this excellent Fair dot Org article that details the over all picture……https://fair.org/home/the-thin-blue-lies-behind-crime-wave-hype/

Comments are closed.